Maldives races Dubai for first underwater hotel

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A luxury underwater hotel is set to be built on the tropical island of Kuredhivaru in the Maldives after the National Ministry of Tourism gave the green light for the project.

The hotel in the Maldives will be based on the same design concept as the project announced by Dubai state developer Drydocks World, which is still in negotiations to build the surreal structure, Hotelier Middle East reported.

When work had began on a prototype of the so-called ‘Water Discus Hotel’, which has received $21.3m in funding from the EU, it was assumed that it would be bound for Dubai, but it seems the Maldives may beat the UAE to the post.

Polish Architect Pawel Podwojewski told CNN that there are many people lacking the courage to reef dive, but who would take the chance to explore an underwater world from the comfort of a hotel.

The technology is being developed by private company Deep Ocean Technology, led by eminent Polish scientist Lech Rowinski and in co-operation with the Gdansk University of Technology.

The prototype ‘Water Discus Hotel’ is under development in the Baltic port city of Gdynia, and consists of a 20-room unit 10m underwater with a twin-disc restaurant and spa seven metres above water.

The cutting-edge hotel's facilities include a helicopter landing pad and rooftop swimming pool, while divers will be able to access the sea directly from the hotel's airlock compartment, complete with its own decompression chamber.

The more adventurous can even take a ride in a three-passenger deep-sea submarine, and the hotel also features the ability to slide to the surface in case of emergency.

Drydocks World, part of the $2.2bn-indebted Dubai World, said in a May 2012 statement that it had signed an agreement with Swiss invester BIG InvestConsult to develop the project.

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