Conrad Maldives continues to up its game with the launch of its underwater residence, The Muraka

Conrad Maldives continues to up its game with the launch of its underwater residence, The Muraka

Setting the bar for luxury in the Maldives, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island boasts at least a few firsts: it was the first international hotel brand to set up shop in this island destination, the first resort to introduce the now ubiquitous stilted overwater villas, and the first to introduce an undersea restaurant. 

21 years later, the hotel continues to up its game with the launch of The Muraka. Set at the end of a 300-metre jetty, just off the main stretch of Rangali Island, The Muraka - which means coral in the local language, Dhivehi - is the world’s first underwater hotel residence.

Built in Singapore by New Zealand-based engineers and aquarium technology experts, M.J. Murphy, and then transported to the tropical blue waters of the Alifu Dhaalu Atoll, the six-tonne structure extends over two levels: on its upper floor, there are two en-suite bedrooms; an open-plan living room, kitchen, bar and dining space; a gym; and a sunset-facing deck complete with an infinity pool, while the master suite, accessed by a spiral staircase, is submerged five-metres below the sea.

Here, New York-based firm, Yuji Yamazaki Architecture (YYA), was careful not to detract from the main event, dressing the bedroom, sitting area, walk-in wardrobe and bathroom in a blend of muted materials - like the brown leather walls and silk carpets - understated furnishings and considered, indirect lighting that highlights the marine life beyoond the acrylic dome. ’People don’t go to a theatre to see a theatre, they are there for the show,’ says Yuji Yamazaki, principal of YYA.

Upstairs, a refreshing white-on-white palette brings together a tasteful modern aesthetic of natural materials, simple, clean-lined low-slung furnishings and floor-to-ceiling windows that frame endless views of the turquoise seas.

And while guests staying at The Muraka have full use of the main hotel’s facilities -  including its greedy grab of no less than 12 drinking and dining outlets and an overwater spa - with your own personal chef on call, a butler to personalise your stay and the resort’s fleet of yachts and boats at hand, there really is  no reason to leave. §

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