With the festive season just around the corner, it might be time to start planning your next vacation. While on holiday, you might be able to admire some impressive feats of civil engineering. That much is true if you're visiting the Maldives this year.
A structural engineer from Auckland is making news around the globe. His name is Michael Murphy, and he has built a hotel...underwater. Murphy is world-famous for his work on aquariums and underwater restaurants. He graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in civil engineering at Auckland University in 1971.
The new underwater hotel villa has officially opened in the Maldives as a new addon to the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. It’s named the Muraka. The top level is above water, and the bottom is fully submerged under the sea.
It provides the patrons willing to pay US $55,000 per night, a night's sleep 16 feet down on the Indian ocean floor.
For the hefty price, patrons get access to a 24-hour team of staff, ready to assist guests during their stay. Allegedly, there is access to a personal yacht as well.
The structure cost US $22 million to build. "It's one of the most challenging projects I've had. And super exciting at the same time," Murphy told reporters. It is now considered to be the world's first underwater hotel.
Constructing a hotel room underwater was no easy feat. The structure was prefabricated in Singapore. Three sections were assembled atop a barge that was then towed to a crane ship, which was waiting to begin construction at Rangali Island.
Steel piles were embedded into the seafloor, and after that, the two cranes atop the crane ship planted the prefabricated sections of the hotel room onto the steel foundation. The hotel was in the planning phase for 13 years. Finally getting the designs implemented on the ocean floor was challenging. Even marine biologist staff members were part of the process to ensure that the marine world below wasn't damaged by the building of the room.
Murphy told Hotel Designs:
“Site conditions are paramount. This includes tidal range, water depths, protection from storms, storm wave heights, wind loads, type of soil for driving piles, access for big crane ships etc. This dictates freeboard heights, the depth of undersea unit below the sea level, height of stairwell, piling design and everything else. The greater the volume, then the more water displaced, which means more buoyant uplift, which means more weight to hold the unit down so that it doesn’t float.”
The room just happened to be the maximum weight that the cranes could handle; it weighs in at 600 tonnes. A spiral staircase leads from the top level to the bottom level, revealing the 180 degree view of the bottom of the ocean.
Fancy sleeping with the fishes? It is now possible.
Undersea Villa | THE MURAKA | Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Luxury Resort, www.conradmaldives.com/stay/the-muraka/.
Kilburn, Hamish. “Designing the World's First Luxury Underwater Hotel.” Hotel Designs, Hamish Kilburn Https://Secure.gravatar.com/Avatar/2edcad40930314dca244a6a9d0589916?s=96&d=Mm&r=g, 7 Aug. 2018, hoteldesigns.net/industry-news/designing-the-worlds-first-luxury-underwater-hotel/.
Umbers, Lee. “Sleeping with the Fishes... Kiwi's $73,000 a Night Underwater Hotel.” NZ Herald, NZ Herald, 10 Nov. 2018, www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=12156573.