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The World’s First Over and Underwater Villa Opens in the Maldives

The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island's innovative resort, The Muraka, redefines luxury travel.


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It’s not easy to make waves in a destination already considered one of the world’s most luxurious, where private island resorts are the status quo, extraordinary design is ubiquitous, and the pristine paradise of the Maldives is your playground.

Yet the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island has done just that with the unveiling of The Muraka, a nearly 6,000-square-foot, three bedroom, bi-level residence that features an otherworldly underwater master suite as well as an elegant and contemporary overwater floor plan. Floor-to-ceiling ocean views are showcased from every vantage point, including from all rooms of a second master suite and from the airy, open-concept living room and dining room, which flows onto an expansive outdoor deck with infinity pool.

Staffed with a private butler and an executive chef—as well as a fully-stocked bar and chef’s kitchen—The Muraka feels tailor-made for family gatherings and entertaining. “The whole idea is The Muraka could be a home. You can invite your friends and family to come and spend time and enjoy the spaces,” said Maldivian architect Ahmed Saleem, one of the principal owners of the Conrad Maldives and mastermind behind The Muraka, which is his second underwater project.

Saleem also designed Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, which was the world’s first such offering when it opened at the Conrad in 2004 and remains a coveted reservation within the Maldives, hosting resort guests as well as guests staying elsewhere, who fly in by seaplane for the singular dining experience.

To fully realize his vision for The Muraka, Saleem got Ithaa’s dream team back together, reuniting with structural engineer Mike Murphy of New Zealand and Japanese architect Yuji Yamazaki, who designed the suites’ minimalist interiors. Conceptualizing The Muraka’s underwater level posed its fair share of design challenges—including accessibility and safety, of course—but the resulting underwater master suite is unlike anything the world has ever seen before.

Descending some 22 feet below the ocean’s surface either by elevator or spiral staircase, an aquatic wonderland awaits, with views that look out over a sloping reef structure on one side and towards the open depths of the Indian Ocean on the other.

Ample natural light filters into the bedroom through the domed glass structure, and simply using the bathroom, which features a full wall of windows, is a surreal experience.

“I always thought, there are so many people like me who would enjoy to see this,” Saleem said, noting that he had to stop diving some years ago. Indeed, the ever-changing underwater views at The Muraka are a sight to behold, as schools of fish swim in and out of the depths and parrotfish and butterflyfish stop to nibble at algae that’s begun to grow on the Muraka’s concrete hull.

At night, colorful illuminations cast the underwater world in a whole new light—you won’t want to sleep a wink during the fish disco, but rest assured the lights go dark, eventually.

Available for booking from November 1, 2018, The Muraka sleeps up to six adults and three children. Package pricing, which is estimated at $50,000 USD per night, is inclusive of expedited customs clearance at Velana International Airport in Malé; private roundtrip luxury seaplane transfer to The Muraka’s own dock; 24/7 butler service and executive chef services; per diem allocation for spa treatments; standing reservations at all restaurants on property (as well as exclusive in-villa dining experiences); private yoga, wellness, and fitness offerings; private ocean excursion boat; private luxury transport throughout the resort; and ample staff to accommodate any special needs or special requests.

Book with American Express Travel to receive your complimentary Fine Hotels & Resorts® benefits. Terms Apply.


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