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Maldives to open 'world's first' underwater hotel residence

Photo courtesy Conrad Hotels & Resorts

Tamara Hardingham-Gill, CNN

(CNN) -- A luxury Maldives resort is about to take the sleeping under-the-sea phenomenon to a whole new level.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is building a $15 million two-story hotel villa, part of which will sit 16.4 feet below the surface of the Indian Ocean.

The property, believed to be the world's first undersea residence, is under construction in the South Asian island country and is due to be completed in November.

Named the Muraka -- or "coral" in the Maldives' local language Dhivehi -- it seeks to provide guests who travel here with an "intimate and immersive experience of one of the Earth's most breathtaking marine environments."

There's a gym, a bar, an infinity pool, butler's quarters, an ocean-facing bathtub and most importantly an underwater bedroom floor with unparalleled views of the ocean.

Connected to the upper level by a spiral staircase, the undersea suite section will be made up of a king-size bedroom, living area and bathroom.

The top level, which also has a sunrise-facing relaxation deck, measures 550 square meters, while the undersea sections occupies an area of 102 square meters.

"We are excited to present Muraka's unique sleeping under the sea experience to our future guests, providing them with an extraordinary seascape of the Maldives from an entirely new perspective," says Conrad Maldives Rangali Island's general manager Stefano Ruzza.

The Muraka, which can accommodate up to nine guests, is being erected by underwater design specialists M.J. Murphy Ltd.

It marks Conrad Hotels & Resorts' second venture in underwater architecture and technology -- the first being the Ithaa undersea restaurant, which launched at the same resort 13 years ago and was constructed by the same New Zealand-based design consultancy.

The villa is designed in a similar style to Ithaa, with a curved acrylic dome boasting 180-degree panoramic views of the encircling marine life.

Guests can already spend a night under the sea at hotels such as the Manta Resort on Pemba Island, which boasts a three-level underwater room and Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai, which has rooms with windows facing a gigantic aquarium.

Resort World Sentosas in Singapore also offers two-story ocean suites overlooking an aquarium, however the Muraka is thought to be the first underwater "residence" and certainly the most technologically advanced.

"Through our rich history of being a trailblazer in innovative luxury hospitality, we are proud to remain at the forefront of cutting-edge design, technology and architecture," says Ahmed Saleem, chief architect and designer of the undersea residence.

Set on two private islands joined by a footbridge in the Alif Dhaal Atoll, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is also home to 12 award winning restaurants and bars, including Ithaa, and two spas.

Conrad Hotels & Resorts became the first international hotel brand to enter the Maldivian market when the resort launched as Hilton Maldives Resort and Spa in 1997.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Rangali Island, Rangali 20077, Maldives; +960 668-0629

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