Undersea restaurant opens in Maldives


If you want to take a fishkeeper out for a special meal, book a table at the Ithaa undersea restaurant.

The up-market eatery, which has just opened to the public, is situated several metres under water in the Indian Ocean at the Hilton Maldives Resort and Spa on Rangali Island and allows you to watch fish and other marine wildlife going about their business as you tuck in to your meal.

The restaurant, which cost around $5 million to build, was built by Mike Murphy Ltd using technology more common in public aquaria than in the world of catering.

The 9m long restaurant is made up of three 5 metre transparent arches made from acrylic 125mm thick and sits under a couple of metres of water at high tide. Ithaa told us: "These arches are the widest yet constructed underwater in the world. The acrylic arch sections are sealed to each other and the structure with a special silicone sealant and the steel structure is protected by a special high-quality marine paint system and a series of zinc anodes."

Ithaa told us that the structure was built in Singapore and shipped to the island on a massive barge equipped with a giant crane to lower it into position in the sea.

Says Ithaa: "The restaurant's total weight when it was lowered into the sea was 175 tons and 85 more tons of sand have been placed inside the belly of the structure to sink it into the sea.

"The structure is supported on four 75cm diameter steel piles (concrete filled), which were driven into the seabed. This method was selected to minimize the damage to the already existing reef."

Carsten Schieck, the General Manager of Hilton Maldives Resort and Spa told the website Hospitality Net: \"We have used aquarium technology to put diners face-to-face with the stunning underwater environment of the Maldives. Our guests always comment on being blown away by the colour, clarity, and beauty of the underwater world in the Maldives, so it seemed the perfect idea to build a restaurant where diners can experience fine cuisine and take time to enjoy the views - without ever getting their feet wet.\"