Undersea luxury hotel planned in Bahamas
MIAMI - Anyone willing to dish out 1,500 dollars a night might soon get a chance to come face to face with sharks from the comfort of an undersea hotel room a Florida entrepreneur plans to build in the Bahamas.
"People who are interested in experiencing something they can't find anywhere else in the world will find it a real bargain," says Bruce Jones who heads the 40-million-dollar project.
But Jones says his Poseidon resort will be one of a kind, as guests will not need to don scuba gear to reach their luxury suites.
The hotel, located off the Bahamian island of Eleuthera at a depth of 15 meters (50 feet), will be connected to the mainland through two tunnels and an escalator, and pressure will be the same as at the surface.
The hotel will have its own restaurant, a bar and 20 large suites with transparent acrylic walls facing coral gardens that can be lit up at night.
Guests can expect to see a large variety of tropical fish, tuna and turtles, and with a bit of luck, sharks, from the comfort of their rooms, or even from their private jacuzzis, says Jones. "They will enjoy five-star luxury accommodation, all with stunning views of the underwater world."
The Florida-based entrepreneur says he is currently signing on the last of the investors, most of them institutional, who will put up the 40 million dollars the Bahamas project should cost.
Jones, who has spent 17 years designing, refitting and selling submarines, is confident the planned resort will become reality, probably sometime in 2006, even though a number of similar projects have foundered in the past.
If both projects come off, he would be competing with the Hydropolis resort, a 220-suite underwater hotel planned off Dubai.
Hydropolis planners say their rooms would go for 500 dollars a night, but Jones thinks that is unrealistic.
Guests at the Poseidon would be expected to dish out three times that. "It's an economic reality. We couldn't do it and make a profit for less," says Jones, who is president of US Submarines Inc.
He is convinced the market is there. "Everybody who comes off a tourist submarine loves the experience. Last year in America over 100 million people went to aquariums, so there's tremendous amount of interest in the subsea world, it's growing all the time."
And by opening up the underwater world to those who can afford it, he believes he would be helping protect it.
"By doing this we can entertain people, but also educate people and promote environmental stewardship," says Jones. "Only in really experiencing what it's like underwater can you really motivate somebody to protect the natural resources of the sea."