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City and finance


16 Jun 2016

BY April Hutchinson


World's largest underwater restaurant coming to the Maldives

The restaurant will open as part of the new Hurawalhi resort this November.


Maldives does it again - world's largest underwater restaurant heading for Hurawalhi resort

Leading architect Yuji Yamazaki is creating Hurawalhi for Crown & Champa Resorts

The destination already features the world’s first underwater spa, as well as another underwater restaurant and a nightclub beneath the ocean.

The new arrival will be at Hurawalhi, where the roof on 5.8 gets its name from the depth; the roof of the restaurant will be submerged 5.8 metres below the surface of the Indian Ocean.

5.8 will be 18m long and has an acrylic glass-domed roof designed by New Zealand architects MJ Murphy who shipped the structure from Auckland.

MJ Murphy previously created Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at the Conrad Maldives Conrad Rangali, which is owned by the same company as Hurawalhi, Crown & Champa Resorts.

5.8 can also be used for weddings, giving couples the chance to have an underwater wedding for up to 20 guests seated in the venue.

Hurawalhi is in the Lhaviyani Atoll, where Crown owns several resorts, including Kuredu, a popular option from the UK; guests from other resorts will be able to catch a boat to try 5.8 for themselves.

The resort plans to stand out in the crowded high-end Maldives market by opening as an adults-only property.

“The Maldives has been increasingly focused on families, but we believe there is a market for a resort just for adults,” said Nina Fleischmann-Torosyan, Hurawalhi’s director of sales and marketing.

There will be an all-inclusive plan available at Hurawalhi, tapping into another trend in the luxury space.


The resort will have 90 villas and is a 40-minute seaplane ride from Male; Crown & Champa also has a significant stake in seaplane company TransMaldivian Airways, which Fleischmann-Torosyan said would allow customers access to the some of the country’s lowest fares for the air transfer.

The resort has been designed by Japanese-American architect Yuji Yamazaki who designed another of the Champa-owned hotels in the Maldives, Club Med Finolhu as a landmark green resort and 100% solar-powered.

Yamazaki first met Champa boss and tourism pioneer ‘Champa’ Hussain Afeef while on holiday at Meeru, one of the group’s hotels and has designed W New York and the Andaz LA.

The island is a nesting site for Green Turtles and the company is working with WiseOceans on its conservation strategy. As much as 60% of the resort will run on sustainable solar energy and the island will have a policy of not using any plastic bottles.

The area is also known for its high-quality diving and Manta Ray population.

Crown & Champa also owns some neighbouring small local islands, including Dream Island, which the resort will offer for romantic overnight glamping trips.

There will also be another phase in 2018 when the company will build private residences for sale and lease back into the rental pool.

Hurawalhi is pitching itself as ‘affordable luxury’ and has earlybird rates pre-opening.

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