Humans have long been fascinated by the possibility of living underwater. Novels, movies, even World’s Fair exhibits have theorized about what it would be like to take up residence beneath the seas. In the early 1960s, the US Navy funded experiments in underwater living quarters (complete with a trained dolphin to ferry supplies), but soon interest and money turned to the space race.
Recently, life under the sea has reemerged as a topic of conversation. Earlier this year a Japanese company released designs for a whole city in the ocean. Though the proposed cost is exorbitant ($26 billion), the concept drawings seem like something straight out of science fiction.
While we’ve yet to successfully develop any permanent colonies underwater, there are places you can spend at least one night sleeping with the fishes. Here are five of the most interesting:
Jules' Underwater Lodge: Key Largo, Florida
Appropriately named after the man who wrote Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the Jules’ Undersea Lodge bills itself as the “first and only underwater hotel.” Originally founded as the La Chalupa research laboratory in the early 1970s and located off the coast of Puerto Rico, the underwater lab and living quarters are said to have been the largest and most technologically advanced underwater habitat of their time. Scientists used the lab to study and research the marine life of the continental shelf.
In the mid-1980s, the facilities were towed to Emerald Lagoon in Key Largo, Florida, and converted into an underwater hotel. Over the last 30 years, the lodge has provided accommodations for thousand of visitors, including actor Tim Allen, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and, rather fittingly, drummer Jon Fishman of Phish.
With two rooms, the hotel can comfortably sleep up to six people. The experience isn’t complete without getting a fresh, hot and—most importantly—dry pizza delivered to your underwater quarters.