The side effects of Bush fatigue.
Guests put on scuba gear and dive 21 feet to an apartment, complete with TV, microwave, and 42-inch windows into the ocean. Far from Atlantis, it looks more like Davy Jones' locker room. But if you're in a rush to get married and can't wait for the Hydropolis to be done late next year, you can rent the whole place for $1,200 a night. You can even order out for underwater pizza.
The idea for Hydropolis came from German aerospace engineers who wanted to design the first hotel in space, but settled on inner space instead. They sold Dubai on the project and now envision a whole chain of what they call "mankind's first series of Oceanic Settlements." The German entrepreneur behind Hydropolis says, "I am certain that one day a whole city will be built in the sea. Our aim is to lay the first mosaic by colonising the sea."
"There is a direct analogy between the physiology of man and the architecture," according to a design article promoting the project. "[The hotel spaces] can be compared to the components of the human organism: the motor functions and the nervous and cardiovascular systems, with the central sinus knot representing the pulse of all life." Just to make sure the hotel and human organism are in sync, the resort will include its own clinic to perform cosmetic surgery.
Other hotel chains must be feeling the heat. As CDNN—the Cyber Diver News Network—reports, Hilton has opened "what it says is the first undersea restaurant in the world" five meters deep off the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean. Then again, Hilton may merely be thinking ahead: The Maldives are scientists' favorite example of a place that will go under if climate change is for real.
Twenty Thousand $ Under the Sea: Xenophobes can relax knowing that eccentric Arab billionaires and strange German scientists aren't the only ones with wild underwater plans to conquer and colonize the world. An American group is now promising to build "the world's first sea floor luxury resort," once they can find a place to put it. Rooms at the Poseidon Undersea Resort will run $1,500 a night, although for 20 grand you can get a private submersible as well as "your private submarine captain and butler." Leave your wetsuit at home—like a submarine, the Poseidon claims it will be "the world's first one-atmosphere underwater hotel."
The Poseidon is the brainchild of L. Bruce Jones, president of U.S. Submarines, a company that builds what it calls "the world's first personal luxury submarines." These subs cost between $1 million and $80 million, with "pre-owned submarines and submersibles" available for bargain hunters.
Jones is also president of Deep Blue Development, which plans to purchase land in Las Vegas to build—you guessed it—"the world's first underwater resort and casino." The resort will include two 50-story towers as well as 500 rooms beneath the surface of artificial lagoons. Small subs will move guests around the complex.
The Poseidon sea-floor resort was originally slated for the Bahamas; now Jones is looking at the South Pacific. The company Web site claims "literally hundreds of locations worldwide that are suitable operating locations for a Poseidon resort." There's one place the company says it won't build:
"We are absolutely no longer considering the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East as a possible location for anything. Our business experiences there were truly terrible."
Xenophobia or patriotism? You make the call.
Dr. Evil: Underwater resorts seem like a huge but relatively harmless waste of rich people's money. The more disturbing question is, who's buying these personal submarines? Hasn't anyone at the Department of Homeland Security rented The Spy Who Loved Me or Goldmember?
Bruce Reed, who was President Clinton's domestic policy adviser, is CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council and co-author with Rahm Emanuel of The Plan: Big Ideas for Change in America.E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his disclosure here.
Photograph of Barack Obama by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.