In a bay near Almeria in Southern Spain will be built the world' first underwater residence for tourists. The hotel will be 40 feet down in the Mediterranean. As all the world opened to tour operators, there was still a frontier behind which lay three quarters of the globe's surface, the sea; in whose cool depths light fades; no winds blow; there are no stars. There even the most bored travelers could recapture their sense of romance, terror or beauty. For a submerged hotel is such a beautiful idea.
The hotel will cost $ 170,000 and will be able to accommodate up to ten people a night. Up until now only scientists and professional divers have lived under the sea, but soon, for the first time, the public will be able to go down into the darkness. They will have to swim down in diving suits, but at 40 feet there would be no problem about decompression.
Design of the hotel was crucial. Most of the underwater structures used before had been in the shape of a diving bell or submarine. Professional divers could cope with such things but ordinary people would run the risk of violent claustrophobia. Then an Austrian architect had the idea of making three interconnecting circular structures, 18 feet in diameter, and looking much like flying saucers. They would be cast in concrete and launched from the shore. Towed into position they would then be sunk. A foundation of cast concrete would already be in place on the sea-bed. Pylons would attach the structures to this. Once in position the structures would be pumped dry. The pylons made to withstand an uplift pressure of 350 tons, would then take the strain.
Cables linking the underwater structures to the hotel on shore would connect it with electricity, fresh water, television, and an air pump, and also dispose of sewage. Entry would be from underneath, up a ladder; because of the pressure inside there would be no need of airlocks or doors.
The first structure would include a changing room and a shower area, where the divers would get out of their gear. There would also be a kitchen and a lavatory. The second structure would contain a dining room/lecture theatre, and sleeping accommodation for eight people. The third structure would contain two suites. A steward would come down with the ten customers, to cook and look after them. Television monitors would relay all that went on to the shore so that discussions on the sea bed could be transmitted to all the world.
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