Those who fancy a marine-style vacation retreat would soon be able to stay in a “Floating Seahorse” in Dubai where stunning underwater ocean views can be enjoyed straight from the comfort of your bed.
Text by Isabelle Pinto | Photography by The Kleindienst Group
Many of us feel a certain sense of wonder about the ocean and the life beneath it. From watching documentaries such as “National Geographic” that vividly portray the underwater world, we are constantly captivated by the mysterious beauty that surrounds this deep and rather foreign part of the Earth. What usually amazes me most personally is the colourful depictions of coral reefs with their little fish inhabitants playing “hide and seek” amongst them. And swimming and floating in the vicinity would be other amazing sea creatures such as turtles, seahorses, stingrays and so on.
Even Josef Kleindienst, Chairman of Kleindienst – a European developer in Dubai and the UAE – admits of his long-time fascination for the deep blue ocean. He says that he has always been interested to see what’s under the sea. And when his brother opened a scuba diving school, he became deeply curious about why people dived and what their experiences were like underwater. For several years, he had also been observing projects that were built underwater and was thoroughly inspired by the concept.
So, in 2008, the visionary developer finally brought his inspiration to life with the design concept of “The Floating Seahorse”, a floating luxury villa that is partially submerged underwater. And what’s utterly outstanding about this project is none other than its underwater living spaces which feature floor-toceiling views of the ocean depths. The experience would be somewhat like visiting a giant aquarium but with even better perks – you get to admire the underwater world right from the comfort of your bed whilst tucked beneath plush sheets of a luxury unit![ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”1,2,3,4,5,6″ ihc_mb_template=”1″ ]
Dubai is indeed no stranger to extravagant innovations. In fact, its Atlantis, the Palm Resort already has underwater suites with similar floor-to-ceiling windows offering views towards a three-million-gallon aquarium filled with more than 65,000 marine animals, including sharks and stingrays. The new floating luxury villas by The Kleindienst Group would, therefore, further popularize the underwater luxury accommodation concept. Its name, “The Floating Seahorse” has been aptly given, probably due to the developer’s conservation efforts involving seahorses. They are currently building an artificial coral reef under the luxury units which will become a protected area where seahorses can breed and live in peace.
Presently, the first of 131 units has already materialised and has been floating off the coast of Dubai on the oceans of “The World” – an artificial archipelago of islands in the shape of the world map – since March. More specifically, it is located a few miles offshore on the oceans of the “Heart of Europe”, a section of “The World” which was inspired by Europe with names of islands taking after European destinations such as Germany, St. Petersburg, Switzerland and so on. GET PAMPERED WHILE AFLOAT
Inspired by design features associated with both yachts and villas, the ocean accommodation consists of three levels; one completely submerged underwater, one at sea level, and an upper deck. The underwater layer accommodates both the master bedroom and bathroom, allowing guests to enjoy the ocean’s breathtaking views not only from their beds, but also whilst soaking and relaxing in a refreshing hot tub. The layer at sea level, on the other hand, hosts a sundeck and plunge pool along with all the usual amenities of a modern home. Special features on the upper deck include a glass-bottomed Jacuzzi where guests can take in views of the vast ocean and horizon. With a base made of glass, the Jacuzzi also acts as a skylight on the living room ceiling below.
Boasting such revolutionary designs, making “The Floating Seahorse” a reality definitely wasn’t an easy feat. A huge team of over 200 specialists and professionals from 25 different countries were involved in the conception of this floating masterpiece. According to Kleindienst, the architectural team had to take into consideration multiple factors such as buoyancy, water pressure for the underwater windows and so on. “For the underwater windows, instead of using glass, the team used acrylic which closely resembles glass in order to effectively withstand water pressure. This material is used in aquariums and submarines and is very durable in salt water,” he explains. A SPECIAL EDITION
Currently, there is even a latest version of the project called “The Signature Edition”. Larger than the first “Floating Seahorse” with an area spanning just over 4,000 sq ft, it was designed specially for families with children, and groups. And what’s more interesting, it can be fully customized according to the guests’ taste from the choice of flooring to the kitchens, bathrooms and other interiors. For those who prefer a more private retreat, the unit can also be customised by fully closing the outdoor areas at sea level and on the upper deck.
Similar to its predecessors, The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition is also made up of three levels. The layer at sea level would accommodate an expansive open plan living room with a seating area and dining room which can be converted into a sleeping area by night; a compact, fully-fitted kitchen which can camouflage itself when required through the incorporation of sliding wood panelling; and a fullyfitted bathroom.
At the outdoor decking area on this level, guests can either enjoy alfresco dining in its wide open space, or sunbathe on the sundeck and hammock provided. For those who fancy a swim or snorkel in the open seas, there is also a ladder here offering direct access to the ocean.
The “Signature Edition’s” underwater level would also feature the bedrooms and bathrooms with floor-to-ceiling views of the ocean depths, but this time there’ll be two bedrooms and bathrooms each. The highest level would essentially serve as a chill-out zone where guests can lounge all day on its informal bed, enjoy some drinks at the minibar, or take a dip in its glass-bottomed Jacuzzi – similar to the first edition. Additionally, this level would also be equipped with a kitchenette and an external shower. HOT-SELLING ‘SEAHORSES’
Constituting around 50 villas, the first phase of “The Floating Seahorse” has already been sold out, and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. The remaining units are expected to be ready by next year. Currently, only 10 Signature Edition Floating Seahorses are available for purchase from the units released. The purchase price is AED12 million for each unit. While all 131 units will be situated in the Heart of Europe, 90 of them will specifically surround the heart-shaped St. Petersburg Island – one of the islands in the Heart of Europe – whereby the villas will be connected by floating jetties inspired by the Maldives.
So, for ocean enthusiasts out there, what are you waiting for? You may just be able to book your stay in a Floating Seahorse by the end of this year. The underwater world beckons, and this mesmerizing accommodation is bound to provide you with a marine retreat you won’t easily forget![/ihc-hide-content]