Luncheon with the Fishes: A Deep Review of the 5.8 Undersea Restaurant at Hurawalhi Maldives
Updated: Mar 2
One of the most spectacular and unique restaurants we have ever had the pleasure of experiencing was the underwater restaurant in the Maldives.
We spent seven heavenly nights in an over-water bungalow (with plunge pool) at Hurawalhi Maldives, a luxury resort with breathtaking views, phenomenal service and an outlandish variety of top-tier food.
Using our anniversary as an excuse, we booked a lunch at the 5.8 Undersea Restaurant. Aptly named, it is the largest, all-glass underwater restaurant, where you dine 5.8 meters below the surface. At the time of booking, there was one set time for a five course lunch at a cost of $225 USD per person, or two set times for a seven course dinner at a cost of $280 USD per person. After reviewing the photos available online, we opted for lunch. There was a greater clarity through the water and a greater chance of seeing more fish and underwater creatures during the day. At night, lights were illuminated around the restaurant to create a magical atmosphere, but we were more interested in the corals and fish. The lighting effects of the night-time view is beautiful, but it is difficult to see what swims beyond. NB: Today, Hurawalhi offers two lunch times and one dinner time. We suspect it is for the very reason we chose the lunch; the spectacular view.
To reach the restaurant, we walked along the beach and across a long, curved bridge, shaded by solar panels, over crystal-clear waters to the main entrance. The concierge greeted us with a delicious welcome cocktail and then entertained us with fun facts as we made our descent. The circular staircase was adorned with windows, allowing us to easily see and measure how quickly we were descending. If you’re sensitive to it, and we most certainly are, you can feel the pressure building as you descend. Your body feels as if it is submerged underwater, but your perplexed eyes remind you that you're dry.
We were asked to remove our shoes prior to entering the seating area (as this is a barefoot restaurant) and select a free table. The sight is overwhelming. Eight simple square tables lined the sides of a huge glass dome, a blue rug lined the area between them. The room was warm (warmer than we expected) and very open. One of our fears was that the curved sides and shallow roof would feel claustrophobic, but the restaurant was wider and taller than expected.
The colourful coral reefs that surrounded the glass restaurant were created, or rather gardened. The underwater gardeners wanted to create an extension of what already existed in the house reef. Some blocks of coral that initially showed little signs of life, were transported to the area around the restaurant to provide them access to more nutrient-rich waters. Now, they are beaming with life and thriving. We felt transported, small and insignificant inside this giant fish bowl.