What is your idea of a perfect dining ambiance or having fun while vacationing? The sky seems to be the limit when it comes to the ways and places you can get a unique experience – on the top of a lofty skyscraper, in a freezing ice bar, science fiction-themed bars or restaurants, and everything out-of-this-world. Indeed, there is a diversity of possible setting or themes that can catch your fancy and satisfy your whim to complete your travel experience or holiday.
The theme, setting and the ambiance of a restaurant or a bar can impact the experience of a guest/diner. According to Signs in its post How Restaurant Ambiance Affects The Bottom Line.
“Studies have shown ambiance can affect everything from perceptions on responsiveness and reliability, how much and how fast customers eat, how much they spend, how long they stay in the restaurant, if they decide to return and more. As a restaurant owner, if you set the right kind of atmosphere, your customers feel comfortable and enjoy their experience at your restaurant …”
Partying Six Meters Below the Sea Level
In Malé, the Maldives capital, the imagination of certain restaurateurs have just gotten deeper with the lavish revamp and reopening of Subsix. It is a hot spot within NIYAMA Maldives resort that claims to be the world’s first “underwater club,” now broadened into “underwater playground.” At six meters under the Indian Ocean, you’ll have the unnerving experience of sitting eye-to-eye before a throng of edible seafood and that might end up in your dinner plate.
It is a submarine bar where you can party to your heart’s delight, seal the deal or just have a drink while gazing out at the depths of the Indian Ocean. Mike MacEacheran of BBC Travel makes an account of a Saturday night experience in his post The World’s First Underwater Club.
“It was Saturday night in the Maldives and the dance floor was heaving … I was doing my best to impress my dance partner…
The problem was, despite the pounding bass from the pulsating speakers, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the scores of iridescent fish and rainbow-coloured corals peering through the glass. I was 6m below the surface in the world’s first underwater nightclub, where you are as likely to encounter a killer shark as a DJ killing the dance floor.”
It is located offshore, about 500 meters from Per Aquum on Niyama, an island resort in the Dhaalu Atoll, which is about 40 minutes away from the capital Malé by seaplane. The venue was actually a land-based structure in 2010. It has been relocated to this pristine coral reef with over 90 species of corals and crystal-clear waters. It is teeming with incredible tropical marine life – wrasse, butterfly fish, snapper, hawksbill turtles, moray eels, anemones, parrotfish, giant groupers, even sharks and a whole more. Fast-forward five years, the coral garden continues to flourish and Subsix has undergone a major underwater facelift.
The Ambiance that Waits
To get to Subsix, you‘ll be whisked on a speedboat, and then steered down below the waterline through a grandiose spiral staircase. Down in the restaurant, guests can have an unobstructed view of the spectacular underwater life through the giant floor-to-ceiling portholes, without getting wet or the risk of becoming the dinner to some voracious predator fish. From the inside, the marine animals seem to float in suspended animation. Subsix guests can relax on bespoke chairs that have soft anemone fingers. Overhead, the ceiling reminds guests of an underwater kelp bed with its thousands of capiz shells sewn into strands and draping the entire expanse.
Since the venue is essentially an aquarium, an intriguing perspective is that it is the animals in this slice of the Indian Ocean ecosystem that are actually looking through and observing the humans inside. They are drawn to watch as their attentions are captured by the electric green, blue and orange glowsticks of the Red Bull vodka and the rotating disco/strobe lights.
More Showy One-upmanship
Maldives has always been known for this kind of flashy venues and eccentric entertainments; each new addition is more dumbfounding as the previous ones. There’s the cocoon-shaped underwater spa at Huvafen Fushi luxury resort. There is the odd underwater wine cave at Anantara Kihavah Villas. If an underwater dining alternative is desired, you can head to Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Without getting wet, you can enjoy a fabulous dinner while enjoying a 180-degree view of the surrounding waters and the sea animals swimming and crawling by.
Set to open in 2016 is “the world’s first luxury stargazing observatory … on Soneva Jani, the sister island to Soneva Fushi, where they already have a jungle cinema and treetop restaurant perched high in the rainforest canopy.” Being a hub for the rich and famous jetsetters, and a dream destination for many, expect more dramatic and quirky approach to Maldives’ luxury holidays.
Enjoying and Protecting the Delicate Coral Reefs
More than enjoying the coral reef ecosystems in this part of the Indian Ocean, there is that responsibility that businessmen/restaurateurs and clients must uphold. Protecting the coral reefs is important in order to sustain the habitats and keep them in their pristine state.
If you’re careful not to cause further stress to the environment, you’ll be glad to know that cautious steps were taken to ensure that the impact on the immediate sensitive ecosystems would be minimal. To ensure that the delicate reefs will be adequately cared for, the resort hired a marine biologist to rehabilitate the damaged corals.
With this thought, the unobtrusive ambiance and the odd experience that Subsix offers, you can relax and enjoy the venue, the food and the experience. Take a wise man’s suggestion, “Turn off the radio. Food should be the high point of the day.”