Unique Underwater Hotel Experience: Manta Resort, Tanzania


This is a different post. It’s not about miles, points or even a trip report. It’s about the place I’ve never been to. A couple of months ago, I posted an article on Frugal Travel Guy about finding the least expensive stay at an overwater bungalow, and then I stumbled upon this conceptual marvel! Of course, this resort is not operational yet, and like what happens to so many wonderful concepts, who knows if it will ever be.

But is there anything like that in the world? To my surprise, there is an option to sleep with the fishes and live to see the day. This resort offers incredible under-and-overwater bungalow experience, and if the previous reviews from the travelers who’ve been to this amazing place are any indicator, you are going to be blown away!

Forget glass floors of the overwater bungalows. What you’re getting at the Manta Resort’s Underwater Room located off Pemba Island, Tanzania, is the complete immersion in the marine life! Although, the spotlights installed in the ocean underneath the windows that illuminate every living creature swimming by, will make it difficult for you to have a good night sleep. If you actually come there to sleep, that is.

Staying in this room is like being in an aquarium, and you are not going to be the only one gazing. The ocean dwellers are also looking; only they are looking in. There are thousands of fish, of course, but the lights attract bigger creatures, as well, like squids and octopuses. If you do get bored at some point (who knows, stranger things have happened), just climb to the roof and spend the night or the part of it on the bed upstairs gazing at the stars.

The Manta is a small, all-inclusive resort, and while you could stay in the underwater room for a week, you probably won’t. The room comes with a price tag of $1,500 a night for two people, so most guests opt out for a one- or two-night experience. You will spend the rest of your vacation in one of the 16 garden and oceanfront villas. Not to worry, according to overwhelmingly positive reviews, the accommodations and the food here are nothing to sneeze at, although from what I understand, the basic garden villas do not have air-conditioning. Yes, I agree. Weird.

The resort is understandably expensive, but it might still cost less than the Maldives or Bora Bora, especially if you consider the all-inclusive factor. It seems that buying one of the packages here is a way to go, since they offer considerable discounts, like ten days for the price of seven, and seven for the price of five. I priced the cheapest one-week package in a basic villa at less than $2,000 for two in low season from March to June.

In addition, every package seems to include a round-trip flight between Zanzibar and Pemba (that alone adds around $250 for two people) and a daily spa treatment for one. What it understandably doesn’t include is the underwater room, so you’ll need to add at least $1,500 to whatever package you opt for. Considering the uniqueness of this experience, it is still a manageable expense.

Flying to Zanzibar could cost thousands of dollars, but United miles can help. Still it’s a long flight and you might have to fly more than two legs depending where in the US you’re coming from. You’ll probably use a combination of United and Ethiopian, or Lufthansa and Ethiopian, or Egypt Air and Ethiopian; well, you’ve got the picture. The roundtrip will cost you 80,000 miles in coach or 160,000 in business class.

I have not been paid or otherwise contracted or asked to write this post. How about that for full disclosure?

Share your thoughts if you have been to Pemba or stayed at this or similar resorts?

This photos of The Manta Resort are courtesy of TripAdvisor.

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