Living a life of luxury is to do many things. On the one hand, it’s about always striving to treat yourself with the very best of things: the finest wines, the most delectable foods, the fastest cars, or the most decadent furnishings. On the other, it’s about gaining access to worlds closed off to the vast majority of the populous; to explore the environs of the elite, or experience surroundings out of reach to others. It should come as no surprise, then, that scuba diving and minisub adventure holidays are so popular with such sectors of society. After all, there’s no escape from normality quite like the serenity and beauty of a coral reef—spending time submerged beneath crystal waters, with the colorful denizens of the deep for company, you can truly get away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world.
Let’s take a look at what might just be the five most beautiful, most luxurious, and most exclusive diving resorts on earth. Deep breath, now…
Over the past twenty years or so, diving resorts have popped up across countries all over the world. This exciting sport has become almost commonplace and accessible to members of all strata of society… but as with almost anything in life, there is a thriving luxury scene which rises above and beyond the ordinary. More exotic, remote, and exclusive locations, higher-quality equipment, more experienced (and more highly insured) tutors to teach you the ropes, and then there are the resorts themselves. Many of the world’s most luxurious diving resorts boast everything you could possibly wish for in regard to having the ultimate getaway: Michelin-star-standard chefs, spa facilities capable of unwinding the most tense of high-flying business people, private islands with snow-white beaches, chartered yachts and exclusive marinas—exploring nature’s beauty has never been so resplendent.
As the diving and watersports industry continues to thrive in economically uncertain times, certain resorts have risen above and beyond their competitors in the luxury stakes. These are locations which deal with fulfilling the dreams of a global elite and push for new heights of elegance and relaxation. Let’s take a look at what might just be the five most beautiful, most luxurious, and most exclusive diving resorts on earth. Deep breath, now…
Guests can experience what is arguably the finest diving location anywhere in the southern seas
Kia Ora Resort, Tahiti
Is there anywhere on earth quite so evocative as Tahiti? The very name conjures up dreamlike images of pristine beaches, turquoise waters, verdant rainforests, and beautiful sunsets over the shimmering sea. It comes as no real surprise that one of the world’s most elite diving resorts can be found on this island, and the Kia Ora Resort certainly sets the bar stunningly high when it comes to luxury.
Kia Ora is located hundreds of kilometers from the mainland, meaning that it is only accessible via private aircraft or yacht. Once there, guests can experience what is arguably the finest diving location anywhere in the southern seas.
The resort is set on the edge of a densely populated coral reef, which offers an explosion of color and underwater beauty, teeming with bright and beautiful fish in shallow, crystalline waters. For those looking for a truly wild adventure, this resort has real form: The diving site is visited daily by pods of friendly and inquisitive dolphins, as well as a wide variety of shark species—there’s never a dull moment, and, year round, there will be plenty to see and do.
The experience of visiting the Kia Ora resort doesn’t begin and end with the diving, though. The resort offers exclusive access to private islands scattered nearby, and across the archipelago restaurants serving up the finest local seafood keep their customers satisfied in every conceivable way.
Crusoe Island Lodge, Chile
For many, the idea of luxury held most dear is that of finding yourself cast away somewhere deserted, somewhere disconnected from the modern world where there’ll be no disturbances and none of the stresses of everyday life. That’s the inspiration and raison d’être behind Crusoe Island Lodge, a fascinating and beautiful diving resort off the Chilean coast. Taking its name from the region’s most famous resident—a marooned sailor by the name of Alexander Selkirk, who went on to inspire the titular character Robinson Crusoe—this resort manages to offer a perfect blend of sheer luxury and adventure, of exclusivity and exploration.
Being 400 kilometers off the Chilean mainland in the south Pacific Ocean, the Crusoe Island Lodge is about as remote as you can possibly be. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t able to offer its guests the very utmost in luxury, due to an incredible array of facilities. The elite cabinas and suites of the resort boast 5-star-rated chefs, and access to rustic twists on luxury services: The hot tubs and spa facilities are heated with wood fires, and much of the food available is caught or foraged on the island itself, meaning you can immerse yourself further in your own castaway fantasy. As for the diving, Crusoe Island Lodge proudly claims to have access to a reef populated by no less than four hundred species of fish and gives divers the option of swimming among the playful fur seals who call the island their home.
Lizard Island, Australia
When it comes to dazzling displays of underwater coral, close-up encounters with some of the ocean’s most impressive residents, and access to some of the most incredible beaches on earth, few would argue that there’s anywhere quite like the Great Barrier Reef. This vast stretch of coral reefs extends along much of Australia’s northeast coast, and one can find no end of diving resorts in this part of the country. However, not many of them would be able to hold a candle to Lizard Island, which draws in an elite crowd of thrill-seekers throughout the year, and never ceases from going the extra mile to provide a truly luxurious experience from start to finish.
The diving resort of Lizard Island is nestled in a 2,500-acre national park, which teems with hundreds of species of exotic creatures and brightly colored birds. This dense vegetation gives way to one of the most pristine white-sand crescent beaches imaginable, which in turn ends beneath a gently lapping sea of the most striking azure blue—imagine the quintessential tropical getaway, and you’ll be close to a view of this very special resort. As for luxury, it would be difficult to ask for more from Lizard Island. With just forty suites available and an astonishingly favorable staff-to-guest ratio, guests at the resort will have every whim catered for. While the restaurants, spa facilities, and extra activities would be worth traveling for in and of themselves, it’s the diving which people line up for: At Lizard Island, divers have the chance to explore genuinely jaw-dropping corals and spend their time swimming alongside huge fish and other unforgettable denizens of the deep.
As for luxury, it would be difficult to ask for more from Lizard Island
Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
It’s impossible to not be seduced by the landscape which surrounds the Jade Mountain diving resort in St. Lucia. Set against an unforgettable landscape, which features the green and sea-lapped eponymous mountain itself, this is a resort which certainly flies the flag high for the luxury aspect of the Caribbean. While elite visitors flock to Jade Mountain to experience the world-class diving on offer at the resort, they’ll find so much more awaiting them on their arrival.
One of the main features of Jade Mountain is the fact that the architectural design of the resort is second to none, and acts as an attraction in and of itself. Each of the suites has only three walls: The fourth has been replaced by an infinity pool boasting an awe-inspiring view of the turquoise sea, and the mountains and rainforests which loom on the horizon. To wake up to such a view at Jade Mountain is to have your own elite status confirmed for you, something which would then be cemented by the personal chefs, butler services, and spa facilities on offer. As for the diving, the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea around St. Lucia never disappoint in this regard. A cornucopia of fish, an explosion of colors and textures await, and for the intrepid among their guests, minisubs are available to those wish to explore a little deeper.
For nature lovers, there’s simply nowhere else like it…
Misool Eco Resort, Indonesia
Ecotourism has made some serious waves in the world of luxury travel in recent years, with plenty of members of the global elite wishing to affirm their green credentials as they explore the most beautiful corners of the world. The Misool Eco Resort is the pinnacle of its kind and presents its guests with the opportunity to experience world-class diving, in a setting carefully designed to have minimal impact on the natural balance of the surrounding landscape. For nature lovers, there’s simply nowhere else like it… and it couldn’t be more remote or exclusive if it tried. Set right in the middle of a 1,000-square-kilometer marine conservation area—which itself is in the middle of a 3,000-square-kilometer dedicated shark and manta ray sanctuary—Misool Eco Resort is the ultimate when it comes to escaping the daily grind of the city.
Nestled inside an archipelago of 100 uninhabited islands, Misool Eco Resort takes great pride in the fact that it has the resources and exclusive setup to be able to take deeply attentive care of its guests. With three staff members for every forty guests, no stone is left unturned when it comes to serving the resort’s visitors every need and desire. However, it’s not this alone which makes Misool so special. The resort was set up in partnership with the Indonesian government’s green initiative, and it helps to protect and preserve the coral reef with a no fishing and no “marine disturbance” law in place—to visit this luxury diving resort is to play a part in the preservation of a truly unique and undeniably magical landscape.