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The DEAL: Dining, Entertainment, Attractions, Lodging in Miami by Jeanne Brei

Only 70 miles south of Miami, Jules’ Undersea Lodge in the lagoon at Key Largo Undersea Park is the world’s only underwater hotel. The Lodge was formerly the La Chalupa Research Lab and served as the site of the historic 1995 sea-space link-up in which ocean pioneers Scott Carpenter and Ian Koblick spoke with astronaut Mike Gernhardt aboard the space shuttle Endeavour. The lagoon also has a marine archaeology exhibit and a MarineLab underwater research and education habitat—and both the Lodge and the MarineLab have been used in research on extended space travel.

Just to enter the Lodge, one must actually scuba dive 21 feet beneath the surface of the sea. Jules’ really is underwater. Diving through the tropical mangrove habitat of the Emerald Lagoon and approaching the world’s only underwater hotel is quite an experience. Jules’ big 42 inch round windows cast a warm invitation to come in and stay a while, relax and get to know the underwater world.

Entering through an opening in the bottom of the habitat, the feeling is much like discovering a secret underwater clubhouse. The cottage sized building isn’t short on creature comforts: hot showers, a well stocked kitchen (complete with refrigerator and microwave), books, an Amazon FireStick which offers music and movies on demand. And of course there are cozy beds, where guests snuggle up and watch the fish visit the windows of their favorite underwater “terrarium.” Jules’ Undersea Lodge manages to reach a perfect balance of relaxation and adventure.

To get into Jules’ Undersea Lodge, you must be a certified SCUBA diver or take the Discover SCUBA course ($95) upon arrival. They accept all current agency certifications but you must show proof of certification. You can enjoy a three hour visit to Jules’ Undersea Lodge and have a pizza lunch for $150/per person with a two person minimum (which includes the lagoon fee but not dive gear). The Jul for Two package is $800 and includes their pizza delivery dinner. Breakfast includes coffee or tea, orange juice, and your choice of cereal. There’s plenty of water, soda, and snacks as well. Dive gear is included in the package. Total privacy in the Lodge is an additional $175 (the Lodge has two rooms) so no other guests will be booked in the Lodge during your stay. Single Occupancy is $675and there are group economy packages for $350 per person (for groups of 3-4) or $300 per person (for groups of 5-6).

Jules’ Undersea Lodge is located at 51 Shoreland Dr., Key Largo, FL 33037, (305) 451-2353. For more info, email info@jul.com.

This story originally appeared in the September/October issue of Exhibit City News, p. 85. For more pictures and original layout, visit http://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecnflipbook_septemberoctober_2018_o?e=16962537/64174552

 

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