Magazine article Newsweek International

Stationary at Sea: Staying Where the Mighty Drills Have Fallen Silent

Magazine article Newsweek International

Stationary at Sea: Staying Where the Mighty Drills Have Fallen Silent

Article excerpt

Byline: Lauren Mack

An oil rig holiday is a lot like a cruise, with great views and no seasickness. Plus off-deck diving.

If visiting a locale made rich by oil isn't quite enough, travelers can get even closer to the source: an actual oil rig. Though the opportunities are limited, staying on a converted, retired rig appeals to adventurers seeking a quirky holiday in an untrammeled part of the world, as well as curiosity seekers eager to learn about offshore drilling.

At Seaventures Dive Resort, a decommissioned oil rig converted into a hotel and dive site off Mabul Island, near Borneo's northeast coast, guests enjoy ocean breezes, comfortable year-round temperatures, no mosquitoes, unobstructed, panoramic views and unlimited diving in the Celebes Sea. Located one kilometer offshore, the family-owned hotel has 25 air-conditioned cabins, each with a bathroom, and two suites. Most have cable television. The roughly 78-meter-long and 20-meter-wide rig has two decks for dining and sunbathing, conference rooms, karaoke and free wireless Internet access. "Being on the rig is akin to being on a bigacruise boat," says Suzette Harris, Seaventures' managing director. "Sitting on the decks to watch the sunariseaand set each day is something that no one ever gets tired of." Unlike on a ship, there's no rocking or seasickness.

Dive packages include accommodations, three daily buffet meals, drinks, diving and airport transfers. Seaventures offers boat dives to nearby islands, and unlimited diving from the rig. Equipment including underwater cameras and computers can be rented (from $200 per room, $230 for suites; seaventuresdive.com).

Farther west, Mohamed Al Fayed is creating a [pounds sterling]10 million hotel on an oil rig off Scotland's east coast in Cromarty Firth. Though his company has been stingy with details, the project will reportedly include a 50-bedroom country-house-style hotel along with a visitors' center, a shop and a restaurant for day travelers. …

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