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It was Saturday night in the Maldives and the dance floor was heaving. The DJ, who had flown in from the capital Malé, was cranking out hit after hit – Jump by Kriss Kross, Coolio’s remix of Stayin’ Alive, Fat Man Scoops’ Put Your Hands Up–and I was doing my best to impress my dance partner, throwing retro Travolta moves, twists, slides and shimmies.

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.

The venue was Subsix, positioned 500m offshore of the island resort Niyama in the Dhaalu Atoll, a 40-minute hop by buzzing seaplane from the capital Malé. Our hosts were the Maldives’ fabulous tropical fish and the fathomless sea.
Imagine a series of giant portholes looking out onto a vivid slice of pristine reef – albeit with a DJ rig and bustling cocktail bar behind you. Snapper, wrasse, anemones and parrotfish winked through the floor-to-ceiling windows. They floated in suspended animation, intrigued by both the rotating disco lights and the electric blue, orange and green glowsticks that the vodka Red Bull-drinking clubbers were flailing around.

Subsix originally opened in 2010, constructed on land before being sunk and relocated to a coral garden carefully reconstructed by marine biologists. Fast-forward five years: the reef is flourishing and the nightclub has undergone a major underwater revamp.

When I visited just after the August reopening, opaque Italian-crafted pendants resembling sea urchins hung from the ceiling, while thousands of capiz shell lighting strands created the effect of rolling waves. Spotlights were fashioned into crown-of-thorns starfish and the bar stools mimicked pokey sea urchins, all spongey black cords and chic clubbing design. Somehow, it looked anything but kitsch.

With more than just a little dose of nocturnal naughtiness – think banging Pioneer-brand decks and a Magnum-stocked bar – the club also only shuts when the last guest climbs the stairs to take the shuttle boat back to the island, a 15-minute ride away. Earlier in the week, so I was told, a group of Russian guests kept the party going until sunrise.