It is already being called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” and when it is completed, The Palm Jumeirah looks likely to fulfill its destiny. The concept was born with a simple sketch: HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was looking to solve the problem of Dubai’s limited coastline, and his inspired drawing of a palm tree-shaped island appeared to be the perfect answer.
Just seven years later, The Palm has evolved into a premier destination for leisure, entertainment, retail and real estate, and in the process has more than doubled Dubai’s existing coastline. Where else in the world could you dine in a choice of Michelin-starred restaurants, browse exclusive designer boutiques, cool off at a water park, or unwind with a sundowner overlooking the splendour of the Arabian Gulf? And it isn’t even finished yet – The Palm has so much more potential left to discover.
When The Palm is completed, there will be more than 30 five- and six-star hotels, doubling Dubai’s total number of beachfront resorts. The much-anticipated Atlantis The Palm opened its doors in September this year, heralding its arrival with a spectacular fireworks display and a VVIP party with the Crème de la Crème in attendance and Kylie Minogue on stage.
Dominating the centre of the breakwater, this palatial aquatic-themed resort has reached new heights of luxury and world-class amenities, including a 17-hectare aquatic adventure park, a dolphinarium and conservation centre and a vast lagoon that provides a home to more than 65,000 species of marine life. Guests can choose from 17 restaurants and bars, and can dine in a choice of four Michelin-starred restaurants, including the famous Nobu from master sushi chef, Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, which already has a two-month waiting list.
But there is so much more yet to come. Soon the island will be linked to the mainland by a 5.4km monorail – the first of its kind in the Middle East. As many projects near completion, the trunk is transforming into a dynamic retail and tourism destination. For shopping, the Golden Mile will have a relaxed Riviera ambience along a corniche walkway, with upscale boutiques and chic cafés. And the planned Luxury Retail Centre will be a fourlevel shopping mall, housing luxury brands and an IMAX cinema.
At the end of the Golden Mile is the Trump International Hotel & Tower, the Palm’s magnificent centrepiece. A soaring split-linked tower, it will surely become one of Dubai’s most iconic architectural landmarks. Trump Tower is joined on the trunk by a series of five- and six-star resorts, including properties managed by The Fairmont and Tiara. The crescent will see a number of luxury mixed-use developments, including the Fairmont-managed Kingdom of Sheba, the enchanting Kempinski Hotel Emerald Palace and the Jumeirah Al Fattan Palm Resort.
One of the most eagerly awaited attractions is the first resident Cirque Du Soleil outside of the US or Japan, expected to open in 2010. A permanent theatre has been jointly designed between Cirque du Soleil and Nakheel and the show will feature all original music, costumes and sets.
At least three marinas are planned around the island. The Anchor Marina will provide much needed facilities for more than 700 yachts and mega yachts, with world-class club amenities, fine dining, upscale retail outlets, yacht brokers and chandlery. Operated by Island Global Yachting, once finished it will be a destination in itself and one of the city’s most desirable berthing locations.
There are two more Palm islands currently under construction in Dubai: the Palm Jebel Ali and The Palm Deira. Promising to be bigger and yet more ambitious than The Palm Jumeirah, they will mark a new beginning in Dubai’s role as a world tourism hub. We can only wait and see what delights they will bring.
Dubai Marina Yacht Club
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