On Tuesday July 12th, the middle eastern country of Dubai unveiled plans for a $500m underwater hotel, pushing back the limits of the emirate’s already outrageous Arabian-inspired collection of architectural landmarks.
Hydropolis Hotel, which will cover 107,700 square metres, will be built offshore Jumeirah, an upmarket area west of Dubai, and is expected to be open in late 2006.
"Hydropolis will impart a unique impression of distinctiveness and exclusivity that will not diminish," German investor and architect Joachim Hauser boasted in a statement.
"It will address mind, body and soul in an unparalleled manner," Hauser said of the hotel that will comprise a land station, a connecting tunnel and a main underwater structure.
With oil resources running out, Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has launched a multi-billion dollar tourism drive in an effort to establish itself as the Gulf’s leisure hub.
That has involved increasingly bold architectural projects that include two man-made colossal islands in the shape of palm trees and 200 islands reclaimed from the sea and positioned strategically to form the shape of the world map.
Overlooking these projects will be the sight most people now associate with Dubai: the 321m Burj al-Arab, a billowing sail-shaped seven-star hotel ranked as the world’s tallest.
Dubai, which boasts five million visitors a year for a population of one million, is targeting 10 million by 2007, and 40 million by 2015.