It will be a luxury enclave worthy of Sinbad the Sailor, a magical archipelago that will rise from the Arabian Sea off the coast of Dubai. Where there was once nothing but ocean, soon there will be, according to the plans, palatial homes, lavish hotels, marinas, clubhouses, and an aquatic-themed resort.
Set to open in late 2005, the Palm, Jumeirah is the first of three man-made residential and recreational island formations conceived by the Nakheel Corp., Dubai’s government-owned development company. The Palm, Jumeirah, which, as its name suggests, will resemble a palm tree when viewed from the air, will be about 4 miles wide and will have a 1.2-mile-long trunk that sprouts into 17 fronds surrounded by the Crescent, a circular, protective breakwater. From the mainland, the Palm will be accessible by a bridge to the trunk and by water shuttles. An elevated monorail will carry passengers from the mainland to Sol Kerzner’s Atlantis-inspired theme park, where they will find some of the world’s largest man-made marine habitats and snorkel trails. For those seeking a more scholarly experience, the park will feature its own archaeological dig.
Development of the Palm, Jumeirah was driven by the desire to allow foreigners to become property owners in Dubai. (Previously, the emirate offered only limited 99-year leases.) Therefore, the archipelago will be primarily a residential haven of some 2,200 condominiums and 1,800 private villas (in addition to 17,000 hotel rooms). The villas will be garden homes offering as much as 6,500 square feet of living area, with architectural motifs evoking such disparate locales as the American Southwest, the northern Mediterranean coast, and Old Araby.
The Crescent will be home to three distinct boutique hotels. One will recall the sophistication and romance of Venice. A second will be Okinawan in theme, offering a unique spa experience within a private Japanese garden. Tropical Brazil will provide the inspiration for the third property, which will invite guests to enjoy the tranquility of their personal tree houses set amid the foliage of Paulowina trees. As with the rest of the Palm, it truly will be a destination for those willing to branch out. —jack smith
The Palm, Jumeirah