Friday, December 24, 2010

World's Costliest UnderWater Hotel in Dubai

T he early part of the 21st century quickly became known as The Age of Dubai. Many of the world's most spectacular, breathtaking, and startling architectural projects were erected in a city that was little more than a desert outpost a decade earlier. Its leaders had the foresight to know that that its primary natural resource, oil, was in limited supply and chose to embark on a program to rapidly transform the emirate into a world capital in order to continue its prosperity beyond the time when the world relies on fossil fuels.

Projects in Dubai are constantly searching for distinction through superlatives. For years, architecture enthusiasts watched breathlessly as the Burj Dubai climbed into the clouds. While that high-profile project reached for the sky, another probed the depths of the Persian Gulf.

Hyrdropolis is a fantasy hotel beneath the waves. This submarine hotel is inspired by the Jules Verne tale 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It is an underwater oasis where visitors can marvel at the architecture surrounding them, and the sea beyond.

The project is divided into three sections. The "land station" is the complex where visitors are first greeted. It is a large building with a roof that dips and rolls like the crest of a wave. From there, people enter a tunnel to begin their journey to the hotel, itself. The tunnel is 1,700 feet long and carries a train beneath both the land and the sea. The destination, of course, is the hotel itself. Mimicking natural forms, it is shaped like a collection of bubbles and curves designed to provide maximum resistance against the pressures of the sea water as well as the occasional typhoon that may stray into this area. It has already been compared to both a jellyfish and a sea turtle. The hotel features a pair of observation domes which allow an expansive view of the water and the creatures that live in it. They are large enough to emerge above the waves, and one has a retractable roof allowing people to be surrounded by the ocean while looking directly into the sky.

From the surface, the hotel has the appearance of a futuristic artificial circular atoll with a low barrier barely rising above the waves. On the inside of that perimeter are the main structures with curving shell-like surfaces at home in the sea.

Evidently, projects like this don't come easy. Construction has been moving in fits and starts and is currently on hold. It is unknown what the difficulty is or when the project may finally get started.

  • This is not the world's first underwater hotel. There is a smaller underwater hotel in Florida, and more underwater hotels are being designed and built around the world.
  • The train is supposed to be able to transport 1,000 people at a time.
  • August, 2003: Hydropolis was announced.
  • December 27, 2008: Arabian Business reported that the long delayed Hydropolis project may be built after all. The developers planned to announce a building timeline in early 2009.
  • August, 2009: MEED reports that the stalled plans for this project were being looked at again.



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