Dubai: Surrounded by 300 man-made islands, Dubai’s newest real-estate wonder has all the amenities of a luxury hotel — plus views of the bottom of the sea.
The Floating Seahorse villas feature submerged bedrooms whose curtains open up to transplanted coral and the waters of the Gulf. Wide-mouthed groupers and other fish dart past its over 15-centimetre-thick acrylic windows.
The Seahorses is a part of an ambitious larger hotel development called The Heart of Europe — which will be built on reclaimed islands, The World, as the delayed Earth-shaped island project off the Dubai coast is called.
“We wanted to be the first one. We always knew it’s a risk and a chance,” said Josef Kleindienst, the chairman of Kleindienst Group, which is building the Floating Seahorses and the Heart of Europe.
He added: “The World has started to move.”
Dubai is already home to the world’s tallest building, an indoor ski slope and man-made islands viewable from space. But while the machine-crafted frond of the Palm Jumeirah archipelago flourished, The World stopped spinning in 2009.
Together with several other state-linked firms, Nakheel, the government-owned builder behind both projects, found itself at the time unable to repay billions of dollars in loans.
Other projects have restarted in the years since, nudged by improving investor confidence and Dubai hosting the upcoming 2020 World Expo, or world’s fair. Today, only two of the 300 islands are being actively used. One is a day-use beach resort on Lebanon island, another is an island with a luxury villa. The Dubai Media Office did not respond to a request for comment about the island… see more