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Wed 12 May 2004 04:00 AM

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Hydropolis ready for lift off

Dubai Development and Investment Authority and project organisers deny any suggestions the world’s first underwater hotel will not surface.

Visitors to Dubai will indeed be treated to the first underwater hotel after Salem bin Dasmal, CEO of the Dubai Tourism Development Company (DTDC), denied there were any plans to shelve the project.

Bin Dasmal was responding to growing rumours suggesting the project would not go ahead due to the impact the creation of the Palm Island Jumeirah was having on water currents in the proposed site for Hydropolis. Building on the project had been expected to begin by January 2004 with completion set for 2006.

However, while acknowledging there were environmental concerns, Bin Dasmal dismissed any suggestions the project would not go ahead.

“There are people looking at the environmental impact and they may present some new issues, but that’s not what’s stopping us right now. We’ll be going ahead.”

Joerg Roekert, a spokesman for the project’s German designers, was also adamant Hydropolis will come to fruition with a joint announcement expected within the next month.

The main issue holding back the world’s first underwater hotel appears to have been financing.

“We are very close to announcing the full capitalisation and commitment of monies for this project, but for the moment that’s all I can say,” explained bin Dasmal.

Hydropolis was originally valued at over US $500 million. If built it is set to consist of three elements: a land station connecting tunnels and a hotel complex in the shape of a submarine.

It will comprise 220 suites, a mosque, cinema, spa and a host of other entertainment and leisure facilities.

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