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Fri 17 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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Paradise island

Sofia Zigangirova, CEO of Star Dome Realty, on developing Dubai's own Pangkor Laut luxury resort.

Sofia Zigangirova, CEO of Star Dome Realty, on developing Dubai's own Pangkor Laut luxury resort.

What exactly is the role of star dome realty in the Pangkor Laut development?

We are the authors of the concept and we put everything we believe in into this development - luxury, comfort, high standards and the desire to make a truly unique signature development that will stand out and excel.

How does this resort differ from previous Pangkor Laut resorts in Malaysia, Thailand and Bali?

We truly believe in creating a harmonious blend between the luxury resort facilities and the environment in which they exist.

Firstly in its location. The Dubai Pangkor Laut island is built on reclaimed land. The others are all on natural islands. This gives us the opportunity to design specific features into the development that benefit the project.

We have taken into consideration issues such as water flow within the island, as well as the geographical features such as sunsets and sunrise, territory and landscaping.

How much will the entire development cost?

The development will cost in total AED100billion.

Who are the investors?

The investors are all high-net-worth people who understand and appreciate the concept of luxury living. For this reason we are targeting HNWIs (high-net-worth individuals), who believe in what we have achieved in this design concept and who can truly appreciate what this development represents.

What influences do you think they might help bring to the resort?

I think they will contribute international prestige and also a sense of appreciation of luxury living.

What makes Pangkor Laut stand out from other developments in Dubai, the UAE and ‘The World'?

Everything! Pangkor Laut is a unique, integrated design that has been developed from five interconnected islands of The World development. The whole concept of the luxury resort and spa provides a community feel, which retains its exclusive nature in keeping with the Pangkor Laut in Malaysia.

The integration of the hotel, attached villas, apartments and luxury villas with the health spa creates a unique and special environment for clients and residents, where they can relax and live in luxury and tranquillity while still being close to the thriving heart of Dubai itself.

Are you afraid there is a glut in the market in Dubai for luxury housing?

This development offers more than just luxury properties. It provides an integrated luxury community with restaurants, shops and a community centre. The exclusivity of the resort village lies as much in its holistic approach to wellbeing as to the high quality of its properties. No other development in Dubai offers such an integrated design concept.

What inspired you to come and expand into this competitive market?

We wanted to be in a dynamic and developing market. We believe that only in such a "hot" market can we truly excel and outshine the competition. We want to be the best of the best.

Who are the intended clientele for the resort?

Any person who appreciates quality living and wellbeing, together with having a taste for beautiful design, will enjoy the resort. This will include busy professionals who want to escape the noise and stress of corporate life while still needing easy access to their office, as well as families and others who simply wish to enjoy the unique and special feel of the island.

Are most of your customers buying to invest or do you feel many seek to buy residences for personal use?

Inevitably there will be a range of investor interest, whether this stems from an appreciation of the value of the development and its potential for capital growth, or from a desire to enjoy the benefits of the location while their investment accrues value.

How much will the residences cost?

There are a range of options to suit different investor types and interests. These range from one-bedroom apartments to large five-bedroom, individually styled villas on 20,000ft².

Prices will be highly competitive with quality mainland locations and, given the high level of finishing, the inclusion of quality furnishings provided throughout, smart home systems by ABB and sound and vision by Bang & Olufsen, these represent excellent value for money.

How much will the hotel cost per night?

The specific costs will vary depending on what people want but we can assure everyone that they will get more from their stay here than they could expect from any conventional location.

How will the development's underwater club work?

The whole entertainment building is unique and extends beyond the underwater nightclub itself. For example, on the second floor there is the only private dining restaurant in the Middle East, with 12 private dining rooms seating between eight and 254 people for private banquets, including a private bar, etc.

On the third floor there is the 101 Nights Restaurant (open until 3am), with six thematic Arabic stations representing various locations in the Arab world. The spa will be the first in the Middle East to have a mixed hot sand and ice igloo treatment.

What is the impact of this development on the environment?

The islands of The World have been constructed by the master developer Nakheel. Nakheel has gained invaluable experience and worldwide acclaim in creating offshore residential developments from its Palm Jumeirah project.

Every part of the design process is undertaken with environmental impact in mind. The whole ethos of development in the UAE at present is very much based on sustainable development and great lengths have been taken to ensure intelligent and responsible design throughout.

What steps are you taking to ensure its protection?

All projects have to be environmentally friendly and comply with the government's Green Concept criteria. We truly believe in creating a harmonious blend between the luxury resort facilities and the environment in which they exist. We believe in going beyond the level of regulation to ensure that this is achieved.

When will the project be finished?

It is planned for completion around early to mid-2011.

Do you feel development in the Middle East and Dubai will continue to grow?

The UAE, and Dubai in particular, is now firmly established as a world centre for economic growth and development. The vision that brought about Dubai as an integrated economic network of tourism and business is set to continue to develop.

World-class facilities for major international sporting events, unique tourism projects and excellent business incentives are now either on stream or will be coming on stream over the next 12-24 months. The construction of the world's largest airport in Dubai is another example of this.

Have you any plans for future projects either in the UAE or elsewhere?

Yes, definitely. We will announce new projects that will surprise our clients very soon. These will be in the UAE with a five-star residential complex and a world-class design brand, and we will also announce projects in Europe.

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