Marsa Al Arab project, Burj Al Arab
Dubai Holding on Sunday revealed the new Dh6.3 billion Marsa Al Arab project, including two new islands either side of the Burj Al Arab hotel.
The project, comprising hotels, theatres, retail space, a marina, a business district, residences and luxury villas, is aimed at supporting Expo2020 and Dubai’s tourism sector.
It will break ground next month and is expected to be complete in late 2020.
Marsa Al Arab will be spread across 4 million square feet of land, including two islands.
One of the islands aims to be a family-friendly tourist destination, while the other is to include luxury villas and a private marina. The designs include 2.2 kilometres of beach.
“As part of strengthening local capabilities, Marsa Al Arab will support Emiratisation in the tourism sector by providing new job opportunities,” said Abdulla Al Habbai, the chairman of Dubai Holding.
Wild Wadi Waterpark will be relocated to the entertainment-focused island to support visitor numbers to the new resort, which will be managed by Jumeirah Group.
With the relocation, the water park will double its size and feature new rides.
Dubai Holding will also develop a Marine Park – a marine life edutainment centre – that will include a theatre with a capacity of 1,000 people. Visitors will be able to interact with exotic aquatic animals and fish at the park. The expanded Wild Wadi and Marine Park will together cover 2.5 million square feet.
Marsa Al Arab is also set to feature a theatre with a capacity for 1,700 people that will be the home to Cirque du Soleil.
“We look forward to raising the curtain for new fans in this new facility with new shows designed specifically for Dubai,” said Daniel LaMarre, the president and chief executive of Cirque du Soleil.
The new destination will also feature the Dubai Pearl Museum to showcase rare and ancient pearls from the region and worldwide, besides telling the stories of UAE’s pearl divers. The museum will also have a functioning pearl farm and a pearl-inspired boutique hotel.
To attract international companies to set up base at the new destination, Marsa Al Arab will also include serviced commercial space beside a mixed-use convention centre and an adjoining hotel on the mainland.
The new retail space at Marsa Al Arab will cover 20,000 square metres, built on the current Wild Wadi Water Park site.
About 300 seafront residential apartments are also included in the plans.
The private luxury island, located to the left of the Jumeirah-operated Burj Al Arab will have 140 luxury villas and a private marina for its residents.
The villas will also be operated by Jumeirah. The island will also have a boutique hotel.
Marsa Al Arab’s hotels are expected to add 2,400 hotel rooms to Jumeirah Group’s portfolio, bringing its total offering to 8,428 rooms. There will be 400 new food-and-beverage outlets throughout the destination.
“By adding this significant number of [hotel rooms] at this location, the Jumeirah Group has the potential to enhance its beach resort offering,” said John Podaras, a partner at the hospitality consultancy Hotel Development Resources in Dubai. “Additionally, the opportunity to relocate Wild Wadi, which is sitting on a valuable piece of waterfront land, to a more appropriate location and provide room for expansion [will] reposition it to a better competitive positioning in the light of the new theme parks and entertainment in Dubai.”
About 4.57 million tourists visited Dubai during the first quarter, according to Dubai Tourism. That represents a rise of 11 percent compared with the same period last year. The average daily room rate during the period was Dh574 per night, down from Dh609 a night during the first quarter last year.