Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah

Coordinates: 25°6′52.8″N 55°8′16.07″E / 25.114667°N 55.1377972°E / 25.114667; 55.1377972

The Palm Jumeirah in 2005

The Palm Jumeirah is an artificial island created using land reclamation by Nakheel, a company owned by the Dubai government. It is one of three islands called the Palm Islands which extend into the Persian Gulf, increasing Dubai’s shoreline by a total of 520 km. The Palm Jumeirah is the smallest and the original of three Palm Islands (Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira) under development by Nakheel. It is located on the Jumeirah coastal area of the emirate of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Description

The Crown on 11 March 2008

The Palm Jumeirah is in the shape of a palm tree. It consists of a trunk, a crown with 16 fronds, and a surrounding crescent island that forms an 11 kilometre long breakwater. The island is 5 kilometres by 5 kilometres and its total area is larger than 800 football pitches[1]. The crown is connected to the mainland by a 300-metre bridge and the crescent is connected to the top of the palm by a subsea tunnel.[1] Over the next few years, as the tourism phases develop, The Palm Jumeirah is touted as soon to be one of the world’s premier resorts. The Palm Island is the self-declared ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. The island will double the length of the Dubai coastline.[2]

According to the developer’s publicity material[3], the Jumeirah Palm island will feature themed hotels, three types of villas (Signature Villas, Garden Homes and Canal Cove Town Homes), apartment buildings, beaches, marinas, restaurants, and a variety of retail outlets. [1] including:

Oceana Resort & Spa on 1 May 2007

Villas of Palm Jumeirah Island

Hotels proposed, under construction, or completed include:

  • The Trump International Hotel & Tower
  • Atlantis, The Palm Opened in September 2008.
  • The Taj Exotica Hotel & Resort
  • Palm Grandeur
  • Ottoman Palace Hotel and resort. Expected to open in 2010.
  • Essque Palm Jumeirah – Part of the Tiara Residence project. The Residence has been handed over. The hotel will open in 2010.
  • Oceana Resort & Spa
  • The Fairmont Palm Residence
  • The Fairmont Palm Hotel & Resort, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
  • Royal Amwaj Resort and Spa
  • The Dubai Estates Hotel & Park
  • Hotel Missoni Dubai
  • Radisson SAS Hotel Dubai, The Palm Jumeirah
  • The Emerald Palace Kempinski, Dubai (Delivery Scheduled Mid 2011)
  • Kempinski Residences Palm Jumeirah Dubai (Handing Over From 01/01/10)

Two F-100 Super Sabre fighter jets have been stripped and sunk near The Palm Jumeirah to create an artificial reef, intended as an additional attraction for divers[4].

On 18 June 2007, the Cunard Line announced that it had sold its former flagship, RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, to Istithmar for use as a floating hotel at The Palm Jumeirah beginning in 2009.[5] However, as at July 2009, it appears as if the ship will rather relocate to Cape Town for use in an unrelated Nakheel development[6].

Transportation

Palm Jumeirah Monorail
Main article: Palm Jumeirah Monorail

The 5.4 km (3.35 mile) Palm Jumeirah Monorail, connecting the Atlantis Hotel to the Gateway Towers at foot of the island, opened on May 6, 2009.[7]

Construction

Construction began on the Palm Jumeirah island in June 2001 and the developers announced handover of the first residential units in 2006.[1] The island has been created using 94 million cubic metres of sand and 7 million tons of rock. The Palm Jumeirah was created by pouring sand fill onto the 10.5 metre-deep seabed using dredgers. Above sea level, 3 metres of the reclamation were achieved by a dredging technique known as “rainbowing”, in which the sand fill was sprayed over the surface of the rising island. Calcareous sand was used for the reclamation. The island includes a curved breakwater using natural rock, intended to encourage the creation of a natural reef and provide habitats for sea life. The land form was reclaimed by the Dutch company Van Oord, who are world experts in land reclamation. Total cost reached US$12.3 billion and maintaining the island is a costly expenditure[citation needed]. Approximately 40,000 workers, mostly from South Asia, have been involved in the construction of the island[citation needed].

In early October 2007, the Palm Jumeirah had already become the world’s largest artificial island.[8] Also at this time, 75% of the properties were ready to hand over, with 500 families already residing on the island.[8] By the end of 2009, 28 hotels were opened on the Crescent.[8] One of the first people to reside on the Palm Jumeirah was Masood Naseeb, international property industrialist and investor.

Residents

The Palm Jumeirah has numerous A list celebrities as owners of the luxury residences that in 2010 were priced between 8.5 and 30 million AED. Celebrities include David Beckham, who was an original owner of a villa on the Frond now known as K Frond, widely considered the most exclusive part of the Palm Jumeirah. This area was offered to celebrities on launch which helped to drive attention to this project.

The Palm Jumeirah is also home to many property industrialists of Dubai, and is considered widely as the premier location for a home in Dubai. Masood Naseeb of the elysian Group is one such industrialist, who is reported to own as many as 10 villas and numerous apartments on the Palm Jumeirah.

Controversy

Atlantis on 8 May 2008

The complexities of the construction have been blamed, in part, for the extended delays to the completion of the project, the date of which has been pushed back multiple times and is now nearly two years late. Further controversy was engendered when it was revealed that after launching the project, Nakheel increased the number of residential units on the island (with a concomitant reduction in the amount of physical space between individual properties) from the originally-announced 4500 (comprising 2000 villas and 2500 apartments) to an estimated 8000 without recompense to those investors who had purchased early in the expectation of greater separation between properties.[9] This increase was attributed to Nakheel miscalculating the actual cost of construction and requiring the raising of additional capital, although Nakheel has never commented publicly on the matter.[citation needed]

Doubts have also been expressed about the quality of the construction and finishing of the properties on the island and the real ability of the infrastructure on both the Palm and the mainland to cope with the stresses of the sheer number of people leaving from and returning to the development every day once complete.[9]

Furthermore, there are numerous concerns about the environmental impact of the Palm. As originally constructed, the breakwater was a continuous barrier, but it was realized that by preventing natural tidal movement, the seawater within the Palm was becoming stagnant. The problem was corrected by adding an additional gap in the barrier.[10] As explained in the National Geographic Channel’s documentary Impossible Islands, part of its MegaStructures series, the breakwater was subsequently modified to create gaps on either side, allowing tidal movement to oxygenate the water within and prevent it stagnating, albeit less efficiently than would be the case if the breakwater did not exist.[10][11] This same episode addressed the issue of marine life as well, but stated that the breakwater has actually encouraged marine life and that new marine species are moving into the area.

In a 2009 article describing the collapsing Dubai economy, The New York Times reported that the Palm was sinking and this has been confirmed now by geological surveys, at the moment it is 5 mm per year but this could increase rapidly. Furthermore there are many reported cases where people had bought houses before they were built and are furious about the space available now and the way they seem to be living on top of each other.[12]

Nakheel refuted the claims by the New York Times who had quoted one small ground survey firm that the island was sinking. They defended the single claim by saying that here had been no reports of any structural problems on any of the buildings on the island which would be expected if there were any subsidence. Nakheel also outlined that claims suggesting Palm Jumeirah has sunk by 5mm, as detected by remote sensing (satellite) techniques, are not possible given that NASA’s laser altimeter satellites have an accuracy of only + or – 50 mm.

Tourism in Dubai

Tourism in Dubai is an important part of the Dubai government’s strategy to maintain the flow of foreign cash into the emirate. Dubai’s lure for tourists is based mainly on shopping, but also on its possession of other ancient and modern attractions.

Dubai is the most populous emirate of the seven emirates of United Arab Emirates[citation needed]. It is distinct from other members of the UAE in that revenues from petroleum and natural gas account for only 6% of its gross domestic product. A majority of the emirate’s revenues are from the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ) [1] and now, increasingly, from tourism.

Transportation connections

Dubai International Airport

Most capitals and other major cities have direct flights to Dubai. More than 120 airlines operate to and from Dubai International Airport to more than 260 destinations, making it one of the world’s busiest.[citation needed] Dubai is also the home base of Emirates Airline, international airline of the UAE, which operates scheduled services to more than 100 destinations.

In June 2009 Emirates airline designated a special handling area at departures and arrivals for passengers with special needs. As a result, wheelchair passengers will receive a more personalized service.[2]

Entry regulations

Most travelers need to obtain a Visit Visa prior to entering Dubai. However, citizens (and some residents) of Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Persian Gulf (GCC) and citizens of a number of states in Europe and elsewhere (including Australia and New Zealand) can get an entry permit stamped in their passport upon arrival, good for up to 90 days. Visitors from other nationalities require the sponsorship of any U.A.E. resident or any company or hotel licensed to operate within the U.A.E. and are limited to a 30-day stay. Citizens of the UK, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Finland, Malta, Spain, Monaco, Vatican, USA, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Hungary, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong may stay for up to 30 days without a visa. [3]

Tourists can get a visa from a tourist company or a hotel by first making a reservation for at least one night. They must fax/courier the hotel a copy of their passport along with the reason for the visit (tourism is an acceptable reason) and their arrival date. You must also make sure that the hotel faxes you a copy of the visa when it is ready. Airlines may require confirmation (preferably a fax copy of the document) that a visa is held before check-in at the airport. The original is held at Dubai Airport for collection before passport control.[4]

Dubai Visa Rules Changed in 2010:

Since 2010 there has been another change to visa rules in Dubai. The countries that have to apply for visa in advance they will have to apply the normal ways they do. The only thing that has changed for business travellers & Tourist if you leave the UAE – you must stay out of the country for 30 days then apply for new visa again.

For western countries who give visa at the airport) the first visa is free but if you want a second visa for other 30 days you have pay a fee of 600AED = around 170 -190USD + pay at local immigration department in Dubai.

Behaviour and dress restrictions

Dubai enforces many strict behavioral rules that occasionally get western visitors into trouble. Sexual relationship between unmarried people and homosexuality are illegal, even kissing in public is illegal. Dancing is only allowed in hotels or a licensed nightclub, public dancing is also considered illegal. In April 2010 Two British holidaymakers were jailed for a month after a local woman took objection to them kissing each other on the cheek as a greeting in a restaurant. [5]

Additionally, visitors are also required to obey Muslim religious restrictions even if they are not Muslim themselves; such as eating or drinking in public places in the daytime during Ramadan fasting or consuming alcohol anywhere besides some licensed venues. In 2008 a Russian woman was put on trial for drinking juice in public during the month of Ramadan. [6]

Wearing a bikini, swimming suit or swimming trunks for men are only permitted on certain beaches, and it is illegal to go topless or wear a thong. Wearing swimsuits away from the beach may get you arrested under public decency laws. Women are usually advised not to wear short skirts and to keep their shoulders covered.

Legal Dangers and Drug Traffic

Travellers entering Dubai can be jailed for 4 years or more if found in possession (including in the bloodstream and the bottom of the shoes[7]) of illegal drugs (even in quantities as small as 0.001g), including medicines such as codeine.[8][9] A senior Dubai judge was quoted on February 11, 2008, by the Dubai City News saying, “These laws help discourage anyone from carrying or using drugs. Even if the amount of illegal drugs found on someone is 0.05 grams, they will be found guilty. The penalty is a minimum four years. The message is clear — drugs will not be tolerated.”[8] A number of travellers have been held pending charge while Dubai authorities test their possessions, blood and urine for any trace of contraband.[10]

Health

No special immunizations are required but tourists are encouraged to purchase appropriate medical insurance before travelling. Government immunization programs has led to recognition by a travel magazine.[11] As a latest addition to the established modern health care system, Dubai is offering online health care contacts of virtually all medical doctors in Dubai.[12][13]

Shopping tourism

Dubai has been called the “shopping capital of the Middle East.”[14] The city draws large numbers of shopping tourists from countries within the region and from as far as Eastern Europe, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent. Dubai is known for its souk districts. Souk is the Arabic word for market or place where any kind of goods are brought or exchanged. Traditionally, dhows from the Far East, China, Sri Lanka, and India would discharge their cargos and the goods would be bargained over in the souks adjacent to the docks.[15] Dubai’s most atmospheric shopping is to be found in the souks, located on either side of the creek, where bargaining is part of the buzz.

Modern shopping malls and boutiques are also found in the city. Dubai Duty Free at Dubai International Airport offers merchandise catering to the multinational passengers using Dubai International Airport.

While boutiques, some electronics shops, department stores and supermarkets may operate on a fixed-price basis, most other outlets consider friendly negotiation as a way of life.

Dubai’s numerous shopping centres cater for every consumer’s need. Cars, clothing, jewellery, electronics, furnishing, sporting equipment and any other goods will all be likely to be under the same roof.[16]

Dubai Shopping Festival

The Dubai Shopping festival is a month-long festival held during month of January each year. During the festival the entire emirate becomes one massive shopping mall. Additionally, the festival brings together music shows, art exhibitions, and folk dances.[17]

Cultural tourism

Sightseeing usually comes as a poor second for most visitors, who are lured by Dubai’s reputation as a shopping paradise.

Aspects of Dubai’s old culture, while occasionally overshadowed by the boom in economic development, can be found by visiting places around the creek, which splits Dubai into two halves, Bur Dubai and Deira. The buildings lining the Bur Dubai side of the Creek provides the main flavor of the old city. Heritage Village offers a simulacrum of old Dubai. The adjoining Diving Village offers exhibits on pearl diving and fishing. The Diving Village forms part of an ambitious plan to turn the entire “Shindagha” area into a cultural city, recreating life in Dubai as it was in days gone by.

Al Fahidi Fort, Dubai

Other attractions include the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House; the Dubai Museum in the restored Al Fahidi Fort, which was erected around 1799; and the Heritage Village of Hatta, situated 115 kilometers southeast of Dubai City in the heart of the rocky Hatta Mountains. The history of the village can be traced back 2000 – 3000 years. It consists of 30 buildings, each differing in size, interior layout and building materials used. Great care was taken to use the same materials as those used when originally built during the renovation such as mud, hay, sandalwood and palm fronds. The Sharia Mosque is an old mosque built around 200 years ago using the same building materials and consists of a large prayer hall, a court and courtyard, minaret and other utility rooms.[18]

Tourist accommodation in Dubai is plentiful and relatively expensive with all the major chains having a presence. One increasingly popular alternative is for visitors to rent apartments and villas on a short term basis.[19]

Image gallery

Atlantis The Palm on Oct 21 2009, The Lost Chambers aquarium

Atlantis The Palm on Nov 20, 2009

Atlantis The Palm on Nov 20, 2009, Sea view from the Palm crescent, in front of Atlantis

Villas on a frond
Palm Jumeirah’s Fronds
Palm Jumeirah aerial view on 1 May 2007
Palm Jumeirah aerial view on 1 May 2007

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