Drydocks World to build underwater hotels in Dubai

The shipbuilding arm of Dubai World has announced plans to build a series of underwater hotels in the emirate.

In a statement released last week, Drydocks World said it has signed an agreement with a Swiss contractor to develop the World Discus Hotel, which is partly submerged under the sea.

According to Drydocks World, BIG InvestConsult will provide the required technological expertise for the unusual concept.

As well as providing leisure facilities, the development will also include a laboratory for ocean environment protection and research.

Drydocks World did not provide any details on the cost of the project or a potential completion date.

Dubai has a history of building unique tourism projects, such as the man-made Palm Jumeirah and The World islands development.

The emirate is also home to the indoor ski slope Ski Dubai and Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower.

Drydocks World, part of government-owned holding company Dubai World, is currently in the process of restructuring US$2.2bn worth of debt.

It’s not the first time an underwater hotel concept has been announced for Dubai. The Hydropolis Underwater Hotel and Resort, designed by Prof. Roland Dieterle, was supposed to be built in 2005, but was never constructed. It was to be submerged 20m beneath the surface just off Jumeirah Beach and original costs for construction were around $435m.

The project hit several snags and, in December 2008 Crescent Hydropolis CEO Uwe Hohmann told CW that a new location must also be found, as the original spot, to the west of the Palm Jumeirah, has been deemed unsuitable.

“It was proven that the original location was not ideal,” Hohmann said.

“At the time that this location was discussed there was no Jumeirah Beach Residence in place. A project like Hydropolis needs to have the right location.”

Since then, little has been heard about the project – and the company’s website is still under construction.

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