Well, if anyone thought that Dubai had achieved the ultimate, with the world’s most luxurious hotel, Burj Al Arab, a multi-line ski-run at the luxury Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, and a plausible Thai resort with overwater villas (the luxury Anantara hotel on The Palm), think again. On October 31st, 2016, the first of the excitements at this enormous – well, 1,500 acre total – arena of the AED13.2bn Dubai Parks & Resorts begin to open. The gal had a very special tour, thanks to the passionate German hospitality professional, Klaus Assmann, above. This whole thing is sensational. Look at the model, to the left. Dubai Entertainments, headed by Raed Kajoor Al Nuaimi, is in the charge of all this, and they certainly know what they are doing.
They have transport all lined up, and restaurants and rest facilities. They are thinking of kids, with Legoland, one of the facilities’ main partners. They have amazing partners, by the way. Merlin operates Legoland. They have signed with Lionsgate, for Sony, and ghosts and zombieS, and Motiongate, which brings in Dreamworks. There is Bollywood, offering rides, plus live events in the Rajmahal Theatre. There will be a one kilometre-long man-made river, coordinating with a village that honestly looks like 17th century France but of course it is all fake, built up out of virgin desert, and today harbours world-class retail and restaurants. Frankly, with all this and 27 big rides, why would anyone choose to stay home?
This is the point. Those living in the Emirates, whether Emiratis or expats, will not stay home. Goaded by their kids. Mama and papa will head for Dubai Entertainments, but the problem, as I see it, is that there are so few hotel rooms to accommodate you overnight, and you cannot do the park in one day. Those interested in Bollywood have no fewer than 16 rides, and then away from Bollywood you might, say, go to Smurfs Village. Savvy visitors, who want to see as much as possible, will have booked, way way ahead, to stay in the one hotel that the entertainment complex offers (yes ONE), the 504-room Lapita Hotel, run by Sanne Emmborg. Meanwhile all the nearby luxury hotels, say Jebel Ali (under ten minutes away) will pick up lots of lovely business.