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Thread: Abu Dhabi on the rise

  1. #1
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Default Abu Dhabi on the rise

    Abu Dhabi rising
    Tiny Persian Gulf emirate seeks five-star travelers



    The Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, the most expensive hotel ever
    built.


    By Dorn Townsend
    June 2008

    Take a dollop of the sophistication of Paris, add Orlando-style theme parks and plentiful golf courses and surround it all with buildings packing the urban heft of New York City. This is a reasonable description of the development program underway in Abu Dhabi, a tiny but extremely wealthy emirate located on the Persian Gulf.

    Though sometimes overshadowed by its brassier neighbor Dubai, per capita, Abu Dhabi is the wealthiest emirate among the United Arab Emirates — and it's engaged in its own full-throttle development binge.

    Like Dubai, Abu Dhabi's rulers have embarked on plans to greatly increase the number of tourists, but with a difference. Whereas Dubai seeks to make waves in the worldwide mass tourism market, Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi's ruler, recently declared that his emirate is focused on "five-star travelers where visitors would spend 10 times more," the newspaper Arabian Business reported in May.

    To meet this goal, Abu Dhabi's rulers have created a five-year plan for tourism. By the end of 2012, the emirate plans to increase the number of hotel rooms from 12,000 to 25,000, to cope with projected visits by 2.7 million tourists.

    This five-year plan is a revision of a prior five-year plan launched in 2004, which called for 21,000 hotel rooms and 2.4 million visitors by 2012. Presently, Abu Dhabi has around 1.6 million visitors annually.

    U.S.-based hotel chains are stepping in to help meet the new goals. In April, both the Hilton Hotel Corporation and Marriott announced plans to greatly increase the size of their Middle East portfolios in the coming years. Marriott announced the company will grow from 26 hotels in the region to 65 by 2010. According to a recent study by Deloitte, there are 64 hotels, totaling 19,482 rooms, currently in the pipeline.

    Jean-Paul Herzog, the president of Hilton Hotels for the Middle East and Africa, recently told Arabian Business that his firm has the goal of "signing an additional 20 management agreements and doubling our portfolio by 2012."

    Pools of oil are underwriting Abu Dhabi's drive to become a tourism destination; the emirate has about 8 percent of the world's oil reserves. Along with tourism, the emirate is also making significant investments in heavy industry and education.

    For some, Abu Dhabi, where the average temperature throughout the summer exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit, might seem like an unlikely tourist destination. Yet according to the Deloitte report, the average room rate in Abu Dhabi for the first quarter of 2008 was $252 and the occupancy rate was at 86 percent. The Deloitte report attributes some of these gains to increased passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi International Airport, which jumped 31 percent in 2007.

    The Deloitte study further showed that the Middle East now has the highest average room rates in the world at $181 (overtaking Europe for the No. 1 spot), as well as the highest occupancy rate in the world at 74.3 percent.

    To continue luring those "five-star travelers," Abu Dhabi's rulers are at work on an ambitious development program. Over the last few years, the city-state has been enticing some cultural brand names and building a multi-billion-dollar arts district that the New York Times likened to a "daring cultural Xanadu" on Saadiyat Island, adjacent to the city's downtown. In the next few years the Guggenheim, the Louvre and New York University are all poised to open outposts.

    Nearby, work has commenced on a maritime museum, a museum of history and a performing arts center with expected completion dates in 2012. There's also a Formula One race track being built at the cost of $40 billion on Yas Island, also near downtown. Yet the emirate is cultivating a softer side to its image: An ecological preserve located 6 miles into the Persian Gulf on Sir Bani Yas Island is under construction, and the Qasr Al Sarab retreat in the Liwa desert is in the works.

    © 2008 The Real Deal

  2. #2

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    Seems like all stable ME countries are doing this now, how many will work?

  3. #3

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    If they can keep the zealots at bay...

  4. #4

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    They are even building a massive project next to Mecca in Saudi. Also the Kingdom centre and the Foster tower in Riyadh.

  5. #5
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    You knew it was only a matter a time before Abu Dhabi, after watching Dubai getting all the attention and becoming so successful, was going to follow suit.

  6. #6

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    I personally dont see the draw of a desert with intense heat as a place to spend my vacation.

  7. #7

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    Same here, but when I went there on business there were LOADS of tourists. Go figure.

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    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Look how many people go to Vegas, and there isn't even a beach next to that desert.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by alonzo-ny View Post
    They are even building a massive project next to Mecca in Saudi.
    For tourism? Or is it for the Hajj?

  10. #10

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    Id say some kind of mix but Id just be giving you conjecture. I havent checked up on it in a while, some of the smaller towers in the complex have been completed but they are now building a 500m plus tower now with a huge clock that puts Big Ben to shame.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    For tourism? Or is it for the Hajj?
    Perhaps the UAE could benefit from eco-tourism?

  12. #12

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    There are tons of developments in Abu Dhabi. A few things come to mind.
    Like Dubai the comment "where will all the people come from" applies.
    Also like Dubai everything seems to be built for the rich.
    Unlike Dubai the projects seem to be planned together somewhat and you don't get 100 towers popping up in a random location in the desert that makes them car dependent despite the density.

    Reem island. An island off the coast of mainland Abu Dhabi that's planned to have a load of towers. There are about 5 or 6 projects on it that are connected together.

    Marina Square:




    Don't know the name of this




    Shams abu dhabi. Those 4 connected towers have been replaced by the tameer towers:




    Tameer Towers:




    Najmat Abu Dhabi






    Various images of reem island projects:





  13. #13
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Golden hole in the wall at Emirates palace

    THE NATIONAL
    Suryatapa Bhattacharya
    May 13. 2010

    ABU DHABI

    A machine that dispenses gold was unveiled at the Emirates Palace hotel yesterday.

    At the unveiling, the machine’s promoter successfully withdrew a one-ounce gold bar after several tries with Dh500 notes.

    The machine, called Gold To Go, dropped down a black box that contained the gold bar, further encased in a plastic box.

    Naturally, Gold To Go is itself covered in 24-carat gold.

    “A gold machine should be made of gold,” said Thomas Geissler, the chief executive of Ex Oriente Lux AG. “This is now at a hotel made out of gold. It is the perfect place.”

    For the UAE market, a special 1-ounce bar is being offered alongside 1, 5, and 10 grams of gold.

    Six coins of differing weights come engraved with a maple leaf, kangaroo and Krugerrand, symbols of the gold-producing nations Canada, Australia and South Africa.

    After the eight-week launch period, gold bars purchased from the machine will be engraved on one side with the Emirates Palace logo.

    “It brings gold to the public,” Mr Geissler said. “It demystifies it.” He said the German-made ATM is the first of its kind in the world.

    The Numbers

    4 sizes of gold bars are dispensed
    6 types of coins that are dispensed
    175 dirhams are needed to buy a gram of gold from the machine
    300 gold pieces can be held by the machine at any one time
    4,645 dirhams are needed to buy an ounce of gold

    So who will be forking out hundreds of dirhams for bits of gold? Investors and tourists are the target audience for Gold To Go. “Souvenirs are a good reason for it,” Mr Geissler said.

    “But it is also a private investment. Gold is still one of the most sustainable forms of investment.”

    Khalid al Foulathi, 23, a senior analyst with Mubadala, was one of the first customers at the machine.

    He spent Dh760 buying a five-gram gold bar as a souvenir.

    “I am really excited to see it come down to a consumer level,” he said. “It is a high-risk investment but in the long term, it is worth it.”

    The idea of a gold vending machine emerged around two years ago when Ex Oriente Lux launched as an online site and was looking for creative ways to market itself.

    The company started work on the machine 15 months ago and it was first displayed for one day at Frankfurt Airport last year. The idea to approach the Emirates Palace came in 2008, when Mr Geissler stayed at the hotel.

    “Our policy is to go only where there already is security,” he said. “And the country – this is a rising country with stable politics.”

    The machine is armed with various security measures, including anti-money laundering software. The outer layer that supports the gold casing is made of stainless steel and 4 cms of molybdenum steel. It weighs 500 kgs.

    “The machine guards itself. You need to have military explosives to blow it up,” Mr Geissler boasted.

    If the machine fails or there is a glitch, it will automatically shut down.

    “People make mistakes, machines make mistakes,” Mr Geissler said. “The machine will shut off at the hint of a mistake but there is also a money-back guarantee for 10 days if for any reason one is not satisfied.”

    He added that under the return or exchange policy in place, customers would get the equivalent price of gold for the day.

    The fluctuating price of gold will be reflected in the pricing of the gold.

    A website that updates the price of gold every 10 seconds will transmit the information to the ATM, which will update its rates every 10 minutes.

    The gold for the machine arrived in the UAE eight weeks ago through a special courier service.

    For it to be replenished, the same process will be followed as one taken to stock cash in ATMs: armoured trucks will arrive with the stash.

    There is a premium on the price of gold bought from the machine, said Mr Geissler. For an ounce of gold, one pays a two per cent premium.

    Mr Geissler touted the gold as a canny purchase for wives whose husbands are not with them.

    “When you travel and go back to your husband, instead of buying 50 bottles of perfumes, you can show him that you bought some gold,” Mr Geissler said.

    “He will like it better because you have made a smart choice. A gold purchase.”

    © Copyright of Abu Dhabi Media Company PJSC.

  14. #14
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Intelligent Shading System Unfurled On Abu Dhabi’s Al Bahar Towers



    Abu Dhabi’s new inspiring architectural design might lead to even further research into the world of transforming interior and exterior environments with ingenious creativity. Al Bahar Towers housing the Abu Dhabi Investment Council Headquarters are now part of Aedas Architects‘ portfolio, rising tall to shape a new era in modern office building design. Inspired by a traditional Islamic lattice shading device named “mashrabiya”, the interesting geometric shapes enveloping the towers offer a powerful visual impact while intelligently protecting the interiors from excessive heat gain. Each of the 25-story high twin office towers in the United Arab Emirates will accommodate approximately 1,000 employees, who will be working in an inspiring, environmentally appropriate atmosphere.



    According to the talented design team, “the cocoon-like buildings are based on a pre-rationalised geometric form, fine-tuned via parametric design tools to achieve optimal wall to floor area ratio. A solar-responsive dynamic shading screen further decreases solar gain. This ‘Mashrabiya’ acts as a secondary skin that mediates daylight and reduces glare. The system is driven by renewable energy derived from the photo voltaic panels. The south facing roofs of each tower incorporate photo-voltaic cells, generating approximately five percent of the total required energy from renewable energy sources.” Compliant with the aspirations of the recently published 2030 Abu Dhabi Development Plan, these stunning buildings were molded after the cultural and environmental needs, becoming an easily recognizable city icon.









    http://freshome.com/2012/12/24/intel...-bahar-towers/

  15. #15

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    A couple of dust storms ought to render those things fairly useless...they have to be a maintenance nightmare.

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