Dubai welcomes guests with an avalanche of unique attractions. Among them are the highest skyscrapers, giant singing fountains, water parks, malls, a real ski resort and much more. But the business card of Dubai is the “Palm” or Palm Jumeirah area – an artificial island in the shape of a palm tree, which is visible not only from a bird’s–eye view, but also from space and which cost the government $ 30 billion.
In fact, there are three such islands in the Persian Gulf, and there is also an artificial archipelago of 300 bulk islands, with a general configuration repeating the map of the Earth’s surface. But all of them are at different stages of construction and have not yet been brought to a logical conclusion, some are completely frozen.
The history of the creation of the island
The idea of developing the waters of the Persian Gulf belongs to the Sheikh of the UAE Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – a passionate lover of architectural curiosities. It originated more than 30 years ago, back in the early 90s. Already at that time, the pace of development of the emirate was high, the standard of living was growing, and with it the tourist attraction. New territories were needed for the organization of recreation areas on the seashore. Expats who want to buy real estate in warm lands on the seashore followed the tourists. But the problem was that the emirate has only 72 kilometers of coastline. There was not enough space for everyone, so the idea arose to lengthen the coastline by creating artificial islands.
Construction began in 2001 and lasted 5 years. 94 million cubic meters of sand and 5.5 million cubic meters of stone were used to implement the project. The sheikh personally handled the financing. For this purpose, the state-owned company Nakheel Properties was even created. The money came from the sale of oil, the prices of which were at the maximum in the early noughties. According to the idea, one part of the new land plot was to remain under state control and was intended for development for the needs of tourism, and the second was supposed to be sold to private developers for residential real estate development.
Construction was not easy. During all the years of construction, about 40,000 people were involved in it. At first it turned out that the sand from the desert, which was supposed to be the basis of the embankments, was not suitable. It turned out to be too shallow and easily washed out with water. Then it was decided to take the building material to the sea. For this purpose, special vessels were built with installations that allow simultaneously extracting sand from the bottom of the sea and redirecting it to create artificial embankments. The technical solution worked. By 2006, three quarters of the work had been completed. Interestingly, the construction of villas was carried out in parallel with the construction of the Earth’s firmament. Therefore, in the same year, 4,000 villas were ready for sale, and they were sold out within three days after the start of sales.
Today, this amazing man-made wonder of the world, when viewed from above, is a symmetrical palm tree with a powerful trunk and 16 leafy branches, on which luxury hotels and private residential complexes with personal access to the sea are located. To protect against waves from the bay, the “Palm” is surrounded by a reliable stone breakwater. It resembles a crescent in shape, and its height reaches 3 meters. An artificially grown coral reef based on two F-100 aircraft submerged in the Bay area became an additional protection.
The diameter of the island is only 5.5 km, the area is 5.72 km2. Technically, it would have been much easier to make an embankment in the form of a circle, but then the land border of the principality would have increased by only 6 km, and the roughness allowed to purchase an additional 56 km. Sheikh Al Maktoum’s passion for architectural curiosities played an important role in choosing the configuration of the island, as well as the fact that the date palm is a symbol of the emirate.
Other projects were never fully completed. The reason is the global economic turmoil that began in 2008. Then the price of oil fell to $ 40 per barrel (instead of 140, which were established in the early noughties), Nakheel Properties was on the verge of bankruptcy (financial assistance from the state in the amount of $ 10 billion saved it from this), investors began to leave the country, the attractiveness of the project fell sharply, the cost of housing also decreased. But for Palm Jumeirah, it played a positive role, because it has remained the only artificial palm island in the world where you can live and relax. By the way, if it were possible to complete all the projects, the length of Dubai’s coastline would increase by 1,500 km.
How to get there
There are several ways to get to the island part of Palm Jumeirah.
Tram line T1 is laid from the Marina community to the mainland of Jumeirah. Take the tram to Palm Jumeirah Station 1, and from there walk to the first station of the monorail. Trams run daily from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., the exception is Friday: on this day the tram starts running from 9 a.m., the interval is 10-12 minutes. The fare is 3-6 dirhams depending on the card.
It is impossible to get to the “Palm” by metro, you will have to change trains, or walk part of the way. The nearest station to the island part of the city is Internet City on the red line. Other options: drive to Marina Metro Station, transfer to tram T1 or DMCC Metro Station, and take a taxi from there.
This is the most exotic way to move around the island. The route is laid along the stem part from the base to the elite compelx “Atlantis”, located on the breakwater. The length of the route is about 5 km, which the train overcomes in 10 minutes. The train moves without the participation of the driver. The panoramic windows offer wonderful views of the surrounding area: on the right side you can see the famous Burj Al Arab skyscraper, on the left you can see the Dubai Marina. In addition to the starting and ending stations, there are two more on the route, and another one is being opened in the project. The monorail runs daily from 9 am to 10 pm, the train departs from the terminal stations every 15 minutes.
The trip will cost 20-30 dirhams, for children whose height is less than 110 cm, travel is free. Payment can only be made in cash, since the monorail is considered an attraction, and not a type of public transport.
This type of transport is undeservedly overlooked. In fact, it is the most comfortable for a trip to the desired area. Taxi removes the problems of transfers, pedestrian crossings and significantly saves time. At the same time, vehicles will quickly take the passenger to any point in the location itself. If you go yourself, then the cost of a taxi and monorail trip will be almost the same, and if two or three, the price will be several times lower, and more comfort.
Attractions of Jumeirah district in Dubai: brief description
This entertainment center is located on the territory of the closed Atlantis Hotel. You can’t just go there, but the doors are open for visitors to the water park. This is a unique water attraction, recognized as the largest in the Middle East. It occupies an area of 17 hectares, and 18 million tons of water were required for the device of water entertainment. There are many water slides with steep descents, waterfalls, descents with rapids and other obstacles. In the huge pools you can swim with dolphins, and for diving enthusiasts there are special underwater grottoes and tunnels.
In addition to the water park, the Lost Chambers aquarium with exotic marine life and the Dolphin Bay dolphinarium are located on the territory of the elite complex. They are also available for organized visits.
This is the first religious Muslim building in Dubai and the UAE, open to representatives of all cultural traditions and faiths. For tourists, excursions are conducted here, during which they are introduced to the basics of the Muslim cult, the main traditions, and demonstrate the ritual of ablution. Non-Muslims can visit the mosque on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. You can take pictures here.
The mosque building is built of rare pale pink sandstone, and the architectural solution is a harmonious combination of history and modernity, luxury and at the same time modesty of local residents. During the construction, all the foundations approved for the creation of religious buildings back in the 10th century were observed, but with the use of the most modern construction technologies and materials. The structure is crowned with a dome decorated with stone carvings and gold plating, the window openings are painted with bright stained–glass windows, the interior decorations are ornate ornaments (images of living beings are prohibited in Muslim temples). The architectural ensemble includes two seventy-meter minarets, visible from many parts of the city.
The structure is recognized as the most elegant among the iconic ones built in the Emirates, and adorns a 500 dirhams bill.
The View observation deck
It is located on the 54th floor of The Palm Tower skyscraper at an altitude of 240 meters. The construction of the building was completed in 2021. The View observation deck has become its main attraction. You can get there even if you are not a resident of a skyscraper: there is an entrance to the Nakheel shopping center, with which the skyscraper is connected. High-speed elevators take up those who want to admire the circular panorama of the Palm Tree in a few minutes. Basic information about the architectural features of the tower is constantly being played in the background.
The entrance is open all week from 9-00 to 21-00, from Friday to Sunday – until 23-00. A ticket for children costs from 70 to 110 dirhams, for adults – from 99 to 158. On holidays, weekends and sunset hours, prices are the highest.
United more than 300 shopping and entertainment facilities: shops, restaurants, cafes. The food court contains all the cuisines of the world, which is an additional factor of attractiveness. The mall is located at the monorail station of the same name. It has access to the viewport of The View.
The Palm Fountain Singing Fountain
It is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest. It starts working from the moment of sunset and works until midnight, turning on every 30 minutes.
Seven-star hotel Atlantis The Palm
This is the main attraction of Palm Jumeirah and Dubai. According to generally accepted international standards, the most fashionable hotel complexes are assigned the category “Five stars”. Atlantis received them at the construction stage, and when it was completed, two more were assigned to it for unprecedented luxury and a package of services. This is the only case in the world.
On the territory there are: a dolphinarium, a water park, a giant aquarium with strange marine fauna and, of course, its own private beach Palm West Beach.
Palm West Beach
You can get to the beach only by becoming a resident of the hotel complex or by buying tickets to visit internal attractions. Ticket holders also get the right to sunbathe on the closed beach. Its length is about half a kilometer, it is composed of the purest sea sand, the shore gently descends into the azure sea. Here you can not only soak up the sun, but also ride jet skis, catamarans, surf, diving, kayaking. The most spectacular performance takes place at sunset, when the sun begins to tilt towards the horizon and slowly sinks into the sea, painting everything around in shades of red and pink that are indescribable in beauty and saturation.
The velvet season at sea begins in September and lasts until about February. At this time, the air temperature drops to a comfortable +24 ° C … +26 ° C, and the sea – to +22 ° C … +24 ° C. The heat subsides, and a soft pleasant breeze constantly blows from the sea.
Accommodation options for vacationers
Atlantis The Palm
The most expensive accommodation option. You will have to pay from 500 to 13,500 dollars per night. But the services are also appropriate. Guests are provided with a helicopter transfer directly from the airport. The lobby and rooms are decorated in a luxurious Arabic or Nautical style. The rooms have large terraces, hydro massage baths, satellite TV. The windows of the premises face west and east, which allows you to admire the sea sunrises and sunsets. In bars and restaurants you can enjoy dishes of Arabic, Lebanese, Japanese, English cuisine. For children and teenagers, there are organized playgrounds where you can dance, sing, compete in the latest video games, just chat. Entertainment attractions are offered by the Towers of Neptune and Poseidon, a swimming pool with an artificial wave, a water park.
Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
Another five–star hotel where you can rent a room for two for 200 – 1 100 dollars a day. It offers a 200-meter beach, two temperature-controlled swimming pools, tennis courts, a spa, 6 restaurants with different cuisines, many terraces and recreation areas, evening cocktails. Guests are accommodated in luxury apartments with panoramic views of the bay and a full set of amenities in each room.
Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort
A cheaper option, but the quality of rest does not suffer from this. The daily cost of the room is from 180 to 700 dollars. The hotel has several multi-storey buildings, but there are also detached villas. Everywhere there is a convenient access to the beach. Guests can use three swimming pools, spa services. You can choose a suitable menu in one of the 4 restaurants.
Fairmont The Palm
This is another budget (for a holiday in Dubai) accommodation option. You can rent a room for a price starting from $ 125 per night. The hotel has a nice beach, 4 swimming pools, a gym, several restaurants. Children are also not left without attention: entertainment and educational activities are held for them.
Mercure Dubai Barsha Heights Hotel Suites
4-star 30-storey budget hotel complex with a full range of amenities: spacious rooms, delicious breakfasts and dinners, free Wi-Fi and parking. There are many shops within walking distance. You can book a room at Booking.com , starting price from 4 000 rubles. Located near the Internet City metro station.
Andaz by Hyatt
A new 5-star hotel with a designer interior. Convenient location near Nakheel Mall metro station and the mall itself. It has 2 swimming pools, cozy rooms, is famous for delicious cuisine.
Rove La Mer Beach
This is a new three-star hotel complex, little known to the general public yet. This affects the cost of living: it is much lower than the quality of the services provided. The location is somewhat removed from the metro line and the “Palm Tree” itself, but the complex is located right on the shore, while the beach is sparsely populated. Booking price on Booking.com from 9 700 rubles.
A few words about real estate in Dubai on the Palm Tree for investors
Real estate in the island part of the community is very expensive. This is due to the uniqueness of the geographical location, exotic terrain, luxury buildings. Many buyers seek to purchase real estate here for the sake of emphasizing their own status or the legal movement of large financial resources. Such customers make purchases without haggling, which also does not contribute to reducing the cost.
At the beginning of April this year, 118 objects were available for purchase, of which 102 are apartments in multi–storey buildings, the rest are villas on the coasts and several commercial objects.
The cost of two-room apartments with an area of about 108 square meters starts from 1.2 million AED. This is the lowest price for housing in the area. The most expensive apartments with an area of 1200 “squares” cost more than 80 million AED. The cheapest villa with an area of about 460 m2 with a plot of 600 “squares” will cost 7 million AED, and the most expensive with 8 bedrooms and a total area of 2 square kilometers costs 97.2 million AED.
Palm Jumeirah Problems
The construction of grandiose projects is always fraught with problems, not only of a technical, but also of an environmental nature, since it involves a radical restructuring of what has been created and regulated by nature. This ambitious structure has not escaped the problems either. The removal of huge volumes of soil from the bottom severely damaged the ecological balance of the Don region:
- the temperature has changed (the bottom has become deeper, so it has become colder there) and the system of currents;
- the transparency of the water has decreased (at the same time, the indicator will not recover over time, since now there will be a constant process of washing away artificial embankments due to the work of the water element);
- the deep-sea flora and fauna suffered.
The presence of a breakwater violates the freedom of water exchange, which led to stagnation of water in the inner uneven water area: it has warmed up, changed color and transparency, microorganisms have been introduced into it, causing an unpleasant and very strong smell, which is increasingly in the air. Despite the measures taken, it is not yet possible to completely solve the problem.
Under the weight of the development and with the constant operation of water, the sand embankment descends at a rate of five millimeters per year. This may seem like an insignificant figure, but do not forget that as a result of global warming, the sea level is steadily rising, which poses a serious threat to such artificial structures: over time they may go under water. Although the authors of the project claim that nothing threatens the island in the next 800 years. An equally serious problem is the uneven subsidence of the soil. This causes a distortion of the building structures of skyscrapers, which is why cracks began to appear in the walls.
Residents and guests also note problems with transport accessibility: there are often traffic jams, which makes it difficult to move.
Useful tips for tourists
- For vacationers on the beaches, there are many prohibitions, for violation of which the police will certainly fine. It is forbidden to sunbathe topless, smoke hookah and drink alcoholic beverages, and it is also forbidden to take pictures.
- If the purpose of the trip is to admire the picture of “Palm Trees”, then it should be done not from the ground, but from a bird’s–eye view. This is the only way to see the whole project and enjoy the unique view. You can do this by climbing to the observation deck of The Palm Tower skyscraper. A less interesting option is a trip on the monorail: although the train is moving slowly a few meters above the ground and everything is clearly visible, but the picture is not so fascinating. If you walk on foot, then the surrounding reality is not much different from any other urban location.
- If you still want to wander on foot and try on the image of a resident of Palm Jumeirah, go to Jumeirah without excursions. This will give freedom of movement, remove time restrictions. Most importantly, plan your trip so as to meet the sunset: a fascinating sight!
- The monorail runs from the base of the trunk to the famous seven-star hotel “Atlantis”, reminiscent of a fabulous oriental palace. However, its territory is closed for tourist visits. You can get there if you plan a vacation at the Aquaventure water park. In this case, it is advisable to travel through the area from the mainland of Dubai to the Palm area by monorail. This will be an additional adventure with a beautiful logical conclusion of the tour.