In a city renowned for its icons, such as the world’s tallest artificial structure, the Burj Khalifa, and the sail-shaped seven-star Burj al Arab Hotel, there is perhaps one creation that stands apart from the rest. The Palm Jumeirah, an artificial island so large that it is a landmark readily visible from space, has to rank up there with humankind’s most astonishing structures.
The Palm Jumeirah In Dubai (Image source: http://www.eikongraphia.com)
To understand just how impressive the palm-shaped island is, here are some facts and figures. First, the island with all its fronds covers an area of more than nine square miles, and the crescent island that surrounds it is nearly seven miles long. Given its convoluted shape, it extends the Dubai coastline by an awe-inspiring 320 miles. The island was built using over 3,000,000,000 cubic feet of sand and more than 7,000,000 tons of rock. Construction of the island – not the buildings on it, just the island – cost over $12 billion, and at the peak of the construction more than 40,000 workers were on site. It’s now the largest artificial island in the world, dwarfing other projects.
The island is home to thousands of private residences, as well as nearly 30 hotels. Perhaps the most impressive of the hotels is the Atlantis, which is built around the mythical island theme, with additional Arabian touches. It includes a 42 acre water park, as well as a 1½ mile long river ride with a number of rapids. There is also an underwater habitat that is home to 65,000 fish, as well as the underwater ruins of the fabled city.
There is also excellent residential accommodation near to the island on the mainland proper. For example, the Meadows lies between the island and the Lakes community, offering nine separate gated enclaves with detached properties ranging from 3500 to 7000 square feet. You can find out more about the Meadows at emiratespropertyshop.com.
Of course, you might wonder how thousands and thousands of people travel to and from the island. Perhaps the most scenic way of doing this is via the 3.4 mile long monorail that connects the Palm Jumeirah to the mainland. This is capable of carrying 40,000 passengers a day, and makes a number of stops on the island, and there are plans to extend it further inland to provide a connection with the Dubai Metro. There is also a 980-foot bridge to the mainland, and an undersea tunnel that connects the palm to the crescent-shaped barrier islands that surround it.
Dubai Resorts (Image source: Tripadvisor)
In addition to hotels and private residences, the Palm Jumeirah offers its residents and visitors marinas, sandy beaches, and numerous retail outlets. There are also several top-class restaurants, including Nobu at the Atlantis – home to chef Nobu Matsushita – and Frevo, a Brazilian grill at the Fairmont Palm Hotel and Resort.
There is excellent diving around the island, and the breakwater island has encouraged marine life, creating a stunning underwater landscape. Two F-100 Super Sabres – fighter jets that saw service with the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s and 1960s – have been sunk near the island, providing an artificial reef playground.