August 2007

20,000 leagues under the Persian Gulf

By Dianna Dilworth

Underwater living is no longer a Jules Vernes fantasy. Crescent-Hydropolis Resorts is constructing Hydropolis: a 1.1-million-square-foot hotel located 20 feet below the surface of the Persian Gulf, off the coast of Dubai.

Images: Courtesy Crescent-Hydropolis
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Hydropolis will accommodate 250 to 300 suites, as well as restaurants, a spa, and cinema. Its structure is composed of a central dome, made of Plexiglas walls reinforced with concrete and steel, that will be constructed on land and then positioned onto the seabed.

“I have designed Hydropolis with organic structures in mind to remove the sharp edges and harsh architectural design components of land-based edifices,” says architect Joachim Hauser, who previously worked for the Deutsche Aero Space Administration to design a hotel located in outer space. “The effect is to create more tranquil living environs where smoother architectural flow blends our natural biorhythms with our living spaces.”

From the surface, guests will reach Hydropolis via underwater tram tunnels. The building will total seven stories, of which between 70 and 80 percent will be submerged. Work on the project is set to begin later this year with an opening date pegged for the end of 2008.

The $500 million venture is the brainchild of general sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prince of Dubai. He is constructing another version of the hotel to be located 70 feet below the waters of the Yellow Sea off the coast of Qingdao, China. That project is timed to open with the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008.

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