Bawadi is a huge $100 billion tourist resort planned for Dubai featuring 31 hotels with entertainment centres, shopping malls and theatres. It is in many ways Dubai's answer to the Las Vegas Strip and was envisaged as the 'longest hospitality and retail destination in the world', running along a ten kilometre strip of desert.
The mega project was launched in 2006 but fell victim the global financial crisis and never went into construction. However, ten years later, in July 2016, Emaar and Dubai Holding hinted that they were planning to revive the project in time for the Dubai Expo 2020, although no specific information has been published.
In May 2006 the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, unveiled the Bawadi hospitality project, an AED 100 billion hospitality and leisure development. Bawadi was conceived in order to increase the emirate’s hotel capacity in line with Dubai's long term objective to triple tourism over the next decade. It was anticipated that 3.3 million visitors would visit Bawadi annually by 2016 and that the 100 daily shows on offer would encourage people to holiday for longer in Dubai and return more often.
The project was a joint venture development by Emaar and Bawadi LLC. 40% of the funds were to be put forward by the developers with the remaining 60% coming from investors.
The Bawadi masterplan depicts 31 hotels with nearly 30,000 rooms and over 40 million square feet of retail space, as well as entertainment centres, shopping malls, theatres, restaurants and convention centres. It is divided into six districts: Golf District, Mall District, Urban District, Souk District, Theme Park District and Arts District.
At the time its launch the Bawadi project was seen as the answer to the high demand for hotels in Dubai which were operating at over 90% occupancy all year round. Consequently at the project’s core is a series of luxury theme-based hotels including Desert Gate Hotels & Resorts, the Wahat Alkuttab Hotels, the Desert Beach Hotel & Resort, the Land of Arabia Hotels & Resorts, the Wild Wild West Hotels, the Africa World Hotels, the Europa Hotels & Resorts and the Pirate's Cove Hotels & Resorts.
Of the 31 new hotels included in the masterplan, the developers will fund the initial 12 hotels with 12,450 rooms, with the remaining 19 hotels and 16,750 rooms funded by investors. The hotels were scheduled for openings between 2010 and 2014.
At least six of the hotels in Bawadi will be three-stars, 18 will be four-stars, and the remainder luxury five-stars. Once completed Bawadi will have the highest concentration of hotels in the world. Here is a list of all of the hotels earmarked for Bawadi, categorised by their international theme:
Asia Asia Hotel and Resort (5 stars, 6,500 rooms)
Old Asia Hotel and Resort (4 stars, 300 rooms)
Fashion Hotel & Resort (4 stars, 800 rooms; 5 stars, 500 rooms)
Historia Hotel (4 stars, 800 rooms)
Holly Bolly Resort & Hotel (5 stars, 800 rooms)
La Musica Hotel & Tower (5 stars, 800 rooms)
Nautica Hotel (4 stars, 700 rooms)
Olympia Hotel & Tower (3 & 4 stars, 1,500 rooms)
Palaces Hotel & Resort (5 stars, 1,000 rooms)
Tropicana Resort & Spa (4 stars, 750 rooms + 50 private villas)
Pirate Cove Hotel & Resort (3 stars, 800 rooms)
Golf Hotel & Resort (5 stars, 800 rooms)
Latino Resort (3 & 4 stars, 1,000 rooms)
America Hotel & Resort (3 stars, 800 rooms)
Wild Wild West Hotel (3 stars, 800 rooms)
Andalusia Resort & Spa (5 stars, 800 rooms)
Bohemia Hotel (3 stars, 800 rooms)
Camelot Hotel & Resort (4 stars, 400 rooms)
Europa Hotel & Tower (4 stars, 400 rooms; 5 stars, 1,000 rooms)
Al Magreb Resort & Spa (4 stars, 800 rooms)
Africa World Hotel (4 stars, 200 rooms + 150 rooms; 5 stars, 450 rooms)
Babylon Hotel & Tower (4 stars, 850 rooms)
Bilad al Sham Hotel (3 stars, 850 rooms)
Desert Beach Resort & Hotel (4 stars, 500 rooms)
Persia Hotel & Resort (4 stars, 850 rooms)
Samarquand Resort (4 stars, 450 rooms)
Sand Dune Hotel & Resort (600 rooms)
Desert Gate Hotel & Tower (5 stars, 800 rooms)
Land of Arabia Hotel & Resort (4 stars, 1,000 rooms)
Wahat al Kuttab Hotel (4 stars, 350 rooms)
Ottoman Palace (5 stars, 600 rooms)
Asia Asia Hotel
The centrepiece of the Bawadi development is the Asia Asia Hotel, estimated to cost $1.625 billion. With 6,500 rooms it would be the largest hotel in the world.
Desert Gate One & Two
The two Desert Gate towers will flank both sides of the Bawadi strip and act as gatekeepers to the city. The buildings, along with the Asia Asia Hotel, make up the first phase of the project and construction was scheduled for Q3 2007 with a completion date of early 2011.
Palaces Hotel & Resort
Announced In November 2006, the 1,000 room five-star Palaces Hotel & Resort is inspired by palaces like the Chateaux de Versailles, Buckingham Palace and the Taj Mahal. The developer claimed that 'visitors will be transported back to an era of old world elegance, while still enjoying the highest international standards of service and modern facilities’.
Holly Bolly Hotel & Resort
Also in November 2006, Plantation Holding announced the AED 1.3 billion Holly Bolly Hotel & Resort, themed as a fusion of Hollywood & Bollywood red carpet glamour. The hotel will consist of 1,000 four- and five-star rooms and will feature a large cinema complex, a celebrity museum and a showbiz memorabilia outlet.
Pirates Cove Hotel & Resorts
In August 2007 Gantoot Star General Trading announced the development of the four-star Pirates Cove Hotel & Resorts at a cost of AED800 million. The hotel will have 800 rooms and six restaurants and will offer pirate shows, antiques exhibitions, jewellery displays and auctions, all designed to ‘transport visitors to a time when "skull and cross-bone" black-flagged ships ruled the waves’.
Al Maghreb Resort & Spa
In December 2006 Al Ghurair Investment announced the development of the $218 million Al Maghreb Resort &Spa, a five-star Moroccan styled hotel with 800 rooms, restaurants and retail outlets.
The America Hotel & Resort
Not all of the hotels in Bawadi will be five star offerings. The Dh1.85bn America Hotel & Resort will be a three-star development with 500 rooms catering for the medium-to-lower end of the tourism market. It will host Broadway acts, restaurants and a shopping boulevard modelled on New York’s Fifth Avenue.
Bawadi Mall District
In May 2007 it was announced that Bawadi will be home to the biggest shopping area in the world with 40 million square feet of lettable space. The shopping area will become the longest ever shopping boulevard consisting of shopping malls, boutique malls, street shopping and an underground shopping area that connects all of Bawadi's elements.
Phase one of the Mall District was scheduled for delivery in 2012.
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