What’s new in Dubai in 2018
With the launch of the world’s longest urban zipline, the opening of the Frame, Zaha Hadid’s’ ‘The Opus’ building, and a six-week special of world renown Van Gogh’s Alive exhibition, Dubai is setting the scene for a very exciting 2018. Providing entertainment for thrill seekers and culture vultures alike, as well a range of activities for families too, Dubai continues to surprise and amaze with stunning new attractions and world-class developments.
Frame opens in Dubai
Rising 150 metres high and 93 metres wide, the Dubai Frame is an impressive and imposing architectural landmark that unites the city’s past, present and future. Its two vertical towers are connected by a 100-square-metre bridge that features a 25-square-metre glass panel in the centre, offering a great 360-degree view of the city. The bridge serves as an observation deck providing uninterrupted views of old Dubai to the north and new Dubai to the south. Visitors begin their journey by learning about the history of Dubai in the Past Gallery, with picturesque projections depicting Bedouin life, camels and the infinite sands of the desert. Visitors then move on to augmented reality-activated screens on the Sky Deck level that showcase present-day Dubai, before walking through a specially designed ‘vortex tunnel’ to a virtual metropolis representing the future of Dubai.
Ticket prices start from £10.
World’s tallest hotel to open in Dubai in 2018
The world’s tallest hotel is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2018 in Dubai. It will have 528 rooms spread right up to the 75th floor and will be356 metres high. To put its huge stature in perspective, Gevora Hotel will be more than three times taller than London’s Big Ben, 56 metres taller than Paris’ Eiffel Tower, and around equal to the length of three football pitches. Located on Sheikh Zayed Road in the Trade Centre area, the hotel will feature four restaurants, swimming pools for adults and children, a Jacuzzi facility, a health club, a luxury spa and gymnasiums.
Double zip-line opened in Dubai Marina
Currently standing as the world’s longest urban zip line, extending a full kilometre from a height of 170 metres to ground level, the XLine Dubai Marina is now open to the public. The line features an incline of 16 degrees and reaches an average top speed of 80 kilometres per hour. This new edition is twice the length of its forerunner and features two zip lines running adjacent to one another. Guests can try the superman-style harness, suspending daredevils horizontally as they zip from one of the Amwaj towers in JBR down to the terrace of Dubai Marina Mall. Prices start from £126.
New floating platform to watch the iconic Dubai fountain
The choreographed performances at the Dubai Fountains are an iconic experience, and now, to make it even more memorable, the organisers have set up a fountain boardwalk that enables visitors to be closer than ever to the fountain. A brand new floating platform located within the fountain pool area will give the audience a whole new perspective of the captivating performances. Guests can start their journey from Burj Park or Fountain Promenade and stroll down the 272-metre boardwalk, with the closest point putting guests only 9m away from the fountains. Open between 5pm and 11pm daily, the prices start from £4.
Zaha Hadid’s architectural wonder The Opus opens this month
The official opening of Zaha Hadid’s ‘The Opus’ building will take place this month. The Opus is the architect’s only work in Dubai and is located in Business Bay. It consists of two glass towers linked by a ground-floor podium and a steel and glass bridge towards the top, with a futuristic void in the middle. The building, developed by Omniyat Properties, features 56,000 square feet of office space, a club, restaurants and a boutique hotel. Located in the heart of the Burj Khalifa District, it offers fantastic views of the Burj Khalifa. It is fully furnished with pieces selected by Zaha Hadid. It is also serviced by ME hotel.
World renown Van Gogh exhibition going on display in Dubai
The Van Gogh Alive exhibition is headed to Dubai, where visitors can be fully immersed in the exhibition through an audio-visual experience as his most famous works are projected onto floors, ceilings and walls. The show will enable visitors to see the Dutch Post-Impressionist’s most famous works for the duration of the six-week exhibition, but in a new light. It will be on show at Dubai Design District from March 11th to April 23rd. This new style of sensory exhibition not only appeals to adult art lovers, but children can be responsive through playful interaction with the paintings and pictures on display. The experience promises to be one of the cultural highlights of the year. Prices start from £14.
VR experience takes users to pinnacle of Burj Khalifa
A new virtual reality (VR) experience that simulates the real-feel of scaling Burj Khalifa’s 160 habitable floors, before embarking on a white-knuckle climb to the top of the spire, has now opened. The simulation takes users to the very top of the tower before descending in a journey which can be completed in four minutes. A ‘mission commander’ reaches out to users as they ride the elevator on VR mode to the 160th level where they collect suction gloves to ascent the spire, before grabbing a parachute for the free-fall VR ride into the dancing fountains. The VR experience uses ‘room scale’ tracking technology that enables users to move in three-dimensional space and interact with the environment with motion-tracked handheld controllers. The pods feature a wind-effect, whereby the VR ride is as close to real as possible.
Crystal Maze-inspired gaming destination opens in Dubai
Fans of The Crystal Maze, and other mental and physical challenges, will love the look of Jumble. Opening in Al Barsha, Jumble is calling itself the world’s first indoor urban maze, an unconventional and groundbreaking gaming experience. Jumble combines the element of logic and puzzle solving that people are used to from other escape rooms in the city and throws in an extra dose of physical exercise and exertion. The 3,500 sq. m space is effectively a huge maze, but with a selection of challenging activities that push visitors’ logic, reasoning, athleticism and teamwork skills with a series of physical and mental tests. Prices start from £29.
Dubai Safari opens doors for the first time
Dubai Safari Park, a massive wildlife project that spans over 119 hectares and it is just a short drive from Downtown, has officially opened. The park is divided into different sections – Asian Village, African Village and Open Safari Village – and recreates the different habitats suitable for its varied and unique wildlife, including 2,000 animals of 250 different species from around the world. It is also home to a 1,000-seat theatre, a garden for children, a botanical garden, a butterfly garden and an amateur golf course, in addition to restaurants and a food court in the park’s Valley and Children’s Park. It features the world’s first drive-through crocodile park, the UAE’s largest aviary and the country’s only drive-through hippo and tiger exhibit. The park is also set to offer a zoo-keeping course, which will make it the first place in the UAE to offer such training.
Dubai extends New Year’s light show to March
Dubai once again captivated the world this New Year’s Eve with a dazzling spectacle to usher in 2018. Emaar’s ‘Light Up 2018’ Downtown Dubai celebration hosted more than a million visitors from across the world and reached an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide through live television broadcast and social media livestreams. The mesmerising laser, light and musical fountain show not only had a spellbinding effect on spectators, but Emaar’s ‘Light Up 2018’ also clinched the Guinness World Records title for the ‘largest light and sound show on a single building,’ staged on Burj Khalifa. Those that missed out on Dubai’s record-breaking New Year’s Eve light show now have the chance to watch it until March 31st.
UAE to get first sustainable hotel
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Diamond Developers will launch Hotel Indigo Dubai Sustainable City, which will be 100% powered by solar energy. Located in Dubai’s first sustainable integrated development, the 143-room hotel will be a net zero energy building. Additionally, the architecture and interior design across the hotel will incorporate sustainability principles at every step of the guest journey and hotel operations. Hotel Indigo Dubai Sustainable City will also have a neighbourhood café and a specialty restaurant, both of which will be supplied with fresh produce from urban farming facilities that will be merged to hotel grounds.
New Emirates route from Stansted
Emirates will become the first Middle Eastern airline to operate out of the Essex airport when services begin in June. Daily service will be operated by Emirates’ new Boeing 777-300ER featuring the latest cabin interiors and fully enclosed private suites in First Class. The new route will connect businesses from the London Stansted Cambridge Corridor with Emirates global network of over 154 destinations worldwide. Stansted is the fourth busiest airport in the UK, after Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester and it will be the seventh UK airport served by Emirates, joining Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow.
Dubai Fitness Challenge exceeds targets
Nearly 800,000 people signed up to take part in the Dubai Fitness Challenge, but the initiative likely reached more than one million participants, as more than anticipated ended up taking part. The campaign was supported by a host of free sports events, including 1,500 free exercise classes at 85 locations, pop-up gym sessions at more than 75 venues across the city, weekend fitness carnivals and other community-driven activities, complete with support from professional trainers and fitness tips from international experts. The total number of registered participants — 786,000 — far exceeded the target of 100,000 set ahead of the challenge. A survey of registered participants found that 44% were from schools, 33% were from corporations and 23% were from government entities. 45% were women and 34% of all participants were over the age of 40.
The new beachfront development La Mer spans an impressive 13.4 million square feet of existing and reclaimed land. Located between Pearl Jumeirah and Jumeirah Bay, it stretches from Jumeirah 1 into the ocean complete with views of the city skyline and Arabian Gulf. Built by Meraas, the developers behind Dubai’s popular City Walk and The Beach, La Mer also features a harmonious blend of minimalist and contemporary design. Inspired by the way the sea washes up timber, rusted metal and barrels to the shore, La Mer’s seafresh marine theme is visible at every turn. Sustainability has been a key aspect during construction with corals, unique to the area, carefully preserved and some even being replanted. Comprising four distinct zones – the beach, a leisure and entertainment hub, North Island, and South Island – La Mer is a beachfront haven for families.
W Hotel, The Palm
A second W Hotel will open in Dubai in March, located on the beautiful shores of the western crescent of Palm Jumeirah. Built to resemble the letter W, the world-class hotel resort and residential complex will feature a spa, pool areas, water features and other amenities, as well as approximately 100,000 square metres of accommodation including 350 guest rooms and 45 super luxury duplex, triplex apartments and penthouses. Restaurants, retail outlets and function facilities will mostly be located on the ground floor of the hotel wing, with a destination bar and restaurant at a high level to take full advantage of the dual aspect views.
Opening June 2018.
Mohammed Bin Rashid Library
The world’s largest library, overlooking Dubai Creek, will open to the public in the first quarter of 2018, spread over 66,000 square metres. Designed in the shape of an open book on a Rahle (the Arabic lectern), the larger-than-life, seven-storey library will be home to 4.5 million print, audio and electronic books and will include several areas for interaction, events, activities and educational and cultural festivals.
Dubai Food Festival
Dubai Food Festival is a citywide food festival in the Middle East. Held every year, it celebrates Dubai’s emergence as a gastronomic destination. The festival offers a calendar of exciting food-related events and promotions, highlighting Dubai’s unique food scene, its personalities and its world-class dining experiences. The festival is a three-day food extravaganza, featuring the city’s hottest restaurants, world class celebrity chefs, and an incredible line-up of international music. Food lovers can watch live cooking demonstrations or get hands on and cook alongside famous chefs, as well as learn some culinary top tips. With over 200 nationalities living in Dubai, the Dubai Food Festival reveals the diversity and creativity in the culinary offerings—from gourmet and avantgarde restaurant concepts to local haunts and hidden gems. Tickets start from £18.