I’ve seen some crazy things over the course of writing for this blog, from floating megacities to research facilities designed to rest on the ocean floor. Usually, these wacky designs are more of a mental exercise than a legitimate attempt to drum up some funding and build a floating New York. After all, we’re still working on floating houses, so we’re only in the baby steps of aquatic architecture. Continue reading
As an American, I find it hard to get behind the worldwide soccer craze. It just never really caught on here in the States, so we don’t get to experience soccer hooligans and World Cup madness.
So, to me, it’s a bit odd to hear the Spanish soccer power-house team Real Madrid is planning on building a $1 billion resort for soccer fanatics. I mean, we love American football over here in the States, and we have a tendency to spend money a bit lavishly, but it’s still hard for me to imagine that America would want to build a $1 billion football resort. But hey, who am I to judge? Considering that everybody else in the world adores soccer, a soccer-themed resort might just be a worthwhile investment. Continue reading
When you hear of a hotel called “Atlantis,” you can reasonably assume that there will be a few ocean-themed features. When you find out that the Atlantis hotel is also built in Dubai, home to such architectural marvels as gigantic manmade islands and indoor ski parks, you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s going to have some truly ridiculous aquatic structures.
Let’s see, where to begin? Pretty much every single thing in the hotel is water themed, so it’d probably be wise to be a bit selective. Let’s start at ground level (literally) and work our way up. The whole island on which Atlantis rests is actually manmade, and shaped like an enormous palm tree.
On top of that, they’ve got a world class water park complete with water slides, ray petting areas, and an area where you can go swimming with dolphins. These aren’t just any dolphins, either — they were imported from the Solomon Islands. I have no idea why; probably just because Dubai likes things that are needlessly expensive.
And when you’re sick of fish and want to just relax in your room, well, too bad. There are fish there, too. Many of the best suites are connected to an enormous 11-million liter aquarium. On the one hand, being able to watch tropical fish swim right by you while you’re relaxing on the bed sounds amazing. On the other, having fish stare at you while you do your business in the bathroom is a little bit unsettling. They’ve also got conference rooms, and dining rooms attached to the giant aquarium, so you literally cannot escape the fishy view.
Considering that Dubai has a history of going overboard, this incredibly lavish hotel is pretty much on par with what you’d expect. The hotel cost a staggering $1.1 billion to build, it has over 1,500 rooms, and it’s connected to mainland Dubai by its own private monorail.
As awesome as this hotel is, you may want to visit Atlantis before it’s too late. Many of Dubai’s manmade islands are sinking into the sea, so this hotel might have a watery grave in its near future. In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to name a hotel after a mythological city that sank into the ocean.
Dubai’s architectural rise to fame is something of a tragic story. They experienced an unprecedented economic boom, which enabled them to rapidly expand and build some of the most impressive structures in the world. The designers fed off of each other, as each over-the-top building encouraged other designers to create an even more ludicrous design for their own buildings. Unfortunately, the world economic crisis hit and many of the plans never got past the blueprint phase.
Such was the fate of Hydropolis, a hotel that would have broken several records. At a $300 million price tag, it would have been the single most expensive hotel on Earth. On top of that, it would have been the world’s first complete underwater 5-star hotel.
But don’t think about it as a much more elaborate submarine. The hotel was intended to breach the surface of the water to provide easy access to the lower levels. Visitors could enter and then descend to their rooms, where glass panel walls would provide an unparalleled view of the ocean. Events would be held on the upper-most level, allowing visitors to appreciate the Dubai skyline.
The most ridiculous feature of Hydropolis is that it was actually intended to have its own missile defense system, just in case terrorists happen to get their hands on a military grade torpedo and want to sink a glitzy hotel.
What would all of these features cost the average Joe Blow looking to drop gobs of money on a lavish vacation? The cost of a single night was estimated at a staggering $5,500.
As you might expect, the designers encountered quite a few difficulties in the planning phase. Construction problems raised environmental concerns and the massive cost caused a few delays. The economic crisis put the final nail in its coffin.
Unfortunately, the German designer Joachim Hauser never had his chance to build his visionary underwater hotel. It’s a shame, too, because he would have been able to build it twice. The original plans called for construction to take place in Germany before disassembling it and reassembling it in Dubai.
Oh, well. I guess that Hydropolis will just be another Titanic-esque failure. What is it about larger-than-life aquatic endeavors that tempts fate to step in and mess everything up?
I’m one of those guys who stands in trepidation at the edge of the pool, dreading the first 10 seconds of frigid water after making the plunge. When I was a kid, I would do that thing where you run to the edge, shuffle to a stop, reconsider, and then go through the process of building up the courage to make another jump. It’s not that I was afraid of the water, it’s just that being cold is one of my least favorite things on earth.
So the idea of an open-air pool in Iceland isn’t exactly at the top of my bucket list. Stripping out of a winter jacket, snow boots, ski hat, and gloves in order to dive into a swimming pool doesn’t strike me as my cup of tea.
Nonetheless, people seem to love coming to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon Resort. Geothermal activity keeps the water at a balmy 102F (39C), so it might not actually be all that bad. Even if the pool and steam keeps people nice and warm, Iceland’s unforgiving weather isn’t the least bit interested in your comfort. Bizarrely, you can be sweating in this sauna-like pool as snow falls on your face.
The geothermal pool is the focus of the resort, with walkways, bridges, and pool-side sitting areas ringing the favorite hotpots. Why anybody would ever want to lounge poolside in arctic temperatures is beyond me.
While the stark difference between the air temperature and the water temperature is one of the allures of the resort, we can’t overlook the overall atmosphere. With crystalline blue waters, steam billowing off of the water’s surface, craggy rocks, and the haunting hues of the northern sky, the Blue Lagoon Resort will make you feel like you’re on another planet.
Dubai recently built a set of archipelagos, known as The World, as part of their incredible building boom. The project was a success – at least insofar as it was completed. Once they finished building it, things kind of started to sink. Literally. The World is slowly sinking due to rising water levels.
You couldn’t make up a better example of depressing irony if you tried.
Evidently, the architects in Qatar must not have picked up a newspaper recently, because they are also trying to build a set of artificial islands for their swanky seaside resort. The whole resort, which was designed by Giancario Zema Design Group, is stabilized by an artificial island. Considering the massive failure at Dubai, that doesn’t seem like the wisest idea.
The resort is quite impressive looking, for what it’s worth. It features a land-based entry way that connects to a large hub out in the sea, with thin, sweeping rings extending outward from the hub. The inner rings host small floating houses complete with underwater viewing bubbles in the lower levels of the buildings.
Visitors to the resort will jet around on environmentally friendly yachts and electric vehicles. They really do need to make the resort as green as possible, because any extra greenhouse gas that they pump into the atmosphere is just going to accelerate the hotel’s inevitable, watery fate.
Hey, look on the bright side. When the resort does go under, they can just rename it “Atlantis” and call it a scuba attraction.