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As temperatures climb, many residents opt to spend the summer in cooler climes such as in Europe. Things are bound to change as it won't be long before one can enjoy a European holiday in Dubai.
The Heart of Europe, a highly inventive development on the World Islands, boasts a climate-controlled boulevard that is the first in the world. Construction on the project started in January with vibro-compaction taking place on all six islands (Europe, St. Petersburg, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany and Monaco) comprising the development.
Developer Kleindienst Group says the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
''The Heart of Europe contains several key concepts and attractions, many of which have never been seen before,'' says Josef Kleindienst, CEO of Kleindienst Group. ''This includes the world's first [artificial] rain and snow-lined streets, made possible through pioneering German engineering and technology.''
The multi-island project will also include the Mont Royal five-star family hotel, the Empress Elisabeth Wedding Hotel and several floating villas. It will also feature the world's largest open water aquarium, European food and beverage outlets, exotic wildlife, private and public sandy beaches and a wedding garden among many other planned amenities.
While the project will introduce several new leisure concepts, it is the climate controlled boulevard — featuring rain and snow — that is the biggest talking point.
''We wanted to bring the best of Europe to our guests and ensure that they are able to enjoy our unique project all year round, including the hot summer months,'' says Kleindienst.
Germany's Fraunhofer Institute designed the temperature-controlled boulevard. Using the imported technology, residents and visitors at The Heart of Europe can enjoy balmy summer days with temperatures in the 20s.
''The Climate Controlled Raining Boulevard system works by redirecting return air from buildings and hotels to air vents lining the streets. Given that cold air is heavier than hot air, this will enable people to enjoy the outdoors year-round. Concealed overhead showerheads will filter water from the condensation pipe to produce the effect of rain. Instead of blowing cold air on our visitors to bring the temperature down from 50C to 27C in the summer, we will use rain and snow.
''The boulevard was designed by Germany's Fraunhofer Institute, one of the world's leading environmental science research organisations. This exciting concept has not been seen in Dubai before and our guests will be able to experience true European seasonal weather.''
While most guests will be looking forward to the unique experience, Kleindienst says there are several other nature-themed features, including two centuries old trees, that are expected to lure tourists to the islands.
''We are extremely proud of our ancient olive trees — another truly unique concept brought to The Heart of Europe. The two oldest trees have recently been brought over from the Mediterranean and are now planted on the islands along with 56 other Mediterranean trees. The two oldest olive trees are between 1,300 and 1,400 years old.
''Having grown in the hot Mediterranean climate, the unique and iconic trees will become a central part of The Heart of Europe project and will serve as one of the oldest attractions in the UAE.''
While he makes it look easy, Kleindienst says there are many challenges in developing such a project.
''Considering the sheer scale of the project and the iconic and unique nature of it, there are always challenges to overcome. The key to this project is to ensure that visitors are offered a truly exclusive and distinct experience in Dubai and a holiday destination like no other. We have partnered with some of the world's foremost architects and technologists to make sure all challenges are overcome and our development objective is achieved.''
One of the main considerations for developers of the World Islands is the transport infrastructure. An agreement has been signed with the Roads and Transport Authority to provide marine transport, including water ferries, water taxis and water buses, for tourists when The Heart of Europe is completed.
The marine transportation amenities are set to become tourist attractions themselves, says Kleindienst. Unsurprisingly, with key infrastructure covered, there is strong interest shown in the project.
''We have launched the first phase of the development, which is an exclusive opportunity to invest in hotel suites in Mont Royal Family Hotel located on the main island.
''The response so far has been overwhelming.''
- At a glance - The Heart of Europe is designed as a first-class vacation destination, featuring various resort and leisure experiences:
* Private luxury hotel villas and floating villas
* The world's first climate-controlled outdoor areas
* European-inspired streets and Plaza Boutique Hotels with various dining and nightlife options
* Mont Royal, a five-star hotel described as a first of its kind in the region
* The five-star Empress Elisabeth Wedding Hotel, which will offer a luxurious wedding experiences. The Presidential suites offer panoramic views in the Arch, a bridge between Europe island and Monaco island
* The Aviary at the Mont Royal Family Hotel will feature exotic birds from around the world
* Mont Royal Waterpark will feature several slides and rides, surrounded by a lagoon environment
* The world's largest open water aquarium and the Underwater World
* European retail and food and beverage concepts new to the region
* Exotic island wildlife such as land turtles and island deer
Click on the World Islands to find out more on what's happening with the project
Source: Helga Jensen-Forde, Special to Property Weekly