Dubai's 5-star hotels of tomorrow: a glimpse of the future

Preview the five luxury resorts coming soon to Dubai that will rival Burj Al Arab & co.

Neil Churchill February 15, 2015

Dubai has many monikers, but a name that is yet to stick is ‘the land of a thousand hotels’. Come the next decade however, that tag may well and truly become permanent, as the emirate plans to almost double the number of hotel rooms.

With a target of attracting 20 million tourists a year by 2020 – in time for the World Expo in Dubai – it needs to increase the number of hotel rooms to 160,000. While there will be something new to the hotel scene – non-luxury options – not surprisingly the growth will include new iconic, one-of-a-kind resorts that will vie for the front of postcards and the backgrounds of Instagram selfies.

Here are five hotels currently in the pipeline of Dubai’s future. Although knowing how quickly buildings can go up in the emirate, they may well be the hotels of tomorrow.

Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah. Determined not to live in the shadow of the brand’s iconic hotel on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, the $1 billion Viceroy Dubai will have a stunning appearance, if a little massive. The resort will offer 479 rooms and suites with 222 signature residences. Facing south-west with views of Dubai Marina, it will house 10 restaurants, three outdoor swimming pools and the requisite attachment of any luxury Dubai hotel, a spa. Opening date: first half of 2016.

Bulgari Hotel Bulgari Hotel Dubai.

When it came to choosing a fitting hotel brand to sit pretty on Dubai’s new luxury island development shaped like a giant seahorse, we can’t imagine many companies gave as good a pitch as Bulgari. Teaming up with local developer Meraas, the Italian brand has plans for its luxury resort on Jumeirah Bay Island to stretch 1.7 million square ft, comprising 100 rooms and suites and 20 hotel villas. Opening date: 2018.

Venu Bluewaters Island Hotel (main image) Dubai Venu Jumeirah hotel Bluewaters Island. Back in 2010, Jumeirah had plans to launch a hotel brand named Venu, but due to the economic crash the plans were put on hold. After seven years in the wilderness, Venu will eventually launch on the soon-to-be Bluewaters island project. Offering 300 rooms and 119 serviced apartments, as well as restaurants and a spa., confirmation of its future existence takes the total number of properties under Jumeirah’s control to a whopping 26. Opening date: 2017.

Underwater hotel

Probably Dubai’s most notorious ‘hotel-to-be’ for almost the last 10 years, the underwater concept is yet to become a reality. Rumours started with a project named the Hydropolis back in 2006, with an aimed location for 20 metres below the surface of the Arabian Gulf for 220 suites. Unsurprisingly, the financing dried up when the crash hit the emirate. After the Hydropolis rumours came talk of the Water Discus Hotel (pictured) – an above and below water development accommodating 44 units, half of which would be submerged.

Neither has yet appeared on Dubai’s waterline and unless they move soon, the recently announced underwater villas planned for the Heart of Europe project on the World Islands may beat them. Priced at AED 5 million a pop, developer Kleindienst Group has announced plans to build villas both above and below the sea level, spreading across 1,700 sq ft. They even have an opening date: 2017.

Phase 4 development, Jumeirah Madinat Phase 4 new hotel Madinat Jumeirah. Very little has been announced about the new hotel development currently under construction at the most north-eastern end of the Madinat Jumeirah. By very little, we mean pretty much nothing - although Jumeirah is currently using the above image on its website to illustrate the project. Working under the development name 'phase 4', a source has told EDGAR there is no final confirmation yet on the number of rooms, restaurants or bars - even the name has yet to be decided.

The earliest we can expect the first real piece of information is May at the Arabian Travel Market, although our contact says it may even take until early next year before anything is announced. What we can be sure of is that given its location in the 5-star Madinat compound, it will be another high-end, luxurious property from Dubai's homegrown hotel chain. Opening date: before 2020.