Dubai plans artificial palm tree resort

An artist's perspective of the palm islands resort.

Two of the world's largest man-made islands shaped like palm trees - expected to be visible from the moon - will be created off Dubai's coast.

Plans for the massive project, which will alter the geography of the emirate, were unveiled by General Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence, at the Arabian Travel Market, last month.

The gigantic islands, to be built off the Jumeirah and Jebel Ali coasts, will be shielded from the tides by their own crescent-shaped reefs.

The project will result in 120km of reclaimed land. More than 80 million cu m of sand will be shifted to produce the islands.

The concept will give new meaning to the word 'resort' because each island will house up to 40 hotels, over 1,000 luxury villas, two marinas, a water theme park and shopping and leisure facilities.

The islands will be joined to the mainland by 300-metre bridges and the main causeway will have a monorail.

Construction will start this month and a tight two-year deadline has been set for initial work. A further year will see the construction work finished on the islands' properties.

Sultan bin Sulayem, chairman of Palm Developers, chairman of Jebel Ali Free Zone and managing director of Dubai Ports Authority, said the project reflected the growing demand for more tourism capacity.