Giant Dubai tower now open...UK security boost?...Dominican renovations...
The latest "world's tallest building" is now open.
The Burj Khalifa, (it was Burj Dubai until a few minutes ago, so this could be confusing for a while) is some 200 stories (818 meters, 2,684 feet, more or less), will be the world's tallest structure. It's also got an observation deck on the 124th floor, which sounds like fun.
Adam Schreck of Associated Press reports the exact height will only be revealed at the evening inauguration.
The Wall Street Journal has a blogger on site, who says she can see Iran from the top and also the manmade islands that have been built; symbols of better economic times in Dubai. The tower is so huge that one reporter said the shadow is like a sundial on the face of the city.
Luxury apartments are said to have been going for $2,855 per square foot at the peak in 2008 but have since dropped to less than half of that, AP says.
"The developer’s chairman said it cost about $1.5 billion to build the tapering metal-and-glass spire billed as a "vertical city" of luxury apartments and offices. It boasts four swimming pools, a private library and a hotel designed by Giorgio Armani, according to Schreck's report.
Cleaning crews were busy scrubbing windows and sweeping the plaza at the tower’s base just hours before festivities began.
Meanwhile, it was announced today that the Armani Hotel Dubai, the first hotel to open under the collaboration between Giorgio Armani S.p.A. and Emaar Properties PJSC, will be officially launched on March 18, 2010.
"Exclusively housed in the distinctive Burj Dubai tower, the world's tallest building, the Armani Hotel Dubai is the first of a series of hotels, resorts and residences designed by Giorgio Armani to be opened around the globe and marks fashion maestro Giorgio Armani's debut in to the world of hospitality," officials said in a press release. "Defined by its unique location, highest standards of aesthetics and service excellence, the Armani Hotel Dubai will be the most exclusive destination in the city."
The online bookings for the Armani Hotel Dubai will go live on late January 2010, and prospective visitors can register online at www.armanihotels.com to receive further details about the hotel.
UK SECURITY BOOST
Travelmole reports that full body scanners are to be introduced at UK airports. The measure has been demanded by prime minister Gordon Brown in the wake of the foiled bombing of an aircraft flying from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day.
Increased security covering travellers from 14 countries to the US has also been introduced. But critics of Brown claimed the kneejerk response to the Detroit incident would do little to prevent terrorists passing through airports carrying sophisticated explosives strapped to their bodies.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC RENO JOB
Travel Weekly reports that Casa de Campo in La Romana, Dominican Republic, debuted 80 upgraded, elite-category guestrooms and refurbished public areas on Dec. 30.
The $30 million upgrade included a new lobby, a redesigned pool complex, a fitness center, gardens, shops and a business center. The new La Cana Restaurant & Lounge by Il Ciro is managed by the Maccioni family, owners of New York’s La Cirque restaurant.
Amenities in the new guestrooms include a terrace, one king or two double beds, WiFi, a dressing area, glass-enclosed showers and a deep soaking tub, according to the Travel Weekly report.
The resort, which opened in 1974, offers 265 guestrooms and 100 villa homes, four Pete Dye-designed golf courses (one a private membership course), a 350-slip marina, the Altos de Chavon artist cultural village, and the Casa de Campo/La Romana Airport.
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