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Travel: 5 unusual new hotels to visit in UAE in 2023

From a luxury hotel shaped like a superyacht to one tailored to fitness and athleticism, interesting new hotels are set to open in UAE in the new year

Kitesurfers practice at Jumeirah beach with a view of the Dubai skyline. (AFP)

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If you’re looking to visit the United Arab Emirates this year, a tempting array of options are vying for the attention of global travelers. When you’re opening in the Middle East’s biggest tourism market, in a city already known for making the fantastical a reality, you have to keep finding new ways to stand out. That’s what an array of dynamic new hotels are doing this year in Dubai. Hotels are busy—occupancy rates for the first 10 months of 2022 are above 70%, according to Dubai’s tourism department. That’s not going to bring down room rates any time soon, even with cranes and construction workers quickly adding to the supply. At the end of June, Dubai had 773 hotels with  140,778 rooms, up from 714 hotels and 118,345 rooms in 2019, according to design and architecture firm Gensler Middle East. More are coming this year. Rather than going for subtlety and blending into their surroundings, these hotels are bursting onto the scene and demanding a visit. Here’s a look at some of the most interesting scheduled to open in the Middle East in 2023.

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Atlantis the Royal is an ultra-luxurious 800-room property set to welcome guests in February. It is located along two kilometers of beachfront on the manmade Palm Jumeirah. It’ll have dozens and dozens of pools, including 44 private infinity pools attached to suites and penthouses, and two adults-only pools. As for special Dubai touches, the resort will boast a helipad, “fire breathing” fountains and a tank with 4,000 jellyfish—described as the largest in the world. Opening February 2023.

Ciel Hotel claims to bethe planet’s tallest hotel, at 365 meters high. The skyscraper’s 82 floors will have more than 1,000 rooms. It’s being built at the north end of Dubai’s manmade (of course) Marina district, a lovely place to spend an afternoon walking around the promenade, looking at yachts, eating and shopping. Other than that, not much is known about the property, because the developer is still shopping for a brand to run the place. Opening in the fourth quarter of 2023.

FIVE Luxe is opening its third property in the Emirates, promising to “embody the authentic and unique vibe that global millennials love.” The FIVE brand became popular with locals and tourists, and known for partying, when it opened its first hotel in Dubai, in 2019. The beachfront resort will have an outdoor gym, an indoor pool, a paddle tennis court and more. Opening in the fourth quarter of 2023; rooms are expected to start at 1,600 dirhams ($436) per night.

Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab First there was a sail. Then a wave. Now comes the superyacht. The Jumeirah Group is finishing a 386-room hotel on the Dubai coast that it’s calling the final part of its trilogy. (The “sail” hotel is the Burj Al Arab, an emblem of Dubai.) Beyond the normal rooms and suites, there will be 83 luxury apartment-style suites,  all surrounded by landscaped gardens. The dining concept will combine four different restaurants into one venue. Opening in the third quarter of 2023

Siro and One & Only One Za’abeel is aimed at those of us who are fit and loving it. There will be a two-story gym and fitness programs shaped by Olympic athletes. The first will open in Dubai late in 2023 in the same tower complex as a new One & Only luxury hotel. They’ll share restaurants and other cafe spaces in a horizontal, cantilevered section of the building called the Link. Opening in the fourth quarter of 2023; rooms are expected to start at $400 per night.

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