Megaprojects: inside Dubai's Dh1.2 billion Palm Tower with five-star hotel and luxury residences

The 52-storey building at the heart of The Palm Jumeirah will open its public observatory in March

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As the long-awaited Dh1.2 billion ($326.8 million) Palm Tower nears completion it is only a few weeks until an observatory 230 metres above the glistening Arabian Gulf opens its doors to the public.

The viewing platform with skyline views across the Palm Jumeirah promises to be nothing short of spectacular. But that is only the start of new openings at one of the Dubai's largest megaprojects.

An exclusive look inside the 52-storey construction project offered a glimpse of what lies in store, including a five-star St Regis hotel with 290 rooms and suites spread across 18 floors.

The Palm Tower will further enhance Dubai's position as a world-class destination

A steel structure and glass facade observation deck designed by US architects Gensler will be one of the first features to open.

It is expected to attract tourists with a head for heights in a similar fashion to the viewing deck at Burj Khalifa.

"The Palm Tower is the latest iconic addition to Palm Jumeirah, combining first-class residential, hospitality and leisure facilities at the heart of the world-famous island," said Aqil Kazim, chief commercial officer at developer Nakheel.

“Palm Jumeirah’s unique creativity and stunning design is best-appreciated when seen from the air.

“The Palm Tower will offer exquisite views of the entire island, the Arabian Gulf and the Dubai skyline in one location.”

Master developer Nakheel said the hotel, which is almost seven years in the making, will probably open in the summer and the residences – 70 per cent of which are already sold – will open later in the year.

The public viewing deck on the 52nd floor, accessible by lifts from Nakheel Mall, is expected to open in March.

The 432 luxury residences start from Dh1.7m for a studio apartment, with panoramic views of Dubai Marina, The Palm Jumeirah and the Arabian Gulf.

Two and three-bedroom apartments on the upper floors make the most of the elevated position, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on to the spectacular surroundings.

An infinity pool on the roof of the tower will give swimmers 360-degree views across 200 metres of water.

The Aura skypool lounge, run by the Sunset Hospitality Group, will open later this year, as will SushiSamba, a Japanese restaurant and nightspot on the 51st floor.

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Nakheel and main builder Trojan General Contracting and National Projects & Construction faced challenges in developing such a large building on a relatively small area of land, surrounded by busy roads.

Its seafront location was one of those challenges, with winds whipping off the Gulf and creating difficult conditions for crane operators.

Three tower cranes were in operation and about 4,000 workers were on site at the peak of construction.

While the pandemic pegged back the number of labourers able to work at one time, the project's workforce is now closer to 1,000 – many are already vaccinated against the virus thanks to an on-site inoculation initiative.

The tower has used 700 tonnes of structural steel, a further 17,000 tonnes of reinforcement steel and 77,600 cubic metres of concrete.

To maximise the view, 46,000 square metres of glass was used in thousands of windows.

The building will have 22 lifts, providing access to four restaurants and three swimming pools – as well as about 350 shops in the $330m Nakheel Mall.

Shoppers will be able to connect to the Marina Residences through two tunnels the Palm Monorail, the Dubai Tram, Metro line and beyond.

"The tower is the latest in Nakheel's growing list of landmark projects," Mr Kazim said.

“It will further enhance Dubai’s position as an unrivalled, world-class destination for living, leisure and tourism.”