The Palm Jumeirah is one of the world’s largest manmade islands and a testament to Dubai’s ambition and innovation.
Located just off Dubai’s coastline and developed by Nakheel Properties (Nakheel), a real estate developer based in the UAE, the Palm Jumeirah forms part of The Palm Islands, which includes the Palm Jebel Ali and the Palm Deira.
The island is a mixed-use community comprising retail precincts, ultra-luxury hotels, entertainment venues, and luxury residential properties.
The View at the Palm, an observation deck located on level 52 of The Palm Tower, was opened in April 2021. It provides a 360° panoramic view of the Palm Jumeirah.
Nakheel launched a new residential development named Como Residences on the island in May 2023. Como Residences will be a 300m-tall, 71-storey residential tower.
The Palm Jumeirah details and design
The essence of the project is its design – its palm shape, which dictated every step of its development. The palm tree shape was chosen for its symbolic significance in Arab culture.
It symbolises Dubai’s heritage (the palm is known as the ‘bride of the orchard’ in Dubai), as well as puts water centre stage.
The Palm Jumeirah is divided into several parts, including a 300m-long trunk, 17 fronds, and a surrounding 11km-long crescent breakwater.
The trunk of the palm tree serves as the main access point to the island, connecting it to the mainland.
The fronds are a series of residential and hotel complexes, offering luxurious living spaces with views of the sea. They feature more than 1,730 villas, each with a private beach.
The crescent encompasses a wide range of world-class hotels, resorts, and entertainment venues.
The project’s shape also provides the perfect geometry to create the longest stretch of the new beachfront.
Construction of The Palm Jumeirah
One of the first tasks was to create the breakwater to protect the reclaimed land from the strong currents and shamal winds of the Arabian Gulf.
Despite being more expensive and difficult to source, it was created from rock instead of concrete slabs to encourage the creation of a natural reef. Before The Palm, there was virtually no sign of life, with 95% of the grid survey points falling on bare sand or mud.
The next step was land reclamation, which, although extensively managed in countries such as the Netherlands, had never been attempted on this scale.
With the land reclaimed, the next step was to prepare it for occupation, with the installation of desalination plants, state-of-the-art vacuum sewerage wastewater treatment, underground power lines and the construction of a transport network, including a monorail.
These resulted in an extensive road network, with a connection to the mainland by a gateway bridge, two bridges with five lanes in each direction and a six-lane underwater tunnel connecting the spine to the crescent (1.4km long, 40m wide, and 25m below sea level).
The Palm Monorail
Created by Hitachi, the Palm Monorail offers a greener option, running from one end of the development to the other – a journey of about ten minutes.
It is the easiest way to explore The Palm, which is divided into distinct sections, each with its own unique character.
In October 2008, site testing began on the newly delivered monorail trains at Palm Jumeirah.
The Palm Monorail spans a length of approximately 5.4km. It starts from the Gateway Towers at the trunk of the island and extends to the Atlantis Hotel at the crescent with intermediate stations at Trump International Hotel & Tower and the luxury retail centre Palm Mall.
The monorail track runs along the island’s outer edges, offering passengers breathtaking views of the Arabian Gulf and the Dubai skyline. It is fully automatic and driverless (although manned by an attendant) and was developed by a consortium led by Marubeni.
The Palm Monorail can carry 40,000 passengers a day. The line operates with a train frequency of three minutes during peak hours. Trains are available every 15 to 20 minutes during non-peak hours.
Properties at The Palm Jumeirah
The island houses a range of residential properties including villas, apartments, and townhouses, offering unique styles and amenities.
Wealthy individuals from around the world own residences and properties on the island.
The island is also home to high-end luxury resorts and hotels such as Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort, Atlantis, Hilton, The Fairmont Palm Hotel & Resort, Radisson Beach Resort, Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai, Sofitel Dubai, The Palm Resort & Spa, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, and One & Only The Palm.
The Atlantis adopted an integrated blockchain technology into its systems to provide a point-of-sale solution to guests using a blockchain-based smart settlement platform Lucid Pay. The blockchain implementation was claimed to be one of the first in the hospitality industry worldwide.
Nakheel Mall, a shopping, dining and entertainment destination, was opened in November 2019.
Entertainment and dining facilities at the Palm
An underwater-themed hotel and resort, Atlantis is a major attraction in Dubai.
The resort houses an aquarium with 65,000 marine animals, a waterpark, multiple pools, a spa, and nearly a mile of man-made beach.
There is a variety of dining options available including fine dining in Nobu, and popular bars and clubs.
The 11km-long seaside promenade, known as Boardwalk, is dotted by various food trucks.
Located adjacent to Palm Jumeirah’s Tiara Residences is a beachside restaurant, named The Club Vista Mare.
The restaurant offers an al-fresco dining experience with seven different restaurants.
Sustainability at The Palm
The vacuum sewerage system was completed in August 2008 to serve 2,000 villas using 900 collection chambers, 40km of pipeline and one of the world’s largest vacuum chambers leading to a membrane bioreactor (MBR) system on the trunk of The Palm. The system was developed by Corodex Electromechanic (a subsidiary of the Concorde-Corodex Group).
The treated water is used for irrigation and thus saves the production of additional water from the project’s desalination plant to satisfy the environment-protecting Blue Communities Initiative.
Hill International was the first outside consultant to be approached based on its experience with ‘mega’ projects of a similar scale.
Hill was already familiar with Dubai’s coastline, having worked on the redevelopment of Hamriyah Port, Deira Creek Waterfront, Deira Sea Corniche and Jumeirah Coastal Zone projects.
US-based architectural firm Helman Hurley Charvat Peacock (HHCP), famous for its work with Sea World, Disney, and Universal Studios, was also consulted on the overall concept design.
A survey was carried out by Dubai-based Emirates Nortech to check the shape and volume of the island above and below the waterline.
Dubai-based Sogreath Gulf created a 3D physical scale model of the crescent to perform exhaustive tests in a laboratory tank using a 12m random wave generator while WL Delft Hydraulics simulated tidal flow, using numeric modelling of the crescent breakwater.
This led to a crucial recommendation to include two 100m openings on either side to allow the sea to be refreshed every 14 days and improve the water quality.
In 2002, Nakheel awarded two contracts to Dutch company Van Oord and the Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction (Overseas).
The transport network for the project was designed following three in-depth surveys by leading traffic consultant MVA.