Palm Jumeirah
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Palm Jumeirah

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Dubai’s manmade archipelago has been a hive of construction activity over the past 24 months, as developer Nakheel focuses on bringing alive a host of retail, entertainment, leisure and F&B attractions to accompany the plethora of luxury residences, hotels and resorts on the five kilometre square space.

Already a must-see attraction thanks to the world-famous Atlantis, The Palm resort – which begs to be captured in the photos of every selfie-respecting tourist – and the 120 kilometres of white, sandy beaches on the trunk, crescent and 17 fronds , Palm Jumeirah now offers plenty of other reasons to visit.

The Golden Mile Galleria, a mile-long low-rise stretch of standalone cafes, restaurants and shops looking out onto Al Ittihad Park, opened last year and is a calm, relaxing destination popular with families living in the surrounding 30 or so luxurious residences. There are plans in progress to connect this to the beaches on the side of the trunk as well, under The Palm Promenade project, which aims to increase accessibility.

The AED1.2billion (US$326 million) Nakheel Mall comprises 4.5 million square foot of shops, restaurants and entertainment options, with the top level home to a fine-dining roof-top plaza. Due to open early 2017, it features a VIP entrance, two fountains and two waterfalls, while three floors of underground parking and a metro stop make it easily accessible.

Alongside the new mall will be Palm Tower, featuring a St. Regis Hotel, complete with 360-degree infinity pool on the 50th floor, and a beach club – part of the Palm West Beach development – though this won’t be completed until 2018.

Head a little further along the trunk of The Palm towards Atlantis – itself getting a huge expansion in the form of new hotel Royal Atlantis next to the Aquaventure waterpark – and on the opposite side of the bay sits The Pointe, a luxury waterfront retail, dining and entertainment complex featuring nearly 100 restaurants and shops.

There’s some new hotel inventory for 2017 as well, with Viceroy Palm Jumeirah opening in April with 447 rooms. Out on the crescent, W Hotel Palm Jumeirah is also due to complete by the middle of the year.

Existing hotels continue to offer the best in luxury and leisure with Fairmont The Palm on the trunk offering excellent access to Golden Mile Galleria and Nakheel Mall, not to mention spectacular views of Dubai Marina.

Properties on the east crescent include the lively Rixos The Palm Dubai, the Maldivian-style
Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort, the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah and Polynesian-themed Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa.

On the west side, One&Only The Palm, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray and Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, and breathtaking vistas of a blue sky peppered with parachutes, as Skydive Dubai’s daily jumpers get their own unique views of The Palm.

Numerous apartments on the trunk and villas on the fronds are now also available to tourists and groups via various holiday home companies and Airbnb, now officially licensed to operate in Dubai.