A successful Dubai Olympic bid
The city will bid for the 2024 Games, after a bid for the 2020 event was proposed but not submitted. A decision will be made in 2017. If Dubai’s bid to host the world’s most famous sporting event is successful, the sporting landscape will change for the better.
More designer hotels
Where Armani has led, Versace and Gucci are to follow. Palazzo Versace (www.palazzo versace.com) is set to open on the creek in the first half of 2012, while Elisabetta Gucci’s arrival date in Media City and the opening date for the first Fashion TV hotel are TBA.
The Gourmet Tower
Anyone living in Dubai Marina will have seen the unique yet empty cylindrical building latched onto the side of Dubai Marina Mall. The eight-storey Gourmet Tower was set to become a hub of high-end dining, until that pesky economic crisis came along. There’s still no opening date, but we’re hoping something – anything – will happen in the next 10 years.
A strong football scene
We have world-famous manager Diego Maradona and former European league standout players Grafite, Mark Bresciano and Luis Jimenez, but until we have full stadiums, the city’s Pro-League sides cannot consider themselves near the world’s elite. Al Wasl (www.alwaslsc.ae) was the highest-attended Dubai side last year with 5,146 fans per match, about the same as English third-division side Tranmere Rovers. We’re sure the figure will continue to increase (we’re hoping for 10,000).
A World-record skydive
In 2013, the top 550 professional skydivers from across the globe will attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the largest freefall formation over 40 to 50 jumps. While it’s not cheap to take part (Dhs10,850 including 18 nights of five-star hotel accommodation), it’s one for the brag book (www.skydivedubai.ae).
More local films
City of Life director Ali Mostafa broke boundaries with his 2009 Dubai-based feature film (also, his online series Classified launched on mbc.net on September 28), and Musaab AG’s Fujairah-shot short film The Traveller was well received at Cannes this year. We imagine that films based in the UAE will continue to be made, and grants such as the Enjaaz post-production fund from Dubai International Film Festival (www.dubaifilmfest.com) will help.
Mall of Arabia
The ambitious Dubailand neighborhood City of Arabia (www.cityofarabia.ae) is set to house yet another mall to get excited about. Billed as a ‘global shopping resort’, the Mall of Arabia will house a 15-screen cinema, bowling alley and state-of-the-art performance stage.
More home-grown restaurants
While we’re not complaining about having the chance to eat at Gaucho, The Ivy, La Petite Maison or Rivington Grill, it would be nice for a venue to open here and win acclaim in its own right. The Pavilion in Downtown Dubai (www.pavilion.ae) has proved it can be done, so we’re hoping the floodgates will open soon.
MGM Grand and Bellagio
With so many comparisons to Las Vegas, it’s only natural that Vegas company MGM Mirage Hospitality (www.mgmhospitality.com) will manage three new Dubai ventures as part of the Dubai Pearl development, including the 250-room Bellagio, 350-room MGM Grand and 30-suite Skylofts hotel. The Pearl’s expected completion date is 2013.
New development Downtown Jebel Ali (www.downtownjebelali.com) excites us for its promise of sustainable car-free living (so there’ll actually be pavements, then) and shaded streets. But when will it be completely finished? We’re guesstimating about 2014.