Tag Archives: dubai

Dubai Metro: 50 Million trips in Q1 2016

Dubai Metro Rail Network

Dubai Rail System – Photo from discover-dubai.ae

Dubai Metro is confirmed to be the favorite way of transportation for many Dubai residents and visitors. Indeed a staggering 50 Million trips were achieved during the first quarter of the year.

Not that the number is going to cause shock or surprise to those that daily use the public transportation to commute, since the impression that the metro raiders were constantly increasing in numbers was evident.

The trains are busy at any given time, with the situation sometimes turning uncomfortable at rush hours when the trains going towards Rashidiya, hence passing through the populous Deira and close to Sharja border, are literally packed with people.

Statistics recently released by RTA (Road and Transport Authority) and published by 7days, a local daily, reveal that during the first quarter of this year the Dubai Metro served almost 50 million trips (31.8 million on the Red Line and 18.1 million the Green Line) while Dubai Tram reported slightly more than 1.3 million trips.

Mr. Abdul Mohsen Ibrahim Younes, CEO of Rail Agency of the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), said:

“The metro and tram are shaping into prime mobility means within the Emirate, thanks to their smooth, enjoyable and safe transit experience offered to various commercial and residential communities across Dubai.”

The most popular station in the mentioned period was Al Rigga with a total of 2,065,201 passenger followed by Union Station, which served 1,972,811 commuters, slightly ahead of Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Station that was used by 1,972,261 people. On the Green Line , instead, Al Fahidi Station was top with 2,050,237 passengers, followed by Baniyas Station which was visited by 1,649,229 commuters and the third was the Stadium Station that was used by 1,469,831 people.

To know more about Dubai Transportation system, visit www.rta.ae.

Emaar’s new Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour unveiled

Finally it has been made official. Emaar Properties, one of the most appreciated developers in Dubai with several successful projects already completed like The Greens, Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the whole Downtown neighborhood, is going to beat his own records.  After having developed the current tallest building in the world, it has recently unveiled what could be the world’s new tallest tower.

Even though the official height still has to be disclosed, Emaar management has confirmed that it will be a “notch taller than Burj Khalifa” that with its 828 meters mesmerizes thousands and thousands of visitors every day.

The tower is expected to cost 1 billion USD and will face competition from the 1,000 meter high Kingdom Tower in Jeddah (KSA), currently under construction, for the “tallest building in the world” title.

The tower was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who has designed masterpieces of architecture like the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro or Athen’s Olympic Sports Complex, and was inspired by the Islamic minaret structure as well as a lily bud.

Emaar New Creek Tower

“Inspired by a Nation. designed for the World” is Emaar motto for the challenging Project – Photos from Emaar website.

The tower is going to be built as part of a wider Project knows as Dubai Creek Harbour, a mixed use development located in proximity to Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary and its flamingos and many species of waterbirds.

The aim of the 6 sq km development was very well explained by Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties:

“With The Tower, we are delivering a compelling destination that will add long-term economic value to Dubai and the UAE. It will also position Dubai Creek Harbour as one of the most desired residential, leisure and touristic attractions, providing visitors and residents with a modern, luxurious and sustainable environment in which to live, work, learn and entertain.”

The Tower and the Project are presented in the recently released videos prepared by Emaar.

 

The sky is the limit.

 

Dubai EXPO2020 theme pavilion design competition winners revealed

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo Higher Committee, in partnership with leading property developer Emaar Properties, have revealed the winners of one of the world’s most prestigious architectural competitions, to design the theme pavilions for Expo 2020.

The committee sought ideas for the three theme pavilions titled Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, which form a central part of EXPO 2020’s theme that is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.

The winning design for the Opportunity Pavilion was submitted by Bjarke Ingels Group, a group of architects, designers, builders and thinkers based in Copenhagen and New York. Their design philosophy reflects a belief that contemporary urban life is a result of the confluence of cultural exchange, global economic trends and communication technologies as it could be read on the Expo 2020 official website.

Expo-2020-Opportunity-Theme-Winner-is-BIG-details

Bjarke Ingels Group winning design for Opportunity Pavilion. Photo from Emirates24/7

Expo-2020-Opportunity-Theme-Winner-is-BIG

Bjarke Ingels Group winning design for Opportunity Pavilion. Photo from Emirates24/7

 

The press release issued by Expo 2020 official website and reported by the major local newspapers, continues saying that Foster + Partners, the internationally renowned practice, based in London, submitted the winning proposal for the Mobility Pavilion. Their design drew on nearly four decades of pioneering designs including Dubai’s The Index building, and the master plan for Masdar City.

Expo-2020-theme-pavilion mobility - foster + partners

Foster + Partners winning design for Dubai Expo2020 Mobility Pavillion. Photo from ArabianBusiness.com

The winning design for the Sustainability Pavilion, which will become a long term ‘cluster’ centre promoting innovative technologies, was submitted by Grimshaw Architects. The firm designed the Eden project in Cornwall, UK, and is a leader in the field of sustainable architecture.

Expo-2020-Sustainability-Theme-Winner-is-Grimshaw-Particulars

Grimshaw Architects winning design for Sustainability Pavillion at Dubai Expo2020. Photo from Emirates24/7

Expo-2020-theme-pavilion sustainability - Grimshaw

Grimshaw Architects winning design for Sustainability Pavillion at Dubai Expo2020. Photo from ArabianBusiness

“Expo 2020 will be a festival of human ingenuity. We hope that the nations and organisations that take part in Expo, and the millions who visit, will explore the power of connections across the spheres of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability”

“Our theme pavilions will play a central role in bringing this to life.”

said HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

Keep updated by visiting the official DUBAI EXPO2020 website.

Breakfast at Mozzo Centrale – Umm Suqeim 1 – Dubai

We have recently visited Mozzo Centrale, a nice Italian restaurant in Umm Suqeim, for a late breakfast.

It wasn’t the first time for us at Mozzo Centrale since we had lunch once before with a couple of friends and we remembered it to be decent.

When we arrived, we noticed the restaurant was unexpectedly empty. Other than the two of us, there were other 3 people sitting in the veranda. The waiter took quickly our order: a Londoner breakfast, a Salmon Benny, black coffee, a juice and a strawberry banana smoothie.

The drinks where quickly ready but for our surprise we saw the waiter going towards the only other table occupied. It was a hilarious scene with the waiter serving the drinks while the customers were saying “this isn’t our order”. The waiter replied “no, no this is your order, three people three drinks. Simple”.

We had to wave to the waiter to finally convince him that that was our order.

Mozzo Centrale Dubai

Mozzo Ristorante entrance view from the veranda.

 

The food arrived few instants later and was good in quantities and decent in quality. The salmon breakfast was alright and enjoyable. The Londoner one was instead not that great. I had issues with the beef bacon that was extremely fatty and hardly enjoyable.

Mozzo Centrale Londoner Breakfast

The Londoner breakfast in good in quantity but not really in quality. The beef bacon was very fatty and hardly enjoyable.

Salmon Benny at Mozzo Centrale

The Salmon breakfast was alright. Salmon in good quantity and quality.

 

Once we completed breakfast, we ordered a tiramisu to indulge our sweet tooth. It was really good, even though it would have been better with less cream, but however really enjoyable.

Tiramisu at Mozzo Centrale

Tiramisu was a good option. Too much cream for a tiramisu expert but not bad at all.

 

We paid 160 AED for two people for a decent breakfast. Reasonable price considering the quantity and quality of food received.

Next time we will try the pizza’s that looked inviting.

 

Construction news: more than 390 billion USD projects ongoing in Dubai

The total value of projects under construction in Dubai equates to $53.6 billion, with a further $337.2 billion in the planning stage.  These are significant amounts of investment for most mature economies, but for an emerging market such as Dubai, they are extraordinary figures which provide evidence of Dubai’s ambition to diversify its economy away from oil-centered revenues. In this way we can summarize the new report “The Dubai Construction Pulse” published by Deloitte and MEED Projects, which analyses the construction market across a range of sectors.

Analyzing the data provided in the report, it is evident that the majority of the construction projects currently ongoing in the Emirate are related to residential and hospitality sectors with a 60% of the total value involved while 65% of the planned projects fall within the mixed use developments, most probably because of the EXPO 2020’s requirements.

Dubai Construction Projects Status

“Despite regional security concerns and wider macro-economic turbulence, Dubai continues at pace with significant project awards in Q1 2016, including the Palm Gateway Towers, Phase II of the Atlantis Resort and Dubai Creek Harbour to name but three”, said Ben Hughes, director at Deloitte Corporate Finance Limited, regulated by the Dubai International Financial Center.

Previously stalled projects have been resurrected, but new project awards have reduced since 2014-2015 as a result of regional economic uncertainty

The conclusions of the report are particularly interesting and are here below summirized.

“The current concerns relating to low oil prices and diminished market sentiment has clearly had a short term impact. Whilst the ongoing geo-political factors equally have profound effects, the fact that many Governments across the region, not least the Government of Dubai, are continuing to spend on infrastructure and other strategic developments suggests that they foresee the oil price issue and political turmoil as a temporary one.

[…] The mere action of building a project and expecting the demand to be there no longer applies, as the fundamental cost basis for these projects remains volatile and competitive. Focusing on factors such as affordability, differentiation and quality are going to be increasingly important factors, and it is hoped that such considerations will ultimately underpin the rationale for conceiving projects.

Simply constructing the tallest or most unique project no longer provides the impact it once did, so diversifying the offer by promoting a world class standard appears to be the mantra moving forwards.

[…] What is interesting is the connectedness of Dubai as an increasingly “smart city”, and […]  Dubai may even mature to the extent that it could surpass some of the more established cities across the world, such as London, Paris or New York, in terms of its level of sophistication and dedication to sustainability, smart city principles and ultimately success in delivering projects that are demand driven and profitable.”

Other than on “The Dubai Construction Pulse” website by Deloitte, the matter has been analyzed and reported by well done articles published on SaudiGazzette and Gulf Construction Online.

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Noire: dining in the dark! at Fairmont Dubai

I have recently dined at Noire, a new concept restaurant at The Fairmont Hotel Sheik Zayed Road.

As the website states ”from pitch-black settings, night vision equipped waiters or the thrill of experiencing 5-star gourmet cuisine sight unseen, Noire brings you a culinary adventure unlike anything else in town and one of the top experiences in Dubai”, the restaurant offers a very peculiar dining experience.

Noire Dubai

The original idea came to Mr. Edouard De Broglie, an entrepreneur who founded an ethic investment company where 50% of the staff were people with vision impairment. The main goal is to put people in a position to understand other people’s life experience by “putting yourself in the others shoes to better understand” and possibly to raise some funds for charitable organizations.

Even though it lasts just the time of a dinner, it proved to be very touching and instructive.

The dinner takes place in the dark. A pitch black where you cannot see anything apart the red dot on the infrared googles used by the waiters. Listen to the noises in the dark, touch to understand and learn what you have on the table or in the plate, recognize the scents and discover the taste of the proposed foods. Yes, because the chef won’t tell you what you are eating until the dinner is over and you have tried to guess the various ingredients.

We can summarize the dinner as “an experience to learn to see beyond the appearance“.

You will be surprised in discovering that your brain might be deceived by your taste buds if not supported by your eyes. And you will ended up feeling different textures and aromas than the one you would have expected by looking at the plate.

We arrived at Fairmont Hotel by metro, the nearest station is World Trade Center few meters from the hotel, and went to the 9th floor where the restaurant is located. We got lost since there was no one and couldn’t find anything looking like a restaurant. We finally understood that the restaurant is adjacent to the shisha cafe available on the terrace that serves the purpose of meeting points for the restaurant guests.

We were offered a welcome drink and then had to wait some 40 minutes!! before being allowed to enter the restaurant.

The waiters are very well trained and after having escorted us to our table, they helped us understanding what was on the table: on the right spoons and two glasses, on the left forks and bread, in the center the napkin.

After few minutes the appetizer was served. It is difficult to dig into the meal without seeing anything, but not impossible after some practice. After few failures, I eventually managed to get a full spoon of food and bring it to the mouth.

Something fried was tasting like fish. There was salad. Maybe berries and fois gras. It was a continue murmuring and mumbling “taste like fish”, “mine got hazelnuts”, “s..t I spilled the wine”. It is difficult to talk to your partner because you don’t what they are doing, if they understand you, how far are they.

In the main course I found some beef, maybe cabbage, some kind of fish and potatoes. The dessert was formed by a cake, an ice cream and something like a pudding. Soft and creamy one bite and poppy and crunchy the other one.

We all felt the burning taste of chilly since there were many “oh gosh it’s spicy!!”. In reality was pepper.

I was there celebrating my birthday and I was amazingly celebrated by the staff  that invited all the guests to sing for me. It was really a great sensation because almost everybody sang. Something I doubt would have been happened if with the lights were on.

Once we were safely guided outside, we found the chef waiting for us with a display of the food we had.

Dinner at Noire Fairmont Dubai

Left: starterLeft: starter with battered oysters, salad, strawberries, foie gras, avocado and hazelnut. Center: main course with bbq eel, wagyu beef, salad, fries and caw flower. Left: dessert with panna cotta, red velvet cake and oreo ice cream and pepper.

Mythos Kouzina & Grill – JLT Cluster P – Dubai

I have recently visited Mythos, a new licensed Greek restaurant that recently opened in JLT, cluster P at Armada Blue Bay hotel.

If you want to reach the restaurant by car, be ready to get a headache. Find parking in JLT might be challenging and most of the time it is time limited: 3 hours free parking and then you have to leave. The hotel valet parking charges you 50 AED, hence better to get a taxi or the metro and walk a bit.

Once you enter the hotel, get the elevator and go to the basement. You have to walk in the parking and then in a narrow corridor appositely built that escorts you to the restaurant.

We booked our table well in advance since a friend recommended us to do so, but we found the 6 of us squeezed in a table for 4!! However, we managed to sit and order. With great surprise we discovered that the Greek beer and house wines were unavailable (at 8pm on a Thursday night!!!) so we ended up drinking Belgian beer at the Greek restaurant.

We ordered some appetizers like the grilled octopus and calamari. We ordered 4 appetizers and we got 3 at the same time and the 4th one 10 minutes later!!

Note that the restaurant provides you with some fresh bread and olives once you place your order but you have to pay 5 AED extra if you want the famous Greek pita bread.

The octopus was very minimal and definitely not worth 72 AED.

Grilled Octopus at Mythos

As main I ordered a pork souvlaki, one of the favorite meals I had while in Cyprus. Unfortunately, I received an almost cold meal meaning that either the souvlaki was cooked in advance and reheated later or that was cooked on the spot but then left in the plate for quite a long time before reaching our table. The fries were alright and the pork skewers came with tatziki sauce, onions and pita bread.

Pork Souvlaki at Mythos

The service wasn’t really the best. Many staff members seemed quite confused, especially those taking our order. Moreover, we waited 20 minutes and we had to ask to 5 different people before getting the bill.

The restaurant has good potentials but needs some improvements.