Ibiza, Mykonos and the other European party islands may have met their match. The UAE is looking to build a strip of four islands devoted to partying 24 hours a day with beaches, hotels, clubs and, most importantly, unlimited booze.
The four man-made islands would be in Ras Al Khaimah, just a 40-minute drive from Dubai, once completed. According to the Daily Mail, the island would be able to host 20,000 revelers at a time in five hotels and numerous villas and resorts. There will be two mega clubs, four beach clubs and 100 restaurants.
Most importantly, booze will flow freely, unlike in Dubai, where a personal license is needed to drink. When you rule with absolute authority as king, such exceptions can be made, though they may not be popular with the rest of the populous if they dare to care.
"We're trying to make it the new Ibiza -- a mini Ibiza dedicated solely to partying. People will be able to come here, stay in the hotel party at clubs on the beach, anything in the world you can do," said sale and marketing director George Saad. "And we are trying to attract festivals to come here -- like Burning Man."
Abdullah Rashed Al Abdooli, managing director of Al Marjan Island Company, the company behind the island development, said via arabianbusiness.com: "The heightened investment in Al Marjan Island coincides with rising demand for luxury hotels and residential apartments, and which is an indicator that investors are closely monitoring the UAE real estate market and channeling their investments accordingly."
The plan is already in motion as the islands were built in 2013. Now the government is lobbying for 3.2 billion pounds -- $4.94 billion -- in investment to help develop "Dream Island," which it hopes to be open by 2018.
One of Dream Island's major obstacles once it opens will be to get clientele into the city. It could cater to the Asian market, which does not have the well-established, hedonistic paradises of Europe and North America. It may be hard to attract Europeans and Americans away from their established party hot-spots beyond the novelty of checking it out, but as Dubai grows as a major international trade and airline hub, passengers could stay and extra day or two and have some fun in the sun while they fly all seasons.
Revelers may also be wary with the gulf countries's attitude toward drug use, which is plentiful in this sort of an environment.