Media City first as SAS scores with ‘business’ hotel project

The first hotel to be built in Dubai Media City will be the Radisson SAS. With the first building due for completion next month and construction on the second well underway, Zoe Naylor went along to assess the project’s progress.

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By  Zoe Naylor Published  October 29, 2005

|~|93proj200.gif|~|Twin towers of DMC: Construction on the second building began in December 2004 and the concrete frame of the structure is now in place.|~|Dubai Media City may be making a name for itself as the city’s creative hub, but until now it has been lacking in that quintessential Dubai ingredient — a hotel. The free zone’s first hotel offering comes in the shape of the Radisson SAS Media City, a twin-building development aimed predominantly at the business traveller. Al Taamir is the main contractor on the project, DAR is the architect and the electro-mechanical works are being completed by Sensaire Services. Abdul Rahim, project manager at Al Taamir, says: “The first tower is now at the pre-opening stage and is due for completion next month.” The concrete frame of the second building is almost complete and all six floors are in place. “We’ve started laying the concrete blockwork for the second tower and will then do the plastering and the electrics,” he adds. The second building is aiming for a hand-over date of the second or third quarter of 2006, but according to Rahim, whether they meet this will depend largely on if the client makes any more design changes. “One of the biggest challenges of working on this project is the number of changes that are still being made to the design,” he says. Work on the first structure began in September 2003; it has a ground floor area of 1083 m2 with a total built-up area of 5611 m2. Construction of the second building started in December 2004. It is slightly larger than the first and when completed will house the hotel’s main reception area, which is being temporarily accommodated in the first building. The second building has a ground floor area of 1415 m2 and a total built-up area of 8907 m2. Each of the aluminium-clad structures are six storeys and 37 m high. According to David Barbour, regional director of design and technical services at Rezidor SAS Hospitality (the hotel’s operator), the Radisson Dubai Media City will cater mainly to the needs of business travellers: “Being located in Dubai Media City, we envisage the hotel will be used predominantly by clients from DMC and people working in the area.” Barbour expects the hotel’s location to be a key factor in its success: “It’s right in the heart of Media City, which I think will ensure a very good start for the property,” he says. “There are no other hotels here at the moment and I think the size of the hotel and the facilities that we’re providing will be ideal for the short-stay business clientele that will be coming into this area.” The hotel will feature 121 rooms in the first phase and 125 in the second phase — an overall total of 246. There will be 10 meeting rooms — four in building one and six in building two — all geared up for wireless internet access and complete with built-in facilities for audio/visual equipment. The Radisson marks the Dubai debut for Singapore-based IMA, which specialises in interior design for hotels and high-end residential development projects for the international technology and media sectors. The rooms feature natural textures, stainless steel and glass, with modern Italian furniture. A typical guest room features a workstation and LCD television. Instead of having conventional curtains the rooms have sliding shutters to minimise light penetration, providing a very effective blackout facility. In terms of leisure facilities, the hotel will have several food and beverage outlets — including the first licensed bar in Media City. There will be a health and beauty centre with various treatment rooms as well as a gymnasium and two swimming pools, one located on the mezzanine floor of the first building and another on the rooftop of the second building. “We considered the idea of projecting the swimming pool right out over the front of the first building by cantilevering it in a huge glass box, but it wasn’t feasible — the cost and the engineering challenges prevented it,” said Barbour. On the rooftop of the first building there will be a traditional Arabic shisha area with views across to The Palm Jumeirah. One interesting design feature of the project is the bridge walkway connecting the two buildings at the first-floor level. The designers originally considered an underground basement connection but this was rendered impossible due to planning complications with the authorities in Media City. Construction of the 20 m-long bridge link has yet to start, but when it does it will begin from the second building outwards. When it reaches the stage of meeting up with the first building, the cladding on the first will have to be removed to accommodate the join. Car parking for both buildings will be accommodated in the basement areas and there will be additional car parking in the multi-storey car park nearby. There is currently no district cooling system in Dubai Media City so a series of chillers will be used for the project. Once up and running, the new Radisson SAS hotel will be ideally located to serve the rapidly expanding MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) industry in and around Dubai’s Internet City and Media City. And as the first phase of the hotel nears its completion date, the only remaining question is how long will it remain the one and only hotel in the vicinity? If the current pace of construction in Dubai is anything to go by, the answer is probably not too long.||**||

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