$1 Billion Dollar Taj Mahal Replica Planned For Dubai

taj mahal

Dubai is already known as a hub for glamorous hotels and over-the-top architecture, and it’s not stopping now. With hopes to build the emirate’s reputation as a wedding destination, a replica of India‘s beloved Taj Mahal is now being built.

Called the “Taj Arabia,” the new property will feature a 300-room, five-star hotel, along with apartments, offices, shops and restaurants.

“The Taj is made as a monument of love and we hope to promote this in Dubai as a major wedding destination,” developer Arun Mehra told news.com.au.

Taj Arabia will be part of the massive Dubailand, which the city hopes will be the “world’s greatest theme park.” With the upcoming expansion, it will be double the size of all the Disneyland and Disney World resorts combined.

Developers are estimating the hotel project will cost $1 billion. Completion is estimated for 2014.

[Image via Shutterstock]

Crisis in Dubai creating fantastic bargains for travelers

After years of building new hotels at a record speed, Dubai is starting to pay the price for overcapacity. Hotel prices in this desert state have already dropped more than 25%.

The average price for a room used to be $305, and in just one month, it dropped to $230. This means that tourists coming to Dubai for a week can save over $500.

Of course, this all has to to do with more than a bit of hotel overcapacity. The recent news about the financial situation of Dubai is helping people consider the destination for their next vacation.

A similar thing happened when Iceland stood on the edge of total financial meltdown. Bad news for one country, means great bargains for others. Unless of course that country is the United States, in which case the government comes up with new and improved ways to scare tourists away.

The Dubai numbers come from the UK division of Hotels.com where they noticed a massive increase in search requests for Dubai hotels. Since Dubai released their doom and gloom financial news, searches for Dubai hotels increased by 570%.

Dubai always wanted to make its money from tourism (it doesn’t have much oil), so perhaps by turning into a budget destination, they’ll finally have their wish granted.

Livin’ la vida expat in Dubai isn’t as snazzy as it used to be

Forget New York City – the world capital of spend, spend, spend has long been Dubai. This is literally where the sky was the limit, and when they ran out of sky, they simply built out into the ocean.

Thousands upon thousands of foreigners made their way to Dubai to grab their own little bit of the wealth.

Of course, that has all come to a grinding halt. Construction is slowing down, and a general feeling of doom and gloom is descending upon the nation.

Things are apparently so bad, that many expats are packing up their belongings and leaving. Of course, when you leave so suddenly, you tend to forget minor things like your mortgage, your car and your credit card debt.

Dubai International airport is reported to be home to over 3000 abandoned cars from fleeing expats. Some of the cars have apology letters taped to the windows, and others have their maxed out credit cards left on the seats.

The expats leave the nation behind for a few simple reasons – Dubai locks debtors away, and anyone without a job loses their visa. The New York Times reports that parts of Dubai are starting to look like a ghost town, with unfinished construction projects and masses of vacant property.

Things are actually so bad, that the government has been canceling as many as 1500 work visas every single day – a number they don’t want to confirm or deny.

Unless things turn around very soon, the entire place is probably going to be doomed – Dubai does not have any oil of its own, and the entire economy was built upon real estate and financial services. Now those 2 sources of cash are slowly disappearing, Dubai could soon make the Madoff scam look like petty theft.

Do you (no longer) live in Dubai? Are things really this bad? Let us know in the comments!

(Via: New York Times)

Check out some of these other wacky laws, place names and signs from around the world!

Yet another gallery of the craziness that is Dubai

We should have a permanent feature that just consists of jaw-dropping, gushy posts praising the delights of Dubai, with a footnote about their rather over-the-top penal code. Anyways, this is the shot of the marina from a few years in the future. Other monuments to come include Dubailand, to be the largest amusement park in the world; Dubai Sports City (a complex within Dubailand); Ski Dubai, which already opened and is the largest indoor skiing rink in the world; and perhaps most ambitiously, the Dubai spaceport–self explanatory.

Here are more shots of various facets of the city.

GADLING TAKE 5: week of 2-15-2008

Happy Day After Valentine’s Day! If you’re crashing after yesterday’s massive sugar rush, why not just sit down, relax, and peruse the best of this week’s Gadling? Really, it’ll feel good. Better than Valentine’s Day even.

That’s all! Enjoy.