Dubai Marina and the Palm Jumeirah were at the epicentre of the accelerating megalomania which engulfed Dubai developers before the credit crunch brought the emirate back to its financial senses – resulting in the cancellation or indefinite postponement of a string of widely publicized world-breaking initiatives, most of which now seem unlikely ever to be realized. Headline schemes included a project to build the world’s first luxury underwater hotel (the “ten-star” Hydropolis), which never managed to get off the seabed, while plans to redevelop the retired QE2 cruise liner as a floating hotel off Palm Jumeirah have also been scuppered (the legendary cruiser currently languishes in Port Rashid, its future still undecided). The Universe archipelago has been another casualty of Dubai’s reduced circumstances, as was the Palm Deira and the futuristic Trump Tower, a grandiose high-rise hotel planned but now abandoned by the US entrepreneur and president, which was meant to provide the Palm Jumeirah with one of its two key landmarks. Even more extravagant were plans for the Nakheel Tower, a kilometre-high colossus which would have smashed the current record for the world’s tallest building but which was finally cancelled in 2009, although its name, if nothing else, lives on at Nakheel Tower and Harbour metro station – a sad memento of thwarted ambitions.

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