Discovering the Heart of Europe


Located just a 20-minute boat ride off the mainland coast of Dubai, there lies an island paradise-in-the-making. In fact, it’s hundreds of islands that have been designed, developed and fashioned to offer guests a truly exceptional experience.

Of these islands, six will become the known as the ‘Heart of Europe’ collection, taking inspiration from European cities for their namesake, appearance and ambience. Once completed, the six islands will be home to 14 hotels. Each of the islands will focus on recreating a picturesque European destination, replicating historical landmarks and iconic scenery from across the continent.

The Dhs7 billion development forms part of Dubai’s larger ‘World Islands’, a collection of 300 man-made islands formed in the shape of the world map. The islands are predicted to span six million square feet and accommodate up to 16,000 people. They are currently even visible from space!

Working with some of the world’s best architects and technology providers, the Heart of Europe will ensure each island has their own characteristics, culture and style but all will epitomise luxury.

The first of the islands due to open this year is Sweden, which will have 10, four-storey seven-bedroom ‘palaces’, with some designed by Bentley Home. Each villa will have its own infinity pool, glass-roofed rooftop nightclub and private beach. The Heart of Europe website states these are the only private beach villas in the world where you actually own the beach.

In 2018, the Maldives-inspired and heart-shaped St Petersburg island is scheduled to be opened as an idyllic honeymoon retreat. Below the island will be a 200,000-square-metre planted coral nursery that is planned to house more than 100,000 pieces of coral.

St Petersburg island will also act as connection point for guests to access the 102 Floating Seahorse villas which will be positioned nearby. These three-storey villas will have an underwater ground floor offering a (very literal) ocean view from the master bedroom and en-suite.

Development plans for other islands include using technology to create climate-control, with a snow plaza set for Switzerland and rainy streets for London. Amsterdam hotels have been allocated as pet-friendly, Munich will have a futuristic focus and the Tzar hotel is aiming to offer a 7-star luxury experience.

Currently within The World development, only Lebanon is open to the public for access to its two beaches with water sports activities, swimming pool and restaurant ‘Toro Blanco’. The project’s architect Marco Bolzoni has said he hopes the Heart of Europe will offer guests an authentic taste of the continent’s best food, architecture and culture.

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