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Top 6 reasons to head to the UAE in 2017

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are rapidly changing cities with various hotels and countless restaurants opening every day.  Not only are there numerous places to dine and shop, but with new attractions in development and under construction, what else can visitors to the UAE expect in 2017?

1. Dubai Ayn

Did you know that Dubai will soon be home to the world’s tallest Ferris wheel? Originally titled the Dubai Eye, this mega structure will be situated on the newly created Bluewaters Island off the coast from JBR (that’s Jumeirah Beach Residents to all you visitors). The attraction will provide guests with views of the Palm Jumeirah and the Atlantis Hotel. Standing at an impressive 210m the wheel will carry up to 1,400 passengers in its 48 capsules and is expected to receive up to 3 million visitors a year. There will also be the obligatory shopping and dining outlets. Wondering about the unique name?  ‘Ayn’ is the sixteenth letter of the Arabic alphabet, and translates as ‘eye.’

Location: Bluewaters Island, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai
Expected Opening: 2017 TBD

2. The Louvre Abu Dhabi

What am I most excited for?  The Louvre Abu Dhabi!  This beautiful building has been delayed numerous times in the past, but it seems that 2017 may finally be the year that this cultural attraction will throw open its doors.  Located on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island – the cultural hub of the capital city – the Louvre will contain a multitude of artworks, all housed under some tremendous architecture designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel.  Apart from the Museum Galleries, visitors may also reflect within the promenades or explore outstanding temporary exhibitions in a dedicated space, a children’s museum, auditorium, café, restaurant, and museum shops.  The latticed roof is already in place and the sea walls (forming part of the rumored underwater aspect) have been flooded.  With construction complete, it’s now only a matter of time until opening day.

Location: Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Expected Opening: Winter 2017

3. La Perle by Dragone

Located in Al Habtoor City near the Dubai Water Canal, La Perle will be the region’s first permanent live action stage show with over 450 performances per year.  Presented in a 1,300-seat state of the art theatre, filled with 2.7 million liters of water.  This live-action show, directed by legendary artistic director Franco Dragone, promises to push the boundaries of performance art and comes to us from a team with over 130 cast and crew.  La Perle will open in The Atrium, a five-story complex home to seven restaurants which are still TBC at this stage.

Location: The Atrium, Al Habtoor City, Dubai
Expected Opening: August 2017

4. Dubai Frame

This project – designed and conceived by Fernando Donis – was originally scheduled to open for National Day 2015, and it’s likely that the Dubai Frame will be ready very soon.  Located in Zabeel Park, the frame offers a unique perspective on the bust metropolis from the sky bridge (in the form of two 150m towers).  On one side, Dubai’s skyline of high-rise towers will take prominence.  While on the other, the hustle and bustle of the older areas of Bur Dubai and Deira will be visible.  Depending which way you look, you’ll see ‘old’ or ‘new’ Dubai, which uniquely highlights the Dubai landmarks.  The Frame forms an aesthetic and architectural landmark that creates a bridge between the past and the present and is expected to attract nearly 2 million tourists a year.

Location: Zabeel Park, Dubai
Expected Opening:  2017 TBD

5. Dubai Safari Park

This site in Al Warqa (opposite Dragon Mart) is nearing completion, and the animals have been on-site since last year to acclimatize to the desert heat (and will replace the Dubai Zoo).  Home to 10,500 animals, including around 350 rare species, the park will be divided into eight major areas, including: Arabian Village, Asian Village and African Village (with future additions to come in the form of the American and Australian exhibits).  A large theatre will seat 1,000 people, but the main draw of Dubai Safari’s interactive experience will be the safari.  Guests will be allowed to view animals while riding in the comfort of eco-friendly solar-powered air-conditioned jeeps on an hour-long adventure.

Location: Al Warqa, Dubai
Expected Opening: 2017 TBD

6. All the food and drink!

Regular Citizen Femme readers will know that I’m obsessed with food and can’t wait for all the new openings in 2017.  As the summer comes to a close, expectations are high.  While we’ve already seen a number of top-rated venues open earlier in the year, 2017 isn’t over just yet.  The top of our list is the new Sean Connolly restaurant at the fabulous Dubai Opera, making for an altogether posh evening in Business Bay.  Also filed under exciting news is the extension and ongoing additions to the Galleria Mall in Abu Dhabi.  The capital city is exploding with recent additions at Al Maryah Island including Coya, and the expected opening of La Petite Maison and 99 Sushi Bar.

Location: Various
Expected Opening: 2017

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