The United Arab Emirates boasts the world’s tallest building, Bourj Khalifa in Dubai, as well as the world’s largest prayer rug in Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Saudi Arabia now seems to be following its Gulf neighbor’s example with plans to build the world’s largest hotel, just over a mile from Mecca.
The development project is estimated to cost around $2.5 billion and will include a whopping 10,000 rooms – large enough to accommodate the population of a small town.
Abraj Kudai, which is expected to span 4.5 million square feet, will be located in the Manafia area in Mecca’s central zone, an ideal location for the two million Muslims who travel there for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
It will consist of 12 towers, each with forty-four floors, with certain spaces designed to accommodate Hajj visitors. And to meet all the pilgrims’ needs and more, the space will additionally feature a shopping mall, a full-sized convention center, rooftop helipads, a food court with 70 restaurants, and a bus stop.
Consistent with a style typical to the wealthy region, the hotel’s palatial luxury will be designed with high class standards. Ten of the 12 towers will provide four-star accommodation, with the remaining two being reserved for the VIP clientele with five-star amenities.
According to Arabian Business, the hotel’s architecture, which will be designed by multinational firm Dar Al Handasah, is set to "create an iconic landmark that will reflect a contemporary interpretation of a traditional desert fortress."
London-based firm Areen Hospitality has been commissioned to design the hotel’s rooms and interior.
"We are honoured to be trusted with such a challenge. Designing hotel interiors on such a massive scale, with no operators yet in place, requires complex programming and design resourcing" said Andrew Lindwood, head of design at Areen Hospitality.
Abraj Kudai is expected to open in 2017, and may spark an unlikely rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Las Vegas, which currently hosts the world’s largest hotel, the Venetian and the Palazzo.