(CNN) Just when we thought the world’s largest indoor theme park was hard to top, Dubai proves us wrong yet again.
Its latest jaw-dropping megaproject is a tropical rainforest in a skyscraper hotel — another world-first for the emirate.
The 7,000-square-meter rainforest will be part of the upcoming Rosemont Hotel and Residences Dubai, one of the properties under Hilton’s luxury independent brand Curio – A Collection by Hilton.
The complex, expecting to welcome its first guests in 2018, consists of two 53-story-high towers including a 448-key hotel and a 280-room serviced apartment tower.
“Our client’s concept was to create a very unique destination for the city of Dubai, and also to create a project that would be a destination itself, with every possible leisure and entertainment amenity inside the hotel,” says DJ Armin, principal architect and managing partner of ZAS Architects Dubai.
The firm teamed up with Dubai architects Kieferle & Partner on the design.
Armin says they’re hoping to create a family-friendly leisure space that can be used year-round.
“As the site wasn’t a beachfront location, we looked at how we could create a new type of outdoor leisure space in the city, and also fully integrate nature into the guest experience,” Armin tells CNN.
A rainforest was the answer.
“Inside the rainforest, we’ve created a landscape akin to a full-scale tropical environment — complete with adventure trails, a sandless beach, a splash pool, waterfalls, streams and a rainforest cafe,” says Armin.
There will also be a “prehistoric Jurassic-inspired marsh.”
“Technological features include an advanced sensory rain system that creates a 360-degree experience, simulating the sensation of being surrounded by rainfall without actually getting wet.”
Sensors control where the rain will fall depending on where people are detected.
Water will be collected, stored from condensation and recycled to create a humid environment similar to a tropical rainforest.
The outdoor rainforest will be located on the top level of the entertainment podium that connects the hotel and residential towers.
The project is still at an early stage, but it appears the rainforest will be open to the public as well as hotel guests.
“The hotel will also offer guests a number of stylish food and beverage outlets, including three restaurants, a lobby cafe and two bars,” Curio’s global head, Mark Nogal, tells CNN.
“Guests will have access to a fully equipped gym, an outdoor pool and a spa where they can indulge in luxurious treatments.”
The outdoor pool will be a cantilevered, glass-bottomed infinity sky pool with a bar.
Robotic luggage handling, digital waterfalls, kinetic light sculptures are some other highlights of the hotel’s interiors.
Each room will be accessed and managed through a smart phone. All rooms will be designed to provide a view of the Gulf.
Maggie Hiufu Wong is a former CNN staff writer now working as a freelance journalist in London