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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Fortunes of Lebanon island look up with the launch of new projects on Dubai's The World

The Island, as it is known, has been for sale since February and the agent behind the sale has recorded more interest as progress has emerged of the neighbouring Heart of Europe

The island of Lebanon in the collection of man-made The World islands off the coast of Dubai. Reuters / Jumana El Heloueh
The island of Lebanon in the collection of man-made The World islands off the coast of Dubai. Reuters / Jumana El Heloueh

For years Lebanon sat alone in The World as the first publicly-accessible island to be completed in the ambitious project off the coast of Dubai.

Having opened to the public as a private beach club and resort in 2014, The Island, as it is called, has served a varied clientele, from staging corporate events to hosting sunseekers willing to make the 5km boat ride to the isolate setting.

It has also attracted string of mixed reviews on TripAdvisor, with more than half rating their experience either "poor" or "terrible".

The owner, businessman Ravi Raman, put it up for sale in February and it has been sitting on Dubai property listings ever since.

But its fortunes are changing with the revival of The World project following the start of work on The Heart of Europe a six-island, Dh7 billion development that will include the world’s first climate-controlled streets featuring, it is claimed, rain and snow.

Alex Whayman, a sales consultant at estate agents Allsopp and Allsopp, which has been tasked with selling the island, has since received more inquiries thanks to progress on The Heart of Europe in recent weeks.

“It’s definitely helping, because it is getting The World islands out there again,” he said.

“We have had a few interested parties. We have had inquiries from sheikhs looking to build a very private place on there and others looking to use it as a beach club.”

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, July 06, 2012. General scenes from The Royal Island Beach Cub Lebanon, located on Lebanon island, The World Dubai that has been open since March 2012. Images for stock. (ANTONIE ROBERTSON / The National)
The Royal Island Beach Cub Lebanon. Antonie Robertson / The National

In May, the actress Lindsay Lohan said she was planning to revamp the beach club on Lebanon island in an interview with Emirates Woman magazine. However, it appears that deal is no longer going ahead.

Mr Whayman said the owner had been involved in talks about a joint venture, but they would “prefer to sell it outright”.

The listing says that the island is the first in The World archipelago to be fully operational. It recently underwent a refurbishment and is the only island to hold a commercial licence.

“Currently being used as a beach club/resort, this beautiful spot has endless potential," the listing reads.

"Boasting stunning views of the skyline from all vantage points, a restaurant area and pool, several small single-storey villas, two stunning beaches and a multi-purpose circular events area that is ideal for weddings, product launches, fashion shows, award ceremonies and of course parties."

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Mr Raman bought the island for Dh35 million ($9.5m) in late 2012 from Wakil Admed Azmi, an Indian entrepreneur who sold it for a $6.5m loss at the time, according to Arabian Business. If Mr Raman manages to sell it for the Dh80m asking price, he will more than double his investment, not accounting for any money spent on renovations.

The Island has operated as a private beach club and resort since 2014.

It is marketed as “the most unique venue in Dubai” on its website and can host up to 500 guests. Entry, which includes transport back and forth, costs Dh200 for adults and Dh100 for children over the age of five. The south side beach is the most in-demand spot, offering 360-degree views of Dubai’s skyline, according to the resort’s web page.

“Couple that with excellent service and chilled Balearic beats, you have the perfect day out,” it adds.

Updated: August 27, 2018 06:25 PM

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