Hold on to your hats, IT readers. I may have discovered the most unsustainable travel innovation yet. While browsing the news for our weekly Radar roundup, I came across a story announcing plans by the new Palazzo Versace in Dubai to…wait for it — air-condition its beach. That’s right, air-condition an outdoor beach for those poor (billionaire) souls who have been forced to sunbathe on warm sand all these years (cue collective “awwww”).
It’s not air-conditioning in the traditional sense: The hotel, slated for completion in 2010, will employ a network of pipes beneath the sand containing a coolant that sucks the heat from the surface. In addition, the hotel’s swimming pool will be cooled, and plans are being considered for giant blowers that will “waft a gentle breeze over the beach,” the Times Online reports.
Yes, it’s true that Dubai has money to burn, as a resort city in one of the world’s wealthiest countries, the United Arab Emirates. And until recently, the UAB was holed in a rare bubble that was mostly unaffected by the plummeting global economy. But it also currently holds the record for the largest per capita carbon footprint in the world. Naturally, environmentalists have been horrified by the plan.
From the Times:
Soheil Abedian, founder and president of Palazzo Versace, said he believed it is possible to design a refrigerated beach and make it sustainable. “We will suck the heat out of the sand to keep it cool enough to lie on,” he said. “This is the kind of luxury that top people want.”
Really? Who are these “top people?” With the luxury travel industry in crisis, and some of the world’s richest people becoming leaders in sustainability, it seems to me like a ridiculously ill-advised investment. In fact, one commenter on the Digg website said, “I honestly thought this article was going to be from The Onion.”
How Abedian aims to carry out his plan sustainably remains to be seen.
Perhaps he will prove me wrong. In the meantime, all I can think is, could this be the worst travel idea ever?
What do you think?
Could a beach be sustainably refrigerated? Share some of your favorite “bad travel projects” in the comments below.
Photo: Dubai is a bastion of luxury hotels, including the Burj Al-Arab, the world’s first seven-star hotel. By friend_faraway via Flickr.