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Meet World’s Biggest Hotel “Abraj Kudai” – 10,000 Rooms, 12 Towers, 4 Helipads



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May 25 2015
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Presently, the world’s top-3 biggest hotels are The Venetian Las Vegas, MGM Grand Las Vegas and First World Hotel (Genting Highlands). While all of them are in the business of gambling, none of them have more than 10,000 rooms. But that is about to change in 2017, two years from now.

World's Biggest Hotel - Mecca Abraj Kudai - Dining 1

The “Abraj Kudai”, the super and mega hotel will take the throne as the biggest hotel on planet Earth. Currently under construction, the US$3.5 billion (£2.3 billion, RM12.6 billion) mega structure will boast a staggering 10,000 rooms and 70 restaurants across an unbelievable 12 towers.

World's Biggest Hotel - Mecca Abraj Kudai - 12 Towers Top Plan View

However, unlike the presently top-3 biggest hotels, the new “Abraj Kudai” will not conduct any gambling activities at all simply because it’s located in Mecca (Makkah), regarded as the holiest city in the religion of Islam. Hence, people who would be spending their nights at the world’s biggest hotel will be there for the “Hajj” (pilgrimage).

World's Biggest Hotel - Mecca Abraj Kudai - Side View

Designed by Dar Al Handasah and funded by the Saudi Ministry of Finance, the project has a total built area of 1.4 million-square-metre and will be set in the Manafia district in Makkah’s central zone. London-based design firm Areen Hospitality has been appointed to design the interior spaces, which will be complete with palatial luxury typical of the region.

World's Biggest Hotel - Mecca Abraj Kudai - Room

Modelled on a “traditional desert fortress”, the super hotel will house a bus station, shopping mall, food courts, conference centre and a lavishly appointed ballroom. However, only two of the 12 towers will offer luxurious 5-star accommodations, while the rest of the towers will be 4-star. Interestingly, 5-floors are reserved for the exclusive use of the Saudi royal family.

World's Biggest Hotel - Mecca Abraj Kudai - Four Helipads

With such a huge accommodation area dedicated to the royal family, no wonder four helipads would be accompanied the biggest hotel, ever ready to receive the mega rich of the Saudis. However, critics have pointed that in their rush to build the biggest and the luxurious, there have been very little heritage left in Saudi Arabia’s holy cities.

World's Biggest Hotel - Mecca Abraj Kudai - Dining 2

For example, Irfan al-Alawi, director of the UK-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, who had returned from a trip to the city commented how the Saudi authorities are trying very hard to destroy anything in Mecca that is associated with the prophet’s life. In Mecca and Medina, anything that relates to the prophet could be in the bulldozer’s sights.

Saudi Arabia Bir e Tuwa - Facing Demolition

The house of Khadijah, prophet’s first wife, was crushed to make way for 1,400 public lavatories; the house of his companion Abu Bakr is now the site of a Hilton hotel; his grandson’s house was flattened by the king’s palace. A short distance from these sites now stands a Paris Hilton store and a gender-segregated Starbucks.

 

There’s little doubt that Mecca is slowly but surely turning itself into “Mecca-hattan”, similar to New York City’s Manhattan. With more new high rise buildings coming up, will there be any sign of proof that prophet Muhammad was born in this place? A 1,400-year-old well, Bir e Tuwa, where the prophet spent a night, is now facing demolition – for hotels.

Saudi Arabia 500-Year-Old Abbasid Columns - Destroyed

In the Grand Mosque itself, a group of 500-year-old stone columns and vaults have now been demolished to make room for a vast extension. The Abbasid columns in the mosque were inscribed with calligraphic poetry recounting Muhammad’s journeys and associated sites of pilgrimage.

Saudi Arabia Kaaba - Beyond Recognition

With a US$20 billion (£13 billion, RM73 billion) Grand Mosque expansion project going on, the sight of Kaaba and its surrounding is beyond recognition over the last decade. The holy black cube, around which pilgrims must walk, has now been “upgraded” with an elevated roundabout. Although a temporary measure, the three-storey cage blocks the sacred black box from the view of thousands of others.

Saudi Arabia Abraj al-Bait - US$7000 per night

But the main problem with all the biggest and most luxurious concrete structures thrown into the holy city is this – it has become very expensive for the normal pilgrims. The Abraj al-Bait clocktower, completed in 2011 at a cost of US$15 billion (£9.6 billion, RM54 billion), is charging US$7,000 (£4,500, RM25,200) per night  for suites with the best views of the Kaaba during peak seasons. Naturally, the new “Abraj Kudai” will charge more.

 

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