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UAE megaprojects 2022: 17 marvellous museums, malls and movie screens

From residences to rail lines, check out the UAE’s new architectural wonders.

The UAE loves a megaproject. Time and time again, the country has proved – if you build it, they will come. Whether it’s the recently opened Mohammed Bin Rashid Library or the Museum of the Future, we love watching an architectural wonder rise up from the sand and into the sky. 

The UAE is never short of ambition and the current megaprojects include everything from a high-speed rail line to a snow-capped theme park. Here are the most exciting UAE megaprojects coming to an emirate near you.


Anantara Mina Al Arab, Ras Al Khaimah 

If you’ve been daydreaming of going to the Maldives, well, you can get a taste of that closer to home. Anantara Mina Al Arab is set to open in 2023, and will have 174 guest rooms, suites and swoon-worthy overwater villas. Located in Mina Al Arab, Ras Al Khaimah, it will also be home to an Asian restaurant, seafood grill, beach and pool bar. Plus, there’ll be plenty of water sports to keep the family entertained. 

GO: Visit www.anantara.com/en/mina-al-arab-ras-al-khaimah for more information.


Atlantis – The Royal, Dubai 

We all know the iconic Atlantis, but by the end of the year, there’ll be a new Atlantis in Dubai. Atlantis, The Royal is located on the eastern crescent of The Palm Jumeirah, and the skyline has been transformed with Tetris-like building blocks. When it comes to hotels, this UAE megaproject is certainly making a statement: it will include 795 rooms, 102 suites and – if you have AED 7.65 million to spare – residences going up to five bedrooms. Plus, there’ll be 18 restaurants and bars, including Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner by Heston and Ling Ling by Hakkasan.

GO: Visit www.atlantis.com/atlantis-the-royal for more information.


Cinemacity, Abu Dhabi

Lights, camera, cinemas. Abu Dhabi will be home to a new movie complex and the largest cinema screen in the emirate with the arrival of Cinemacity. Upon completion, this UAE megaproject will house 15-screens and one blockbuster-size screen clocking in at 26 meters wide. The cinema can seat up to 386 people and boasts all the extras to make your movie-going experience special. Think reclining leather seats, in-seat dining and a butler service. The Rabdan leisure project, Al Qana, will also include an outdoor amphitheatre, which is designed to host special events, from red carpet premieres to festivals. 

GO: Visit https://alqana.ae for more information.


Etihad Rail, UAE

All aboard. Europe has the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, the Swiss Alps has The Glacier Express and the UAE will soon have Etihad Rail. When it comes to transport, this is one of the most exciting UAE megaprojects – the train line is expected to connect 11 cities across seven Emirates by 2030. The rail line linking Abu Dhabi and Dubai has been completed, but the whole network will stretch 1,200 kilometres from the border of Saudi Arabia to the border of Oman. 

GO: Visit www.etihadrail.ae for more information. 


Rixos Marina Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi

Rixos Marina Abu Dhabi is a thing of beauty with its head-turning curves and majestic arch. The Atlantis-style structure will be home to a five-star hotel and residences. When this UAE megaproject opens, the venue will include a NatureLife Spa, sports club and Rixy Kids Club. Thanks to its luxurious location, it’s guaranteed to have impressive sea and city views. 

GO: Follow @rixosmarinaabudhabi Instagram for more information. 


Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is set to open in 2025, and is designed by the world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. Gehry’s greatest architectural hits include Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, United States to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, so we are expecting him to produce something just as striking for Abu Dhabi. The venue is located in Saadiyat Cultural District and will be home to 28 galleries, which will showcase modern art from West Africa, North Africa and South Asia. 

GO: Visit https://abudhabiculture.ae/en/experience/museums/guggenheim-abu-dhabi for more information. 


Louvre Abu Dhabi Residences, Abu Dhabi

Aldar is helping build this city with rock and soul. Louvre Abu Dhabi is already the cultural soul of the capital. If only an iconic address will do, you can call Louvre Abu Dhabi Residences your home. The residential complex will include 400 apartments with enviable amenities such as a gym, sauna and cinema. Plus, it will have its very own Le Salon Détente – a gallery for residents that has been curated by your next-door neighbours at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

GO: Visit www.aldar.com/en for more information.


Meydan One Mall, Dubai

Malls aren’t just for shopping. To prove the point, upon completion Meydan One Mall will be home to the world’s longest indoor ski slope, 180 restaurants and bars, 21 cinema screens and dancing fountains. Plus, when you do want to go shopping, of course, there’ll also be more than 500 retail outlets spread across 12,000 square meters. 

GO: Visit http://meydanone.com/en for more information.


Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi 

Mina Zayed is part of the UAE’s origin story, as it’s an old port side trading hub that was instrumental in the country’s economic success. Now it is getting the megaproject treatment, as it will be turned into a three million square meter waterfront destination with entertainment, shopping and homes. If you want to get an idea of what it will look like, the new Mina Zayed fish market has just opened with 104 stalls. 

GO: Visit www.modon.ae/en/mina-zayed-project for more information.


Natural History Museum, Abu Dhabi

Saadiyat Cultural District is the cultural gift that keeps on giving. Natural History Museum is set to open in 2025 in the capital, and it will be a must-visit family-friendly destination. The impressive collection will cover everything from marine biology to palaeontology. When it’s open, you can meet the likes of Stan, a 67-million-year-old skeleton of a tyrannosaurus rex, and the seven-billion-year-old Murchison Meteorite. 

GO: Visit https://abudhabiculture.ae/en/experience/museums/natural-history-museum-abu-dhabi for more information.


One Za’abeel, Dubai

Venice may have the beauty of the Bridge of Sighs, but Dubai has the bombastic One Za’abeel – two skyscrapers connected by the world’s longest cantilever, The Link. The new structure will be home to residences, retail and a new One&Only One Za’abeel hotel. When in Dubai, expect Insta-worthy additions – here it’s the likes of celebrity chefs and a sky-high swimming pool.

GO: Visit https://onezaabeel.com for more information. 


Pixoul, Abu Dhabi 

Gamers, this one’s for you. Pixoul will be the largest gaming hub of its kind in the capital’s Al Qana, and it will house the first ever certified eSports academy in the region. Visitors will have the chance to join eSports games and virtual reality games, which will showcase the latest technology. Plus, if you want to go old school, there’ll be arcades ranging from Space Invaders to Pac-Man. 

GO: Visit https://alqana.ae/en/pixoul-gaming for more information. 


SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi 

In true UAE-style, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi plans to break world records and be home to the world’s largest aquarium. The aquarium will house 25 million litres of water and more than 68,000 marine animals, which range from sharks to sea turtles. Plus, it is set to include Yas SeaWorld Research and Rescue Center – the country’s first dedicated marine research, rescue and rehabilitation centre. SeaWorld Abu Dhabi is set to be complete in 2022. 

GO: Visit www.seaworldabudhabi.com for more information. 


Snow Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi 

When the temperatures rise in the UAE, you’ll want to have Snow Abu Dhabi on your radar. When completed, it will include the world’s largest snow park. The Reem Mall venue will be packed with 12 rides and 17 attractions, which will make this a popular destination for families. Plus, you’ll be able to make a day of it, as there’ll be 85 restaurants and 450 shops.

GO: Visit https://reemmall.ae/snow-abu-dhabi for more information. 


Traditional Souk, Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s Traditional Souk aims to be just that – a traditional market place that you would have found in the UAE’s past. Overlooking the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, it will be a giant marketplace selling antiques, jewellery, spices and more. Plus, visitors can pick up items covering Emirati arts and crafts – pretty pearls, anyone? The area will also be home to restaurants, chalets and a hotel. 

GO: Visit www.alqudrasm.com for more information. 


Yas Creative Hub, Abu Dhabi

Yas, Yas Abu Dhabi. The capital is bringing it when it comes to megaprojects, as Yas Creative Hub will be a space for all the cool kids to hang out. This UAE megaproject is being developed by twofour54 and is the country’s first purpose-built development for media, entertainment and gaming. The hub aims to be a great spot for freelancers to work, and is in a location that is convenient for those who want to commute between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Plus, it includes a shopping mall, beaches, theme park and – for when you need a post-entertainment crash – a new Hilton hotel. 

GO: Visit https://yas.twofour54.com/en/ for more information.  


Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi 

The Founding President of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, is being celebrated with his very own UAE megaproject: Zayed National Museum. Located on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, this museum will be a great starting point for those who want to learn about the history and ambitions of the UAE. The exhibitions will showcase how the country has transformed, and will commemorate the legacy of Sheikh Zayed. Foster + Partners is behind the sleek design, which is set to be a popular tourist attraction.

GO: Visit https://abudhabiculture.ae/en/experience/museums/zayed-national-museum for more information.


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Kohinoor Sahota - Deputy Editor
A sucker for a good story, if you invite Kohinoor to a gallery, comedy night, new restaurant, hiking trip, cycle ride, pool day or just about any activity, preferably with the promise of wine, she’ll probably say yes – that is if she isn’t busy planning her next adventure.

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