A sneak peek into an Italian escape in Dubai – the emirate’s best-kept secret

Dubai 11 May 2020

Kleindienst Group, developer of The Heart of Europe – the US$5 billion (Dh18.3 billion) master-planned leisure tourism island destination – has speeded up the construction activities to deliver the Phase 1 of the mega project in the fourth quarter of 2020 that includes Portofino Hotel, an authentic Italian retreat in Dubai.

Once delivered, it will create a unique experiential touristic attraction for local, regional and international visitors, who will discover an upgraded leisure and hospitality experience from Europe and the Maldives in Dubai.

At the Portofino Hotel, visitors will be greeted in Italian language, offered fresh Italian food – with an arrival experience aligned on the original coastal city and its residential harbor – to offer a complete Italian experience. Each hotel suite has been designed for families where kids have separate sleeping areas. 

It is the first five-star family-only hotel and resort in the region dedicated to family (enjoy time together and also relax in their own space and privacy) and with traditional Italian design and contemporary Mediterranean architecture. All hotel suites have been designed to offer the ultimate upgrade with en-suite viewing decks and panoramic sea views.

Portofino Hotel will deploy specially trained staff to take care of children so that the parents could have their own free time to enjoy the attractions across the hotel such as swimming, snorkelling, diving and in other water sports.

Portofino hotel is deploying technologies that offers ‘touchless’ experience to guests – keyless or card-less entry to the room – through a mobile phone app that opens the doors to the suites, controls the television, preferred music channels, room temperature and shades, and the booking of customised services in the entire destination.

“Local tourists from the UAE and the GCC countries will no longer need to secure a visa and travel outside of the UAE to seek the thrills of an Italian vacation from the fourth quarter of this year onwards,” Josef Kleindienst, Chairman of Kleindienst Group, said.

“The Heart of Europe is one of the safest tourism destinations in the world. The outbreak of the Covid-19 has shifted public focus and investment interest on offshore locations that are safe and unpolluted. The Heart of Europe is one of the UAE’s best-kept secret that is going to be unveiled later this year.”

Thanks to its exceptional location 4 kilometres away from Dubai’s famous shores and the stringent safety standards that have been implemented, the Heart of Europe remains completely free from the Coronavirus threat. 

More than 1,200 construction workers, technicians, engineers and environmental experts are currently working on site to deliver the resort hotel.

“However, any visitor entering the island is tested for Coronavirus and is allowed to enter the island only after they are found free of any viral infection. This will continue to be our policy when the hotels open up after the virus is eliminated. This way, the Heart of Europe will remain a safe place for all tourists, regardless of any emergency onshore,” Josef Kleindienst said.

Portofino in Dubai – An Italian Escape

This hotel draws inspiration from the original holiday resort Portofino which is famous for its picturesque harbour and colourful architecture. The Italian ambience is set as guests approach the lobby. The design concept was from an Italian architect’s perspective, a sensescape – a holistic experience to invigorate each of the senses on land and in the sea.

The resort hotel comprises of three wings offering atmospheric and open views over the skyline, the sea and the beach and marina. The three wings are named after popular Italian terms that evoke the charm of Italy: Bellissima, Dolce Vita, Felicita.

The town’s natural harbour, coloured facades with balconies, flower and restaurants jell well with the blue waters of the Arabian Gulf. It reflects pure love for the Italian villages and is a tribute to the real Mediterranean atmosphere. 

The exclusive top floor is home to a sky garden lounge with panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf and the Dubai skyline that are sure to offer the most scenic sunrise and sunset views in Dubai.

Guests will be transported to the idyllic world of Portofino inspired by its Genoan counterpart, the tiny fishing village and summer playground of the rich in Italy. 

Guests arriving at the hotel’s own fully serviced private marina (known as Paraggi Bay) will be greeted with a warm Italian welcome. The whole front-of-house team will be Italian, bringing impeccable European hospitality. Even the time zone and currency will be European, with visitors able to pay in Euros.

For dining, there will be a choice of four restaurants and six bars – all serving organic-only, Mediterranean-inspired food, which will be a key feature across all 15 hotel properties on The Heart of Europe. 

In the hotel, an exclusive Lady’s only area, La Donna, provides exquisite quality time for mothers and services encompassing a spa, a socialising lounge and fine dining services in close proximity to their children at the Kids’ Club. 

There are two infinity pools, one inside and one outside with views of Dubai and six (under design) islands offering treatments inspired by the natural elements of air, fire, water, metal, and wood. 

A 24-hour concierge, baby-sitting services and chauffeur will ensure all requests are catered for. There will also be a host of personal shoppers, beauticians, nutritionists, therapists and personal trainers to provide the individual touches for a perfect vacation. 

The Kingdom of Portofino Kids’ Club will give opportunity to both parents and children to learn about marine ecology and experience, first-hand, coral fragmentation that will help build new coral beds to attract many of the 514 species of marine life in the Arabian Gulf – the experience designed by specialists from European family-only hotels. 

The Kids’ Club will be operated by a world leading kids’ club operator from Europe. The hotel lobby area will host 514 aquariums representing species of marine life from the Arabian Gulf to educate and delight guests by bringing the ocean to life.

As part of the Kingdom of Portofino Kids’ Club, there will be a snow-play area, where children from the Middle East can experience the novelties of building a snowman or creating snow angels for the first time.

Guests and day visitors will also enjoy the new surge in marine life due to the coral reef programme providing an excellent seascape for snorkeling, a pastime that has not been available on this coastline before. People will be able to experience hours of enjoyment swimming with exotic fish and turtles and even diving to catch their own pearl oysters.

During the day, families will be able to take time together to stroll along two exclusive beaches and landscaped gardens with Mediterranean flora and flowering plants. Furthermore, the beach area will provide access to a fully equipped water sports centre.

The Italian hotel will host hanging gardens on the façade with 31,000 plants. It will also offer sustainable entertainment with zero emissions with no harm to nature such as hologram circus and synchronized swimming shows.

The hotel is also conveniently located near the awe-inspiring climate-controlled streets covering 1 kilometre, where it will snow and rain whilst maintaining a temperature of 27 degrees, 5 kilometres per hour winds and 60 per cent humidity mirroring the climate in southern Europe during the summer.

Portofino will enable visitors to experience the traditional and authentic lifestyle that a luxury Italian port village has to offer in a prestigious contemporary décor, high end boutiques, fine Italian dining, picturesque landscapes, white sandy beaches, clear waters, children’s clubs and water sports including snorkeling and diving for pearls in the coral reefs.

To complete the best of Portofino experience, acclaimed and authentic cultural Italian festivals will take place annually to bring the community of guests together to celebrate and enjoy the ‘Dolce Vita’.  Their world will be truly transformed as though they are in Portofino itself.

With white sandy beaches and over 500,000 square metres of coral reefs, the pioneering Heart of Europe project will also feature Spanish olive trees that are between 100 and 1,500 years old that were sourced from Andalusia, a region in Spain’s southern coast, and the world’s first climate controlled rainy street and snow plaza.  

The Heart of Europe will deploy sustainable landscaping that will be pesticide free, fungicide free and will be showered with recycled water. It will be a car-free island where tourists will move around with sustainable transport by land and water and will be treated with organic food.

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