Project Name: One & Only
Location : Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Completion: August 1999 (The Palace), November 2002 (Arabian Court and
Residence & Spa)
Inc. - J.
Robert Behling, FASLA, PLA
Leisure & Development, Inc. - Dene
The One & Only Royal Mirage is considered the most stylish and
successful resort on Jumeirah Beach and one of the first resort destinations to
pay tribute to Arabian architecture and hospitality on a truly regal scale.
Hailed as one of the finest five-star resorts in the region, the first phase of
One & Only Royal Mirage, The Palace, opened in August 1999. The 65-acre
resort is comprised of three equally distinctive properties - The Palace,
Arabian Court and Residence & Spa - offering visitors a unique cultural
experience with landscaped gardens, water fountains and meandering pathways.
The 640-room resort destination accurately reflects the magical moments and
mythic charms of old Arabia with the use of intricate arches, domes and towers,
interspersed by courtyards, fountains, pools, rich green lawns, and immaculate
The architectural vernacular of buildings and the landscape for
the entire resort rely heavily upon two of the six traditional Islamic Schools
of Design, with the greatest emphasis given to the Moorish and Mughal styles,
which are the most closely compatible in design vernacular. Important elements
of the Islamic Garden Schools include the fortress walls which protect this
private space from the outside world, a formality of design that relies on
symmetry and axiality, garden spaces offering ample opportunity for rest and
contemplation, running water and pools to reflect the sky and garden elements,
and cool the garden courtyards.
Water was also used to emphasize visual axes,
and seemingly multiplies the adjacent architecture and its decorative
detailing. While the gardens celebrate the rich history of the Islamic Gardens
Schools, the resort is not a direct interpretation of these schools, as the
landscape incorporates regionally appropriate plant materials that thrive in
the harsh desert seaside conditions.
One of the biggest design challenges was the seaside location with
its hot, arid and humid climate, where temperatures can reach over 120 0F
in the summer. Another was creating a
unified feel for a resort that was developed in two phases. These were
addressed by using plants and construction materials that are indigenous to the
area throughout the resort, such as arid-climate/salt tolerant plants and
native sandstones. Indigenous date palms, found locally in the desert, were
utilized to create allées and help organize spaces and circulation as well as
provide filtered shade along walkways, terraces and pool decks.
available sandstones were used extensively for walkways, terraces and pool
decks where hot surface temperatures could be an issue. Numerous courtyards
with water features and shade to provide cooling effects were located
throughout the resort to provide comfortable spaces in all seasons. Finally the
design team of landscape architects, architects and interior designers,
coordinated closely with the owners throughout the design process, to merge the
architecture and landscape into a seamless transition of materials and design
style throughout the resort.