Caesar’s Palace, the legendary Las Vegas entertainment venue, has teamed up with Dubai developer Meraas to create its first hotel and leisure resort in the Middle East.
The American hotel operator — known for its sumptuous recreation of life under the Roman emperors — will be the main attraction on the Bluewater Island development off Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Resort, with two hotels, two apartment buildings, a beach club and other entertainment facilities to open by the end of the year.
Bob Morse, president of Caesar’s Entertainment hospitality division, told Arab News that the development was its first in the region, and the first without gaming facilities — a significant revenue stream elsewhere in the world but forbidden under Islamic law.
“In Vegas, around 60 percent of our revenue is from non-gaming activities. We are a company that is increasingly morphing into hospitality,” he added.
Entertainment on Bluewater would consist of restaurants, food and beverage, live shows and possibly a show theater along the lines of the big Las Vegas attractions. “We want facilities that change from family oriented during the day to 21-plus in the evening,” he added.
The plan will see the creation of 479 five star hotel rooms on the island, which is connected by a roadway to the mainland. The island already has the biggest Ferris wheel in the world, the Dubai Eye, which is in the final stages of testing.
Morse said that Caesar’s was aware of the changes under way in Saudi Arabia, which include a big focus on new leisure and entrainment activities, but had not held any talks with potential partners to bring the Las Vegas concept to the Kingdom.
“Everything the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is doing makes the Saudi market more appealing than it was a year ago. We’re very excited about the Saudi market as a whole, with all the changes going on.
It makes sense to go in now when it didn’t make sense to do so before,” he said.
Morse said that Caesar’s had been in talks with Dubai authorities for two years over the project, attracted by the emirate’s position as a financial and resort center for the Middle East.
Abdullah Al-Habbai, chairman of Dubai government owned Meraas, said: “The deal with Caesar’s is a significant achievement for the emirate’s thriving hospitality and entertainment sectors.”