On the other hand, for estate agent FPDSavills, marketing the first of the 10,000 homes being constructed there to UK buyers isn't exactly a holiday. Buyers are used to reserving a home off-plan, while it is still under construction, but they are not used to the idea of the site itself being under construction. The Palm, or more accurately Palms, as there are two of them, are being billed by their developer, Nakheel, as "the eighth wonder of the world". Certainly, creating two 5 × 5 km palm-shaped islands and their surrounding circular "atolls" is no mean feat of engineering.
The Palm Jumeirah is the farthest advanced in its development, with construction of buildings scheduled to start this year and move-in likely to happen early in 2006. It is described as a peaceful retreat, or as peaceful as you can get when surrounded by 5000 homes on the palm's fronds, nine hotels on its trunk and a further 40 hotels on the atoll. The Palm Jebel Ali, which will be completed 18 months later, has a sea village theme, but again it will be packed with 5000 homes and 50 hotels.
Nakheel describes its guiding architectural concept as "Arab eclectic", with houses being designed in contemporary, Mediterranean, European and Arabic styles. It certainly appeals to footballers: 14 top players have made reservations so far, including David Beckham.
A 6500 ft2 four-bedroom villa is selling at 2,860,000 dirhams – or £483,000. But that kind of money doesn't buy everything – the Beckhams will have to go in search of their own white goods.
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