Artificially cooled beach at city hotel sparks energy-use debate

In recent years, Dubai has been a showcase for excess. The oohs and aahs from around the world have been audible as yet another contender goes up for the world's tallest tower, or as the odd massive artificial island or two is spread out into the sea. But the latest hotel in this architects' playground has displayed a disregard for the green agenda that is alarming conservationists from around the globe, the Guardian has reported.

The Palazzo Versace hotel, part of a chain co-launched by fashion designer Gianni Versace's company, will be built in Dubai's Culture Village area. Luxury is, of course, the order of the day, but what is really worrying carbon-counters is the hotel's 'chilled central lagoon pool' and a beach, on which guests can lounge on artificially cooled sand, whilst being lulled by gentle breezes from wind machines. British firm Hyder Consulting are structural engineer on the project but have been asked to sign a confidentiality agreement and cannot release details of just how much energy all this will cost.

Robin Oakley, head of climate and energy at Greenpeace UK, has spoken out against the project: 'It's grotesque that while the world's poorest people face the loss of their homes and livelihoods, as well as disease and starvation, because of climate change, the world's richest people think it's acceptable to waste precious energy so pointlessly on things such as artificially cooled beaches.'