Architects selected for first Middle East IR

The IR is expected to open in 2026.
The IR is expected to open in 2026.

Marjan and Wynn resorts have named the architects for the integrated resort slated to open on the Al Marjan Island in 2026.

United Arab Emirates.- The developer Marjan, RAK Hospitality Holding and Wynn Resorts have announced the appointment of international design firm HKS Architects as the design consultant for the new integrated Wynn Resort set to open in Ras Al Khaimah in 2026.

Located on the man-made Al Marjan Island, the multi-billion-dollar development will be Wynn Resorts’ first in the MENA region and its first beachfront resort globally. A major addition to Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism sector, the project will feature a hotel as well as entertainment and gaming amenities.

Al Marjan Island is a man-made island featuring five-star hotels and residential developments. The Wynn Resorts development is currently envisioned to include a luxury hotel with more than 1,000 rooms, a high-end shopping esplanade, state-of-the-art meetings and convention facility, an exclusive spa, more than ten dining experiences and lounges, a wide array of entertainment choices, a gaming area and other amenities.

Marjan chief executive officer of Marjan Abdulla Abdooli, said: “The new resort will be the first of its kind in the region offering guests exceptional accommodations, dining and entertainment in a truly spectacular setting. We look forward to realising our vision for the Wynn Resort on Al Marjan Island with HKS Architects and raising the benchmark in luxury hospitality in the Middle East to boost tourism in the Emirate and attract visitors from across the world.”

Master planning and design principal of HKS Architects Kevin Underwood said: “It is a huge honour to be part of a development that will have such an impact and create an array of opportunities that go far beyond the tourism sector.

“We will bring our global expertise and wealth of experience in luxury hotels and resorts to design something truly unique, sustainable and befitting of this new era of tourism focused on quality and one-of-a-kind guest experiences.”

It remains to be seen exactly what gaming will be available at the IR. As in many Islamic countries, gambling is illegal in the United Arab Emirates. However, Wynn’s plans explicitly mention “a gaming area”. Those involved have been vague about what that means, apparently leaving the definition intentionally open.

That could mean they’re waiting to see what might happen in terms of legislation, which could define whether gaming turns out to mean esports, or whether there might be a chance to get casino table games in there, at least for foreigners.

The Al Marjan artificial island is 15 minutes from the Ras Al Khaimah International Airport and 45 minutes from the Dubai International Airport. It boasts 7.8 kilometres of beaches and 23 kilometres of waterfront.

In the US, WynnBET, the online sports betting and casino app from Wynn Resorts, has added New York and Louisiana to its US presence this year. The app was already available in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Tennessee and Virginia.

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