Sadly, in all probability, I am never going to step onto the 97th floor of the world’s tallest residential building ever again.
Tameer, the developer behind Princess Tower – which is 414 metres tall, exactly half the height of Burj Khalifa – called a press conference earlier this week to deliver the project. The event took place in a hall on the 97th floor – the highest accessible point in the tower – and as you can imagine, the views from the windows were stunning.
The panoramic vista of the entire Palm Jumeirah, with the ocean on both sides and the yachts below, left most journalists gazing and phone-picture-capturing from the windows of the hall.
After the conference, Tameer had organised a tour of the building and we started off with inspecting one of the best apartments that money can buy. The 7,000 sq ft half-floor penthouse was massive – so much so, that one can actually get lost in the maze of rooms (seriously!). One thing that I noticed though was that despite boasting spectacular views, most of the balconies seemed tiny – one of them was so narrow that a fellow journalist joked it must be for the house cat.
Most of the female journalists with me were extremely impressed by the kitchen, which was spacious and bright. Probably one of the other interesting features was a room specifically designed for shoes – though I am pretty certain I can fit almost all my belongings into it.
We were next paraded to the extra facilities that the building boasts – two enormous gyms, a table tennis room, a billiards room, and surprisingly small swimming pools (indoor and outdoor).
Ahmad, an investor I bumped into in the billiards room told me he was happy with the tower, but had just one grievance. “The pool is too small,” he said. When I asked John Zwets, Tameer’s chief development officer about this, he didn’t have much to say. “It is the way it is,” he said.
Having toured the place, when we were returning to the 97th floor (ears popping on the lift), Zwets told us that we were in one of the fastest elevators in Dubai, travelling at six metres per second. Not as fast the Burj Khalifa, but fast enough.
Back in the scenic 97th floor, I asked Tameer’s president Federico Tauber if they had any plans to convert the hall into a café or any other commercial outlet.
“It would be nice to commercialise it, but the problem is that it’s not up to us since the building has been sold,” he said.
Which brings me back to my initial point. Unless I make a rich friend who buys an apartment in Princess Tower – which seems a bit far-fetched at the moment – I am not going to be looking down on the world from the world’s tallest residential building again.