The shipbuilding arm of Dubai World has signed a deal to develop undersea hotels with a Swiss firm on Wednesday.
Drydocks World unveiled an agreement with BIG InvestConsult, which holds the technology rights, to build the World Discus Hotel.
The hotel, featuring a discus-shaped residential underwater building connected to another discus above water, will be funded by BIG, which is in talks with other investors.
"Drydocks and Maritime World is appointed as the exclusive main contractor for construction of the new concept hotels and cities floating in the Middle East," Drydocks said in a statement.
Extravagant projects were the hallmark of Dubai during the 2002-2008 boom years and the emirate is home to man-made islands shaped like palms as well as a map of the world. It also boasts the world's tallest tower and an indoor ski slope.
Thanks to a strong showing by its logistics, trade and tourism businesses and benefiting from its status as a safe haven amid the Arab Spring, Dubai has been making a recovery.
On Wednesday, the firms said two developments with five hotels attached to them are planned in the Middle East. The Swiss firm is eyeing the coast of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
"We are in the design and fabrication side for the project ... it's the same concept as rigs," Khamis Juma Buamim, chairman of Drydocks World told reporters.
"This project has seven different types of designs and (each will cost in) the range of around $50 million to $120 million. The amount varies based on the design."
"The discussions are to build these around the world, not just the UAE," he said.
“Water Discus Hotel project opens many new fields of development for hotel and tourism sector, housing and city sector in the coastal off-shore areas, as well as new opportunities for ecology support by creation of new underwater ecosystems and activities on underwater world protection. We expect to cooperate efficiently with Drydocks World, being an expert in high technology steel constructions. Additionally we would like to create here in the UAE the international environmental programme and center of the Underwater World Protection – with Water Discus Hotel as a laboratory tool for oceans and seas environment protection and research” – said Bogdan Gutkowski, President of BIG INVEST Group.