Sunday, August 12, 2007

Chill Out - In Dubai

It's Al Gore's nightmare. An ecological hog.
But the Emirati do not seem to care.

Now they already have indoor ski slopes in the desert there, but this is another tourist spot. The recently opened Chillout - ice bar in Dubai is getting lots of attention.
Chillout, its owners say, is the Middle East's first ice lounge—the latest venture in this desert Gulf emirate, which has been transformed by a mania for the biggest, first or most outlandish.

Gulf men in traditional white robes with wives covered in black cloaks, teenagers eager to experience their first cold blast and Westerners who miss the chill are flocking to the bar-restaurant to hang out in what amounts to a freezer.

Everything is made of ice: the walls, tables and chairs; cups, glasses and plates; the art on the wall, the sculptures depicting Dubai's skyline, the beaded curtains, the 7-foot-chandelier and the barWhile the new, $3 million hangout, which opened in a Dubai mall in June, is expected to become a must-see tourist destination, it also is expected to raise questions about already high energy consumption in this desert land.


The average person in the Emirates puts more demand on the global ecosystem than any other in the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Energy consumption in the Emirates runs high for many reasons, particularly because of the air conditioning that cools houses, malls, cars and public places not only during the furnace-hot summers but in the warm winters.

Making matters worse are Dubai's audacious developments. The emirate has transformed itself into a financial and tourism center, building up its name with dramatic projects—the world's tallest skyscraper, island resorts in the shape of palm trees and maps of the world, even an indoor ski slope that still creates snow amid the inferno of summer.

Mike Ebenezer, business manager at Sharaf Group, which owns Chillout, insists it consumes only as much energy as a cold storage facility for frozen foods does.

Ebenezer said that Chillout is the ninth such ice bar in the world, with others in the U.S., Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, London and Italy.

Pretty cool oasis? or just drinks in a freezer?

I dunno - I'm a Starbucks kinda gal myself, and freezing my buns off is not my idea of a good time unless I am playing in the snow. (The real snow, that is)