Apart from being considered most sacred place in Islam and birthplace of the Prophet Muhammed, Mecca in 2017 will now also be known as the host of the world’s largest hotel. Just how big? It will be 45 stories tall and hold a whopping 10,000 bedrooms, way over the 6,198 rooms of the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
To be named Abraj Kudai hotel, the 600-meter tall structure will have 70 restaurants, a bus station, a shopping mall, a full-sized convention center, rooftop helipads, and a ballroom. It will have 12 towers, each with forty-four floors. Of the total number of floors, five will be for the exclusive use of the Saudi royal family. The humongous tower will likewise reportedly showcase a dazzling green laser show every night, “towering over the city like a desert fortress on steroids,” Gizmodo Australia says.
The massive project will cover 1.4 million square meters of land. Total project cost is pegged at $3.5 billion. Sputnik News reports Abraj Kudai will be constructed in the Manafia area in Mecca’s central zone, described as “an ideal location for the two million Muslims who travel there for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.”
But not everyone is happy for the looming structure. Mecca is losing its holy semblance and spiritual value, Irfan Al-Alawi, director of the UK-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, told The Guardian. “Everything has been swept away to make way for the incessant march of luxury hotels, which are destroying the sanctity of the place and pricing normal pilgrims out.”
According to DesignMENA, it expects the architecture to become an iconic landmark reflecting “a contemporary interpretation of a traditional desert fortress.” The Saudi Ministry of Finance will fund the construction of the Abraj Kudai. When finished, the structure will rise some 2,000 feet into the air.
The world’s current top five hotels by room count (by hotel industry research firm STR Inc.):
- MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas: 6,198 rooms
- First World Hotel, Malaysia: 6,118 rooms
- Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas: 4,400 rooms
- Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas: 4,332 rooms
- The Venetian, Las Vegas: 4,049 rooms