After 2008, MGM Hospitality was keen on developing non-gaming properties in the Middle East to raise the brand awareness of the company in the region. There were some large multi-use complex projects that were pursued. In 2013, an extensive Hakkasan restaurant and nightclub opened in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The following year, MGM and Hakkasan investigated the possibility of JV hotel development.
A site on the Palm in Dubai arose as a potential location for a luxury resort development.It was agreed that MGM, being the partner with the hotel experience, would drive the development of a Design Brief and Area Program. After a site visit, Miller worked with the MGMH Las Vegas team to assemble material for an international design competition. The JV offered the potential opportunity for a new luxury lifestyle brand. Significant discussions took place to study the implications.
The competition brief set some specific parameters for room size and mix, and some associated facilities, but intentionally left a great deal open to the competitions to interpret. A key objective was to receive ideas for how a new luxury lifestyle resort brand might be manifest in a high-profile beach location in Dubai.
The proposals received varied greatly. Some ideas would likely be impractical for hotel operation. Some designs used novel ideas to take advantage of the beach waterfront. A variety of approaches were tabled to deal with climactic conditions - screens, louvers, courtyards, layered facades.
While the competition effort proved worthwhile given the range of inventive ideas presented to interpret a potential new hotel brand in a specific unique location. Business discussions between the partners continued for another year, and then were disbanded; the site remains undeveloped