‘Hyperloop’ travel idea gets more fans

Updated 02 October 2013
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‘Hyperloop’ travel idea gets more fans

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk released rough plans last week for a “Hyperloop” that would shoot capsules full of people at the speed of sound through elevated tubes connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. Then he urged the public to improve on them.
Now the race is on.
A US firm hustled out a model using a 3-D printer. Another company is testing a virtual Hyperloop with sophisticated computer software. In San Francisco, enthusiasts interested in “making Hyperloop a reality” will meet over beers.
Meanwhile, Musk himself has put aside the project and returned to his established transportation ventures: luxury electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. and the rocket-building company SpaceX.
In principle, the Hyperloop is possible.
The concept pulls together several proven technologies: Capsules would float on a thin cushion of air and draw on magnetic attraction and solar power to zoom through a nearly air-free tube. Because there would be so little wind resistance, they could top 700 mph (1,125 kph) and make the nearly 400-mile (643-kilometer) trip in about half an hour.
Actual construction would hinge on challenges far more complex than advanced engineering — those involving money and politics.
Musk projected a $6 billion cost, but some say that’s too low. Others suggested his timeframe of a decade to completion was naive — that getting political backing and environmental clearances, much less land to build the tubes on, would be hugely time-consuming.
Conspicuously absent was a commitment that Musk would sink substantial money into the project anytime soon — if ever. On a call with reporters, Musk suggested he might build a “subscale” test version in a few years if the idea was floundering.
One thing Musk was clear about: The public should participate in questioning, modifying and, ultimately, perfecting his proposal (http://www.spacex.com/hyperloop).
And in that respect, there has been no lack of enthusiasm.
At the computer simulation software firm ANSYS, engineers are designing and testing a virtual model.
Sandeep Sovani, the company’s director of Global Automotive Industry, said he has long been intrigued by tube travel (an idea that predates the Hyperloop by a century) and wanted to do a model both out of intellectual curiosity.


Bulgari hotel: An Italian escape in Dubai

Luxury doesn’t shout its presence with bling or ostentatious features, instead it quietly whispers. (bulgarihotels.com)
Updated 19 April 2018
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Bulgari hotel: An Italian escape in Dubai

  • The “urban oasis” is currently the only hotel situated on the offshore Jumeira Bay island
  • Home to just 110 rooms, suites and villas, the sprawling low-rise property oozes Italian elegance with its minimalist aesthetic

DUBAI: Bulgari, the venerated Italian design house, has just five hotels around the world. And even in Dubai — a city crammed with luxury hotels — the Bulgari Resort manages to seem exclusive. The “urban oasis” is currently the only hotel situated on the offshore Jumeira Bay island, offering guests some respite from the city’s often-hectic atmosphere, even though it is literally minutes away from the pulsing heart of Dubai.

Home to just 110 rooms, suites and villas, the sprawling low-rise property oozes Italian elegance with its minimalist aesthetic. Master architects Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel — who are responsible for all the Bulgari hotels worldwide — have used a neutral color palette and custom motifs, such as coral-inspired lacquered steel parapets and mashrabiya-patterned accents, to give the hotel a sense of place.

Here, luxury doesn’t shout its presence with bling or ostentatious features, instead it quietly whispers, with fine materials — from Italian marble to sumptuous silks, impeccable attention to detail, and touches including the signature fragrance that wafts around you from the second you enter.

The hotel is responsible for a couple of firsts for the brand, including its ‘Little Gems’ kids club — where children are entertained with bespoke activities such as cooking classes and treasure hunts while their parents enjoy some downtime — and the global debut of the Bulgari Marina & Yacht Club, which has its own pool and recreation facilities, signature seafood restaurant, and 50-berth harbor.

All rooms and suites feature a walk-in closet, spacious balconies, smooth one-touch button controls, and bathrooms with standalone tubs boasting enviable views — making for some excellent Insta-fodder. The signature trunk-style mini-bar is as funky as it is functional, and the trendy basket beach bags are perfect for stashing your souvenirs — including designer knick-knacks from on-site concept store La Galleria.

The one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas offer private pools and butler service, but you don’t want to miss the resort’s circular central pool, where luxury cabanas with oversized daybeds and on-call service invite you to lounge the day away. Just adjacent is the crescent-shaped private beach, with the gentle waters of the Arabian Gulf offering perfect swimming conditions, even if the tip of the seahorse-shaped island mars the view slightly.

Whether you opt for a beach-and-pool day or a Dubai-sightseeing trip, your evening should definitely be devoted to the quintessentially Italian aperitivo experience at Il Bar, where an oval-shaped chrome counter provides a social centerpiece, and an outdoor terrace offers marina views. The seriously chic Il Ristorante (by lauded Italian chef Niko Romito) is just next door, and shares the terrace. Its tiramisu is one of the best in town, as is the freshly baked rustic bread.

Offering a more pared-back dining experience are La Spiaggia, a beachside restaurant and bar, and Il Café, the Bulgari take on a casual all-day dining destination which still features jaw-dropping design, and, in line with the whole ‘nothing is too much trouble’ service ethos, serves breakfast all day.

That ethos extends to the spa too, where therapists provide the ultimate in pampering using top-shelf products, including La Mer, in a soothing nature-inspired space. The use of rare precious materials, including grey Vicenza stone and green onyx, infuse the environment with a subtle opulence.

A 25-meter indoor swimming pool with its own cabanas, extensive facilities (including a shower offering a “Caribbean thunderstorm” experience), and private hammam, plus an exclusive Lee Mullins training program at the state-of-the-art gym complete the impressive recreation facilities at the resort.

If you’re looking for a classy, authentic ‘slice-of-Italy’ experience in the Middle East, then the Bulgari Resort Dubai is where you should check in.