The World

Island in Jumeirah

After some 10 years of stagnation, the ambitious plans for The World are up and running again. If you want proof, check out the vast Heart of Europe model and sales desk in the main entrance lobby at Dubai Mall. The first 'island' set for completion, Sweden, is due to open its first ultra-luxurious permanent residences by early 2019. Each of the Swedish so-called beach palaces will have their private sweep of sand and marine area, plus a coral beach.

The Heart of Europe development covers six islands with resorts, residential units and 13 luxury hotels. For those homesick Northern Europeans who miss the drizzle and cold, there will be climate-controlled streets that can catch you in a downpour or have you squelching in the snow.

Staying with the surreal, the Floating Seahorse will offer luxury underwater living with a series of villas where the master bedroom and bathroom are totally submerged in the sea (so much for privacy when you're soaping down in the shower).