For the mega rich: a refrigerated beach

Oh, Dubai. Home to petro-billionaires. Vacation spot for the stars. And soon, location of the world's first refrigerated beach.

Palazzo Versace announced last week that its next ultra-posh hotel will offer guests a taste of Dubai without the blazing heat. The 10-story hotel will sit on the coast of this Emirati city, where average summer temperatures approach 100 degrees F.

To ward off the sweltering weather, builders will install a system of cooled tubes underneath the beach, according to the Times Online. The pipes will absorb the heat through the sand, and fans flanking the outdoor resort will create a cooling breeze. Seaside temperatures can then be calibrated through a computerized thermostat system.

When tanners tire of sunbathing, they can dive into the refrigerated pool or return to their rooms, several of which feature personal pools.

Not too bad for the super wealthy, but the Versace announcement got environmentalist Rachel Noble's blood boiling.

“Dubai is like a bubble world where the things that are worrying the rest of the world, like climate change, are simply ignored so that people can continue their destructive lifestyles,” the Tourism Concern officer told the Times.

Palazzo Versace's president assured the Times that a refrigerated beach could be sustainable, but the article doesn't mention how.

Engineering perfect temperatures is Dubai's specialty. Air-conditioning consumes about 60 percent of the city's rather hefty annual energy diet. And the average resident is responsible for emitting more than 44 tons of CO2 a year – double the carbon footprint of Americans.

The Palazzo Versace in Dubai is slated to open near the end of 2009. The chain hopes to build hotels in 15 other locations.

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