Dubai gains glamour as Beckham, pals buy homes

DUBAI: Dubai's kudos as a budding glamour hotspot for the young and beautiful has taken a giant leap forward with news that David Beckham and 10 England teammates have bought holiday homes on a palm tree-shaped island off the sultry emirate. 

“It's great news. It's all international and all glamorous,” said Graham Stacey, editor of Ahlan!, a Dubai-based international glamour and local lifestyle weekly produced in the likes of British OK! magazine. 

Britain's highest profile family may have relocated to Madrid over the summer, but they will be holiday neighbours with Beckham's former Manchester United teammates Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Wes Brown and Nicky Butt. 

GLAMOROUS GETAWAY: March satellite picture showing The Palm Jumeriah, built some 300m off Dubai's coastline. The island's first phase is scheduled for completion by 2005.- EPApic

Fellow England players Wayne Bridge, Ashley Cole, Joe Cole, Kieron Dyer, David James and Michael Owen have also each bought luxury US$1.6mil (RM6.08mil) five-bedroom villas on The Palm Jumeirah, jutting 5km out into the sea and visible from the moon. 

“Dubai sees a lot of actors and footballers, especially now in the off-season,” Stacey said, reluctant to describe Dubai as an Ibiza for the newly rich, in reference to the famed Spanish island resort. 

“Dubai's a lot more private than Ibiza. Celebrities like Beckham can come here and go to shops with no problem,” he said. 

The British embassy in Dubai said it would not be jumping on the Beckham bandwagon. 


“It's very welcome that Britons continue to make Dubai their home and destination of choice, but we won't be jumping on the coattails of British celebrities,” an embassy spokesman said. 


Some 50,000 Britons live in the United Arab Emirates and around 250,000 head for Dubai's warmer climes every year, mainly on package deals to a string of beachside hotels. 


“The promotion of the UK by the great and good coming to Dubai is always welcome,” the spokesman said. – AFP  

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