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Crystal Lagoons’ Egyptian project wins world record

Carlos Salas, regional director of Middle East at Crystal Lagoons, talks about the company’s latest 12.5-hectare CityStars Sharm El Sheikh project in Egypt; winning the Guinness World Record for the largest manmade body of water in the world

Crystal Lagoons, developer of the patented technology of giant crystalline lagoons, was awarded by Guiness World Record (GWR) once again for its Sharm El Sheikh manmade lagoon. The current record breaks the company’s own previous record since 2007 for its eight-hectare San Alfonso del Mar lagoon in Chile.

In Egypt, the $5.5m lagoon is the centrepiece of the $500m CityStars Sharm El Sheikh tourism development undertaken by the Sharbatly family.

Works on the lagoon completed last year, with the GWR announcement officially made in December 2015, while the first hotel within the development is set to open in April 2016.

Once completed, the 750-hectare community will feature 12 lagoons using 100 hectares of salt water sourced from underground aquifers. Aimed to be a major leisure attraction, the development as a whole is set to have 30,000 planned residential units along with hotels, a golf course, marinas, museums, and a shopping mall.

The company’s first project provided the experience to help navigate through this project. The first project built at San Alfonso del Mar in Chile became one of the most successful second-home resort in the southern hemisphere, surpassing the competition in terms of sales, offering units at higher prices and selling them at higher rates.

“Due to this success, real estate firms from all over the world are interested in the idea of having our technology as part of their projects to increase demand, return rates, and build projects previously deemed unviable for real estate,” Salas observes.

The lagoon was then certified the world’s largest lagoon by GWR in 2007, and since then it became the platform from which the company launched its global expansion.

The Sharm El Sheikh project, on the other hand, marks Crystal Lagoon’s first mixed-use project where the technology will be used for recreational purposes as well as for water desalination.

Salas explains: “With systems such as our telemetry-controlled pulses and energy-efficient ultrasound filtration, our lagoons use up to 100 times fewer chemicals and only 2% of the energy required by traditional swimming pools.”

All the lagoons’ hydraulic, biochemical and mechanical systems are controlled and operated remotely from Chile via internet platform. “This allows us to maintain the water within our pre-defined parametres, guaranteeing standardised water quality in all our lagoons, regardless of their location.”

He adds that Crystal Lagoons has developed a technology and concept patent-protected in 160 countries that makes possible the construction and maintenance of crystalline bodies of water limitless in size at very low costs.

Pure and sustainable water use

Salas states: “What is truly unique about this project is not only its desert setting but the fact that, through our technological innovation, we are able to take water that is not being used elsewhere, and make it a sustainable feature within a traditionally arid desert landscape, which adds tangible real estate value to the development.”

Salas admits that the company’s green credentials sets it apart from anything else in the market. “Our patented technology ensures that our designs are exceptionally sustainable. Our lagoons use up to 100 times less chemicals than conventional swimming pools and consume up to 2% of the energy needed by standard filtration systems. In addition Crystal Lagoons uses up to ten times less water than irrigating an 18-hole golf course and it can operate in any type of water, whether salt, fresh or brackish.”

The water used on Crystal Lagoons’ lagoons is of the highest purity, being suitable even for human consumption, according to the regional director.

With sustainable and eco-friendly methods, the company creates large bodies of water for leisure purposes using fresh, sea, and brackish water, or using water from underground aquifers in the desert.

Salas claims that Crystal Lagoon’s technology uses 2% of the energy required by conventional water treatment technologies for swimming pools and drinking water. Apart from that, they use half the water required by a park and 30 times less water than a golf course.

In the case of the Sharm El Sheikh lagoon, the salt water supply is sourced from unused wells in the desert. “The salt water used in the crystalline lagoon features higher levels of purity and will be used for reverse osmosis desalination processes, lowering the cost of water treatment,” says Salas.

Other projects

Crystal Lagoons has a total of four active projects in Egypt, including the CityStars Sharm El Sheikh lagoon which is its regional flagship.

Salas says that Egypt has a very ambitious tourism and hotel pipeline with a clear set of goals therefore minimising challenges significantly. “Our relationship with CityStars has ensured a smooth project timeline that has been without deviation.”

Building on the success of its first Middle East project, the company is also developing a second lagoon for Sharm El Sheikh. The 2.7-hectare turquoise centerpiece, Radamis Lagoon, for a 2,500-room three-hotel mixed-use development.

Earlier this year, Crystal Lagoons announced two new Egypt initiatives – Swanlake North Coast and Porto Lagoons, both of which are located on the country’s northern Mediterranean coast, close to Alexandria.

The high-end $200m Swanlake North Coast project that targets second home investors, is under development by Hassan Allam properties. The project will feature three lagoons covering over 6.1 hectares in a landscaped community including upscale residential villas, twin villas, chalets and a boutique hotel.

The fourth project with Porto Group, will develop a 2.4-heactare crystalline lagoon within the $345m mixed-use Porto Golf Marina. The 18-hole golf course is also being developed, designed by award winning American golf course architect, Raymond Hearn.

“Our technology, concept and innovation is the same in each one of the projects we have developed so far,” says Salas.

In the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA), Crystal Lagoons is consolidating its presence through partnership deals with some of the region’s main real estate developers. The company foresees a fast growth in the markets of those regions.

Up until now, Crystal Lagoons has over 40 projects in different development stages in countries such as the UAE, Oman, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

“The MENA region represents a great opportunity for Crystal Lagoons at a time when investment in tourism infrastructure continues to grow. Our portfolio of projects is helping raise awareness and interest for major hubs in the region and our significant Egypt presence reflects the value that delivering a lagoon project can bring to emblematic leisure destinations across the MENA region,” Salas reveals.


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