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The world’s largest hotel, Abraj Kudai, will open in Mecca in 2017. But some consider it just part of the controversial transformation of the holy city.

Mecca is a world-famous holy city for Muslims. But come 2017, it will also become home to the largest hotel in the world. The Abraj Kudai hotel will have altogether 10,000 rooms. The cost of building this massive complex is $3.5 billion. The oil-rich Saudis have never been shy in showing their wealth. Now they have reached new levels in opulence.

Besides 10,000 rooms, the 45-storey Abraj Kudai hotel, spread across a site of 1.4 million square meters, will house 70 restaurants, twelve towers, several helipads and a full-size conference center. Five floors will be reserved exclusively for the Saudi royal family. There will also be a bus station, shopping mall, food courts, and a grand ballroom.

The Abraj Kudai hotel is located near the Grand Mosque of Mecca. It’s funded by the Saudi Ministry of Finance and designed by the Dar Al-Handasah group, an international project design, management and supervision consultancy. There are fears that the hotel will be a continuation in tearing down of the Muslim heritage that is left in Saudi Arabia’s holy cities. According to Irfan Al-Alawi, director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, “everything has been swept away to make way for the incessant march of luxury hotels, which are destroying the sanctity of the place and pricing normal pilgrims out.”

CNN reports that currently Las Vegas, Nevada is home to the world largest hotel in terms of the number of guest rooms. The MGM Grand has 6,198 rooms. Four out of the world’s five largest hotels are located in Las Vegas. The information is based on records by hotel industry research firm STR Inc.

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