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Burj Al Arab

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Burj Al Arab
برج العرب
The Burj Al Arab in 2007
General information
TypeLuxury hotel
Architectural styleStructural expressionism
LocationDubai, United Arab Emirates
Construction started10 July 1994; 30 years ago (1994-07-10)
Completed1999; 25 years ago (1999)
Opening1 December 1999; 24 years ago (1999-12-01)[1]
CostUS$1 billion[2]
Architectural321 m (1,053 ft)
Top floor197.5 m (648 ft)
Technical details
Floor count56 (3 below ground)[3]
Design and construction
Architect(s)Tom Wright of WKA
DeveloperJumeirah Group
Structural engineerAtkins
Main contractorMurray & Roberts / Concor
Other information
Number of rooms202[3]
www.jumeirah.com/en/stay/dubai/burj-al-arab-jumeirah Edit this at Wikidata

The Burj Al Arab (Arabic: برج العرب, lit.'Arab Tower') is a luxury hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.[8] Developed and managed by Jumeirah, it is one of the tallest hotels in the world, although 39% of its total height is made up of non-occupiable space.[9][10][11] Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island that is 280 m (920 ft) from Jumeirah Beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. The shape of the structure is designed to resemble the sail of a ship. It has a helipad near the roof, at a height of 210 m (689 ft) above ground.


The beachfront area where Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel are located was previously called Chicago Beach.[12] The hotel is located on an island of reclaimed land, 280 m (920 ft) offshore of the beach of the former Chicago Beach Hotel. The former hotel was demolished during the construction of the Burj Al Arab.[13] The locale's name had its origins in the Chicago Bridge & Iron Company, which at one time welded giant floating oil storage tanks, known locally as Kazzans, on the site.[12]

Design and construction[edit]

The Burj Al Arab was designed by the multidisciplinary consultancy Atkins, led by architect Tom Wright of WKA. The design and construction were managed by Canadian engineer Rick Gregory, also of WS Atkins. Construction of the island began in 1994 and involved up to 2,000 construction workers during peak construction. It was designed to resemble the sail of a dhow.[14] Two "wings" spread in a V to form a vast "mast", while the space between them is enclosed in a massive atrium. The setting of a high rise building on saturated soil and the novelty of the project required groundbreaking dynamic analysis and design to take into consideration soil-structure interaction, effect of water, high winds, and helipad among other loads, to help finalize the design and take the project into construction.[15][failed verification]

The hotel was built by South African construction contractor Murray & Roberts, now renamed Concor and Al Habtoor Engineering. The interior designs were led and created by Khuan Chew and John Coralan of KCA international and delivered by UAE based Depa Group.[16]

The building opened on 1 December 1999.[1]

The hotel's helipad was designed by Irish architect Rebecca Gernon.[17] The helipad is at the building's 28th floor, and the helipad been used as a car race track, a boxing ring, has hosted a tennis match, and the jumping off point for the highest kite surfing jump in history.[18]


Several features of the hotel required complex engineering feats to achieve. The hotel rests on an artificial island constructed 280 m (920 ft) offshore. To secure a foundation, the builders drove 230 40-metre-long (130 ft) concrete piles into the sand by drilling method.[19]

Engineers created a ground surface layer of large rocks, which is circled with a concrete honeycomb pattern, which serves to protect the foundation from erosion. It took three years to reclaim the land from the sea, while it took fewer than three years to construct the building itself. The building contains over 70,000 m3 (92,000 cu yd) of concrete and 9,000 tons of steel, one of which are for the skeletal structural frames.[19]

Inside the building, the atrium is 180 m (590 ft) tall.[20]

Given the height of the building, the Burj Al Arab is the world's fifth tallest hotel after Gevora Hotel, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Four Seasons Place Kuala Lumpur and Rose and Rayhaan by Rotana. But if buildings with mixed use were stripped off the list, the Burj Al Arab would be the world's third tallest hotel. The structure of the Rose Rayhaan, also in Dubai, is 333 metres (1,093 ft) tall,[21] 12 m (39 ft) taller than the Burj Al Arab, which is 321 metres (1,053 ft) tall.[21]

Rooms and suites[edit]

The hotel is managed by the Jumeirah Group. The hotel has 199 exclusive suites each allocated eight dedicated staff members and a 24-hour butler service.[22] The smallest suite occupies an area of 169 m2 (1,820 sq ft), the largest covers 780 m2 (8,400 sq ft).[23]

Suites feature design details that juxtapose east and west. White columns show great influence.[clarification needed] Bathrooms are accented by mosaic tile patterns.[citation needed]

The Royal Suite, billed at US$24,000 per night, is listed at number 12 on World's 15 most expensive hotel suites compiled by CNN Go in 2012.[24]

The Burj Al Arab is very popular with the Chinese market, which made up 25 percent of all bookings at the hotel in 2011 and 2012.[25]


The hotel provides many services including shuttle service with a variety of luxury vehicles like Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini. The hotel has golf carts that assists guests to and from the beach. The carts also carry the guests throughout the Jumeirah beach consisting of Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Al Naseem,Al Qasr and Souk Madinat.

The hotel also hosts many events in the ballroom called Al Falak managed by the Burj Al Arab event team. The events are high-end and employs more than 50-70 staff per event according to the size of the event. There is also an open event space called the Marina Garden where the team organises award functions, weddings, cocktail reception and many more.

The hotel has a helicopter service with a helipad on the magnificent structure of the building. Many events like Art Maze are held up on the helipad.


Al Muntaha
Al Mahara

There are six restaurants in the hotel, including:

Al Muntaha ("The Ultimate"), is located 200 m (660 ft) above the Persian Gulf, offering a view of Dubai. It is supported by a full cantilever that extends 27 m (89 ft) from either side of the mast, and is accessed by a panoramic elevator.[citation needed]

Al Mahara ("Oyster"), which is accessed via a simulated submarine voyage, features a large seawater aquarium, holding roughly 990,000 L (260,000 US gal) of water. The wall of the tank, made of acrylic glass in order to withstand the water pressure, is about 18 cm (7.1 in) thick.[citation needed]


The Burj Al Arab is a five-star hotel, the highest official ranking. While the hotel is sometimes erroneously described as "the world's only 'seven-star' hotel", the hotel management claims never to have done that themselves. The term appeared due to a British journalist who had visited the hotel on a tour before the hotel was officially opened. The journalist described Burj al Arab as "more than anything she has ever seen" and therefore referred to it as a seven-star hotel.[26] In the words of a Jumeirah Group spokesperson: "There's not a lot we can do to stop it. We're not encouraging the use of the term. We've never used it in our advertising."[27]


Reviews by architecture critics[edit]

Burj Al Arab has attracted criticism as well "a contradiction of sorts, considering how well-designed and impressive the construction ultimately proves to be."[23] The contradiction here seems to be related to the hotel's decor. "This extraordinary investment in state-of-the-art construction technology stretches the limits of the ambitious urban imagination in an exercise that is largely due to the power of excessive wealth." Another critic includes negative critiques for the city of Dubai as well: "both the hotel and the city, after all, are monuments to the triumph of money over practicality. Both elevate style over substance."[23] Yet another: "Emulating the quality of palatial interiors, in an expression of wealth for the mainstream, a theater of opulence is created in Burj Al Arab ... The result is a baroque effect".[23]

Notable events[edit]

Several events have taken place on the helipad 210 m (689 ft) above ground to attract media attention. These include:

In popular culture[edit]

The last chapter of the espionage novel Performance Anomalies[38][39] takes place at the top of the Burj Al Arab,[40] where the spy protagonist Cono 7Q discovers that through deadly betrayal his spy nemesis Katerina has maneuvered herself into the top echelon of the government of Kazakhstan. The hotel can also be seen in Syriana and also some Bollywood movies.[which?]

Richard Hammond included the building in his television series, Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections.

The Burj Al Arab serves as the cover image for the 2009 album Ocean Eyes by Owl City.

The Burj Al Arab was the site of the last task of the fifth episode of the first season of the Chinese edition of The Amazing Race, where teams had to clean up a room to the hotel's standards.[41][42]

The building is featured in Matthew Reilly's novel The Six Sacred Stones, where a kamikaze pilot crashes a plane into the hotel, destroying it in an attempt to kill the protagonist, Jack West Jr.

The building was the location of the main challenge of the ninth episode of the Canadian-American animated television series Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race,[43] where contestants were tasked to either return a serve from a tennis robot on the hotel's helipad, or squeegee an entire column of the hotel's windows.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Media Fact File of Burj Al Arab" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 August 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  2. ^ Swibel, Matthew (15 March 2014). "Forbes.com: Arabian Knight". www.forbes.com. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Burj Al Arab Hotel – The Skyscraper Center". Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Retrieved 7 May 2023.
  4. ^ "Emporis building ID 107803". Emporis. Archived from the original on 15 February 2020.
  5. ^ "Burj Al Arab". SkyscraperPage.
  6. ^ Burj Al Arab at Structurae
  7. ^ "Stay at Burj Al Arab". Jumeirah. Archived from the original on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  8. ^ Eytan, Declan. "Milan: Inside the World's Only Certified 7 Star Hotel". Forbes. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Vanity Height: the Use-less Space in Today's Tallest". CTBUH. Archived from the original on 17 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Study: Skyscrapers Topped by Wasted Space". World Property Channel. 6 September 2013. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  11. ^ Solon, Olivia (6 September 2013). "Report names and shames vanity skyscrapers with unnecessary spires". Wired. Archived from the original on 15 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  12. ^ a b Krane, Jim City of Mud: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism, page 103, St. Martin's Press (15 September 2009)
  13. ^ "Dubai's Chicago Beach Hotel". Dubai As It Used To Be. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  14. ^ "Burj Al Arab". www.atkinsglobal.com. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  15. ^ Chalhoub, Michel Soto (1993). "Structural Design and Deep Foundation Soil-Structure Interaction of Burj-Al-Arab - A Comparison of Two Alternatives". Parsons Engineering.
  16. ^ Pantin, Travis (17 February 2009). "Depa announces strong growth". The National. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  17. ^ "From the inside out". Construction Week Online Middle East.
  18. ^ "Global Gateway". CNN. 1 July 2020. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Burj Al Arab". EgyptEng.com engineering directory. 2000. Archived from the original on 17 January 2007. Retrieved 24 January 2007.
  20. ^ "VIDEO: Burj Al Arab's 15th anniversary 'dream'". HotelierME.
  21. ^ a b "The world's 17 tallest hotels – for the ultimate room with a view". The Telegraph. 11 February 2016. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  22. ^ "Burj Al Arab". www.jumeirah.com. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  23. ^ a b c d Damluji, Salma Samar, The Architecture of the U.A.E.. Reading, UK: 2006.
  24. ^ Arnold, Helen "World's 15 most expensive hotel suites" Archived 2 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine CNN Go. 25 March 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012
  25. ^ "Jumeirah gets ravenous for China". TTGmice. Archived from the original on 5 June 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  26. ^ Parr, Christopher. "Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai: Inside The 7 Star Luxury Hotel". Business Insider. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  27. ^ Bundhun, Rebecca (14 July 2009). "Hotel star ratings standards long overdue". The National. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  28. ^ "World's number one player Tiger Woods tees off from the world's most luxurious hotel, Burj Al Arab" Hospitality, 9 March 2004. Accessed: 2 November 2013. Photos
  29. ^ "Agassi, Federer enjoy unique experience" ESPN, 22 February 2005. Accessed: 2 November 2013. Photos Archived 1 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Dubai: Oasis in the desert – Where in the World. TODAY.com (2007). Retrieved on 1 January 2017.
  31. ^ "Video: Rory McIlroy on the Burj Al Arab Helipad" Jumeirah, 20 December 2011. Accessed: 3 November 2013.
  32. ^ "Video: Aston Martin – Dubai Centenary Spectacular at Burj Al Arab" Aston Martin, 17 January 2013. Accessed: 3 November 2013.
  33. ^ "VIDEO: Red Bull in sensational Dubai helipad donut demo" Crash.net, 31 October 2013. Accessed: 2 November 2013. Photos
  34. ^ "Nick Jacobsen jumps off the Burj al-Arab in Dubai". Surfertoday. Surfer Today. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017. Photos
  35. ^ Nick Jacobsen's Dubai jump on YouTube
  36. ^ "CubCrafters-Built Aircraft Lands Atop Burj Al Arab Helipad | Aero-News Network". www.aero-news.net.
  37. ^ Paris, Charles Bremner. "Red Bull stunt pilot lands plane on 700ft-high Burj Al Arab helipad". The Times.
  38. ^ "Performance Anomalies". Goodreads. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  39. ^ Lee, Victor Robert (20 December 2012). Performance Anomalies. USA: Perimeter Six. ISBN 978-1-938409-22-6.
  40. ^ Lee, Victor Robert (15 January 2013). Performance Anomalies: A Novel. Perimeter Six Press. p. 327. ISBN 978-1-938409-20-2.
  41. ^ "Burj Al Arab hotel stars in Chinese reality TV show". Arabian Business. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  42. ^ "卓美亚集团与「极速前进」首次合作" [Jumeirah Group collaborates with The Amazing Race for the first time]. Neeu (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  43. ^ "Press Release". corusent.com. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by Tallest building in Dubai
1999 – 2000
Succeeded by