Burj Al Arab

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Burj Al Arab
برج العرب
Burj Al Arab, Dubai, by Joi Ito Dec2007.jpg
Burj Al Arab in 2007
Burj Al Arab is located in United Arab Emirates
Burj Al Arab
Burj Al Arab
Location within United Arab Emirates
General information
TypeLuxury hotel
Architectural styleHigh-tech
LocationDubai, United Arab Emirates
Coordinates25°08′31″N 55°11′10″E / 25.141975°N 55.186147°E / 25.141975; 55.186147Coordinates: 25°08′31″N 55°11′10″E / 25.141975°N 55.186147°E / 25.141975; 55.186147
Construction started1994
OpeningDecember 1999
CostUS$1 billion[1]
Architectural321 m (1,053 ft)
Top floor197.5 m (648 ft)
Technical details
Floor count56 (3 below ground)[2]
Design and construction
ArchitectTom Wright of WKK Architects
Structural engineerAtkins
Other information
Number of rooms202 from USD $2,000 per night.[2]

The Burj Al Arab (Arabic: برج العرب‎, Tower of the Arabs) is a luxury hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.[7] Of the tallest hotels in the world, it is the seventh tallest, although 39% of its total height is made up of non-occupiable space.[8][9][10] Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 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 Miami Beach.[11] The hotel is located on an island of reclaimed land 280 meters offshore of the beach of the former Chicago Beach Hotel.[12] 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.[11]

Design and construction[edit]

The Burj Al Arab was designed by multidisciplinary consultancy Atkins led by architect Tom Wright, who has since become co-founder of WKK Architects. The design and construction were managed by Canadian engineer Rick Gregory also of WS Atkins. It is very similar to the Vasco da Gama Tower located in Lisbon, Portugal. Construction of the island began in 1994 and involved up to 2,000 construction workers during peak construction. It was built to resemble the billowing spinnaker sail of a J-class yacht.[13] Two "wings" spread in a V to form a vast "mast", while the space between them is enclosed in a massive atrium. The architect Tom Wright[14] said "The client wanted a building that would become an iconic or symbolic statement for Dubai; this is very similar to Sydney with its Opera House, London with Big Ben, or Paris with the Eiffel Tower. It needed to be a building that would become synonymous with the name of the city."[15][failed verification]

Fletcher Construction from New Zealand was the lead joint venture partner in the initial stages of pre-construction and construction.[16] The hotel was built by South African construction contractor Murray & Roberts and Al Habtoor Engineering and the interior works were delivered by UAE based Depa.[17][18]

The building opened in December 1999.[19]

The hotel’s helipad, one of the buildings most visible contributions was designed by Irish architect Rebecca Gernon who worked as a part of the Atkins team and later went onto founding her own architecture and interior design company (Serendipity By Design), headquartered in Dubai with offices in Manila and Dublin.[20]



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 forty-meter-long (130 ft) concrete piles into the sand.[21]

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.[21]

Inside the building, the atrium is 180 m (590 ft) tall.[22] The 18 storied atrium is enclosed by 12 individually tensioned two-layer membrane panels form the north facing façade.[23]

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 where 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 12 m (40 ft) taller than the Burj Al Arab.[citation needed]

Rooms and suites[edit]

The hotel is managed by the Jumeirah Group. Despite its size, the Burj Al Arab holds only 28 double-story floors which accommodate 202 bedroom suites. The smallest suite occupies an area of 169 m2 (1,820 sq ft), the largest covers 780 m2 (8,400 sq ft).[24]

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.[25]

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.[26]


Al Muntaha
Al Mahara

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. 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 Hotel interior

Burj Al Arab has attracted criticism as well "a contradiction of sorts, considering how well-designed and impressive the construction ultimately proves to be."[24] 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."[24] 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".[24]

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[36][37] takes place at the top of the Burj Al Arab,[1][38] 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, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Arabian Knight". Forbes.com. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Burj Al Arab Hotel – The Skyscraper Center". Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
  3. ^ Burj Al Arab at Emporis
  4. ^ "Burj Al Arab". SkyscraperPage.
  5. ^ Burj Al Arab at Structurae
  6. ^ "Stay at Burj Al Arab". Jumeirah. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  7. ^ Eytan, Declan. "Milan: Inside the World's Only Certified 7 Star Hotel". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  8. ^ "Vanity Height: the Use-less Space in Today's Tallest". CTBUH. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  9. ^ "Study: Skyscrapers Topped by Wasted Space". World Property Channel. 2013-09-06. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  10. ^ Solon, Olivia (2013-09-06). "Report names and shames vanity skyscrapers with unnecessary spires". Wired. Archived from the original on 2013-11-15. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  11. ^ a b Krane, Jim City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism, page 103, St. Martin's Press (September 15, 2009)
  12. ^ "Dubai's Chicago Beach Hotel". Dubai As It Used To Be. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  13. ^ "Burj Al Arab – Atkins".
  14. ^ "Burj Al Arab". Galinsky. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  15. ^ "Dubai's Dream Palace – Burj Al-Arab Hotel". Megastructures. Episode 70.
  16. ^ "Dubai Chicago Beach Hotel – Fletcher Construction Company". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21.
  17. ^ https://www.thenational.ae/business/property/depa-announces-strong-growth-1.539070
  18. ^ "Murphy & Roberts". Forbes Traveler. Murray & Roberts. 2006-06-21. Retrieved 2007-01-24.
  19. ^ "Media Fact File of Burj Al Arab" (PDF). Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  20. ^ http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-11222-from-the-inside-out/
  21. ^ a b "Burj Al Arab". EgyptEng.com engineering directory. 2000. Archived from the original on 2007-01-17. Retrieved 2007-01-24.
  22. ^ "VIDEO: Burj Al Arab's 15th anniversary 'dream'".
  23. ^ "BLOG: How did Tom Wright use a membranous façade to save The Burj Al Arab from becoming a 321m high oven?".
  24. ^ a b c d Damluji, Salma Samar, The Architecture of the U.A.E.. Reading, UK: 2006.
  25. ^ Arnold, Helen "World's 15 most expensive hotel suites" Archived 2012-11-02 at the Wayback Machine CNN Go. 25 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-11
  26. ^ "Jumeirah gets ravenous for China". TTGmice. Archived from the original on 5 June 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  27. ^ "Hotel star ratings standards long overdue". The National. 2009-07-14. 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 November 1, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Dubai: Oasis in the desert – Where in the World. TODAY.com (2007). Retrieved on 2017-01-01.
  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". Surfer Today. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017. Photos
  35. ^ Nick Jacobsen's Dubai jump on YouTube
  36. ^ "Performance Anomalies". Goodreads. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  37. ^ Lee, Victor Robert (2012-12-20). Performance Anomalies. USA: Perimeter Six. ISBN 9781938409226.
  38. ^ Lee, Victor Robert (2013-01-15). Performance Anomalies: A Novel. Perimeter Six Press. ISBN 9781938409202.

Further reading[edit]

  • Rose, Steve. "Sand and Freedom", The Guardian, November 28, 2005, retrieved October 27, 2006.

External links[edit]