Once a tranquil town, Dubai has transformed itself into a quintessential home of sand, sun, skyscrapers and shopping. Today skyscrapers stand alongside the mosques and wind towers of Old Dubai.
The Burj al-Arab (Arabic: برج العرب, “Tower of the Arabs”) is a luxury hotel in Dubai, the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates. Designed by Tom Wright of WS Atkins PLC, it rises to 321 m (1053 feet) and is the tallest building used exclusively as a hotel. It stands on an artificial island 280 m (919 feet) out from Jumeirah beach, and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge.
Designed to resemble the billowing sail of a dhow, a type of Arabian vessel, the Burj Al Arab dominates the Dubai coastline. At night, it offers an unforgettable sight, surrounded by choreographed colour sculptures of water and fire.
The interior of the hotel is dominated by a massive atrium formed between the V shaped structure and its fabric sail, the tallest lobby in the world. The atrium takes up over one-third of interior space, and is over 182 m (597 feet) tall.
Other features include a helipad, suspended near the top of the building, and a restaurant called Al Muntaha, (Arabic meaning “Highest” or “Ultimate”), which is 200 m (656 feet) high and supported by a full cantilever that extends 27 m (89 feet ) from either side of the mast.
The hotel boasts 8,000 square meters (26,247 square feet) of 22-carat gold leaf and 24,000 square meters (78,740 square feet) of 30 different types of marble.
Despite its size, the building holds only 28 two-story floors with 202 bedroom suites. Every guest room is actually a duplex suite. The cost of staying in a suite begins at $1,000 per night and increases to over $15,000 per night; the Royal Suite is the most expensive, at $28,000 per night. The smallest suite occupies an area of 169 square metres (1,819 square feet), and the largest one covers 780 square metres (8,396 square feet). It is certainly one of the most expensive hotels in the world to stay in.
Currently, the Burj Al Arab is the fifteenth tallest building in Dubai, however with the building spree the United Arab Emirates is on, that number is sure to change in the future.