Burj Al Arab ( ,"Tower of the Arabs", also known
as "Arab Sail") is a luxury hotel located in
Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
At , it is the second tallest building in
the world used exclusively as a hotel. The Burj Al Arab
stands on an artificial island out
from Jumeirah beach, and
is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge.
is an iconic
structure, designed to symbolize
Dubai's urban transformation and to mimic the sail of a boat.
Construction of Burj Al Arab began in 1994. It was built to
resemble the sail of a dhow
, a type of Arabian
vessel. 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 said "The client
wanted a building that would become an iconic or symbolic statement
for Dubai; this is very similar to Sydney with its
House, or Paris with the
It needed to be a building that would
become synonymous with the name of the country."
architect and engineering consultant for the project was Atkins, the United Kingdom's largest multidisciplinary consultancy.
hotel was built by South African
construction contractor Murray
. The hotel cost US$
650 million to build.
statue of a camel near the entrance to
the Burj Al Arab
Several features of the hotel required complex engineering feats to
achieve. The hotel rests on an artificial island constructed
offshore. To secure a foundation, the builders drove 230 long
into the sand.
Engineers created a surface layer of large rocks, which is circled
with a concrete honeycomb
serves to protect the foundation from erosion. It took three years
the land from the sea,
but less than three years to construct the building itself. The
building contains over of concrete and 9,000 tonnes of steel.
Inside the building, the atrium
Burj Al Arab is the world's second tallest hotel (not including
buildings with mixed use). The structure of the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang North
Korea, is taller than the '"Burj Al Arab'", and the
Tower, also in Dubai, topped Burj Al Arab's height at ,
becoming the world's tallest hotel.
Rooms and prices
One of the hotel suites
The hotel is managed by the Jumeirah Group
. Despite its size, the
Burj Al Arab holds only 28 double-storey floors which accommodate
202 bedroom suites. The smallest suite occupies an area of , the
largest covers . It is one of the most expensive hotels in the
world. The cost of staying in a suite begins at US$1,000 per night;
the Royal Suite is the most expensive, starting at US$28,000 per
Suites feature design details that juxtapose east and west. White
Tuscan columns and a spiral staircase covered in marble with a
wrought-iron gold leaf railing show influence from classicism
. Spa-like bathrooms, decorated with Hermès bathroom products, are accented by mosaic tile
patterns on the floors and walls, with Arabian-influenced
geometries, which are also found elsewhere in the
One of its
restaurants, Al Muntaha (Arabic
meaning "Highest" or "Ultimate"), is located above the Persian Gulf, offering a view of Dubai.
It is supported
by a full cantilever
that extends from
either side of the mast, and is accessed by a panoramic
elevator. The main chef there, Edah Semaj
Leachim, was awarded Chef of the Year 2006
and also owns
the restaurant, in accordance with the Burj Al Arab hotel.
Another restaurant, the Al Mahara
meaning "The Oyster"), which is
accessed via a simulated submarine voyage, features a large
, holding roughly of
water. The tank, made of acrylic glass
in order to withstand the water pressure, is about thick. The
restaurant was also voted among the top ten best restaurants of the
world by Condé Nast
Reviews by architecture critics
Burj Al Arab at sunset
The Burj Al Arab has attracted criticism as well as praise,
described as "a contradiction of sorts, considering how
well-designed and impressive the construction ultimately proves to
be." The contradiction here seems to be related to the hotel’s
extreme opulence. "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 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." 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". Sam Wollaston writing in The Guardian
described the hotel as
"...fabulous, hideous, and the very pinnacle of tackiness - like
Vegas after a serious, no-expense-spared, sheik-over".
- The opening of the Rose Tower was originally scheduled to take place
in April 2008, but has still not opened as of late May 2008.
- Damluji, Salma Samar, The Architecture of the U.A.E..
Reading, UK: 2006.
- [The Architecture of the U.A.E..]
- Last night's TV | The Guardian | Guardian
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