Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab

Infobox hotel
hotel_name = Burj Al Arab

caption = The Burj Al Arab is the world's tallest hotel.
location = Dubai, United Arab Emirates
architect = Tom Wright of Atkins, Said Khalil of Mitchelsson Group
number_of_rooms = 202 [ [http://www.burj-al-arab.com/guest_services/ Guest Service] ]
website = [http://www.burj-al-arab.com/ burj-al-arab.com]
Infobox Skyscraper
building_name=Burj Al Arab
Tower of the Arabs

built= 1994-1999
use= Hotel, Restaurant
location= Dubai, U.A.E.
roof=210 m (689 ft)
top_floor=200 m (656 ft)
antenna_spire=321 m (1,053 ft)
floor_area=111,500 m² (1,200,000 sq ft)
architect= Tom Wright of WS Atkins PLC
skyscraperpage_id= 48
* Fully habitable, self-supported, from main entrance to rooftop; see World's tallest structures for other listings.|

The Burj Al Arab (Arabic: برج العرب, literally, "Tower of the Arabs") is a luxury hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At 321 metres (1,053 ft), it is the tallest building used exclusively as a hotel.cite news |date=March 2008 |title=World's Tallest Hotels |url=http://www.emporis.com/en/bu/sk/st/tp/ty/ho/ |publisher=Emporis |accessdate=2008-03-23] However, the Rose Tower, also in Dubai, which has already topped Burj Al Arab's height at convert|333|m|ft|abbr=on, will take away this title upon its opening. [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.] [Cite news |title=Rotana to bring 10,000 more rooms under management |url=http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/07/11/22/10169274.html |publisher="Gulf News" |date=2007-11-22 |accessdate=2008-04-06] [Cite web |title=Four Dubai Openings For Rotana Hotels |url=http://www.rotana.com/specialoffersco-1397.htm |publisher=Rotana Hotels |date=2008-01 |accessdate=2008-04-06] The Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 metres (919 ft) out from Jumeirah beach, and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. It 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 [Cite web |title=Burj Al Arab |url=http://www.galinsky.com/buildings/burjalarab/index.htm |publisher=Galinsky |accessdate=2008-06-08] 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, or Paris with the Eiffel Tower. It needed to be a building that would become synonymous with the name of the country."cite episode
title = Dubai's Dream Palace - Burj al-Arab Hotel
episodelink =
series = Megastructures
serieslink = Megastructures
airdate =
season =
number = 70
url = http://www.tvthrong.co.uk/megastructures/megastructures-the-worlds-tallest-hotel-monday-july-9
notes = also see http://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/explore/BestOfMegastructures/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS4Vl3tsCd0 for an 10min cut down of the episode - the cited items are mentioned in the full 60 min episode which is repeated frequently on National Geographic

The architect and engineering consultant for the project was Atkins, the UK's largest multidisciplinary consultancy. The hotel was built by South African construction contractor Murray & Roberts.cite news|date= 2006-06-21 | title = Murray & Roberts | url = http://www.murrob.com/ | publisher = Murray & Roberts| accessdate = 2006-06-21] The hotel cost $650 million to build.cite news |year= 2006 | title = Burj Al Arab | url = http://www.forbestraveler.com/hotel/100/10590|publisher = Forbes Traveler| accessdate = 2007-01-24]


Several features of the hotel required complex engineering feats to achieve. The hotel rests on an artificial island constructed 280 meters offshore. To secure a foundation, the builders drove 230 40-meter long concrete piles into the sand.cite news|year= 2000 | title = Burj Al Arab | url = http://egypteng.com/projectm/burj.asp | publisher = EgyptEng.com engineering directory | accessdate = 2007-01-24]

Engineers created a surface layer of large rocks, which is circled with a concrete honey-comb pattern, which serves to protect the foundation from erosion. It took three years to reclaim the land from the sea, but less than three years to construct the building itself. The building contains over 70,000 cubic meters of concrete and 9,000 tons of steel.

is 180 meters (590 ft) tall. During the construction phase, to lower the interior temperature, the building was cooled by one degree per day over 6 months. This was to prevent large amounts of "condensation or in fact even a rain cloud from forming in the hotel during the period of construction." This task was accomplished by several cold air nozzles, which point down from the top of the ceiling, and blast a 1 meter cold air pocket down the inside of the sail. This creates a buffer zone, which controls the interior temperature without massive energy costs.

Burj Al Arab characterizes itself as the world's only "7-star" property, a designation considered by travel professionals to be hyperbole. All major travel guides and hotel rating systems have a 5-star maximum, which some hotels attempt to out-do by ascribing themselves "6-star" status. Yet according to the Burj Al Arab's official site, the hotel is a "5-star deluxe hotel". It is the world's tallest structure with a membrane facade and the world's tallest hotel (not including buildings with mixed use) and was the first 5-star hotel to surpass 1,000 ft (305 m) in height.


The building design features a steel exoskeleton wrapped around a reinforced concrete tower. Notably the building is shaped like the sail of a dhow, with two "wings" spread in a V to form a vast "mast". The space between the wings is enclosed by a Teflon-coated fibreglass sail, curving across the front of the building and creating an atrium inside. The sail is made of a material called Dyneon, spanning over 161,000 square feet (15,000 m²), consists of two layers, and is divided into twelve panels and installed vertically. The fabric is coated with DuPont Teflon to protect it from harsh desert heat, wind, and dirt; as a result, "the fabricators estimate that it will hold up for up to 50 years. The whole design in itself was originally put forward to the design committee by Edah Yllib, a Scandinavian designer. It took great mathematical thinking by this designer, but in the end proved very successful."cite news|date=2006-10-01 | title = Designing with Structural Fabrics | url = http://archrecord.construction.com/resources/conteduc/archives/research/9_00_1.asp | publisher = Architectural Record| accessdate = 2007-01-24]

During the day, the white fabric allows a soft, milky light inside the hotel, whereas a clear glass front would produce blinding amounts of glare and a constantly increasing temperature. At night, both inside and outside, the fabric is lit by color-changing lights. During the period of mourning following the death of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum in January 2006, the light show and some water features were turned off.

Near the top of the building is a suspended helipad supported by a cantilever. The helipad has featured some of the hotel's notable publicity events. Irish singer Ronan Keating shot his music video "Iris" on the helipad. In March 2004, professional golfer Tiger Woods hit several golf balls from the helipad into the Persian Gulf, while in February 2005, professional tennis players Roger Federer and Andre Agassi played an unranked game on the helipad, which was temporarily converted into a grass tennis court, at a height of 211 meters. The helipad has no borders or fences on the edges and if a player hit a winner the tennis balls would plunge down to the ground.cite news| date = 2006-09-29 | title = Tennis on the Burj | url = http://gargles.net/tennis-on-the-burj/ | publisher = Gargles | accessdate = 2007-01-24] cite news| title = World's Top Tennis Stars at Burj Al Arab | url = http://www.burj-al-arab.com/tennis/ | publisher = Burj Al Arab online | accessdate = 2007-01-24]


The interior was designed by Khuan Chew, Design Principal of KCA International. Other projects by Khuan Chew include the Sultan of Brunei's palace, Dubai International Airport, Jumeirah Beach Resort Development, Madinat Resort and much more.

The Burj Al Arab features the tallest atrium lobby in the world, at 180 meters (590 ft). The [atrium] is formed between the building's V-shaped span. The atrium dominates the interior of the hotel, and takes up over one-third of interior space. It can accommodate the Dubai World Trade Center building, which, at 38 stories, was the tallest building in Dubai from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s.

While the exterior of the Burj Al Arab is expressed in terms of ultra-modern sculptural design, the interior guest space is a compilation of lavish and luxurious architectural styles from both the east and the west. The hotel boasts 8,000 square meters of 22-carat gold leaf and 24,000 square meters of 30 different types of marble.

In the mezzanine lobby, a fountain creates a "three-dimensional Islamic star pattern."Damluji, Salma Samar, "The Architecture of the U.A.E.". Reading, UK: 2006.] Pointed arches throughout, found in one of the hotel’s three restaurants, corridors between guest rooms, and at the top of the atrium recall a classic Arabian architectural design form.

Rooms and prices

It 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 square meters (1,819 sq ft), the largest covers 780 square meters (8,396 sq ft). It is one of the most expensive hotels in the world. The cost of staying in a suite begins at $1,000 per night; the Royal Suite is the most expensive, at $28,000 per night.

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 and art nouveau. Spa-like bathrooms are accented by mosaic tile patterns on the floors and walls, with Arabian-influenced geometries, which are also found elsewhere in the building.


One of its restaurants, Al Muntaha (Arabic meaning "Highest" or "Ultimate"), is located convert|200|m|ft above the Persian Gulf, offering a view of Dubai. It is supported by a full cantilever that extends convert|27|m|ft 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" (Arabic meaning "The Oyster"), which is accessed via a simulated submarine voyage, features a large seawater aquarium, holding roughly 35,000 cubic feet (over one million litres) of water. The tank, made of acrylic glass in order to withstand the water pressure, is about convert|18|cm|in thick. The restaurant was also voted among the top ten best restaurants of the world by "Condé Nast Traveler". They have recently hired acclaimed chef Kevin McLaughlin.

Reviews by architecture critics

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 Architecture of the U.A.E.."] ] 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 Burj as "...fabulous, hideous, and the very pinnacle of tackiness - like Vegas after a serious, no-expense-spared, sheik-over". [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv_and_radio/story/0,,2122525,00.html Last night's TV | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited ] ]



*Rose, Steve. [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,11710,1652149,00.html "Sand and Freedom"] , "The Guardian", November 28 2005, retrieved October 27 2006.
*National Geographic Television. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A7d67A24Qo: National Geographic: Megastructures] , retrieved October 27 2006.

ee also

*Tourism in Dubai
*Spinnaker Tower
*List of tallest buildings in Dubai
*List of skyscrapers
*List of tallest freestanding structures in the world

External links

Official sites

* [http://www.burj-al-arab.com/ Burj Al Arab] official website
* [http://www.atkinsdesign.com/ Atkins] , the designers and engineers behind Burj Al Arab
* [http://www.tomwrightdesign.com/ Tom Wright] Burj al Arab architect's official website

Video and photographs

* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LZarUmHw1g Video tour] inside Burj Al Arab
* [http://dubaihotel.ws/ Photographs and details] at DubaiHotel.ws

=Maps and satellite

* [http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=339099&page=0&vc=1 Google Earth] 3D model of Burj Al Arab
* [http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=united+arab+emirates&ie=UTF8&z=18&ll=25.140623,55.186901&spn=0.003409,0.006335&t=k&om=1 Google Maps] satellite view of Burj Al Arab

The helipad

* [http://www.burj-al-arab.com/tennis/ Tennis on the Burj's helipad]
* Andre Agassi and Roger Federer [http://gargles.net/tennis-on-the-burj/ play a friendly game on the roof]

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