The Burj Al Arab (Arabic ,Tower of the Arabs)
is a luxury hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
At 321 m (1,050 ft), it is the second tallest building in
the world used exclusively as a hotel.However, the structure
of the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang North Korea, is 9 m (30
ft) taller than the '"Burj Al Arab'", and the Rose
Tower, also in Dubai, topped Burj Al Arab's height at 333
m (1,090 ft), becoming the world's tallest hotel. The Burj
Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 m (920 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
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."
The architect and engineering consultant for the project was
Atkins, the United Kingdom,s largest multidisciplinary consultancy.
The hotel was built by South african construction contractor
Murray &Roberts The hotel cost US$650 million to build.
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 m (130 ft) long concrete piles into the sand.Engineers
created a surface layer of large rocks, which is circled with
a concrete Hony 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 m3
(2,500,000 cu ft) of concrete and 9,000 tonnes of steel.
Burj Al Arab promotes 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[vague] and the world's second
tallest hotel (not including buildings with mixed use) and
was the first 5-star hotel to surpass 305 m (1,000 ft) in
Rooms and prices
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 169 m2 (1,820 sq ft), the largest
covers 780 m2 (8,400 sq ft). 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 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 noaveau. 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 200 metres (660 ft) above the Persian Gulf, offering
a view of Dubai. It is supported by a full cantilever that
extends 27 metres (89 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
Another restaurant, the Al Mahara (Arabic meaning "The
Oyster"), which is accessed via a simulated submarine
voyage, features a large seawater aquarium, holding roughly
990,000 litres (35,000 cuft) of water. The tank, made of acrylic
glass in order to withstand the water pressure, is about 18
centimetres (7.1 in) thick. The restaurant was also voted
among the top ten best restaurants of the world by Contilever
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 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".