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Burj Al Arab

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
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.


Features
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 height.


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


Restaurants

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 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 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 acrylic glass.

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".

 
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