Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab
General information
Status Complete
Type Luxury Hotel
Architectural style High-Tech
Location Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 3 - إمارة دبيّ‎, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Construction started 1994
Completed 1999
Opening December 1999
Cost USD $ 1 billion[1]
Architectural 321 m (1,053 ft)
Top floor 197.5 m (648 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 56 (3 below ground)[2]
Lifts/elevators 18[2]
Design and construction
Architect Tom Wright of WKK Architects
Developer Jumeirah
Structural engineer Atkins
Other information
Number of rooms 202[2]

Burj Al Arab (Arabic: برج العرب‎,Tower of the Arabs) is a luxury hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It has been called "The world's only 7 star Hotel" and is the third tallest hotel in the world; however, 39% of its total height is made up of non-occupiable space.[7][8][9] Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 m (920 ft) from Jumeirah beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. The shape of the structure is designed to mimic the sail of a ship. It has a helipad near the roof at a height of 210 m (689 ft) above ground.


  • Site 1
  • Design and construction 2
  • Features 3
    • Rooms and suites 3.1
    • Restaurants 3.2
    • Rating 3.3
  • Reception 4
    • Reviews by architecture critics 4.1
  • Public relations stunts 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9


The beachfront area where Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel are located was previously called Chicago Beach.[10] The hotel is located on an island of reclaimed land 280 meters offshore of the beach of the former Chicago Beach Hotel.[11] The locale's name had its origins in the Chicago Bridge & Iron Company which at one time welded giant floating oil storage tanks, known locally as Kazzans on the site.[10]

The old name persisted after the old Hotel was demolished in 1997. Dubai Chicago Beach Hotel remained as the Public Project Name for the construction phase of Burj Al Arab Hotel until Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the new name.[11]

Design and construction

Burj Al Arab was designed by multidisciplinary consultancy Atkins, led by architect Tom Wright, who has since become co-founder of WKK Architects. The design and construction were managed by Canadian engineer Rick Gregory also of WS Atkins. Construction of the Island began in 1994 with over 60 WS Atkins managerial and design staff, and up to 2000 construction workers during peak construction. It was built to resemble the sail of a traditional Arabian vessel called a dhow. 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[12] 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, London with Big Ben, or Paris with the Eiffel Tower. It needed to be a building that would become synonymous with the name of the country."[13]

Atkins. Fletcher Construction from New Zealand was the lead joint venture partner in the initial stages of pre-construction and construction.[14] The hotel was built by South African construction contractor Murray & Roberts and Al Habtoor Engineering.[15]

The building opened in December 1999.[16]


Burj Al Arab Hotel Elevators

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 forty-meter-long (130 ft) concrete piles into the sand.[17]

Engineers created a ground/surface layer of large rocks, which is circled with a concrete honeycomb pattern, which serves to protect the foundation from erosion. It took three years to reclaim the land from the sea, while it took fewer than three years to construct the building itself. The building contains over 70,000 m3 (92,000 cu yd) of concrete and 9,000 tons of steel.[17]

Inside the building, the atrium is 180 m (590 ft) tall.

Burj Al Arab is the world's third tallest hotel (not including buildings with mixed use). The structure of the Rose Rayhaan, also in Dubai, is 11 m (36 ft) taller than Burj Al Arab.

Rooms and suites

The hotel is managed by the Jumeirah Group. Despite its size, Burj Al Arab holds only 28 double-story 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).[18]

Suites feature design details that juxtapose east and west. White columns show great influence. Bathrooms are accented by mosaic tile patterns.

The Royal Suite, billed at US$18,716 per night, is listed at number 12 on World's 15 most expensive hotel suites compiled by CNN Go in 2012.[19]

The Burj Al Arab is very popular with the Chinese market, which made up 25 percent of all bookings at the hotel in 2011 and 2012.[20]


Al Muntaha
Al Mahara
The Burj Al Arab at night.

Al Muntaha ("Highest"), is located 200 m (660 ft) above the Persian Gulf, offering a view of Dubai. It is supported by a full cantilever that extends 27 m (89 ft) from either side of the mast, and is accessed by a panoramic elevator.

Al Mahara ("Oyster"), which is accessed via a simulated submarine voyage, features a large seawater aquarium, holding roughly 990,000 L (260,000 US gal) of water. The wall of the tank, made of acrylic glass in order to withstand the water pressure, is about 18 cm (7.1 in) thick.


While the hotel is frequently described as "the world's only seven-Star hotel", the hotel management claims to never have done that themselves. In the words of a Jumeirah Group spokesperson: "There's not a lot we can do to stop it. We're not encouraging the use of the term. We've never used it in our advertising."[21] According to the group, the "Seven-Star" notion was brought to being by a British journalist who visited the hotel on a pre-opening press trip. The journalist "described Burj al Arab in her article as above and beyond anything she had ever seen and called it a seven-star hotel. The true real certified seven-star hotel is in Milan, Italy ( http://www.forbes.coms/declaneytan/2015/08/04/1032/ "[21]


Reviews by architecture critics

Burj Al Arab Hotel Interior
Inner suites

Burj Al Arab has attracted criticism as well "a contradiction of sorts, considering how well-designed and impressive the construction ultimately proves to be."[18] The contradiction here seems to be related to the hotel’s decor. "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 negative critiques for 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."[18] 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".[18]

Public relations stunts

Several events have taken place on the helipad 210 m (689 ft) above ground to attract media attention. These include :

See also


  1. ^ "Arabian Knight". Forbes.com. Retrieved 24 September 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Burj Al Arab Hotel - The Skyscraper Center". Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. 
  3. ^ Burj Al Arab at Emporis
  4. ^ Burj Al Arab at SkyscraperPage
  5. ^ Burj Al Arab at Structurae
  6. ^ "Stay at Burj Al Arab". Jumeirah. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  7. ^ "Vanity Height: the Use-less Space in Today's Tallest". CTBUH. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  8. ^ "Study: Skyscrapers Topped by Wasted Space". World Property Channel. 2013-09-06. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  9. ^ Solon, Olivia (2013-09-06). "Report names and shames vanity skyscrapers with unnecessary spires". Wired. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  10. ^ a b Krane, Jim City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism, page 103, St. Martin's Press (September 15, 2009)
  11. ^ a b "Dubai's Chicago Beach Hotel". Dubai As It Used To Be. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  12. ^ "Burj Al Arab". Galinsky. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  13. ^ "Dubai's Dream Palace - Burj Al-Arab Hotel".  
  14. ^ "Dubai Chicago Beach Hotel - Fletcher Construction Company". 
  15. ^ "Murphy & Roberts". Forbes Traveler (Murray & Roberts). 2006-06-21. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  16. ^ "Media Fact File of Burj Al Arab" (PDF). Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  17. ^ a b "Burj Al Arab". EgyptEng.com engineering directory. 2000. Archived from the original on 2007-01-17. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  18. ^ a b c d Damluji, Salma Samar, The Architecture of the U.A.E.. Reading, UK: 2006.
  19. ^ Arnold, Helen "World's 15 most expensive hotel suites" CNN Go. 25 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-11
  20. ^ "Jumeirah gets ravenous for China". TTGmice. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  21. ^ a b "Hotel star ratings standards long overdue".  
  22. ^ "World's number one player Tiger Woods tees off from the world's most luxurious hotel, Burj Al Arab" Hospitality, 9 March 2004. Accessed: 2 November 2013. Photos
  23. ^ "Agassi, Federer enjoy unique experience" ESPN, 22 February 2005. Accessed: 2 November 2013. Photos
  24. ^ [2]
  25. ^ "Video: Rory McIlroy on the Burj Al Arab Helipad" Jumeirah, 20 December 2011. Accessed: 3 November 2013.
  26. ^ "Video: Aston Martin - Dubai Centenary Spectacular at Burj Al Arab" Aston Martin, 17 January 2013. Accessed: 3 November 2013.
  27. ^ "VIDEO: Red Bull in sensational Dubai helipad donut demo" Crash.net, 31 October 2013. Accessed: 2 November 2013. Photos

Further reading

  • Rose, Steve. "Sand and Freedom", The Guardian, November 28, 2005, retrieved October 27, 2006.
  • National Geographic Television. National Geographic: Megastructures, retrieved October 27, 2006.

External links

  • Burj Al Arab official website
  • Burj Al Arab Hotel on CTBUH Skyscraper Center
  • Atkins, the designers and engineers behind Burj Al Arab
  • Tom Wright Burj al Arab architect's official website
  • Seven Stars Award Burj al Arab Seven Stars Award