Date Visited


United Arab Emirates


Burj Al Arab Hotel



Built on reclaimed land, the Burj Al Arab Hotel is one of the world’s most opulent hotels.  Designed in the shape of the sail of a dhow, it contains four swimming pools, nine restaurants and bars, a spa and fitness center, and a helipad. It has 199 suites for guests, but it does not have rooms. Its interior is decorated in gold leaf and marble. 


The Burj Al Arab Hotel is built on reclaimed land 280 m (920 ft) offshore and connected to the mainland by a private curved bridge. The construction commenced in 1994 and involved the placing of an artificial island which involved the creation of a ground surface layer of large rocks, circled with a concrete honeycomb pattern surround, which serves to protect the foundation from erosion. It took over two years just to reclaim the land from the sea. The foundations were then placed which incorporated the placing of 230 40-metre-long (130 ft) concrete piles on which the structure was built.

The building itself is 321 metres (1,053 ft) tall and was built to resemble the shape of the sail of a dhow. Inside the building, the atrium - which is a large open-air or skylight-covered space surrounded by the building - is 180 m (590 ft) tall. The 18-storied atrium is enclosed by 12 tensioned two-layer membrane panels forming the north-facing façade.


The construction involved up to 2,000 construction workers during the peak of construction, resulting in the actual building taking less than three years to construct. The building opened on 1 December 1999 with an official ranking of a five-star hotel, the highest that can be awarded, although the hotel is sometimes erroneously described as "the world's only 'seven-star' hotel".

The hotel was designed and built for the top end of the market and incorporates an array of materials, including over 21,000 square feet of 24K gold leaf, and thirty different types of marble. It contains four swimming pools, nine restaurants and bars, a spa, and a fitness center. It has 199 suites.  It also has a private beach, manicured gardens, a water park, and a helipad above the building's 59th floor.

Guests enter the hotel via the private bridge and roadway into the entry hall which provides a spacious and opulent space.


Within it is a grand staircase leading to the suite's upper level with a fountain and water feature cascading down with an escalator on either side.


This area also provides access to shops, bars, and restaurants.



The hotel's restaurants include the Al Muntaha ("The Ultimate"), which is located at a height of 200 m (660 ft). This extends 27 m (89 ft) from either side of the mast and provides views over Dubai and the Persian Gulf, which is also known as the Arabian Gulf.

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

The elevators provide swift access and provide exterior views on the way to the suites (the hotel does not have rooms) and additional facilities.




              All  Photographs were taken by and are copyright of Ron Gatepain

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