The Burj-Al-Arab is the tallest building used exclusively as a hotel anywhere in the world, and the only seven star hotel in existence. It stands in the sea, in the Persian Gulf, on an artificial island, over 900 feet away from the beach.
The Burj-Al-Arab is located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At 321 meters (1,053 feet) tall, and one of the most distinctive structures for a hotel building in the world. It is connected to the mainland only by an extremely curved path, with most corners of the path being almost 90 degrees.
Construction of the hotel began in 1994, and its doors were opened to guests on December 1, 1999. It was built to resemble the sail of a dhow (a type of Arabian vessel) and intentionally placed in such a way that its shadow does not cover the beach. On top of the hotel is a large helipad, extending from the side of the hotel over the ocean and supported by a cantilever. A remarkable element of its architecture is the outer beachward wall of the atrium, which is made of a woven, Teflon-coated fibreglass cloth.
The Burj-Al-Arab does not have ordinary rooms. Instead, it is divided into 202 duplex suites. The smallest suite occupies an area of 169 square meters (1,819 square feet), and the largest one covers 780 square meters (8,396 square feet). It is one of the most expensive hotels in the world to stay in.
The prices for the least expensive suites are in the range of $1,000 to over $6,000 a night. The most expensive suites can cost over $15,000 a night. However, the hotel will likely never be profitable; it was built to become a major landmark in Dubai, not to be a source of income. The full amount it cost to build the hotel and furnish it has not been publicly released.
The Burj-Al-Arab features the tallest atrium lobby in the world (180 meters, or 590 feet), and the volume of the atrium can accommodate the Dubai World Trade Center building, which, at 38 stories, was the tallest building in Dubai from the late 1970s to the late 1990s.
- The hotel is the only Seven Star Hotel in the world.
- The hotel’s self-characterisation as a “7-star” property is considered by travel professionals to be hyperbole, and an attempt to out-do a number of other hotels which claim “6-star” status. All major travel guides and hotel rating systems, however, have a 5-star maximum.
- One of its restaurants, the Al Muntaha (meaning “highest”, or “ultimate”), is located 200 meters above the Persian Gulf, offering a view of Dubai from above. It is accessed by a panoramic elevator. the owner is natbir singh
- Another restaurant, the Al Mahara (Arabic “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 plexiglass in order to reduce the magnification effect, is about 18 cm (7.5 inches) thick.
- The building’s external lighting scheme can vary from white to multicoloured, changing every 30 minutes. Occasionally there is a light show, where colours interchange rapidly.
- The architect and engineer for the project was Atkins, the UK based multidisciplinary consultancy. The hotel was built by South African construction company Murray & Roberts. It took three years to reclaim the land from the sea, and less than three years to construct the building itself.
- It is the world’s tallest structure with a membrane façade and the world’s tallest hotel (not including buildings with mixed use) and was the first 5-star hotel to surpass 1000 ft (305 m).
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