Combining the lastest technology with a long-standing reputation of Arabian hospitality, Burj Al Arab symbolizes the very essence of Dubai, embracing the best of the new alongside the traditions of the past.

The Burj Al Arab is, at the time of writing, the world's only 7 Star hotel. There is some amazing architecture to be seen throughout the Emirate of Dubai, particularly along the Creek and at the top of Sheikh Zayed Road, near the World Trade Centre roundabout. The Burj al Arab, however, and its sister hotel, the 6 Star Jumeirah Beach Hotel, lie midway down the 35 kilometer long coast of Dubai.

The Jumeirah Beach Hotel, which opened in 1997, preceded the Burj Al Arab by a few years. It quickly became renowned througout the world for its innovative wave-crest shape and 6 Star extravagance, being voted the No 1 Hotel in the World by Conde Nast Traveller magazine. Not bad for a hotel with a construction site a few hundred feet from its front door.

Construction on the Burj al Arab, located on a man-made island in front of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, began in 1996 and was completed in 1999. South African construction company, Murray & Roberts teamed up with local contractors Al Habtoor Engineering, and the prestigeous building was their first contract in the Middle East.

The tallest hotel in the world, at 321 metres, the Burj Al Arab dwarfs her sister in height as much as she does in architectural and extravagant majetsty. The Burj Al Arab's helipad is located on the 28th floor, giving quick and easy access to the seemingly suspended-in-mid-air restaurant.

The hotel is built in the shape of the sail of an Arabian dhow, and the architects have been extremely successful, definitely more so than the architects of the Sydney Opera House who went for a similar effect. It is a beautiful anachronism to see a traditional dhow sail past the hotel. The sail facade features a double-skinned, Teflon™-coated woven glass fibre screen, another world first.

What's Inside?

Ah, the ultimate question; and sadly I cannot give first-hand information from here-on. It is rumoured to cost US$100 just for the privilage of walking through the front doors. Fear not, for your downpayment is offsetable against whatever you spend inside. Alcohol1 is served in hotels in Dubai, and the sheikh has absolutely no qualms about charging you the earth for it, so expect your bar tab to be more than a little higher than what you're accustomed to in your home town. Yes, even London.

The 202 duplex suites are equipped with a dining area, sofa, business desk complete with laptop, private fax and copier. There is a "hidden network of advanced technology - lighting, curtains and air-conditioning at the touch of a button" (what? not the clap-your-hands variety?!). Should you get bored, you can watch 65 cable channels, video on demand or a DVD on your 42-inch plasma screen TV. But I recommend that you leave your room.

Take a walk through the world's tallest atrium and visit one of the six restaurants and lounges. I'd start at the 200 metre above-ground Al Muntaha (the ultimate, or the highest) and take in a view of Dubai while dining on European cuisine. From man-made port Jebel Ali in the South, down the hustle and bustle of Sheikh Zayed Road and on to the mouth of the creek in the North, you can see beyond the borders of Dubai and into both neighboring Emirates of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

If altitude is not your thing, then pop down to the floor of the Arabian Gulf at the Al Iwan sea view restaurant... taking in the tropical fish and the traditional Arabian decor. Those who are not too fussy about what they eat and where it came from can then venture through a three minute virtual submarine voyage to the Al Mahara seafood restaurant, with its circular aquarium visible to all diners.

Tired after all that eating? Don't worry, you can pop up to the 18th floor and visit the Assawan Spa for some hydrotherapy, oriental massage, a stand-up solarium (in case it's too hot outside to work on your tan in natural UV rays), sauna, steam rooms and jacuzzi... or for the more energetic, the two swimming pools, two fully-equipped fitness studios and the aerobics floor.

Charging it all to the Firm? Splendid, well, for a little authenticity, you may want to make use of the Boardroom with its "stunning panorama and all the very latest technology, the most prestigious imaginable world class venue for meetings, functions and private celebrations". (Maybe the next World Summit on Sustainable Development can be held there?)

Or perhaps you're a member of the Saudi royal family? Then you might want to make use of the Al Falak Ballroom, a "palatial, two-tiered, domed ballroom crowned with a unique crystal chandelier, the ultimate venue for weddings and events" with a seating capacity of 220, or 400 for a cocktail party.

If you're bringing the kids along with you, never fear, for you may dispose of them at the Wild Wadi Water Park (situated just behind the Jumeirah Beach Hotel) every day and it will not cost you a bean. Indeed, you may go as well, perhaps on your way to or from Dubai airport in the Rolls-Royce limousine service.

A rather poor image is available at
Under-construction and night-time images available at
Ooh! Ooh! ALL the cool and funky architecture of Dubai is here: GO THERE NOW!

Burj Al Arab  5 Star Deluxe. Member of The Leading Hotels of the World

Po Box 74147      Jumeirah Beach Road
Dubai             Dubai

Tel. +971 4 301 7777
Fax. +971 4 301 7000

GDS codes: Amadeus:   LWDXB208
           Worldspan: LW6208
           Sabre:     LW49282
           Galileo:   LW21235

1 lesser-known-fact is that the word Alcohol is derrived from an Arabic word, Al-kohol meaning the light (thanks be to adidas' writeup at that node. Hopefully jaez or hotthamir will provide me with the correct Arabic root, but more likely Gritchka will beat them to it. and yerricde who beat the lot of them to it (tho hotthamir did give me the Arabic but not in html form.))

hotthamir says kaf ha lam = eyeliners . kaf ha waw lam = alcohol!!. its a 4 letter noun, eye liner is a 3 letter noun.

Teiresias says Interesting snippet that I picked up in the papers which might be worth adding. The Aquarium in the resteraunt has a team of 20 to look after the fish, which includes a chef to freshly prepare the fish food .......