THE GREATEST HOTELS IN THE WORLD – Burj Al Arab
Dubai is the prosperous star of the United Arab Emirates. It is hailed as one of the fastest growing cities in the world and is home to a culturally diverse, dynamic community. Historically, the city evolved around Dubai Creek and it continues to expand ever outwards with groundbreaking new developments. It is one of the world’s top holiday destinations due to the perennial sunshine, a combination of world-class leisure facilities, first-class hotels and the dramatic shoreline, where white sands meet the Arabian Gulf.
The icon of Dubai, Burj Al Arab rises out of its own man-made island 280 metres from the Jumeirah coast, 15km south of the city and 25km from Dubai International Airport. Visible from almost everywhere in the city, it is linked to the shore by a slender, gently curving causeway.
In 1993, architect Tom Wright of WS Atkins took on the challenge of creating this groundbreaking superstructure. From the very beginning Burj Al Arab was planned and designed to become the icon of Dubai. It was to be extravagant and luxurious, a reflection of its Arabic heritage and traditions of hospitality, a beacon to light the city’s future.
Construction began in 1994 and involved 3000 companies and contractors; 250 designers from the UK, USA and Dubai; and 3500 workmen on site at any given time. It took two years to reclaim the island in the shore waters of the Arabian Gulf, and a further three years to erect the magnificent landmark. Burj Al Arab’s doors officially opened on 1 December 1999.