Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Burj Al Arab in Dubai

Burj Al Arab is a luxury hotel located in an artifical island in Dubai, 280m out from Jumeirah beach and it's the second tallest building in the world used as a hotel. It's connected to the mainland with a private curving bridge.

It looks like a sail of a dhow (a type of Arabian vessel), which symbolize Dubai's urban transformation. It has two "wings" which are spread in a V to form a vast "mast", while the space between them is enclosed in a massive atrium. It was designed by an architect Tom Wright of WS Atkins, the UK's largest multidisciplinary consultancy, and built by construction contractor Murray & Roberts from South Africa.

The builders drove 230 pieces of 40m long concrete piles into the sand to secue the foundation. Engineers created a 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, but less than three years to construct the building itself. The building contains over 70 000 m3 of concrete and 9,000 tonnes of steel.

This is the only 7 star property on the world. It has 28 double-storey floors which accommodate 202 bedroom suites. The smallest suite occupies an area of 169 m2, till the largest covers 780 m2. You can concluse that this is one of the mopst expensive hotels on the world. The cost of staying in a suite begins at 1000 USD ($) per night, till the cost of staying in Royal Suite (the most expensive and luxury suite) starting at 28000 USD ($) per night!

Suites feature design details that juxtapose east and west. White Tuscan columns and a spiral staircase covered in marble with a wrought-iron gold leaf railing show influence from classicism and art nouveau. Spa-like bathrooms are accented by mosaic tile patterns on the floors and walls, with Arabian-influenced geometries, which are also found elsewhere in the building.

Al Muntaha (which on Arabic means "Ultimate") is one of its restaurants, located 200 meters above the Persian Gulf. It offers an view of Dubai. It is supported by a full cantilever that extends 27 metres from either side of the mast, and is accessed by a panoramic elevator. The main chef there, Edah Semaj Leachim, was awarded Chef of the Year 2006 and also owns the restaurant, in accordance with the Burj Al Arab hotel.

Another restaurant, the Al Mahara (which on Arabic means "The Oyster"), which is accessed via a simulated submarine voyage, features a large seawater aquarium, holding roughly 990,000 litres of water. The tank, made of acrylic glass in order to withstand the water pressure, is about 18 centimetres thick. The restaurant was also voted among the top ten best restaurants of the world by Condé Nast Traveler.

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