Burj al-Arab

02 May 2017

The hotel required 1,790 square feet of 24-carat gold leaf for its interior, and is billed as the world’s first seven-star hotel

The opening of Burj al-Arab in 1999 propelled Dubai onto the world stage. Billed by its owners as the world’s first seven-star hotel, it sits on an artificial island 280 metres offshore.

From conception, the hotel was planned to be a luxury property that would attract attention from around the world.

Burj al-Arab was designed by architect Tom Wright of the UK’s WS Atkins in 1993, and was constructed to look like a dhow sail.

One of its features is an underwater aquarium restaurant that can be reached through a simulated submarine voyage.

The main contractor was the local/South African Al-Habtoor Murray & Roberts. Construction of the island began in 1994 and was completed in 1997, at which point work started on the hotel. Burj al-Arab is estimated to have cost $1bn in total to build.

The tower is 321 metres high and accommodates 202 rooms. At the time of opening, Burj al-Arab was the tallest hotel in the world, and it remains the tallest all-duplex suite hotel today. The construction required 70,000 cubic metres of concrete, 9,000 tonnes of steel and 1,790 square feet of 24-carat gold leaf for the interior.

In 2016, the island was extended by 328 feet into the Gulf to create a bigger outdoor space; it was called the North Deck.

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