Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai.
The architects were commissioned to produce a hotel that would double as an iconic design/structure for Dubai. The final selected design mimics the sail of a dhow (traditional arabic) boat; and so ‘The Burj’ was built (‘burj’ is the Arabic word for ‘tower’). At 920 ft tall it is the 4th tallest hotel in the world. Many architects moaned about it from an architectural point of view at the time. Many Islamic conservatives complained loudly that the helipad and the tall spine together form what looks like a Christian cross when viewed from the sea and wanted the helipad demolished. Sheikh Mo (Dubai ruler) told them to get real!
The hotel is touted as a 7 Star hotel, but not by the owners Jumeirah Group (who incidentally sponsored Irish golfer Rory McIlroy until his deal with Nike a few years back). The 7 Star title seems to have stuck after it appeared in a newspaper article written by a British journalist who was invited to one of the opening events.
The hotel design has proved to be the iconic structure envisaged by owners, and the image of the hotel has been used the world over to successfully promote brand ‘Dubai’.
You can not just wander in for a coffee or beer. You must book something online to actually receive your security pass to enter the building. The 7 course afternoon tea option at about 90 USD per head is the most affordable! MB took this shot from the 80th floor of a nearby 100 storey tower he was working on 4 or 5 years back.