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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Dream Hotel-- Burj Al Arab







The Burj Al Arab , meaning Tower of the Arabs is a luxury hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At 321 metres (1,053 ft), it is the tallest building used exclusively as a hotel.[2] However, the structure of the never-finished Ryugyong Hotel is nine meters taller than the Burj Al Arab, and the Rose Tower, also in Dubai, which has already topped Burj Al Arab's height at 333 m (1,090 ft), will take away the title upon its opening. The Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 metres (919 ft) out from Jumeirah beach, and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. It is an iconic structure, designed to symbolize Dubai's urban transformation and to mimic the sail of a boat.





Construction

Construction of Burj Al Arab began in 1994. It was built to resemble the sail of a dhow, a type of Arabian vessel. Two "wings" spread in a V to form a vast "mast", while the space between them is enclosed in a massive atrium. The architect Tom Wright said "The client wanted a building that would become an iconic or symbolic statement for Dubai; this is very similar to Sydney with its Opera House, or Paris with the Eiffel Tower. It needed to be a building that would become synonymous with the name of the country."

The architect and engineering consultant for the project was Atkins, the UK's largest multidisciplinary consultancy. The hotel was built by South African construction contractor Murray & Roberts. The hotel cost $650 million to build.

Features

Several features of the hotel required complex engineering feats to achieve. The hotel rests on an artificial island constructed 280 meters offshore. To secure a foundation, the builders drove 230 40-meter long concrete piles into the sand.

Engineers created a surface layer of large rocks, which is circled with a concrete honey-comb 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 cubic meters of concrete and 9,000 tons of steel.

Inside the building, the atrium is 180 meters (590 ft) tall. During the construction phase, to lower the interior temperature, the building was cooled by one degree per day over 6 months.[citation needed] This was to prevent large amounts of "condensation or in fact even a rain cloud from forming in the hotel during the period of construction."[attribution needed] This task was accomplished by several cold air nozzles, which point down from the top of the ceiling, and blast a 1 meter cold air pocket down the inside of the sail. This creates a buffer zone, which controls the interior temperature without massive energy costs.

Burj Al Arab characterizes itself as the world's only "7-star" property, a designation considered by travel professionals to be hyperbole. All major travel guides and hotel rating systems have a 5-star maximum, which some hotels attempt to out-do by ascribing themselves "6-star" status. Yet according to the Burj Al Arab's official site, the hotel is a "5-star deluxe hotel". It is the world's tallest structure with a membrane facade and the world's tallest hotel (not including buildings with mixed use) and was the first 5-star hotel to surpass 1,000 ft (305 m) in height.

Rooms and prices

It is managed by the Jumeirah Group. Despite its size, the Burj Al Arab holds only 28 double-story floors which accommodate 202 bedroom suites. The smallest suite occupies an area of 169 square meters (1,819 sq ft), the largest covers 780 square meters (8,396 sq ft). It is one of the most expensive hotels in the world. The cost of staying in a suite begins at $1,000 per night; the Royal Suite is the most expensive, at $28,000 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.

Restaurants

One of its restaurants, Al Muntaha (Arabic meaning "Highest" or "Ultimate"), is located 200 metres (660 ft) above the Persian Gulf, offering a view of Dubai. It is supported by a full cantilever that extends 27 metres (89 ft) 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 (Arabic meaning "The Oyster"), which is accessed via a simulated submarine voyage, features a large seawater aquarium, holding roughly 35,000 cubic feet (over one million litres) of water. The tank, made of acrylic glass in order to withstand the water pressure, is about 18 centimetres (7.1 in) thick. The restaurant was also voted among the top ten best restaurants of the world by Condé Nast Traveler. They have recently hired acclaimed chef Kevin McLaughlin.