Monday, 31 March 2008

Burj Al Arab

The Burj-Al-Arab  (The Arabic Tower in Arabic) is a iconic structure in Dubai - it likes to be known as the world's only 7-star hotel and allegedly, it caters to the whims and fantasies of the rich.  It costs from about £800 per night!  As you can see from the photo, it's built on its own little man-made island, a hundred metres or so from the mainland - accessedburj_al_arab_dubai_01 by a little causeway.  This causeway is guarded and is a hotel that you cannot just go into - security will not let you in!

 

 

 

It is HUGE and is significantly taller than it appears to the eye.  It is nearly the height of the Empire State Building in New York.  I am not trying to give you a lesson but this sets the scene of some photos I am about to show you.

Dubai loves to go a little overboard - in so many ways.  As a publicity stunt for a tennis tournament here a couple of years ago, they turned the helipad at the top of the Burj into a tennis court, where Andre Agassi and Roger Federer played a game.  In the photo above, you can just about see the helipad - the circular structure at the top right of the building.  (I think the helicopter transfer is about £1,400 from the airport.)

These photos just freak me out!  The view from the photo shows just how far up this helipad is!tennis dubai 1

The water and buildings you can see in this picture (above) are mostly hotels and restaurants.

tennis dubai 2

Can you imagine if one of them ran just that little too far in order to return a shot - it makes me giddy just thinking about it!

Similarly, for a golf promotion, Tiger Woods hit some balls off the helipad too.

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The photo below shows another hotel - this is the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, shaped like a wave.

golf dubai 2

When we were here last year, we were lucky enough to go on a boat trip with some friends who had a yacht!  What we found astonishing is the view of the Burj-al-Arab from the back (from the sea looking towards the shore).  This is what we saw:

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Put simply, we saw the largest cross (the Christian symbol) in the Middle East!!  It is apparently widely disputed, whether the British architects made it intentionally, or whether it is a harmless coincidence.   The UAE is an Islamic country and this symbol surely would not make the locals happy, as the Burj-al-Arab is the iconic tower representing the dream of the modern Dubai. 

You have to wonder. . . it made us chuckle!

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