Fun facts about the Burj Al Arab in Dubai

32 Fun Facts About Burj Al Arab, the World’s Most Famous Hotel

In this article, we’re going to explore a series of fascinating facts about this hotel. Buckle up for the ride!

Dubai, known for its opulence and grandeur, boasts one of the most extraordinary and iconic hotels in the world – the Burj Al Arab. As an epitome of luxury and architectural excellence, the Burj Al Arab stands as a symbol of Dubai’s rise to prominence on the global stage. 

1. Burj Al Arab is a luxury hotel in Jumeirah, Dubai. Designed by architect Tom Wright, construction of the uniquely shaped hotel began in 1994 and it was officially opened in December 1999.

2. After opening, the Burj Al Arab was labeled the world’s first “7-star” hotel for its unusual opulence. The term was first used by a British journalist who visited the hotel, and it stuck. The hotel doesn’t encourage the term or use it in their advertising. Only a few other hotels have been described as 7-star, including Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi and Galleria in Milan, Italy.

Burj Al Arab hotel on the coast, with the city of Dubai visible in the background
Burj Al Arab with Dubai and the towering Burj Khalifa behind

3. When translated, the name Burj Al Arab means ‘the tower of Arabs.’ This hotel is as much a symbol of Dubai as the Opera House is of Sydney.

4. The Burj Al Arab’s unique design sets it apart from any other structure worldwide. Its shape emulates the sail of an Arabian dhow, a traditional sailing vessel, soaring 321 meters (1,053 feet) into the sky. Despite its enormous size, Burj Al Arab isn’t even half the size of the Burj Khalifa.

5. Perched at a height of 210 meters (689 feet) above sea level is the hotel’s helipad. This helipad can be found on the 59th floor.

6. The hotel sits on a human-made island that sits approximately 280 meters (920 feet) from Jumeirah Beach. It is accessible via a private bridge. 

7. To secure the hotel’s stability on the human-made island, the hotel sits on a foundation of 230 concrete piles, each measuring 40 meters (131 feet) deep. The piles alone are nearly as tall as the Colosseum in Rome!

Aerial view of Burj Al Arab hotel with a bridge going out to it and another manmade formation in the water with boats parked around it
A bridge connects the artificial island to the mainland

8. The hotel suites are ultra-luxurious and exclusive. In total there are 202 duplex suites, each lavishly adorned with opulent furnishings and stunning views of the Arabian Gulf. The Burj Al Arab employs a team of highly trained butlers – if you stay there, you’ll get your own private butler in your suite!

9. The Royal Suite is the most prestigious room the hotel has to offer. It spans two floors and covers an area of 780 square meters (8,396 square feet). It features a rotating canopy bed and a private cinema. It will only set you back $24,000 per night!

10. Gold is a prominent element in the hotel’s decor. Around 1,790 square meters (19,267 square feet) of 24-carat gold leaf was used throughout the interior, giving it an extravagant and regal ambiance.

11. The hotel houses the biggest Swarovski crystal ceiling the world has ever seen. More than 21,000 individual crystals were used to make it. The total cost of the ceiling was $353,932.

12. The Burj Al Arab has its pillow menu. Guests staying at the hotel can choose from a range of 17 different types of pillows. Things don’t stop there, though. The duvets in the hotel are sourced from ultra-rare Eiderdown. Only 2,000 kg of this material is harvested each year. 

Towering golden columns rise above a water fountain in the lobby of the Burj Al Arab hotel, with layered floors of white and blue going up
The hotel’s impressive lobby

13. The hotel’s elevators are among the fastest in the world. They are capable of traveling at a speed of 7 meters per second (23 feet per second).

14. The Burj Al Arab is committed to environmental sustainability and has undertaken several eco-friendly initiatives to reduce its ecological footprint. Sustainability initiatives include double-glazed windows around the hotel, recycling stations, and electric car charging points.

15. Burj Al Arab has its turtle rehabilitation center – the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project. The project treats injured sea turtles and has already helped return 1,600 sea turtles to the ocean.

16. Dubai has also invested in coastal conservation projects in the area around the hotel to protect its marine ecosystem. The city is currently working on an ambitious plan that could result in the largest ocean restoration project in the world. This could see more than 77 miles of artificial reefs created.

17. The Burj Al Arab’s location in Dubai has significantly boosted coastal tourism in the region, attracting visitors from all corners of the globe. Almost 20% of the 14.2 million people who visit Dubai every year stop by the hotel.

White sail-shaped tower of Burj Al Arab towers above a water canal with small bridge, boat, and palm trees in the foreground
Viewed from Madinat Jumeirah, a beach resort nearby

18. The Burj Al Arab is home to nine world-class restaurants, including the renowned Al Mahara underwater restaurant. Al Mahara houses a floor-to-ceiling seawater aquarium, creating an illusion of dining amidst marine life.

19. Afternoon High Tea at the Burj Al Arab is a cherished tradition for tourists and locals alike. Served in the Skyview Bar, it offers an indulgent experience with a selection of teas, sandwiches, pastries, and more.

20. The Burj Al Arab illuminates the Dubai skyline with a captivating light show at night. The hotel cleverly changes colors and reveals dazzling effects.

21. Tourists can book helicopter tours or even enjoy a special dining experience on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab. Guests can also charter luxury yachts and ride in the cars of their dreams. This is all part of the world-class experience at the hotel.

22. The Burj Al Arab hosts a wide range of events. These include weddings, private parties, and corporate functions.

Burj Al Arab lit up with purple lights and reflecting on the water at night
Lit up at night

23. Some tourists are drawn to the hotel as a result of its record-breaking feats. For example, in 2008, the hotel broke the world record for the priciest cocktail. The cocktail in question cost almost $7,500. In 2016, the hotel also produced the world’s biggest tin of caviar. The tin contained a whopping 17 kg of caviar.

24. Burj Al Arab has also seen its fair share of crazy feats. In 2017, Nick Jacobsen broke the record for the highest kitesurfing jump. He jumped from the helipad using his kite as a parachute.

25. In 2023, pilot Lukasz Czepiela landed a plane on the Burj Al Arab helipad. The helipad has also been turned into a boxing ring, car racing track, and tennis court.

26. Lots of famous sports stars have visited the Burj Al Arab. Roger Federer and Andre Agassi once played tennis on the 59th floor of the hotel. Meanwhile, golfer Tiger Woods was once paid to hit golf balls from the helipad.

27. One of the craziest feasts to take place at the Burj Al Arab occurred in 2013. In that year, Formula 1 driver David Coulthard performed donuts on the hotel’s helipad.

Aerial view looking down on Burj Al Arab hotel, with the helipad visible at the top, and swimming pools visible at the bottom
Imagine spinning donuts on that helipad!

28. The hotel has also hosted various musicians from around the world. These include Ronan Keating and David Guetta, both of whom performed at the hotel during their stay.

29. Countless celebrities have stayed at Burj Al Arab during their time in Dubai. Famous faces spotted at the hotel include actor Tom Cruise, singer Selena Gomez, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, soccer star David Beckham, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

30. Since it opened in 1999, Burj Al Arab has been featured in a wide range of television shows. Shows filmed at the hotel include “The Amazing Race” (2001), “Strip The City” (2012), “The Billion Pound Hotel” (2015), and “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” (2017).

31. Burj Al Arab has also been featured in a variety of different movies. Some of the movies the hotel has appeared in include “Boom” (2003), “Syriana” (2005), “Star Trek Beyond” (2016), and “Poison” (2020).

32. The hotel has even been a source of inspiration for novelists. Burj Al Arab can be found in the novel “The Six Sacred Stones” (2007) and the last chapter of the spy novel “Performance Anomalies” (2012).

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