It seems that every other week Dubai opens another bigger, faster, taller attraction. It's just 15 years ago when all that was there was sand, but wow has that changed.
Catriona Rowntree seems to be Getaway's official tall-building checker-outer. She's been to the top of the 509m Taipei 101 building, the 452m twin Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and just had to get herself to Dubai to see their new Burj Khalifa. At 828m, it's left the others far behind.
Despite experiencing financial woes, Dubai opened Burj Khalifa in January. Its 160 floors rise straight out of the sand and can be seen from 100km away.
The tower was built by 10,000 construction workers from more than 59 companies.
The 124th floor has the world's highest outdoor observation deck. When the building is finished it will have apartments, offices, bars, restaurants and pools.
The Dubai Fountain at Burj Khalifa cost US$217 million ($241 million). It was designed by the company responsible for the impressive fountain at Bellagio in Las Vegas, but of course, the Dubai version had to be bigger and better. A display with 7000 lights and water shooting 150m into the air, accompanied by music ranging from classical to contemporary Arabic, is on show from 6pm every night in good weather, and starts every 20 minutes.
The world's first Armani Hotel will occupy the lower floors of the tower. It will have 160 guest rooms and suites, five restaurants and a nightclub. It will be decorated by Giorgio Armani so promises to be something out of the box.
At full capacity the tower will house around 25,000 people.
The lift travels at 10m a second and there is absolutely no feeling of movement.
The tower's cooling system produces enough condensation to fill 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools a year. Condensation runs down into the tower's irrigation. The glass and steel exterior takes up to eight weeks to clean.
The Address Downtown Dubai
Right on the doorstep of Burj Khalifa and the stunning fountain and flanked by The Dubai Mall, The Address Downtown Dubai strives to make every guest a special individual.
Standing 63 storeys, it has 196 lavish rooms and 25 suites from the seventh to 12th floors. It also has 626 serviced residences.
It has seven eating and drinking venues and is the city's latest hotspot day and night. Neos on the top floor serves exotic cocktails to match stunning views of Dubai. It's so popular it's a good idea to book ahead and ask for a table with the Burj view. For relaxation there is a spa, fully equipped fitness centre and chilled pools provide a welcome break from the desert heat.
Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Greece and Mediterranean Travel has a five-day Dubai Escape package. It includes airport transfers, four nights' accommodation with breakfast, a half-day city tour, a visit to Atlantis Resort, Emirates Mall and Dubai Mall. It operates year round.
The Burj Khalifa Tower 'At The Top' experience begins at the lower ground level of the Dubai Mall. Opening hours are 10am to 10pm between Sunday and Wednesday and 10am to midnight from Thursday to Saturday. Reserved admission is around $30 for adults and $23 for children up to 12 years. Immediate entry admission is around $120.
Emirates has flights to Dubai.
Return airfares from:
- Perth $1737
- Melbourne and Adelaide $1791
- Sydney $1810
- Brisbane $1813
Prices correct at February 25, 2010.
For further information
Ph: 1300 303 777
Burj Khalifa Tower
1 Emaar Boulevard
Ph: + 971 4 366 1655
The Address Downtown Dubai
Ph: +971 4 436 8888
Fax: +971 4 436 8880
Greece and Mediterranean Travel Centre
Suite 2, 644 Botany Road
Ph: (02) 9313 4633 or 1300 661 666
Fax: (02) 9313 4475
Visas: Visas are not required for entry into Dubai but passports must be valid for at least two to six months.
Electricity: Plugs are European with two circular metal pins.
Time zone: GMT +4.
Currency: UAE dirham.
Telephone code: +971.
It is recommended travellers to Dubai see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there are specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au.
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