Dubai is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, but its significance goes far beyond the borders of its country. The city is a booming mercantile metropolis that operates as the business center of Western Asia, which has seen a “who’s who” of global corporations set up for trade in Dubai. Dubai is not all about business; it is home to vast shopping districts and centers (including the gigantic Dubai Mall), as well as a range of eclectic tourist attractions.
CNN have compiled a list of the most visited cities in the world in 2019, with Dubai placed seventh thanks to its estimated 16.3 million arrivals during the year. Its architectural masterpieces are one of the biggest reasons for visiting Dubai, as its skyline has to be seen to be believed. Here are three Dubai buildings that are a must-see on a journey to the city – although, given the size of them, they would be pretty hard to miss!
It would be wrong to start anywhere other than the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. That’s not the only record this building claims through its height of 828 meters. According to Bayut, Burj Khalifa has achieved many other feats, which include the highest outdoor observation desk, the tallest service elevators, and the highest number of stories.
Construction took place from 2004 to 2009, with the building becoming the clear centerpiece of Downtown Dubai. The tower houses over 900 residencies and the 304-room Armani Hotel, which was the first of its kind. You may recognize the Burj Khalifa as the location of one of Tom Cruise’s thrilling stunts in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, but this is a piece of architecture that needs to be seen in real life.
Standing 306 meters tall, the Cayan Tower is under half of the height of the Burj Khalifa. However, pure height is not the unique selling point of the Cayan Tower, as the 90-degree twist in its facade is the main attraction. When it opened in 2013 it became the tallest building of its type, although the Shanghai Tower stole that accolade in 2015.
The tower has a primary residential function, offering studios, three-bedroom apartments and luxurious penthouses to its tenants. There is also an outdoor infinity edge pool and a health spa for residents, but you could argue that the building is best enjoyed from the outside. To fully appreciate the twist of the Cayan Tower, you need to look at the skyscraper from every angle.
Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Built in 1997, this hotel is older than many of the most popular architectural sights in Dubai. It is also smaller; its height of 93 meters once made it the 9th tallest building in the city, but it is now a molehill surrounded by mountains. However, its distinctive wave-like structure has made the Beach Hotel one of Dubai’s most iconic sights for tourists.
The purpose of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel is self-explanatory, although the hotel prides itself on offering a particularly luxurious stay for visitors. The wave of the Jumeirah complements the sail shape of the nearby Burj Al Arab hotel. Whether you’re staying in the Jumeirah Beach region or not, these hotels are definitely worth a visit.
These buildings will soon be joined by the Burj Jumeirah, a skyscraper which will rise out of thumbprint-inspired surroundings to provide another spectacular building to look at and to look out from. That should be completed by 2023, but for now Dubai isn’t exactly short of architectural wonders.