In a city known for superlatives, you’ll find eye-popping architecture on every corner. From the world’s tallest tower and most luxurious hotel to space-age structures that defy gravity, discover 10 of the coolest works of architecture in Dubai.
The world’s tallest building, at a lofty 2,722 feet, Burj Khalifa has become synonymous with Dubai’s growth and grandeur. Since completion in 2010, this cloud-piercing structure has become the centerpiece of Dubai, housing the ultra-luxe Armani Hotel, residential units, restaurants and bars, as well as the At the Top Burj Khalifa SKY experience, taking visitors to the 148th floor for jaw-plummeting views of Dubai. The 160-story Burj Khalifa was designed by Chicago-based firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the winners of an invited design competition, and features a triple-lobed footprint inspired by the spider lily flower.
Sail Away: Burj Al Arab
Situated on a manmade island off Jumeirah Beach, the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab is one of Dubai’s most iconic sights. The third-tallest hotel on Earth, and frequently voted the world’s most luxurious, Burj Al Arab is home to 202 lavish suites, including the two-story Royal Suite that costs a cool $24,000 a night. The helipad on the 28th floor is a star in its own right: Tiger Woods famously teed off from the pad in 2004; Andre Agassi and Roger Federer played a game of tennis here in 2005; and David Coulthard performed donuts in a F1 racer in 2013. Burj Al Arab has also starred in Hollywood blockbusters, such as «Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,» and «Syriana.»
Dubai Marina and Cayan Tower (known also as Infinity Tower).
At first glance, it appears that Cayan Tower in Dubai Marina is twisting up out of the ground like a giant futuristic beanstalk. This majestic helical design was achieved by rotating each floor 1.2 degrees clockwise, so that the 75-story tower twists a full 90 degrees. When it was completed in 2013, it became the world’s tallest residential tower, a feat that has since been superseded. Today, it remains one of the most eye-catching structures in Dubai Marina, offering views over docked super yachts and Jumeirah Beach from its 495 apartments.
Dubai, the Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis hotel
Standing proud at the apex of the Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis The Palm is one of Dubai’s most popular resorts, combining a five-star hotel with high-end restaurants, the Lost Chambers Aquarium and Aquaventure water park. Opened in September 2008, this blush-pink behemoth was designed by Wimberly, Allison, Tong and Goo, and features 1,539 guest rooms spread over two wings. Connecting the wings is the Royal Bridge Suite, a $23,000-a-night retreat that’s played host to Kim Kardashian West and other stars with serious coin.
Head-Turning Hotel: The Opus
The first and only foray into Dubai for the legendary late architect Zaha Hadid, The Opus balances the sharp lines of a glass cube with a curvaceous void at its heart. When it officially opens in September, this futuristic fantasy near the Burj Khalifa will house luxe residential properties, commercial zones, and a 93-room hotel from Spanish brand ME by Meliá, including 15 bars and restaurants. This daring design is a fitting legacy for Hadid, who was known as the “Queen of the Curve” and was the first female architect to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.