Highlights of the city’s staggering skyline
Architecture is a subjective field – some people prefer ultra-modern and minimalist, while others are all about classic design – but one thing that is certain: anyone visiting Dubai for the first time can't help but be impressed by the city's skyline. Here's our guide to Dubai's most striking buildings.
Standing at just under 830 metres tall, the Burj Khalifa is not only the tallest building in Dubai, but the tallest on the planet. The rocket ship-like design makes this striking skyscraper look as if it’s going to take off any minute.
Architect: Adrian Smith at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)
Burj al Arab
Another bastion of Dubai's landscape of iconic buildings, Burj al Arab is famous for being one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. The sail-like structure features a prominent helipad at the top, which has played host to number stunts including a game of tennis between Roger Federer and Andre Agassi.
Architect: Tom Wright at WKK Architects
Raffles Hotel Dubai
Is this Dubai or Cairo? Such is the majesty of the 19-storey Raffles Hotel, if it wasn't for the bedroom lights peeking out of the pyramid-shaped structure, one could easily be excused for thinking the latter.
Architect: Bryn Lummus
Standing at an impressive 306m tall, the 73-storey Cayan Tower is the most imposing sight in Dubai Marina. But it's not just its height that the tower is famous for: the twist of 90 degrees makes this building absolutely unique and a truly remarkable sight.
Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)
JW Marriott Marquis
In another “world's tallest” record for Dubai, the JW Marriott Marquis has the illustrious title of being the world's tallest hotel. The massive twin towers that form the hotel stand at 355 metres high, and the jagged design really makes them stand out in the busy Downtown skyline.
Architect: Ashok Korgaonkar at Archgroup International Consultants
Jumeirah Beach Hotel
The gleaming, wave-shaped Jumeirah Beach Hotel has been a Dubai landmark ever since it first opened its doors in 1997. Despite not even making the top 100 tallest buildings in the city, it's still one of the most notable, thanks to a unique shape that perfectly complements the Burj al Arab, which it is in close proximity to.
Architect: WS Atkins
Atlantis The Palm
Located on the apex on the Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis is one of Dubai's most grandiose buildings. Themed around the mythical lost city but incorporating a definite flavour of Arabia, the imposing arches can be seen from anywhere on the Palm and kilometres up and down the coastline.
Architect: Wimberly, Allison, Tong and Goo (WATG)
The Address Downtown Dubai
Standing directly opposite the Burj Khalifa, separated only by the beautiful Dubai Fountain, The Address Downtown catches the eye with its distinctive blue-and-white exterior lights and unusual asymmetric design.
Architect: WS Atkins
A symbol of Dubai's financial might, DIFC Gate is a strong square structure that is simple yet striking, and is actually one of the city’s newest cultural and gastronomic hotspots, with the likes of Zuma, Gaucho and Opera Gallery and Ayyam Gallery.
One of Dubai's oldest “modern” wonders, the two buildings that form Emirates Towers have stood for more than 15 years. With the office tower standing at 355 metres and the hotel tower measuring 309 metres, they are the 23rd and 47th tallest buildings in the world respectively.
Architect: Hazel Wong
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
Dubai isn't all about gleaming skyscrapers and ultra-modern, groundbreaking designs. Although the historic district of Al Fahidi has had most of its buildings renovated or rebuilt, the classic Arabian designs have remained, keeping this area as a throwback to the olden days when Dubai was a far less flashy destination.