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Five surprising facts about Burj Al Arab

Tue, November 24, 2020

The Burj Al Arab is one of the first places that come to mind when people think of Dubai. A striking structure in the shape of a sail, surrounded by the waters of the Arabian Gulf, this hotel has a reputation for glamour that precedes it – but here are five facts about the landmark you may not know.

The Burj Al Arab is one of the first places that come to mind when people think of Dubai. A striking structure in the shape of a sail, surrounded by the waters of the Arabian Gulf, this hotel has a reputation for glamour that precedes it – but here are five facts about the landmark you may not know.

1

The hotel's interiors are plated in 24-karat gold

Luxury seeps from every surface of the Burj Al Arab. Nearly 1,800sqm of 24K gold leaves have been used to decorate its grand interiors, but that's not all. The hotel also boasts the world's largest Swarovski crystal ceiling in its Junsui Japanese restaurant, comprising 21,000 shimmering crystals. Also, much of the Burj Al Arab's floors and walls are made up of exclusive Italian statuario marble – the kind Michelangelo used to sculpt his masterpieces.

2

The helipad is a stage for spectacular events

The Burj Al Arab's helipad is as much an icon as the hotel itself. In 2005, tennis legends Roger Federer and Andre Agassi played a friendly match on the helipad, a year after Tiger Woods teed off from it and just like Rory McIlroy would later. World-leading table tennis players Long Ma and ShiWen Liu also went head-to-head with London Olympic gold medalists Jike Zhang and Xiao Xia Li here. And in 2017, professional kitesurfer Nick Jacobsen leaped off the helipad with his kiteboard in a world-first stunt.

3

There's a hospital for turtles at Burj Al Arab

Amid all the grandeur and celebrities, the Burj Al Arab is also a respite for endangered sea turtles. The hotel is home to the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP), an endeavour shared with Madinat Jumeirah, in collaboration with Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office, Dubai Falcon Clinic and the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory. Dedicated to saving injured and sick sea turtles, the programme is responsible for the release of more than 1,600 turtles back into the ocean since 2004.

4

The hotel is located on its own manmade island

Before the Palm Jumeirah changed the world map, Dubai already perfected the construction of manmade islands. The Burj Al Arab is actually not part of the mainland, but located on an artificial island just off Dubai's coastline, and connected to the rest of the city by a bridge road. Breaking ground in 1994, the entire project took five years, 3,000 companies and contractors, 250 designers and 3,500 workmen to complete.

5

It's extravagant right down to the duvets

Beyond the gold-gilded interiors, an extraordinary level of detail goes into making the hotel an indulgent getaway. Rooms boast exclusive eiderdown duvets, which are handpicked from abandoned eider duck nests in Iceland. Only 2,000kg of the soft feathers can be harvested a year, making them incredibly valuable and rare. Guests can also choose from a pillow menu that features 17 varieties, from ones with anti-ageing properties to soothing aromatherapy infusions.

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