Posted by: travelrat | July 15, 2011

Towering Dubai

Dubai: 12th February, 2011

I’ve often wondered which came first, the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth or the Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai. Even Wikipedia was inconclusive on this; the Spinnaker Tower was conceived first, but the Burj al Arab was finished first. Both, however, are supposed to represent the sails of a boat billowing in the wind, but there, the resemblance ends. The Spinnaker Tower just stands there being a tower, and the Burj al Arab is a hotel.

I suppose the feeling is we can’t leave Dubai without seeing the Burj al Arab … from a respectful distance, of course. I’d suspect that very few of us could even afford a cup of coffee in there. The guide did say how much it cost to stay there; I don’t remember the exact figure, but a suite (they don’t have anything as vulgar as ‘rooms’) for a night would set you back … well, we were comparing it with the price of a couple of tickets to Sydney.

And, that odd structure at the top, that looks like the ‘Starship Enterprise’ reversed into it? That’s a helipad! Is there really anyone so indolent that they can’t set the chopper down in the garden, and take the lift up to their room … sorry, suite?

Next was a photo stop at the Grand Mosque, which has the tallest minaret in the city. We didn’t go in, for there are very few mosques into which non-Muslims are allowed. ‘Can you imagine, if only Christians were allowed into Westminster Abbey?’ someone complained. But, maybe Muslims have the right idea, and think their mosques are for praying in, not showing off to tourists?

I got a couple of pictures of the mosque, but, better still, on the other side of the car park was a super view of the Burj al Khalifa, the tallest building in the world … for the present; I believe there’s an even taller one being planned in Saudi Arabia.

(Some facts and figures about the Buj al Khalifa at

Tomorrow, I’m off to Kent for a long weekend, so there won’t be a Pic of the Week or a Monday dish. The weekend after next, we’re going to see this year’s André Rieu Maastricht concert … in Bath! What they’re doing is transmitting it live to various Odeon cinemas, and they say it’s nearly as good as being there. Bet there’s no river cruise or chicken shashlick, though!


  1. I really like your snaps! So how did you like Dubai? 😀

    • I’ve got to say, I wasn’t expecting great things; from what I’d read, it didn’t seem like my kind of place at all. But, I’m happy to have been proved wrong … I did find appealing facets of the place, and would like to return, and seek out more.

      • Yeah, there’s more to Dubai than what it’s given credit for. I truly believe that. Anyways, I hope you do return and explore!

  2. Hi Keith,
    Wonderful photo’s, it would of been nice to even walk around inside the Hotel, it certainly is a magnificent building.
    Enjoy your long weekend.

  3. It does look a bit like a sail but I think the helipad is a bit over the top. I can just imagine how much a room costs. You wouldn’t want to order room service, would you? very interesting to read about.

  4. I’ve seen the Spinnaker tower in Portsmouth, though didn’t go up – I suppose it could be the poor man’s version of the two. I’m interested that you think that Dubai is worth a visit to get behind the glitz – I think there are quite a few places that would be on my place first – now Oman would be one of them

    • Hi, Heather

      I still wouldn’t say that Dubai was a destination in its own right … not for me. anyway … but, it would be worth 2-3 days if you had to stop over there.

      I do recommend Oman, though, especially if you’re into the ‘desert safari’ kind of trip.

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