Burj Al Arab is a luxury hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At 321 m (1,053 ft), it is the fourth tallest hotel in the world; however, 39% of its total height is made up of non-occupiable space. Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 m (920 ft) from Jumeirah beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. The shape of the structure is designed to mimic the sail of a ship. Sometimes referred to as "the world's only 7-Star hotel", its star rating is disputed.
Burj Al Arab was designed by architect Tom Wright of WKK Architects. The design and construction were managed by Canadian engineer Rick Gregory of WS Atkins. Construction of the Island began in 1994. It was built to resemble the sail of a dhow, a type of Arabian vessel. Two "wings" spread in a V to form a vast "mast", while the space between them is enclosed in a massive atrium. The architect Tom Wright said "The client wanted a building that would become an iconic or symbolic statement for Dubai; this is very similar to Sydney with its Opera House, London with Big Ben, or Paris with the Eiffel Tower. It needed to be a building that would become synonymous with the name of the country."
The architect and engineering consultant for the project was Atkins. Fletcher Construction from New Zealand was the lead joint venture partner in the initial stages of pre-construction and construction. The hotel was built by South African construction contractor Murray & Roberts and Al Habtoor Engineering.
The building opened in December 1999.