Even in a city in which world record-breaking attractions are almost commonplace, the Burj Khalifa the Burj Khalifa grabs your attention and refuses to let go. Opened in early 2010, the Burj is far and away the world’s tallest building (at 828m, smashing the previous record of 509m held by Taipei 101 in Taiwan), rising imperiously out of the heart of the city like some enormous metallic needle poking at the heavens.
The astonishing size of the building is difficult to fully appreciate close up – only from a distance do you get the full sense of the tower’s jaw-dropping height, and the way in which it reduces even the elevated high-rises which surround it to the status of under-nourished pygmies.
Much of the building is occupied by private apartments, although the bottom fifteen floors are home to the swanky Armani Hotel. Unless you check into the hotel the only other way of visiting the tower is to take the expensive tour up to the “At the Top” observation deck (see below) or visit At.mosphere bar-restaurant on floor 122.
At the Top tours leave from the ticket desk in the lower-ground floor of the Dubai Mall; tickets cost 125–200dh (depending on the time of day) if pre-booked online at www.burjkhalifa.ae, or 300dh for immediate, unreserved access. Standard tickets give you access to the observation deck on floor 124 (so not really “at the top” at all, given that the building has 160 floors). Enhanced “Sky Experience” tickets (300/500dh depending on time) also allow you to visit a second observation deck on the 148th floor – as close to the top of the world’s tallest building as you can actually get, although the views are no better and it’s really not worth the extra cash.