Welcome to Dubai
December 25, 2004 2:38 AM   Subscribe

The world's ritziest hotel. The world's largest man-made islands- three of them, actually. And, starting construction in mere weeks, the world's tallest building- by more than 300 meters. Welcome to Dubai.
posted by BuddhaInABucket (42 comments total)

 
So, not to get this thread off on totally the wrong foot, but am I the only one who saw that "world's tallest building" and thought (just for a flicker of a moment, mind you) that it would be kind of funny (not funny "ha ha", but funny "ut-oh") if after completion of construction... someone hijacked a plane and flew into it.

Not advocating it of course, just... well, you have to admit it would be a very "man, that divine creator has some kind of wicked sense of humor" kind of thing.
posted by hincandenza at 3:40 AM on December 25, 2004


Ahh, but who will build it?

All (semi) kidding aside, very interesting post. I had no idea these things even existed.

On preview: no, not funny.
posted by rooftop secrets at 3:43 AM on December 25, 2004


If by "kind of funny" you mean "a senseless tragedy" and by "you have to admit" you mean "you are repulsed by my drivel", then I agree completely.
posted by Justinian at 3:44 AM on December 25, 2004


/* Sets up cones to detour around hincandenza's comment and merge traffic back to FPP itself */
posted by Bugbread at 4:01 AM on December 25, 2004


Here's another group of islands [flash] being constructed in Dubai. The country has gone out of its way to construct some far out buldings. Wish I had about $50 million laying about I'd buy island #F26 just for the heck of it. (Sadly Santa only dropped off a lump 'o' coal this year.) They make the place look so peaceful/tranquil with a high drool rating. Too bad it is all being done on the backs of, what looks to be, mistreated migrant workers.
posted by squeak at 4:12 AM on December 25, 2004


These goddamn merge lanes. Okay.

That's an amazing tower. I hope it gets built. I did know about those artificial islands, which are no less amazing. And the hotel is pretty, although I've found that the #1 rated 'hotel' in the world lately is Singita, a private game reserve in Africa. At least according to the most pretentious of the pretentious magazines.
posted by blacklite at 4:17 AM on December 25, 2004


I've been to Burj Al-Arab, and it's as beautiful as it is tacky.
posted by svenni at 4:25 AM on December 25, 2004


I was in Mumbai recently and became aware of some strange relationship between Dubai and Mumbai (besides that they rhyme.)

Dubai seems to serve as a kind of Mexico for India's underworld, it's where they flee to when the authorities chase them, because none of the neighboring countries (e.g. Pakistan) are viable options. Evidently the extradition options also favor the gangsters.

So there's a whole Indian subculture in Dubai, theatres and bars, etc, these are amplified by the legitimate development that Indian businessmen are investing in.

For example, I was in a "Noodle Shop" in Mumbai, and the owner came over to show me a prospectus: "Look! We're opening up in Dubai next month!"

I don't hear that a lot in Brooklyn.
posted by cloudscratcher at 5:10 AM on December 25, 2004


Also, I saw a prospectus for the building while there, I had forgotten this. I can't verify this online, but I swear that in the prospectus, it said:

-- Over 5 million square feet of space!
-- An authentic Old Town built in!

It's that second item that caught my eye.
posted by cloudscratcher at 5:21 AM on December 25, 2004


Mirrors over the bed are just tacky in my opinion.

How much does it cost to stay there?
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:28 AM on December 25, 2004


...am I the only one who saw that "world's tallest building" and thought...

Yes. Yes, you are.
posted by 327.ca at 6:03 AM on December 25, 2004


world's tallest building- by more than 300 meters

This would make it more than 853 meters high. It's 53 meters shorter than that.
posted by oaf at 6:04 AM on December 25, 2004


I've been to Burj Al-Arab, and it's as beautiful as it is tacky.

From the picture, I think it looks quite beautiful. Something "Baron Munchausenesque" about the sail motif.
posted by 327.ca at 6:07 AM on December 25, 2004


For the Luddites here is a less flashy version of what squeak linked here .
Kids, wake up please! It's present time.
posted by vapidave at 6:28 AM on December 25, 2004


Heh, can anyone name the current world's tallest building?

If Taiwan can do it, I don't see why Dubai can't.
posted by Poagao at 7:13 AM on December 25, 2004


You mean the Sears Tower?
posted by cillit bang at 7:33 AM on December 25, 2004


Which "World's Tallest Building"? I believe there are four.
posted by Bugbread at 7:42 AM on December 25, 2004


to be considered the world's tallest building, shouldn't there be a room at the top somewhere? That thing looks like an oversized radio antenna.

I wonder who has the money to toss around to fund something that probably has very little in return. Gangster's and corporate folk looking for tax shelter/money laundering maybe?
posted by destro at 7:52 AM on December 25, 2004


Destro: check out the Wikipedia article I linked in the post above yours, it explains pretty well the types and rationales behind different "world's tallest building" definitions.
posted by Bugbread at 8:00 AM on December 25, 2004


I think it's more ironic that oil wealth is being used to build low-lying islands for wealthy people to live on. Um, global warming? If the Maldives are threatened, what price these little sandbars?
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:35 AM on December 25, 2004


ah. missed that. thanks.
posted by destro at 8:41 AM on December 25, 2004


I have a friend who is Indian and he was always raving about the city. Becuase the UAE doesn't have much oil wealth they have decided to invest in tourism and the tech industry. The Middle East is a very diverse region. There are places like Kuwait and the UAE which are very modern, then there are places such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq which are not. They house many of the ghettos of the region.
posted by j-urb at 9:23 AM on December 25, 2004


G_S, excellent point. You'd expect them to be looking for warm weather inland locations but then there would be an entirely different government/legal system to deal with.
posted by billsaysthis at 9:24 AM on December 25, 2004


That hotel looks absolutely gorgeous. I am curious to know the prices too.

And how cool are those islands shaped like the continents of the world?
posted by SisterHavana at 9:24 AM on December 25, 2004


The 'tallest building' was designed by SOM.

(flash on the first link)
posted by fluffycreature at 9:40 AM on December 25, 2004


I'm not sure what it's like now, but when I lived in Dubai in the mid eighties it was a hell of a place. You'd go into a supermarket and think "this isn't so different from the West," then you'd be chased all the way home by hungry goats.

The best bit of local flavor was some young prince who'd jacked-up a Mercedes, cut off the top, added a rollcage and wrapped the whole bastard in christmas lights. He'd tear around the streets at ridiculous speeds blasting Arabic rock, and everyone was more or less required to get out of his way.
posted by Luther Blissett at 9:49 AM on December 25, 2004


Wow. 800 freaking meters high? That's mind-boggling.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:51 AM on December 25, 2004


Our SUV addiction keeps those dollars flowing eastward...
posted by sourwookie at 9:59 AM on December 25, 2004


He'd tear around the streets at ridiculous speeds blasting Arabic rock, and everyone was more or less required to get out of his way

It is good to be the son of the King !
posted by elpapacito at 9:59 AM on December 25, 2004


Sounds like an...interesting place to visit. Following a link above, "Differences between United Arabe Emirates and the West":

Drinking Alcohol
Most of the emirates permit the buying and drinking of alcohol, but if one is caught with alcohol in their possession or drunk in Sharjah, they will be lashed.

Public Affection
It is not permitted for individuals to kiss publically, and you will not find any nude beaches or communities in the United Arab Emirates.

Walking At Night
Young males, and occationaly young females, found wondering the streets at night are sometimes picked up and spend a night in jail. They are released the next morning after being finger printed, as the police want to ensure that no crimes happen at night.
posted by icetaco at 10:01 AM on December 25, 2004


I'm more intrigued by the artificial islands, in concept and practice. They have a longstanding history (Ellis Island, for example, was created by land reclamation) but they also seem to be an increasingly important tool for development of one kind (Bechtel's oil platform islands) and another (Israel's plan for costal cities on artificial islands on its Mediterranean coast), and a site of emerging debates around land-use and property.

Oh, the liminality of it all.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 10:31 AM on December 25, 2004


It's a tightly controlled Disneyland of money-laundering for the ultrarich.

From the CIA Factbook entry for UAE:

Less than 20% of residents are UAE citizens.

There are more women, who are younger on average, than men. Make of that what you will.

The current Sheikh, Mohammed, is a prolific poet, just like his his dad.
posted by ori at 11:04 AM on December 25, 2004


Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Dubai.
posted by languagehat at 11:22 AM on December 25, 2004


I tried to come up with an example that would be down-to-earth for me, of exactly how tall the Burj Tower would be.

In downtown Minneapolis, we have the IDS Center. Not the world's tallest building by a long shot, but for years it was the tallest in Minnesota, and easily visible from miles away in some locations in the Twin Cities.

The IDS Center is 236 metres tall. The Burj will be 800 metres tall. That's nearly 3.5 times taller. That just blows my mind. For another comparison, that's almost twice as tall as the Sears Tower, for Christ's sake!
posted by neckro23 at 11:51 AM on December 25, 2004


I can't believe I missed this earlier- LOTS of pictures, and a great mention of a floating 'bubble city' hoax that apparently lots of people fell for this summer.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 1:37 PM on December 25, 2004


The Palm was linked before, twice.

I saw the Burj Al Arab profiled on the Travel channel and the central volcano fountain and the underwater restaurant were gorgeous and extremely opulent.
posted by euphorb at 6:26 PM on December 25, 2004


It looks like it can cost as "little" as US$760 a night.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:26 PM on December 25, 2004


Re the "Gas Station" entry:
"In the UAE, you sit in your car and an gas station employee fills up the vehicle, washes your windows and you pay him for the gas." What a great idea! If only it would catch on in the USA. (I know, Oregon...)
posted by QuietDesperation at 9:39 PM on December 25, 2004


Doesn't the country with the tallest building claim center of power. Has the muslim world finally eclipsed the west?
posted by lacus at 2:19 AM on December 26, 2004


BuddhaInABucket, great link. The shots of Tiger Woods teeing off the helipad into Dubai were ridiculous.

I can't help but think of SimCity when I see these man-made islands with their efficient oceanfront communities. I think I may have even built a place that kind of looked like the "Palm" at one point.
posted by rooftop secrets at 2:52 AM on December 26, 2004


Doesn't the country with the tallest building claim center of power. Has the muslim world finally eclipsed the west?

If so then Taiwan's been the center of power for about a year, and Malaysia before that.
posted by Poagao at 6:57 AM on December 26, 2004


Got engaged in the resturant at the top of the Burj last Christmas. Very impressive place. Have foolishly promised my girlfriend that we will stay there for our 1st anniversary. Start saving
posted by lloyder at 2:54 PM on December 26, 2004


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