The Burj Khalifa is a stunning feat of architecture and engineering, with two observation decks on the 124th and 148th floors and a restaurant-bar on the 122nd. The world’s tallest building pierces the sky at 828m and opened in January 2010, six years after excavations began. To avoid wait times or expensive fast-track admission, book tickets online as far as 30 days in advance. Note that high humidity often cloaks Dubai in a dense haze, making views less than breathtaking.
If you’ve bought tickets to the first observation deck (called At the Top), you’ll walk past multimedia exhibits chronicling the construction of the Burj before squeezing into a lift that whisks you to the 124th floor (452m) at a speed of 10m per second. To intensify the viewing experience, you can drop a few dirhams into a high-powered telescope, which not only zeroes in on modern-day Dubai but also simulates the same view at night and in the 1980s.
The world’s highest observation platform, though, is called At the Top Sky and is located at 555m on the 148th floor. You’ll feel like a VIP upon being welcomed by a Guest Ambassador and treated to soft drinks, coffee and dates in a fancy lounge. Aside from the views, a highlight on this floor is an interactive screen where you ‘fly’ to different city landmarks by hovering your hands over high-tech sensors. This is followed by a trip down to the 125th floor where another VR experience awaits: A Falcon’s Eye View, which lets you see Dubai from a bird’s-eye perspective.
Note that prices go up during prime hours (around sunset) and that closing times may vary depending on demand and the season.
You can also expect some changes at the Burj from the summer of 2019, when renovations will be taking place as part of an ambitious US$1.7 billion Marsa Al Arab project that involves building two new manmade islands on either side of the hotel.