Observation deck

Our view from the Burj Khalifa observation deck...

The wrap, Burj Khalifa, The Knowledge
The wrap, Burj Khalifa, The Knowledge

Last week we revealed what At The Top was like during the final stages of construction. Now we’ve visited the finished attraction, which is quite spectacularly different. Here’s what we saw…

‘Arriving on the Burj’s second day open to the public at 9.30am, queues are already forming on both the reserved and unreserved ticket desks, even though it doesn’t open until 10am. The multimedia fun begins as soon as we walk through the doors. An exhibit reveals stats about the Burj Dubai (none of the branding has yet been updated to reflect the building’s new name) via touchscreens, including one that places the tower in other city settings to hilarious effect.

‘Once ourselves and our bags make it through the security sensors, we step onto a lengthy travellator alongside various videos reflecting Dubai’s history: the desert overlaid with blueprints. We then reach a special skylight, inserted at a later stage to reveal the closest view possible of the tower from its base. Next, the world’s highest and fastest lifts are a novel experience. We have no idea we’re moving until our ears pop 15 seconds in; the cabin is highly pressurised so we don’t feel either the ascent or the gentle sway of the building. Synchronised monitors and music build up to our arrival.

‘And then – the view. Irritatingly, while the sky was crystal clear on opening day, today it’s hazy with humidity. Time to test the telescopes, which duplicate the view with cloudless shots and reveal info on the attractions below. The balcony is now complete with glass walls, a neat gap left through which to stick one’s hand and wave into the 828m-high open air.

‘The elevator down is similarly flashy, with dimmed lights and a short film, followed by a more detailed exhibition on the Burj’s construction and people behind it.

‘“If we ever leave Dubai, we’ll realise just what a phenomenal city we’ve lived in,” a colleague says as we stumble out. Why not realise that now?’
Tickets, at time of going to press, are Dhs100 when booked 24 hours in advance; Dhs400 for immediate entry. Children under three go free; three to 12s are Dhs75. Call 800 288 43867 for info.

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