Attraction In The Spotlight: Burj Khalifa
By Vikki Ashton
I work for Just Resorts and we will be soon adding Dubai to our roster of featured destinations, so this review at this moment in time comes unbiased, as I like to think all of my articles are.
With its entrance located in an air conditioned lobby at the base of a shopping mall, the picture begins to unravel that this is no ordinary feat of nature attraction. It is one that is eminently functional and ultimately, a little disappointing.Don't get me wrong, I know that ascending to the summit of the World's tallest building should not be compared to climbing a mountain. But I felt like there needed to be some kind of effort on my part to entitle me to reach the top and say 'I've been there'.
I might be something of a traditionalist and that's my bad, but if there is driving rain, or you have an ankle sprain, or you forgot your supply of Kendal mint cake - none of that really matters. It's an internal lift that takes you to the top, you see. There are a few steps to get your heart rate up, but these are merely a pre-amble to the lift - and you can feasibly replace your hiking boots with flip flops - in fact it is positively recommended as temperatures can top 40 degrees in Dubai in the summer months.
I think therein lies the problem (if you can call it a problem) with the Burj Khalifa.Whilst it's a hugely impressive building, it is just that - a building, a slightly forced attraction created purely to win it the title of 'World's tallest building'. Whilst there's something a little hollow about that, one must nevertheless applaud the architecture of the tower and the challenges that must have faced those who helped build it. And by night, the experience becomes certainly more appealing as not only is it cooler, but the views take on a different dimension.
I should also add that the Burj Khalifa does house the World's highest Mosque on floor 158 as well as the World's highest swimming pool on the 76th floor. Well, you didn't think the Sheikhs would be satisfied with just one mantle, did you?!
My problem is that it's just a little too quick and easy to get to the top, meaning that the visit can be over and done with rather quickly. And there's actually very little to keep you there. It's not like the Empire State Building where there are hundreds of business located within the tower. This was created to be the tallest building, not for any other purpose.
There's no blood, sweat and tears, it's just a superfast lift that zooms you up to the viewing gallery in a matter of seconds. 'Oh' I expelled as I was informed we'd arrived. Nothing more, just 'oh', perhaps with an undertone of anti-climax.
I was under no illusions prior to the visit, but I couldn't help drawing a comparison with a rugged mountaineer preparing to tackle Mt Everest, clad head to toe in survival gear, preparing to take on the challenges of nature and the elements. And one can empathise with that feeling of triumph when he reaches the summit, physically exhausted having conquered the exertions of the climb.
That feeling of triumph quite simply wouldn't be there had you picked up the mountaineer and dropped him on the summit, which was what it felt like to reach the top viewing gallery at Burj Khalifa.But I shouldn't complain. After all, I can now tell all my friends that I've been to the top of the 'tallest building in the world'… even if it did only take up 20 minutes.