Monday 29 August 2022

Dubai | Top 10 famous buildings

From massive malls to dazzling skyscrapers, the emirate of Dubai has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a trade hub. Architectural wonders in the city are considered nothing short of a marval worldwide. If you want to take a look at the emirete’s growth in the construction or real estate sector, here is a list of the most famous buildings in Dubai.


For decades, most of Dubai’s buildings were low and mid-rise structures. But that changed with the discovery of oil in the 1960s. The UAE used its newfound wealth to put itself on the map as a luxury tourist destination. Now, the city is home to magnificent feats of architecture such as the first 7-star hotel – Burj Al Arab and the world’s tallest building – Burj Khalifa.


Emaar’s Burj Khalifa takes the top spot for famous places in Dubai for a good reason. Rising 2,716.5 ft. above ground level, the 160-storey iconic tower is the tallest building in the world. Excavation for the project began in 2004 and the building officially opened to the public in 2010.

The skyscraper is an accurate representation of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to improve Dubai’s status as a globally acclaimed tourist destination. The fact that it’s located in Downtown Dubai, the city’s hottest tourist hub, only adds to its value.

As the tallest free-standing structure in the world, Burj Khalifa is a valuable addition to the emirate’s real estate and tourism landscape. Apart from its status as a popular landmark, it serves as a mixed-use building. Those living in Burj Khalifa’s luxury apartments have access to amenities like a swimming pool, gym facilities, sauna and steam rooms.


With its unique shape, the 321-metre tall Burj Al Arab quickly became one of the city’s most recognisable buildings upon completion. Its construction officially began in 1994. It took two years to create the island that the hotel sits on and three years to build the structure itself. It is estimated that the project engaged more than 2,000 workers at most times. In addition, over 250 designers from Dubai, the US and UK were part of the master plan.

Burj Al Arab is 14 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris and is almost 280 metres offshore. Guests can access it via a curving bridge that connects the standalone island to the mainland.

Its duplex suites offer astounding views of the Arabian Gulf. One of the units, the Royal Suite, features a full-sized jacuzzi, cinema room, master bathrooms and even a library. As a self-styled 7-star hotel, it certainly lives up to its name as one of the most luxurious hotels in Dubai. There are loads of things to do in the Burj Al Arab to keep guests entertained.

Historically known as the Sheikh Rashid Tower, the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) has played a vital role in the growth of the city’s business tourism and trade since its inauguration in 1979. Located adjacent to Sheikh Zayed Road in the heart of the emirate’s financial district, DWTC is a purpose-built tower meant for exhibitions and conventions.

This was also the tallest building in the UAE from 1979 to 1999. While it no longer retains this title, the complex is still seen as a monument to the expansion of international trade in the Middle East. The World Trade Centre’s importance to the country’s history is apparent considering it is also featured on the AED 100 currency note in the UAE.

The DWTC building is a mixed-use development that covers over 1.3 million sq.ft. of event and exhibition space. Additionally, it has residential properties, including serviced apartments and duplexes. There are several apartments for rent in the World Trade Centre that come with benefits like a swimming pool, jacuzzis and facilities for differently-abled guests.

If you saw Cayan Tower and did a double-take, you aren’t alone. The tower’s eye-popping twisted shape is enough to make anyone take out their phone and start taking pictures. Standing 307 metres tall, the building’s impressive helical shape sets it apart from other skyscrapers in Dubai Marina.

All of its 75 floors were designed according to the same plan. However, each level is rotated 1.2 degrees clockwise from the one below it. The result is that the building turns at 90 degrees over its entire length.

Apart from being a visual masterpiece, Cayan Tower’s unique helix shape has a practical purpose. Interestingly, the curved design keeps the interior protected from direct sunlight while reducing the impact of strong winds.

Located in Dubai Marina, Cayan Tower is one of the tallest residential buildings in Dubai. Available as furnished and unfurnished units, flats for rent in Cayan Tower come with a host of benefits like swimming pool access and a 24-hour concierge service.


By now, you might have realised that symmetry isn’t exactly what architects always envision while creating some of Dubai’s most famous buildings. Jumeirah Emirates Towers is one of them. The structure features two towers, one of which is taller than the other. The towers have a distinct equilateral triangular shape and a covering of silver aluminium panels with copper and silver reflective glass.

Jumeirah Emirates Towers is located on Sheikh Zayed Road in the centre of the city’s business district between the Dubai International Convention Centre and Exhibition Halls and DIFC Dubai. Construction of the towers commenced in 1996, with the hotel officially opening to the public in the year 2000.

Built according to traditional Islamic themes, the structure features a 309m hotel tower and 355m office tower. A central podium known as The Boulevard connects the buildings.

Featuring two towers with identical designs, JW Marriott Marquis is another famous structure in Dubai. Built on a seven-storey podium, the buildings includes 1,608 hotel rooms. The 72-storey towers overlook the iconic Business Bay and Burj Khalifa. JW Marriott Marquis also has 15 award-winning F&B outlets, a business centre, rooftop bar, retail outlets, health club, gym, swimming pool, meeting rooms and an expansive banquet hall.

The structure’s design depicts a date palm, as was intended by Archgroup Consultants, the firm that designed the project. The first building of the twin-tower skyscraper was officially completed in 2013 while the other was finalised in 2014. The hotel held the distinction of being the tallest hotel in the world till 2018.


One of the most iconic building designs in Dubai is that of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. The structure’s signature design is hard to miss. Depicting a cresting wave, the structure made a splash with onlookers when it opened in 1997. Despite its sweeping form, it is still massively tall, with a height of 341 ft.

The 26-storey structure stands 104 m high and 275 m long. Moreover, blue-plated glass gives the project a surreal fluidity, much like its inspiration – the breaking wave.

One of many Jumeirah hotels in Dubai, the Jumeirah Beach Hotel was designed by Atkins, the mastermind behind the Dubai Opera. The building has a prime location on the beach with visitors having access to over 33,800 metres of sandy shore.


Another former tallest building in Dubai is the Princess Tower. Developed by Tameer Holding Investment, the 414-metre residential tower has 101 floors and six basement levels.

The famous tower in Dubai was once recognised by the Guinness World Records and the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats (CTBUH) as the tallest residential building in the world when it was completed in 2012. While the structure does not retain the status, it still evokes an air of awe.

The Princess Tower houses 763 residential units, including duplexes, penthouses, 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments. It is alsp one of the popular buildings to buy duplexes in Dubai.


Atlantis, The Palm is the crown jewel of Palm Jumeirah. It secured Dubai’s position as a leading resort destination when it opened back in 2008 as the first luxury hotel on the man-made archipelago. The resort’s look is based on the mythical Atlantis with a few Arabic elements visible in the architecture. Renting in Atlantis The Palm might be a bit pricy, but well worth the expense.

The famous building in Dubai features around 1,500 rooms in two accommodation wings — including the West and East Tower that are connected via the Royal Bridge Suite. Apart from lavish accommodations, the place is home to the Aquaventure Waterpark and the popular Lost Chambers Aquarium that features more than 65,000 marine species, including stingrays and sharks.


Spread across 5.9 million sq.ft. – the size of more than 50 football fields, The Dubai Mall is one of the largest malls in the world. A flagship mega-project by Emaar Properties, The Dubai Mall opened in 2008 in Downtown Dubai and is located adjacent to Burj Khalifa. It fast became the city’s most visited entertainment destinations and has an annual turnover of 80 million visitors.

Apart from its size and 1,300+ retail outlets, the mall is home to the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. It also features a 250-room luxury hotel, an Olympic-sized ice rink, two anchor department stores and over 200 F&B outlets. You will also find a Reel Cinemas multiplex at the second level – featuring 26 screens.


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The list of Dubai’s most iconic buildings include:
  • Burj Khalifa
  • Jumeirah Emirates Towers
  • JW Marriott Marquis Dubai
  • Burj Al Arab
  • Princess Tower


You may think Burj Khalifa is the only highlight but there are several other popular structures in the city such as:
  • The Marina Torch
  • Almas Tower
  • Gevora Hotel
  • Hotel Raffles Dubai

That’s all for our review of the most famous buildings in Dubai. If you’re looking for a place to call home in the emirate, consider these buildings to rent apartments in Dubai. Those visiting the city can check out these immensely popular tourist attractions in Dubai that contribute to the emirate’s global standing and economy.

For more updates on the best of everything in the UAE, stay tuned to MyBayut.

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