Active + Adventure

The World's Highest Destinations

by Jonathan Trew

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

High Notes: From the world's tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, it's possible to see the sunset twice: Watch the sun go down at ground level, then ride one of the 57 superfast elevators 2,625 feet to the top, and you'll see the sunlight melt into the horizon again. The Burj Khalifa (formerly known as the Burj Dubai) officially opened at the beginning of 2010 with a fireworks display that made the whole thing look like it was about to blast off into space. With over 160 floors, the building, designed by American skyscraper architect Adrian Smith, towers nearly a thousand feet above its closest rival, Taiwan's Taipei 101; those with a head for heights can ascend to the world's highest observation deck (on the 124th floor). Given its $1.5 billion price tag, this glitzy silver tower is all about excess, in direct defiance of Dubai's shaky economy; the last-minute name change to "Khalifa," after Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the emir of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates, was in celebration of his late 2009 cash injection when the going got tough in Dubai. Whether Burj Khalifa's surroundings will rise to meet the standards set high above is another matter.

Where to catch your breath: Until the world's first Armani Hotel opens in the Burj Khalifa in 2010, book a room at The Palace, a 242-room resort in Dubai's Old Town that was built to resemble a traditional village and has stunning views of the tower.

Doubles at The Palace start at $560

Next: Walking on air above the Grand Canyon >

This slide by Nicola McCormack

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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