at the top

Day 41 • Monday • 15 Sept 14 • Today’s High 37

Ever since almost 13 year old K heard we were moving to Dubai, all he could talk about was the Burj Khalifa. He’s fascinated by buildings of all kinds and if his Minecraft is anything to go by, is becoming quite the budding architect. When we asked him once, what kind of architect he wanted to be, his simple answer was “A rich one”! Aahh … music to his father’s ears.

So you can imagine K’s excitement when we finally got tickets to ascend the 124 floors of his dream tower – his excitement only eclipsed by the mention of 2 little words, FREE WIFI! Because now he wasn’t only going up the Burj Khalifa but he could also tell the whole world about it in real time.

It it best to book your tickets online ahead of your visit for a specific time slot, especially if you want to go at sunset. Tickets are also cheaper if you book in advance (from AED125). Unfortunately, we decided to go at the last minute so we had to try our luck at the ticket booth at Dubai Mall and managed to get tickets for about 3pm. Because tickets are limited, you just have to take whatever time slot is available.

As I stood there buying the tickets however, I started to think that maybe K could become a rich Dentist instead because needless to say, the place was packed with tourists. Not that I have a problem with tourists, I am after all often one myself – I just hate being herded around. But herded we were, through snaking security lines and eventually, the lifts that would take us up to the observation deck, ‘At The Top’. There are a few multimedia displays on the journey to the lifts though to keep you somewhat occupied while you wait your turn.

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My advice for the lift ride is to try and create as much space around yourself as possible because a lift full of people can get rather claustrophobic. The fun really starts once the lift doors close because your 60 second journey is accompanied by a sound & light show, complete with blue flashing arrows of sorts and music that increases in intensity as you near the top. While lots of people think it’s all rather cool, I exited the lift feeling like I had just left a rave club and was tripping!

Once I steadied my dizzy head, I was greeted by the observation deck which offers 360º views, including an open air terrace you can venture out onto. While your lift times going up are specific, once you’re up there, you can stay as long as you’d like. Unfortunately, it was rather dusty the day we went so we didn’t stay for long. Once we had done a full circle of the observation deck inside & out, we headed straight for the souvenir shop – of course! We couldn’t leave without getting the mandatory been-there-done that memento.

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Overall, K thought the whole experience was great but teenager A felt a little underwhelmed by it all. To be honest, it was all a bit of an anti-climax for me too – the experience of ‘At The Top’ overshadowed by the whole rigmarole of actually getting up there. Perhaps too because this was my 2nd visit to the Burj Khalifa – the 1st being my rather plush birthday dinner at the restaurant At.mosphere on the 122nd floor. So while I’m glad to have taken the kids, I don’t see myself going up the observation deck again anytime soon.

Having said that, the Burj Khalifa should be a “must-do-once” on your list. But if you don’t have kids in tow, and you’re a little Diva like me who doesn’t fancy doing the whole tourist thing, you can opt to do High Tea (3-6pm) or Sunset Drinks (6-8pm) in the At.mosphere lounge instead. Yes, a bit of a splurge but it’s a much nicer, more relaxing way to spend an afternoon/evening. You still get the views plus you can say you’ve been to the highest restaurant in the world and that’s a little hard to top, for now anyway.
redlips

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