The world’s tallest building draws in thousands a year. Is it worth a visit?
Of all the things to see and do in Dubai, there’s a good chance you’ll see the Burj Khalifa along your travels and whenever you gaze up across the skyline. The iconic towering 828-metre-high behemoth watches over the city and is the result of over 22 million hours of building work. You can experience a breathtakingly spectacular view of Dubai from the observatory deck of the Burj Khalifa, accessible from Dubai Mall in an attraction simply known as “At the Top”. This confusingly does not actually take place at the top but on levels 124 and 125 which are just beyond halfway up the building. It’s advised to book in advance and queueing is almost unavoidable, so if travelling with children, keep in mind there’s a long wait for a short experience.
As you enter the fastest elevator in the world, expectation of anything other than a short and near-motionless journey will leave you disappointed. Thrill-seekers should look elsewhere and note that this attraction is ideal for contemplation, soaking in the serenity and enjoying the view. In just under a minute, numbers whiz past on the elevator screen and you reach the observation deck before you know it.
Here’s an example of how quickly our ride went.
You can then be blown away by the marvel of a city view from up high. An indoor gift shop keeps impatient kids entertained and older children (and adults) can enjoy the landscape.
We timed our visit to coincide with the ability to watch the sun set, which was a wonderful experience. The sun gently lowers as night falls and the city lights spark to life.
Ultimately the attraction is limited to being a view from up high, but there are additions that try to make it as interesting as possible. This includes miniature models, a guided audio tour which reveals the architectural design process and engineering required, information scattered around with enough space between them to ponder over the building you’re in as well as upgrades such as the Sky Deck, which has different seating and is less busy.
The Sky experience also has its own waiting lounge where coffee and dates are served. One tip is to ensure you don’t just look out but also up as there are still a good few hundred metres to marvel at immediately above you. The view is what you’re paying for as well as bragging rights that you looked out over this magnificent city from the tallest building in the world. The experience “At the Top” can be underwhelming if you’re expecting anything more than our review describes, but if watching the world from its tallest building is on your wish-list, this is the place to do it.
SE Staff Reviewer