Home » Dubai skyscrapers: the 10 tallest and most incredible to see

Dubai skyscrapers: the 10 tallest and most incredible to see

by Paola Bertoni
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Dubai is the Emirate in the UAE with the most incredible architecture. It continues to compete for the record of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. When you think of Dubai, the Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa immediately come to mind, right? Yet the glistening palace does not make the list of the tallest skyscrapers at all! On the other hand, new skyscrapers are built every year, and from the top of some of them, you can literally see the clouds below you.

The 10 tallest skyscrapers in Dubai

Let’s start with a game: tell me if you recognise the skyscrapers pictured at the top of this article. Many skyscrapers that exceed the height of the clouds are not on this list simply because they are not among the tallest in the city. Dubai is a record-breaking metropolis, constantly competing with itself and other countries for the title of the world’s tallest skyscraper. So get ready to discover a list of dizzying skyscrapers you would never see in Europe or the US!

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1) Burj Khalifa: 828 metres

For years the tallest skyscraper in the world, the Burj Khalifa, was recently surpassed by the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia. The emirs of the Arabian Peninsula openly compete for the tallest skyscraper. Since the Saudi tower was inaugurated, Dubai relaunched with the new construction of The Tower.

In any case, the Burj Khalifa remains an impressive skyscraper to look up to. Its 828 metres doesn’t fit into a photograph even with a wide-angle lens. If you want to take a souvenir photo with this skyscraper in the background, you must shoot it from far away!

The Burj Khalifa skyscraper echoes the shape of the hymenocallis, a flower widespread in the United Arab Emirates. Every night, the Burj Khalifa is the star of a light and sound show, alternating with the Dubai Fountain show, which you can see from the Dubai Mall.

For the best view of this floodlit skyscraper, you can book a terrace dinner at one of the mall’s restaurants with a view. Alternatively, you can watch the show for free from the square around the fountains, how I explain on my article about Dubai on a budget.

To take your fill of climbing one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, the Burj Khalifa has two viewing points open to the public, the first on the 124th and 125th floors and the second on the 148th floor. These areas feature temporary and permanent exhibitions on the history and architecture of Dubai.

The price to climb to the top of the Burj Khalifa is among the most expensive of Dubai’s attractions and varies depending on the height of the vantage point and the time of day. All photography and skyscraper enthusiasts choose sunset to admire the lights of Dubai from above. Alternatively, you can book a dinner at the restaurant on the 122nd floor and watch the city from above.

Burj Khalifa in Dubai, photo by Michael Schwinge
Burj Khalifa in Dubai, photo by Michael Schwinge

2) Marina 101: 425 metres

The next skyscrapers on the list are about half the height of the imposing Burj Khalifa. The Marina 101 is a respectable Dubai skyscraper, but it looks tiny compared to the first on the list! At 101 storeys and 425 metres high, it was supposed to house a five-star Hard Rock Café, but the developer ran out of capital. Today, it is mainly a residential building with apartments. Set in a landscape of skyscrapers of similar height, you should be able to recognise Marina 101 by its distinctive pyramid top.

3) Princess Tower: 413 metres

If you want to live in the tallest residential building in the world, the Princess Tower is your choice. Standing 413 metres tall, this skyscraper is located in the heart of Dubai Marina, within easy reach of city attractions such as JBR Beach, Palm Jumeirah and world-class restaurants.

Residents have an array of amenities available at all times, including 24-hour security, free parking, an outdoor pool and a fitness centre, which are the minimum standards of Dubai condos. If you’re lucky, you could experience the luxury of Princess Tower residents yourself by renting one of the flats that occasionally pop up on booking sites.

The Princess Tower in Dubai, the tallest residential building in the world
The Princess Tower in Dubai, the tallest residential building in the world

4) 23 Marina: 393 metres

After the inauguration of the Princess Tower, the 23 Marina skyscraper was demoted from the podium as the world’s tallest residential skyscraper but still remains in the top ten, thanks to its 393-metre height. To be honest, it is ‘just’ 392.8 metres, but I doubt if anyone has actually measured the centimetres.

Even though it has lost its height record, the 23 Marina remains the skyscraper with the most swimming pools and private lifts per flat. Because of its luxurious features, the construction company of 23 Marina had already sold almost 80 per cent of its flats before even starting to dig the foundations. This skyscraper is so exclusive that, at the time of writing, it is not possible to stay there or go inside to look around. No flats are listed on the booking sites, and there are no restaurants either.

The top of the 23 Marina skyscraper in Dubai
The top of the 23 Marina skyscraper in Dubai

5) Elite Residence: 380 metres

Elite Residence is another skyscraper located in the Dubai Marina district overlooking the palm-shaped artificial island of Palm Jumeirah. Despite being a super tall building, upon its completion in 2012, it was only the third tallest residential building in the world.

However, this tower is respectable with its 91 floors of flats and services. There are 695 flats, served by 12 lifts. Inside the Elite Tower, there are also, besides the ever-present gyms and swimming pools, a business centre, car parks, spas and wellness centres.

The good news is that you can also stay there on your next holiday to Dubai, feigning wealth, because you can find several flats for rent on Booking. If you like the idea of experiencing Emirati luxury, it could be an exciting alternative to hotels.

The Elite Residence in Dubai in the background behind the distinctive dome of the Princess Tower
The Elite Residence in Dubai in the background behind the distinctive dome of the Princess Tower

6) Address Boulevard: 368 metres

Overlooking the Burj Khalifa, Address Boulevard is a spectacular 368-metre-high, 73-storey Dubai skyscraper, occupied by a restaurant, three swimming pools, and a five-star hotel with 196 rooms and 523 serviced residences, the equivalent of European aparthotels, which sold out on the same day as the sales launch.

Inside the Address Boulevard Hotel, 251 specially commissioned works of art by 48 international artists are on display. Art is everywhere in this skyscraper, even in the restaurant. The Restaurant at Address is structured like a private flat, with a lounge, kitchen, and library with art sections. The high-rise Address Boulevard also has direct indoor access to the Dubai Mall and the metro station.

Address Boulevard in Dubai
The Address Boulevard skyscraper in Dubai (in the foreground opposite the Burj Khalifa)

7) Almas Tower: 360 metres

The Almas Tower skyscraper is located on the artificial island of Jumeirah Lakes Towers in Dubai. It is the tallest office building in the world. Moreover, until 2009, the Almas Tower was the tallest building in Dubai, when it was overtaken by the Burj Khalifa. The Arabic name of the Almas Tower can be translated as Diamond Tower because it houses companies that service the diamond, pearl and gemstone industry.

It is home to the Dubai Diamond Exchange, the Dubai Gems Club, and the Dubai Pearl Exchange. In addition, the Emirati branches of the Kimberley Process Certification Offices and secure transportation agencies such as Brinks and Transguard also have offices in the Almas Tower, while the skyscraper’s basement houses Dubai’s main diamond vault!

8) Gevora Hotel: 356 metres

The Gevora Hotel has been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest hotel building. Located along the main Sheikh Zayed Road artery, you will likely see it several times as you travel around Dubai. Still, you can also stay there or use its services.

In addition to 528 rooms, the Gevora Hotel houses a Health Club area with separate gyms for gender, swimming pools, and a hot tub. The Gevora skyscraper also features several international restaurants, including the Gevora Kitchen and the fine Mediterranean restaurant Level Twelve. For a panoramic dinner with a view of Dubai, don’t miss the Highest View Restaurant on the top floor.

The Gevora Hotel skyscraper in Dubai
The Gevora Hotel skyscraper in Dubai

9, 10, 11) JW Marriott Marquis Dubai Tower 1 and Tower 2, Emirates Office Tower: 355 metres

The last positions in Dubai’s top ten tallest skyscrapers go to the twin towers of the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel and the Emirates Office Tower, the tallest of the Emirates Towers, at 355 metres.

The Emirates Office Tower, also called Emirates Tower One, is an office skyscraper in Dubai’s financial centre along Sheikh Zayed Road. It stands opposite the identical but lower Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel. Curiously, the taller building has two fewer floors than the shorter one: 54 for the Emirates Office Tower and 56 for the Jumeirah Emirates Tower Hotel. A shopping boulevard connects the two towers.

The JW Marriott Marquis Dubai Hotel is the second-tallest hotel in the world, after the Gevora Hotel, also in Dubai, and consists of a complex of two 72-storey towers with a height of 355 metres. The initial design envisaged a single skyscraper, later modified into two twin towers with a distinctive shape inspired by date palms.

The towers are arranged symmetrically so that they both have views of the Burj Khalifa, Business Bay, and the sea. In addition to a swimming pool, gym, 14 dining options, including bars and restaurants, and conference and meeting rooms, the JW Marriott Marquis also houses one of the largest spas in Dubai, measuring 3,700 square metres and adorned with gardens and a swimming pool.

Demoted from the list of the 10 tallest skyscrapers in Dubai

Dubai is growing so fast that there is already another one in the line for every skyscraper ready to break the height record. Many buildings are thus demoted from the top ten tallest skyscrapers in Dubai. One only has to think of The Torch, which, at a respectable 337 metres high and 86 storeys, now looms over the Dubai skyline without any ambitions after having been the tallest residential building in the world for a while.

Other incredible skyscrapers in Dubai

The skyscrapers in Dubai, however, compete not only in height but also in originality. The capital of this Emirate is also home to some iconic buildings, as you can read in my article on Dubai’s incredible architecture. Here I only mention the Burj Al Arab, the world-famous seven-star sail-shaped hotel that has become a symbol of Dubai, the Cayan Tower, a skyscraper turned 90 degrees, the towering Etisalat Tower 2 with its characteristic golf ball on top, and the Dubai Frame that towers as the world’s largest frame, just to give you some hints on the wonders you can see in this constantly moving metropolis.

Where to stay in Dubai

Often considered a luxury destination, Dubai offers hotels and flats for all budgets and is much cheaper than you think. Below are a few value-for-money establishments that have been tried out by me personally or by friends and fellow bloggers.

For a luxury family holiday, the Bluewaters Beach Hotel, with swimming pools, restaurants to suit all tastes and children’s areas, is a great choice. To spend less but still stay in top-notch facilities, the Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City or the V Hotel Dubai are great choices, both overlooking the Dubai Water Canal with numerous in-house restaurants to choose from.

Finally, to see Dubai from a different perspective, I suggest you stay at the Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai, a unique property built in traditional Arabian style and located a short distance from the historic district and Al Fahidi Fort.

Share in the comments which are your favourite skyscrapers in Dubai and if you have ever stayed in some of the buildings mentioned in this article.

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