|Night Lights, Burj Al Arab, Dubai, UAE © Doug Hickok All Rights Reserved|
It was not long ago when Bedouin tribes were enduring a hard scrabble existence among the dunes and oases of the Arabian Peninsula. But the discovery of oil around 1960 and the birth of a federation of emirates in 1971 suddenly changed all.
Thanks to visionary leadership, the United Arab Emirates has aggressively invested its oil wealth in a western-style pro-consumer and tourist based economy. In a span of just a few decades the UAE has become one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
Yet it has not forgotten its roots, its heritage. A prime example is the iconic Burj Al Arab, the world's only "seven star hotel". Designed in the shape of a billowing sail, it is a homage to the dhow, the traditional sailing vessel used for centuries for fishing and trading in the Persian Gulf.
This luxury hotel sits on an man made island which took three years to build. The building itself stands 60 floors high making it currently the fourth tallest hotel in the world. At top right one can see the Skyview Bar perched high over the water, which offers remarkable views of Dubai and the Gulf.
The genie of Aladdin's Lamp could not conjure up a more astonishing hotel!