By Hazel Heyer, eTN Staff Writer | Jul 15, 2009

Dubai’s foremost iconic project, the world’s tallest building expected to position Dubai again as a world leisure and tourist destination is the Burj Dubai. It is the tallest tower in the world planned to be completed this December.

Previous reports had linked the mega structure with a soft opening in September to coincide with the start of operations on Dubai Metro. The UAE’s daily The National said a spokesman from the developers confirmed, however, that the giant tower would not open until December 2009 as with other projects that have been delayed in the city due to the recession.

Near the famous Old Town, downtown Burj Dubai was built on the edge of the Burj Dubai Lake, creating a harmonious blend of the past and present. Old town has residential and retail facilities tourists like to visit because of the traditional Arabic architecture and design characteristic of the area. It features winding lanes and shaded walkways that can be appreciated from stories high up on the Burj Dubai. From the Old Town’s vantage point, one envisions the way in which Dubai evolved and further advances. Contrasts in landscape offer vistas of the previous pearl diving and merchant Gulf state emerging into an empire all its own, with high-rises piercing the skyline amid slender mosque spires peaking through.

The tower is ideally located within short distance of all major business and financial institutions, shopping malls and other major tourist and local attractions. Classical themes and Arabian tradition define the hotel that preserves the charm of the state’s history albeit confronted with the future — the ultra post-modern site the world’s giant hotel is about to become.

Adjacent to the giant Burj are the Dubai Mall and the waterside shopping mall Souk Al Bahar within the Old Town Island. For the benefit of ocean-loving tourists, there is easy access to the white sandy beaches of Jumeirah and the island’s meandering streets dotted with exotic residential apartments, boutique offices, shops, cafes and restaurants allows guests more time to unwind. There are also boat cruises from to major attractions of Downtown Burj Dubai, Burj Dubai to neighboring hotels and the Dubai Mall where guests find shopping a Dubai trip highlight.

Developing firm Emaar has been tight-lipped over the final height of the Burj Dubai, which is thought to have topped out earlier this year at 818m, according to the National. “The spire is done, what you can see now is its maximum height. On the issue of finishing, the cranes are being removed, the cladding is almost done. I believe it will be finished on time,” chief financial officer Ziad Makhzoumi said.

Emaar has to deal with issues on the financial front (some difficult construction loan problems), but is looking forward to get the biggest merger completed with other mega-developers in the City of Gold in order to advance the opening.