Dubai’s Burj Khalifa has opened the world’s tallest observation deck an impressive 555 metres above the ground.
The skyscraper, which at 828 metres stands as the world’s tallest, opened the new observation deck on level 148.
The observation deck will feature a premium lounge and offer five-star hospitality services. It will offer guests journeys to levels 148 and 125 while the current At The Top experience on level 124 will remain operational.
Visitors will reach the new deck via an exclusive elevator travelling ten metres per second and will be greeted by guest ambassadors serving traditional Arabic coffee and dates. The ambassadors will also encourage visitors to use the new interactive live-screen, which provides a digital experience of the city. In addition, visitors will have access to an outdoor terrace - the highest viewing point on earth in a building.
Visitors can also shop at a retail boutique featuring premium souvenirs before stopping at level 125.
According to the Burj Khalifa's developer, Emaar Properties, that floor is decorated as a "tribute to Arab arts and culture."
"The entire level that is slickly designed will feature a Masharabiya motif as part of the décor’s central theme," Emaar said in a statement announcing the deck's debut.
Level 125 also features viewfinders similar to those on level 124. The viewfinders allow visitors to see a current, historical or day/night view of the city. In addition, an attraction called "Dubai – A Falcon’s Eye View" is also on offer, giving visitors a true bird's-eye view of Dubai. Vistors are said to be looking at the city like a falcon, a reference to the UAE's respected national symbol.
The entire experience is expected to take an hour and the new deck is also expected to boost tourism numbers at the Burj Khalifa, which drew 1.87 million visitors in 2013.
Despite the Burj Khalifa’s status as the world's tallest building, its observation deck didn't boast the same status until recently. At The Top had been listed as third in a world’s tallest list of observation decks and has now taken the crown from the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China, which features a 488-metre high viewing point.
At The Top, Burj Khalifa Sky also gives the skyscraper its eighth Guinness World Record, along with Tallest Building, Highest Restaurant from Ground Level (the building's At.mosphere restaurant,) the Tallest Elevator in A Building, the Most Floors in a Building (160) and having the Highest Residential Apartment. In addition, it is recognised for having the Highest Base Jump from a building along with the Fastest Time to Climb Burj Khalifa Unassisted.
While a sky-high observation deck will always draw crowds, the world's tallest buildings are now working harder to create experiences at their highest points.
Canton Tower, for example, features 16 glass pods which circle the observation deck. The attraction is also known as a horizontal ferris wheel or “bubble tram.”
The Burj Khalifa's observation deck is only expected to reign as the world's tallest for a short time. The 632-metre Shanghai Tower by Gensler, scheduled for completion next year, is slated to have an observation deck 561.3 metres above ground.
Earlier this year, developers Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, who have proposed the 660-metre Burj 2020 skyscraper, are also aiming to build the world's highest observation deck and world's tallest commercial tower.
Perhaps they will wait to see what Kingdom Tower delivers. The one-kilometre tall skyscraper, scheduled for completion in 2019, has plans for a 630-metre observation deck, though rumours have suggested it could be located as high as 800 metres.