Burj Al Arab - Al Mahara Restaurant by David Clarke

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Burj Al Arab - Al Mahara Restaurant by 

The Burj Al Arab hotel is a seven star – yes seven – establishment that dominates the skyline along the coast of Dubai between the ‘Palm’ islands development and the even more exotic ‘World’ development – the latter still just a series of undeveloped islands of sand at present.

The hotel (burj is ‘tower’ in Arabic) is a magnificently impressive building from the outside. It soars up over 300 metres and is designed to resemble a sail. Inside it is no less impressive and leaves you standing there with your mouth open. If you stay there, you will develop a huge hole where your wallet used to be. All rooms are suites and the most modest of them costs around US$1000 per night. Interestingly, there are people who live there permanently.

My son, who works in Dubai, knows one of the senior staff at the hotel who kindly arranged a tour for us. Without exaggeration, it was truly amazing!

This shot is taken in the subterranean Al Mahara (the Oyster) restaurant, the centrepiece of which is a huge aquarium to mesmerise diners. The aquarium is lovingly run by a dedicated team who treat each of the 2500 fish in it and two adjacent aquariums as a friend. At the lower right of the shot, you can see a small shark on the gravel bed. She had just laid a couple of eggs on the coral that were a product of parthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction in which females produce eggs that develop without fertilization. This process is very rare among sharks and it is extremely rare for the young sharks, which are invariably female, to survive. Last year the aquarium had one that lived to three months but then died. As soon as he was aware of these new egg cases,the marine biologist in charge of the aquarium called one of his and the cases were retrieved, checked for viability and then kept separately to monitor their development.

Canon 40D with Canon 10-22mm EFS lens at 10mm at 28mm; ISO800 f3.5 1/15.

19 November 2009 – 776 views.
6 December 2009 – 977 views.
17 September 2010 – 2053 views.
30 March 2011 – 2805 views
3 September 2011 – 4449 views

I have made none of the six shots in this series available for sale since I am uncertain of the legalities with interior shots. However, I hope you enjoy them.

Living for partly in Italy, partly in Phuket and partly in other locations around the world – Hong Kong & Kenya when I can – I spend a lot of time photographing anything and everything. I particularly enjoy the challenge of capturing shots of wildlife large and small – from elephants to insects. A wider selection of my work can be seen on my website at www.dgcphoto.com.

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  • Olitto
    Olittoover 5 years ago

    Awesome. Very interesting description and very well captured image.

  • Many thanks, Olitto.

    – David Clarke

  • Gabby87
    Gabby87over 5 years ago

    That’s so so very very cool!!!

  • Thanks so much, Gabby :)

    – David Clarke

  • LisaR
    LisaRover 5 years ago

    Thanks for showing us these photos. This hotel is truely amazing! Ah to be rich and famous :)

  • Glad you liked them, Lisa. The hotel reminds me of a line from Evita – ..a whole lot of excess.. but it was fascinating to see.

    – David Clarke

  • Pat Yager
    Pat Yagerover 5 years ago

    The series on this hotel takes us on a mind-boggling journey, David. My husband and I are often in Central America where the poverty those people endure is also mind-boggling. Perhaps the term “culture shock” would apply to both of these worlds for us who live comfortably in the middle. I find each time I return home from Nicaragua, I do go through a difficult re-entry, for instance, just being able to go to a U.S. grocery store and make choices from such a huge variety of food products. Soon, of course, I’m “back to normal” and begin once again to take our “first world” lifestyle for granted. We are indeed so privileged here.

  • David Clarke
    David Clarkeover 5 years ago

    Thanks, Pat, for your detailed comment. You are so right, here in the first world we are indeed very privileged. I have very mixed feelings about Dubai and the excess that can be seen there; on the one hand it’s a tribute to what man can achieve and on the other, you wish that some of that wealth could be more evenly redistributed. We should ceratinly never be complacent about what we have.

  • JimFilmer
    JimFilmerover 5 years ago

    an impressive view while dining…great image

  • Many thanks, Jim.

    – David Clarke

  • FelicityB
    FelicityBover 5 years ago

    Out of this world – realms of fantasy here …

  • Thanks very much, Felicity. With such a large tank, you wonder who is watching whom, and do the fish fantasise?

    – David Clarke

  • gdanen
    gdanenover 5 years ago

    Spectacular, David! Seven stars, eh? Wow!

  • Thanks, Gerry. Yes, seven!! It’s quite a place!!

    – David Clarke

  • ourjrny
    ourjrnyover 5 years ago

    This is beautiful! There was/is a restaurant with a wrap around aquarium similar to this in Munich. But it was certainly not as opulent as this. Your story is fascinating!

  • Thanks very much, Sharon. It is an amazing place!!

    – David Clarke

  • BlaizerB
    BlaizerBabout 5 years ago

    wow what a setting and well framed to show the tank in its setting. cheers

  • Thanks very much, BlaizerB, much appreciated.

    – David Clarke

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