Situated on a man-made island in Dubai, the Burj Al Arab is the world’s only 7-star hotel. The sail-shaped building is known for its eye-catching design and world-class luxury. And I got to swim around it.

About the Burj Al Arab

Most people know Dubai as an international travel destination that’s home to palm-tree shaped islands and the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

But between all the skyscrapers, palm trees and exotic cars, the Burj Al Arab is arguably the most iconic hotel in the world!

It opened in 1999 and cost $1 billion USD to build! The entrance is lined with rare marble, and there’s 1790 square meters of 24-carat gold leaf embellishing the interior. The Burj Al Arab sits on a private island connected to the mainland by a bridge, and can only be accessed by a fleet of Rolls Royces.

The Swim

When I traveled to Dubai, I knew I had to swim around this iconic structure! I synced up with SwimTribe Dubai and set a date to swim around the Burj Al Arab at sunrise.

We gathered at a beach about 1.5 km away because all the shoreline immediately next to the hotel is privately owned. I started an open water swim on the MySwimPro app on my Apple Watch and we were off!

Related: I Swam Every Day for 30 Days. Here’s What Happened

While swimming, it was easy to sight and swim straight because we were swimming toward an iconic landmark that can be seen from over 10 km away.

The water was relatively calm. The Arabian Gulf is known for occasionally having monster swells that make open water swimming far too difficult, but luckily the water was just right!

As we approached the Burj Al Arab, it just kept getting bigger and bigger. The structure is absolutely incredible and the view from the water at sunrise was spectacular!

This was a view that most of the world will never see. You can see this building from space, and it’s visible from almost all of Dubai’s shoreline, but to see the Burj Al Arab from the water is something else entirely.

Completing this swim was a huge check off of my bucket list. In total, the swim from the beach around Burj Al Arab and back to shore was just over 3 km. I tracked my swim in MySwimPro, and the map of his route is so epic, it almost doesn’t look real! 

I highly recommend this swim for experienced swimmers. If you’re ever in Dubai, give it a shot!

More Swimming in Dubai

I didn’t stop at just one swim while I was in Dubai. I did a few more ocean swims with SwimTribe Dubai and joined HUNA Aquatics for an epic swim in a water park next to the Burj Al Arab: The Wild Wadi Lazy River Swim.

When it gets too hot to swim in the open water, swimmers head to the water park for some temperature-controlled swimming.

One lap of the Wild Wadi Lazy River is 350 meters. Going with the current, it feels like 50 meters. Swim against it, and you’ll feel like you’ve just swum 1,000!

I swam one lap with the current in about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. I wouldn’t mind going that fast for a 400-meter freestyle in a long course pool!

Dubai’s Swimming Community

Dubai has a vibrant swimming community, with athletes of all ages from nearly every country, and incredible aquatics facilities.

When it comes to open water swimming, Dubai has some of the most ideal conditions in the world. Ocean water temperatures are usually between 22 and 24 degrees Celsius, and there’s usually always someone who’s game to head out for a swim.

HUNA Aquatics plays a huge role in the growth of swimming in Dubai. Team Director Kevin Paul aims to nurture the love of swimming in young people, and provide opportunities for adults to stay fit, train for races and have fun in the water.

If you ever find yourself in Dubai, I highly recommend getting involved in the local swimming community. You won’t regret it!


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