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Tourists get a pleasant surprise: Burj Khalifa viewing deck reopens

The public regains access to the panoramic views from the observation level of the world's tallest building.

DUBAI // The observation deck of the world's tallest tower has reopened to the public after almost two months. A steady stream of visitors returned to the Burj Khalifa yesterday, eager to take in the panoramic views from the At The Top viewing platform on the 124th floor. Staff at the reception desk said the viewing platform had reopened at noon on Saturday.

The developer Emaar, which manages the tower, has not officially confirmed the reopening of the 828-metre skyscraper, which closed on February 7 after unconfirmed reports of a faulty lift. Emaar said previously it had closed At The Top for maintenance and upgrades made necessary by the high number of visitors in the first month. Queuing with about 60 other tourists yesterday afternoon was Manfred Baumgartner, 58, here from Germany visiting his son. He was delighted when he discovered yesterday that the tower had reopened on the last day of his trip.

"It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go up the tower, and we were so happy it was opened just in time for us," he said. "We fly back tonight from Abu Dhabi, and we were having lunch with our son for the last time. We were sitting outside the entrance having lunch and saw the crowd around the desk. "It was brilliant. I really wanted to go up it. This is our Easter gift. It was the first thing we wanted to do, and then go on the Metro," he said.

Pio Campos, 35, from the Philippines, who works at the Marriott Harbour Hotel in Dubai Marina, said: "I had to call [Burj Khalifa's] information desk every day for the hotel's guests who wanted to go up the tower. Then, yesterday, they told me it was open and I was a bit surprised." Lukas Jochim, 50, from Germany, was told yesterday at his hotel that the tower was open for business. "I am an architect, so I was naturally interested in the tower and everything else in Dubai," he said.

Reinhardt Schmidt, 53, from Austria, came to Dubai on a three-day cruise. "Oh, it was great news to hear of it opening. We were not sure if we would have been able to go up it when we got here, but we were told at the cruise terminal it was open," he said. After five years of construction, the Burj Khalifa, which has more than 160 storeys, opened on January 4 with a massive fireworks display that was beamed to televisions across the world.

It made international headlines again a month later when the popular observation deck was closed. Standards tickets to the tower's deck cost Dh100 (US$27). Fast-track tickets cost Dh400. eharnan@thenational.ae

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