The United States was once synonymous with having the largest incarnation of just about anything you could think of - whether it was the world's largest ball of string or the tallest free-standing structure on the planet. However, out of the top ten current tallest buildings in the world, Uncle Sam has only two structures, neither of which sits in the top slot. That honour is held by Taiwan, whose Taipei 101 structure measures a lofty 509m in height, almost 70m taller than Chicago's Sears Tower, the United States' tallest building.
While Taiwan can claim to have the world's largest industrial building, Dubai can lay claim to having the world's tallest hotel. In fact, Dubai is home to three out of the top ten world's tallest hotels with the Rose Tower - despite still being under construction - the tallest at a height of 333 metres. When construction began, the Rose Tower was supposed to reach 380 metres - the height of the Empire State Building. However, design modifications led to its projected height being reduced, and while it is still under construction, the honour of tallest hotel is unofficial.
Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea is home to what would have been the second tallest hotel, the Ryugyong Hotel. With 105 stories rising to a height of 330 metres, the Ryugong Hotel is a towering, empty concrete shell, which has stood unfinished since 1992. With no windows, fixtures or fittings ever being installed, the basic structure is complete but has never been surveyed for safety and some believe the structure to be unsafe due to the use of poor quality building materials.
As a result, travellers looking to stay in the world's tallest operable hotels should head back to Dubai, where they'll be able to stay in the third and fourth tallest hotel structures in the world: the Burj-al-Arab and the Jumeirah Emirates Towers. The Burj-al-Arab has 60 guest floors, stands at 321 metres tall and is constructed on an artificial island that is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. Construction of the Burj-al-Arab began in 1994 and was built to resemble the sail of a dhow - a type of Arabian sea vessel.
The Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel is a 56-floor five-star business hotel in Dubai which stands at a height of 309 metres and is the 29th tallest currently-standing structure in the world. The Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel is also referred to as Emirates Tower Two and is connected to the 54-floor Emirates Office Tower by a retail boulevard and together the two structures form the Emirates Towers complex, which is complete with lakes, waterfalls, public seating areas and has ample car parking space for up to 1800 cars.
Although renowned for its sand, sun, and shopping, Dubai is fast becoming world famous for its architectural audacity and breathtaking structures. Today, shiny new skyscrapers reflect the mosques and wind towers of Old Dubai while some of the world's tallest structures - hospitality and industry alike - dominate the Dubai skyline.