South of the Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road continues in a more or less unbroken line of high-rises, looking like contestants in a bizarre postmodern architectural beauty parade. Heading down the strip brings you immediately to The Tower, a slender edifice rising to a neat pyramidal summit, with three tiers of stylized leaf-shaped metal protuberances sprouting from its sides. Right next door sits the thoroughly daft Al Yaqoub Tower: effectively a postmodern replica of London’s Big Ben, minus the clock, although at 330m it’s well over three times the height of the 96m-tall UK landmark. Two buildings down, the quirky Maze Tower (wmazetower.com), its facade covered in labyrinthine doodles, looks almost understated in comparison.
Further south the eye-catching Al Attar Tower (not to be confused with the nearby Al Attar Business Tower) appears to have been constructed entirely out of plate glass and enormous gold coins, while close by rises the graceful Rose Rayhaan – a beautifully slender and delicate structure, topped by a small globe which is illuminated prettily after dark. At 333m this was the world’s tallest hotel until the opening of the new JW Marriott Marquis Dubai just down the road in Business Bay. Slightly further down stands the Rolex Tower, a rather severe rectangular mass of black glass with (apparently) a kind of card slot cut out of its uppermost floors, while across the road is the soaring Chelsea Tower, topped by what looks like an enormous toothpick. A short walk further south the strip reaches a suitably dramatic end with the iconic Dusit Thani hotel, a towering glass-and-metal edifice inspired by the traditional Thai wai, a prayer-like gesture of welcome, though it looks more like a huge upended tuning fork thrust into the ground.