Dubai is known for going to the extreme. Just being there feels like a big enough adventure, but if you want to take it to the next level, then you have to stay at the Burj Al Arab. You might know this hotel better as, “the only seven star hotel in the world.”
Actually, no official guide or rating agency has given the hotel its famous “seven star rating.” While taking the tour, I was told that the hotel has never advertised that, nor do they actually support its usage. It was a journalist who coined the phrase a long time ago and it has stuck. Surely, the saying can’t hurt the Burj Al Arab’s reputation.
Not just anyone can get in the front door. There is a security gate, probably about a quarter of a mile from the hotel’s front door, and you need to show you have a room reservation to get through. If you want exclusive — this is it.
Luckily for me, when I recently visited Dubai, I was given a tour of the Burj Al Arab and just had to share what I experienced.
Construction on the Burj Al Arab started in 1994 and was completed in 1999. It is the fourth largest hotel in the world, at 1,053 feet. The design of the building was meant to mimic a sail and it has become an iconic symbol for Dubai.
When first walking inside, you are greeted by dancing fountains and escalators that have large fish takes for walls. Make sure to look up and check out the 590 foot atrium that is in the lobby (maybe don’t do that if you have vertigo).
The hotel might be large, but there are not that many rooms — only 202. That is because each room is its own two-story suite, ranging in size from 1,800 square feet to 8,400 square feet.
There are two restaurants in the hotel; one up high and one down low. The Al Muntaha restaurant is found up top and provides amazing views of the Persian Golf and the Palm Islands.
I figured that view would be hard to beat, but in my opinion, the Al Mahara (which has no windows to the outside) has a more impressive view.
That is because every table has a view of the 350,000 cu feet of water aquarium with a wide variety of fish swimming around. No, you can’t point to a fish and order it, but you are able to enjoy the free show of fish swimming around during your meal.
When heading to the rooms, each floor has its own concierge desk. Help is always close at hand to assist with anything that you might need. There are even butlers available 24 hours if you need one.
The big mistake I made was first looking at the Royal Suite before looking at one of the smaller ones. If I had looked at one of the smaller ones first, I most likely would have been blown away, but after viewing one of the largest and extravagant hotel rooms I have ever seen, anything else was going to pale in comparison.
The Royal Suite is just ridiculous. I couldn’t help but think how anyone could ever need to stay in a room like that. Although at the same time, I really wanted to stay in a room like that.
The colors, the decor, pretty much everything was over the top — including the price of about $20,000.00 per night. That probably sounds like too much money for mostof us, but realize that a first class ticket from Seattle to Dubai on Emirates is going to cost you about $15,000.00. If you are bringing someone to enjoy Dubai with you, that is $30,000.00. Now, a $20,000.00 per night room doesn’t sound so crazy does it? (okay, it still does to me).
When walking into one of the two Royal Suites, located on the top floor, you are welcomed by a staircase — to go up or down? Or heck, if you don’t feel like taking the stairs, the room has its own elevator to go between floors.
The first floor has a huge dining room, study, living room, and a large Arabic majlis style lounge.
If you are color blind, you are missing out on seeing all the vibrant pinks and yellows and gold (lots and lots of gold) that is in the room. Heck, even the TV is painted in gold — boo ya (see the photo gallery below)!
There is also a kitchen downstairs and if you want to have a cook come in to fix you something, no worries about them having to use the front door, the “help” have their own private entrance directly into the kitchen.
Upstairs are two very spacious master bedrooms. Each with their own sitting area and enormous bathroom. I am pretty sure that the bathroom (with full walk in shower and jetted tub with columns) was bigger than my first apartment.
My eyes were hurting a little bit after leaving the Royal Suite. I could see where some might like the color scheme, but I am not much of a pink/yellow/gold guy and those colors were quite popular.
I have been in many nice hotels and settings, but this one actually made me feel a bit out of place, being so large and costly. Not that I wouldn’t be willing to try and get used to such accommodations.
Honestly, after leaving the Royal Suite and looking at a smaller room, I forgot to take photos. I was pretty much like it just didn’t matter anymore after seeing the larger room.
Although the suite can set you back $20,000.00 per night, the smallest rooms start at about $1000.00 per night, which isn’t totally unreasonable.
At a hotel like this, you can expect some high-end service. They offer a fleet of Rolls-Royce cars to take you around town, but that might be too “common” for some folks. They also offer helicopter transfers, as well as scenic tours from the air. More common is the access to the Assawan Spa and Health club, a private beach, a kid’s room and much more.
Much like Dubai itself, the Burj Al Arab is a unique experience that is hard to find anywhere else. I was not able to have the opportunity to stay the night in the hotel (only the tour), but I would imagine with the number of hotel employees I saw everywhere, the customer service experience would match up well with the product.
VIEW ADDITIONAL PHOTOS OF THE BURJ AL ARAB HOTEL IN THE GALLERY BELOW OR ON MY FLICKR