If you know me then you know I have a luxury hotel bucket list that’s a mile long and growing by the second. However, no matter how long the list grows, there has always been one property that I considered to be the gilded feather in my jeweled crown, the Burj Al Arab. The most famous address in the United Arab Emirates, the Burj Al Arab really needs no introduction. You already know about their 7-star hotel status, seen the pictures on Instagram and visited Dubai daydreaming about what it must be like to be one of the lucky people who get to stay there. How do I know? Because until recently, I was one of those people, that is until I had the good fortune to make my bucket list dream come true.
A stay at the Burj Al Arab is everything you’ve dreamed of and more. From the moment you arrive, by helicopter or chauffeured Rolls Royce – your choice, you feel the exclusivity and luxury all around you. Well dressed hotel attendants seem to almost glide across the floor to greet you and escort you to what can only be described as paradise, not before offering you a 24-carat gold iPad to use as a virtual concierge. Nothing is done average at this hotel. Don’t need a gold iPad? No problem, each floor has a dedicated reception area for your convenience, and my favorite feature, 24-hour butler service.
The decor of the hotel is pure opulence – rare Statutario marble in the walls and flooring, custom-made carpets and rugs from South Africa and India, floor-to-ceiling windows and gold, lots of it. Approximately 1,790 square meters of 24-carat gold leaf to be exact. Out of the 202 luxury duplexes available at the all suite hotel, I had a one bedroom of my very own.
The first floor was home to a bar, office, guest bathroom and views of the Arabian Sea. Head up the grand staircase and enter your master bedroom. Now I will say the decor was a bit gaudy for my taste, especially the mirror above my bed, but hey, it is Dubai; go big or go home!
The bathroom was heaven, especially the tub, which can be enjoyed with a glass of wine made specifically for the Burj Al Arab, and of course the amenities are Hermès because guests of the Burj deserve the very best. Fun fact: Every suite has a minimum of 14 phones, 27 in the Royal Suites.
As amazing as the suite was, there’s so much to explore as a guest of the Burj Al Arab. If you don’t feel like shopping in the main atrium, or spending the day at Wild Wadi Waterpark (guests enjoy complimentary access – perfect for parents) then you should definitely unwind at the Talise Spa.
The Talise Spa is a two floor sanctuary in the middle of the desert. Separate men’s and women’s facilities means you can unwind in total privacy and indulge in the spa’s amazing treatments. The Burj Al Arab Signature Massage was a must after a 12 hour flight, and the blend of selective techniques from traditional Shiatsu, Thai, Swedish and Balinese massages was just what the doctor ordered. If you’re more of a facial girl like I am, I highly recommend the La Prairie Caviar Facial. The facial is meant to help brighten the skin, but to be honest I really just wanted to experience being covered in expensive caviar.
If you need relaxation after your treatments, head to the infinity pool and jacuzzi for a dip full of amazing views without the intense desert heat.
Speaking of views, the most spectacular view at the Burj Al Arab isn’t looking out through one of their windows, it’s actually looking down from the spa. You can’t help but marvel at the exquisite design, it’s simply breathtaking.
There are nine signature restaurants and bars in the Burj Al Arab, but the two that you have to experience are the newly renovated Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara and Scape Restaurant and Bar. If underwater restaurants are on your bucket list, then Al Mahara should be at the top. Al Mahara is Dubai’s ultimate seafood restaurant helmed by two-starred Michelin chef Nathan Outlaw. The decor is captivating with the signature floor-to-ceiling aquarium as the centerpiece, featuring vibrant coral and more than 30 different species of exotic fish. If you want to people watch, make sure to come on weekends or for dinner.
The redesign now includes an outdoor patio providing the perfect location for pre or post dinner drinks. With lounge seating for 40 and stunning sunset sea views, the patio has special glow-in-the-dark pebbles which absorb energy from the sun throughout the day and emit light at night. Like I said, nothing is done average here.
Despite the aquatic allure of Al Mahara, Scape ended up being my favorite because it allowed me to bask in the sunshine. Set outside on the hotel’s newly added Terrace, the scenic restaurant serves up what they call “Californian fusion,” but I just call it delicious. Everything from the ceviche and rib-eye to the mascarpone cheesecake was on point and I could totally see myself making this my chill spot when I return to Dubai.
The absolute best part of the stay, however, has to be the Burj Al Arab’s most audacious new addition, The Terrace. The Terrace is “a world-first in marine and off-site construction, having been developed by marine construction experts ADMARES at a shipyard site in Finland. It was then transported by ship to Dubai in eight pieces, ensuring minimal distruption to guests, as well as the seabed and marine life.” Leave it to Dubai to build an offshore masterpiece to add to an existing masterpiece!
However they did it, The Terrace was worth every dirham they spent. It is 10,000 square meters of outdoor luxury stretching 100 meters out into the sea. It boasts two stunning pools, dedicated butler-serviced cabanas, and a beach area with luxury day and sunbeds. There’s even a full service locker room so you can go straight from the pool to dinner without skipping a beat.
I didn’t have an opportunity to experience the cabanas and I so wish I had. There are 32 fully air conditioned cabanas in total – 24 regular cabanas and 8 Royal Cabanas – each can accommodate up to four guests and feature dedicated butler service, a dining, beverage and bar menu, spa menu, fully stocked mini-bars, fresh fruits, espresso machines, Bang & Olufsen TVs and a rotating amenity cycle with 4 – 6 varieties per day. The eight Royal Cabanas also include a private bathroom, shower area and veranda. The best part is, you don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy the cabana life at the Burj Al Arab. Just contact their reservations desk and they can give you up-to-date pricing on day rentals.
Slightly gaudy rooms aside, a stay at the Burj Al Arab is everything my bucket list dreams were made of. Pure opulence, unwavering luxury, attention to detail, bespoke service, unique experiences and so much more. It is a hotel worthy of its infamous 7-star status, and I’m so glad I got the chance to add this amazing stay to my luxury hotel portfolio. Hopefully I get the chance to do a longer stay next time, because a girl can never have too much 7-star luxe.
Burj Al Arab
Tel: +971 4 301 7777