Luxuriate Life find out first hand what makes Burj Al Arab a 7 star hotel. Once upon a time a British journalist (not me!) had a sneak peek at the soon to open Arabian dhow sail shaped Icon of Dubai; constructed on its own man-made private island 280m from the Jumeirah coastline. The 202-suite hotel was lavishly decorated with approximately 1,790sqm of 24 carat gold leaf, nearly 24,000sqm of rare statutario marble and 28,000 light fixtures. The overwhelming level of luxury led the journalist to informally brand Burj Al Arab, the world’s only 7 star hotel. Although the hotel themselves never claimed this title, from this moment the myth was born and remains to this day. And rightly so.
The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is the flagship hotel of Jumeirah Group, which operates a world-class 6,500+- key portfolio of 25 properties across the Middle East, Europe and Asia, with more properties currently under construction around the globe. So, wherever you are in Dubai you are never too far away from a touch of Jumeirah luxury.
Dubai International Airport (DXB) is one of the world’s leading international airports, connecting more than 240 destinations on over 100 airlines including direct flights from various UK airports, with a flight time of 7 hours. The airport is the size of 297 football pitches, 2,122,474sqm to be precise: That is a lot of airport to roam. It is also a great stopping point for a few days if travelling further afield.
Given you are about to check-in to the world’s only 7 star hotel it only seems fitting to arrive in equal luxury. Private helicopter arrival will give you the ultimate experience, not only to stand on the Burj Al Arab Helipad 212m above sea level but the most scenic of arrivals in Dubai. The hotel also boasts a unique fleet of Rolls Royce Phantoms, BMWs and Mercedes which undoubtedly do the trick. Alternately UBER, Careem or local taxis are super accessible and convenient. All taxis in Dubai accept card payments and have complimentary Wi-Fi in the cars.
The weather can simply be described as hot, really hot or wow it’s really hot, making it the ideal place for sun lovers, especially if trying to escape the cold unpredictable UK winters. Despite the year-round sunshine, there are times that are more popular for visiting than others. November to March is considered the peak season due to the bright blue skies and perfect beach going weather with temperatures averaging 25c. The real heat is felt in the summer months from April to October where temperatures can regularly reach a sultry 42c.
The anticipation gets real when you arrive at your double width suite door (which reminded us of the White House Oval Office doors) overlooking the world’s tallest atrium. We stayed in a One Bedroom Deluxe Suite (Suite 1006) on the 10th floor. The entry level suite spans 170sqm over two floors: As you enter the suite the richness of the gold takes over your senses, this is further enriched by the royal blue tones which combined deliver an unquestionable imposing feeling of splendour and opulence.
Your eyes are then drawn to the floor to ceiling windows that stretch the full width of the suite, perfectly positioned overlooking the Arabian Gulf and Dubai Skyline to witness the golden sunset (yes more gold). A guest restroom, writing desk fit for any presidential candidate, dining area, private bar and sitting area all furnished as expected in gold leaf are located on the ground floor: There is even a hidden room “Harry Potter Style” under the stairs for the luggage (or for your partner in case of any arguments).
Our eyes then stumbled upon a tiered jewellery box filled with pralines, macaroons, baklava, golden puffed rice, and chocolate dipped nuts to welcome us. Wearing the Burj Al Arab Royal blue heavenly slippers, the excitement continues as you float up the stunning gold-plated curved staircase around the most elegant of chandeliers, leading to the dressing area and master bathroom.
If the full size jacuzzi and 5 headed rain shower didn’t stimulate us enough, the oversized mirror above the stately bed did! In a moment of golden distraction, I made the forgivable error of generously introducing the Hermès Gel Douche into the jacuzzi. It took but a few seconds for the tub to overflow with luxury lather: What else could we do but jump in.
The suites range from 170sqm to an impressive 780sqm Royal Suite all of which offer an extensive private bar, Hermès amenities, pillow menu with 17 options to choose from, 24 carat gold iPads offering a virtual concierge, iMac, plasma screen in every room: It is important to note that if the butler presses the doorbell not only can their face appear on the TV’s, but if you do not sprint to answer the door, a telephone in every room starts to ring (I am certain this can be muted however we found it quite comical).
The Royal suite is the ultimate Burj Al Arab experience also featuring a 360 degree revolving bed, a 24-carat gold shower, your own cinema and private lift. We now started to grasp what makes the Burj Al Arab the world’s only 7 star hotel.
Eating & Drinking
Some would argue that in any hotel, food and drink is just, if not more important than the rooms themselves. As expected, the Burj Al Arab continues to be triumphant. With 10 outlets plus banquet facilities on offer: From fine dining options including seafood served under water and classic fine French served in the sky, Arabic and international buffet, Pan-Asian with 12 live cooking stations to Mediterranean over water dining. If this wasn’t enough a 2-minute buggy ride to Jumeriah Al Naseem gives you another 7 restaurants to choose from including Polynesian, seafood and Peruvian Nikkei so you will not be disappointed.
The world’s only 7 star hotel craftsmanship and luxury naturally continue to the dining table: Ercuis silverware, Bernardaud porcelain, Schott Zwiesel glassware and table linen that feels soft enough to sleep on, all set the stage for some memorable food and drink. Although difficult to choose here is some of our favourites:
Al Muntaha – Located on the 27th floor with panoramic views overlooking the Dubai skyline, try to grab a table adjacent to the floor to ceiling windows, the view is spectacular. No fine dining experience should commence in my view without a good old fashioned Champagne trolley and with Dom Perignon and Louis Roederer Cristal Rose offered by the glass the evening gets well underway. You can choose from either the à la carte menu or the Chefs 6 course Degustation menu: If you want the full Al Muntaha experience then Degustation it is.
The Guinea Fowl Ravioli del “Plin” a classic from southern Piedmont is an absolute must, with lashings of parmesan cream and shaved black truffle and the cutest little story behind the name of “Grandma pinching the pasta, just like the Grandchildren’s cheeks”. The Norwegian Langoustine with onion consommé is simply a pleasure to eat and demonstrates the highest of culinary skills. Ensure to leave a little space for the abundance of petit fours, you will not know when to stop.
Sal – Positioned on the Burj Al Arab Terrace, this chic south Mediterranean dining pop-up is the only place to spend the day if looking for great food and attentive service all while enjoying the sun. Choose to either sit inside the ‘mirror dining room’ or our preferred spot on the terrace overlooking the gorgeous infinity pool. Reservations here are essential as it’s widely regarded as one of the trendiest spots to be in Dubai.
Prawns cooked in roasted tomato sauce may sound simple, however it is this simplistic approach to cooking combined with the very best ingredients that makes it the starter to have. The king crab and trenette pasta is one of Chef Marco’s signatures and will be sure to delight. The whole salt-crusted sea bass is a great main for sharing and adds some theatre to the table.
Breakfast – Served in Bab Al Yam you can choose from selecting your favourites from the buffet and live cooking stations or ordering from the à la carte menu all while sitting on the terrace next to the ocean. The Burj Al Arab homemade granola is so yummy and moreish you just wish to come back for your elevenses. Glass cloches cover your eggs with the rehearsed dramatic reveal at the table and silver served warm cheesy pastries are welcomed touches to start the day. Remembering that we are in the world’s only 7 star hotel, breakfast in bed accompanied by a glass of Louis Roederer does sound a little more fitting.
Things To Do
The Terrace – Located at the rear of the Burj Al Arab, the most recent addition to the hotel’s leisure facilities, stretching 100m over the Arabian Gulf. Spend the day by either one of the two pools or choose to relax in one of the luxury cabanas that frame the terrace offering you a private escape with minibar, espresso machine and your very own butler. They also have a mobile app that allows you to send your order direct from your phone to the chef.
This is also the first beach club we have visited where the sun loungers are even furnished with embossed Oxford pillows – a true 7 star hotel experience. Also not forgetting to mention they employ a Falconer who is present on the terrace with his Falcon to avoid other birds disturbing the guests.
Talise Spa – Occupying the 18th floor of the hotel this is a true must during your stay, the ultimate place to Luxuriate, worthy of a 7 star hotel. Start by taking a dip in the thermal infinity pool or relaxing in the steam and sauna all with panoramic views of the Dubai skyline, before allowing yourself to be further seduced by one of the luxury wellness offerings.
What stuck out the most for us during this experience was how the therapist quickly and naturally built a respectful rapport to best understand your mood and expectation from the treatment. From being offered a set of essential oils to smell and share feedback on how they made you feel, the therapist understood how to maximise your time with them. Following the treatment, the therapist gave personalised advice on how to improve your wellness.
Afternoon Tea – Most of us are probably quite familiar with the tradition and ceremony surrounding afternoon tea in the UK and perhaps would not think to indulge in such an experience in Dubai. Whilst staying at the world’s only 7 star hotel it is however simply a necessity. At Sahn Eddar on the mezzanine level the conversation is less cucumber sandwiches and cream or jam first but more Royal Baeri Caviar, Louis Roederer Champagne and how much gold would you like in your tea. Saying this, as expected the cucumber sandwich is of course delicious and paired with Maine king crab and the Burj Al Arab homemade strawberry rose jam is arguably just delicious whether you spread it before or after the clotted cream.
Afternoon tea here is far more about the overall experience: From the extra little courses like the yuzu granite palette cleanser to the theatrical tea trolley showcasing the world’s finest teas and having gold dust sprinkled in your milk oolong. Do not miss this treat.
Burj Al Arab Gold Cappuccino – It should not come as any surprise that the hotel also boasts its very own golden cappuccino. The espresso is not only blended with gold but topped with Italian gold leaf and decorated with a chocolate Burj Al Arab emblem, accompanied by a Grand Cru Guanaja chocolate marshmallow. Ludicrously extravagant but totally in-keeping with the 7 star experience. Note to self: Do not exhale while raising the cup to your mouth unless you wish to have golden crusted attire.
What Makes Burj Al Arab special?
Every individual you encounter exudes an energising amount of pride and apparent love of what they do. With a staff to guest ratio of 6:1 the focus and key differentiator of the world’s only 7 star hotel is clearly its people, and the levels of creativity and authenticity they bring. Despite the impressive levels of grandeur and opulence that the icon of Dubai victoriously delivers, there is an overwhelming emotional connection that is built with its people; their passion and kind humble nature forms a connection that you will want to relive over and over again. This is what makes the Burj Al Arab the world’s only 7 star hotel.
To discover more, visit: jumeirah.com
Top 5 tips on making the most out of Dubai
For those of us who have travelled to Dubai before I am certain you will agree the city is a destination of extremes: The tallest, longest, largest, fastest of most things, and for those who are yet to step foot in the city, well what are you waiting for? Planning is key for your trip to ensure you make the most of your time and to ensure you secure the best dining table or tickets to attractions. Whilst staying at the world’s only 7 star hotel be sure to engage with your private butler who can share insider knowledge on the latest and trendiest places to see and be seen.
Local Laws – it is important to remember that the U.A.E. is a Muslim country and whilst Dubai is somewhat more tolerable than the Capital City; Abu Dhabi, it is important like anywhere you travel that you respect and observe the local laws and culture.
Nature lovers – Head to the Green Planet; a fully immersive indoor rainforest experience, go diving in one of world’s largest suspended aquariums in Dubai Mall or visit the Jumeriah Turtle Rehabilitation Centre which showcases Jumeirah’s commitment to our planet.
Thrill Seekers – Dubai has endless opportunities for fun: IMG World of Adventure; a perfect indoor theme park to escape the summer heat. Aquaventure Waterpark located at The Atlantis; soon to be the world’s largest waterpark, indoor ski slopes, urban zip lines, sky dives, hot air balloon rides, 4×4 safaris through the desert and not forgetting the new VR experiences around the city.
Shopping – Whether you wish to visit one of many glitzy shopping malls which you are never too far away from: Dubai Mall is by far the largest shopping Mall in the world with an array of restaurants overlooking the Dubai fountains and the Burj Khalifa. Or if perhaps you are looking for a more local and authentic shopping experience then explore and discover the mazelike Souq’s of Old Dubai. If shopping is your thing then you are in the right place.
Culture – The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding will offer any traveller authentic insights to local culture, dress, and customs. Taking an Abra (a traditional wooden boat) across Dubai Creek at sunset is also a very special moment to capture.
All imagery courtesy of The Jumeirah Group unless otherwise stated.
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