Why Burj Al Arab is 7 stars

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The answer is yes if you believe that what determines the degree of luxury is unapologetic opulence and indulgent personal service that spoils you rotten 24/7. However, the exuberant interior — picture gold leaf, leopard upholstery, embroidered silk wallpaper everywhere — might not suit everyone’s taste.

 

I was wondering if Burj Al Arab really would  live up to its reputation as the best hotel in the world. After all, a mega dose of bling doesn’t necessarily translate into good taste. So when I was recently in Dubai to attend the opening of the bar Gold on 27  the newest addition to the hotel, I decided to check out this legendary place.

If you’re a guest at Burj Al Arab, the moment you arrive at the airport you get swept off your feet by a white Rolls Royce — that is, if you decide not to arrange a helicopter transfer from the Dubai International Airport and land on the rooftop of the hotel (on the helipad at 212 meters (696 feet) above sea level where Roger Federer once played).

By the time your chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce crosses a bridge to the man-made island the hotel is built on, you will notice that this architectural gem of a hotel offers quite a sight. Structured in the shape of a billowing Arabian dhow sail in a nod to the country’s seafaring heritage, Burj al Arab has become a symbol of Dubai just as the Statue of Liberty is to New York and the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.

There’s nothing usual about this building, as it’s founded on sand, not on rock. It’s standing at 280 meters (920 feet) tall on 250 concrete columns, each of 1.5 meters in diameter, that go 45 meters (148 feet) under the sea

If you get dizzy at the thought of these columns holding up the entire building, you’ll quickly be distracted by the lavish interior. The marble adorning over 258,000 square feet of walls and flooring are the rarest (and most precious found in Italy) Statuario marble — the kind used by Michelangelo to create his masterpieces.

Whether or not it’s your cup of tea, it’s hard not to be blown away by the sheer luxury. Call it flashy, bold, over-the-top if you wish, but you don’t often come across such richness thrown at you. All that glitters is actually gold at Burj Al Arab. Real 24-carat gold leaf covers approximately 22,000 square feet of the interior, including the TV screens.

If you get dizzy at the thought of these columns holding up the entire building, you’ll quickly be distracted by the lavish interior. The marble adorning over 258,000 square feet of walls and flooring are the rarest (and most precious found in Italy) Statuario marble — the kind used by Michelangelo to create his masterpieces.

Whether or not it’s your cup of tea, it’s hard not to be blown away by the sheer luxury. Call it flashy, bold, over-the-top if you wish, but you don’t often come across such richness thrown at you. All that glitters is actually gold at Burj Al Arab. Real 24-carat gold leaf covers approximately 22,000 square feet of the interior, including the TV screens.

The super king beds in each suite are covered by Egyptian cotton sheets and you have a selection of 17 types of pillows. I started going through the brochure to decide but gave up by the time I reached the third page. It turned out that being the Princess and the Pea is a full-time job.

By the time you leave Burj Al Arab you sort of get it: you can see why this hotel has earned a reputation as the most luxurious hotel in the world. Of course all this pampering and dreamy indulgence come at a high price. The One Bedroom Suite starts at AED 10,000 ($2,700) per night and the most luxurious Royal Suite is AED 70,000 ($19,000) per night. Is it worth it? It’s the question that you should answer to yourself after checking your bank account.

What’s for sure is that staying at Burj Al Arab is having a taste of a fantasy life of extreme wealth and glamour. After all, Dubai is becoming — already has become — a place for “destination travel” for the most extravagant and sumptuous experience. So, Burj Al Arab, purposefully designed in such an extraordinary manner with the intention of recreating the glory and splendor of the Arabian heritage, might be quite an apt choice for creating your own Arabian nights.

So the next time you return to Dubai, you may want to stay at Jumeirah Al Qasr (“the palace” in Arabic) if you want to feel like a royal. Built in the style of a Sheikh’s residence, it thoroughly offers a wow factor with tall ceilings, blindingly opulent chandeliers and marble flooring.

For families, Jumeirah is the best option as it’s a gateway to explore all corners of the resort either through walkways or man-made canals. There are ten restaurants including a fun Mexican restaurant and five swimming pools including an adult-only pool. The biggest attraction for children is the large pond where the endangered turtles are kept as part of the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP). Read more about it here 

If tranquility and peace are what you’re after is the place. It’s the complete opposite of Burj Al Arab: the sophisticated muted colour palette dominates the property and the quiet courtyard is designed in the manner of old Arabian houses. During your stay, everything is arranged through butlers. These villas can be rented by room or as an entire house.

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