A stopover for the world's greatest fortunes, the Burj al Arab hotel is today one of the symbols of the city of Dubai.
It is one of the great sights of the emirate, just like the "Burj Khalifa", the highest skyscraper in the world (2,700 feet - 828 meters) or "Palm Jumeirah", the archipelago in the shape of a palm tree.
The Burj al-Arab is a true architectural masterpiece! No expense was spared in the realization of this incredible sail-shaped tower! The building looks fabulous from the outside, but the inside is just as grand, to the point that many journalists and critics have classified it as a "7 star" hotel!
In this article, I'll tell you a little more about the most luxurious hotel in the world 😊
THE HISTORY OF THE BURJ AL ARAB
Located in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), the Burj al-Arab (the Tower of Arabs) is a 5-star luxury hotel managed by the Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts group.
This international hotel company currently manages hotels around the world (Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Frankfurt, Kuwait, Shanghai, London...).
The tower was commissioned by the Sheik of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who wanted Dubai to take advantage of its geographical position to become a high-end tourist destination.
British architect Tom Wright was chosen to design the hotel. Tom Wright had to design a building that would be reminiscent of the sea (the emirate's past is rooted in fishing and pearling) all while having a futuristic exterior architecture.
The project he proposed was a large building in the shape of a huge sail inflated by the wind, as if emerging from the water.
THE CONSTRUCTION, AN ARCHITECTURAL FEAT
An artificial island was therefore built in the Persian Gulf, 885 feet (or 270 meters) off the beach of Jumeirah.
Connected to the coast by a jetty, it rises 24 feet above the water (7.5 meters) and is surrounded by anti-wave elements.
The foundations rest on 250 concrete pillars. They are 5 feet in diameter (1.50 m) and 130 feet long (40 m).
Construction began in 1994 and took five years: it took two years to build the island and three years to build the hotel.
The tower was built in such a way that it gives the illusion that the hotel floats on the water. Its orientation even had to be carefully studied so that it would not shade the beach..
The Sheik wanted the Burj al-Arab to be ready to open its doors before the new millennium. And true enough, the inauguration took place before, on December 1st 1999.
After its completion, Dubai had the highest hotel in the world with a peak of 1.053 feet high (321 meters). With 53 floors and 202 luxury suites, it was also one of the most luxurious hotels in the world.
The Burj al-Arab remained the world's tallest hotel until 2007, when it was beaten by the “JW Marriott Marquis”, the “Rose Tower” and the “Burj Jumeirah”, other luxury hotels also in Dubai.
View the Burj al-Arab from the sea 🚤
Do you want to have a unique souvenir photo or enjoy a different view of the Burj al-Arab? There exists the possibility of visiting the main places of Dubai by boat: the Burj al-Arab, Palm Island, Jumeirah Beach, the Atlantis, Dubai Marina,...
This will be the perfect opportunity to take memorable pictures and to see this sailing hotel from the sea rather than from the land.
I had the opportunity to try this experience on a jet ski and have very good memories of it 🙂 The results of the picture were very nice! I think that doing this visit by boat would allow people to enjoy it better, because it's a little less sportive and more importantly a stabler way to admire the landscape.
A LUXURIOUS INTERIOR DESIGN
The Sheik of Dubai wanted a never-seen-before decoration. He wanted the hotel to be the symbol of Dubai's wealth, to represent pomp, luxury, excess and excellence.
The interior design was entrusted to Khuan Chew, a Chinese decorator and designer. Not only did she have to design the suites and the atrium using the 4 elements (water, fire, wind and earth) but she also had to design everything according to the Emiratis' preferences. Indeed, they would probably represent more than 50% of the hotel's clientele.
The baroque style of the suites may not please everyone: marble floors, columns, colored carpets, gilding everywhere... All this represents a luxury that will have to be paid for at full price!
The atrium, which is the most important part of the building, is also a symbol of excess (its decoration even had to be corrected a few months before the opening of the hotel!) This space, which houses the hotel's reception, has a ceiling height of 590 feet (180 meters) and is equipped with large golden columns, numerous aquariums, fountains and a huge waterfall. As soon as you enter the hotel, the tone is set!
Some figures to remember:
The hotel occupies an area of 1,200,175 square feet (111,500 square meters).
It is 1.053 feet high (321 meters) - the atrium itself is 590 ft/180 m tall.
The hotel has:
- 56 floors: 53 floors + 3 basements
- 202 suites
- 18 elevators (including two high-speed panoramic elevators that go directly from the 1st to the 27th floor) and freight elevators
- 4 swimming pools, 2 of which are indoor
- 9 restaurants
- 1,600 people working to serve the customer
The construction required:
- 92,000 cu yd of concrete (70,000 cubic meters) and 9,000 tons of steel imported from the United States
- 21 miles (35 km) of foundations,
- 258,000 square feet (24,000 square meters) of marble from Brazil and Italy
- 86,000 square feet (8,000 square meters) of 24K- gold leaf
It cost $7.8 billion.
3,000 contractors, 250 designers and 3,500 workers worked on the site.
WHERE IS THE BURJ AL ARAB?
The Burj al-Arab is located in the heart of Dubai, at Jumeira 3, just minutes away from one of Dubai's most beautiful water parks, the "Wild Wadi Water Park" and the "Madinat Jumeirah Residential and Commercial Complex".
The full address of the Burj al Arab Hotel is:
Burj al Arab
Jumeirah Street/ Jumeirah Beach Road
PO Box 74147
HOW TO GET THERE?
The Dubai airport is 15.5 miles from Burj al Arab (25 km). The best way to get to the hotel is by cab. It will take you 20-30 minutes depending on traffic.
The nearest subway station is "Mall of the Emirates". Take the M1 line.
By car, follow Jumeirah Street. The hotel has two parking lots: one with valet parking and one without (free).
Occasionally, guests arrive at the hotel's helipad.
Note that the hotel is located on a small island that can be accessed through a 656-feet-long (200 m) private walkway. It is very well guarded, so you will need to show a reservation in your name (for the hotel or one of the restaurants) before you can enter the lobby.
WHAT SUITES DOES THE BURJ AL ARAB OFFER?
There are no single rooms at the Burj al-Arab, all suites are built as duplexes. The smallest is 1,820 sq ft (170 square meters) and the royal suite is 8,400 sq ft (780 square meters).
The hotel has 202 suites with very luxurious decoration in the palace style:
- 142 luxury suites with one room of 1,820 sq ft (170 sqm)
- 28 luxury suites with two rooms of 3,605 sq ft (335 sqm).
- 18 panoramic suites of 3,400 sq ft (315 sqm)
- 6 diplomatic suites with 3 rooms of 7,210 sq ft (670 sqm)
- 4 Club suites of 3,550 sq. ft. (330 sqm)
- 2 Presidential suites of 7,180 sq ft (667 sqm)
- 2 royal suites of 8,400 sq ft (780 sqm) on the 25th floor
All suites have a sea view, marble and mosaic floors, air conditioning and a king-size bed with a goose down comforter and Egyptian cotton sheets. There is also a safe, a mini-bar, a 42-inch plasma screen television, a jet bathtub and a rain shower. Of course, they are all equipped with the latest technology: computer and wifi.
Each guest also has a private concierge available 24 hours a day as well as an iPad (22K gold plated, please!) that allows him to control everything in his suite and to place orders with the various services of the hotel.
HOW MUCH DOES A NIGHT COST?
To spend a night at the hotel, you must book at least one month in advance. Then, the Burj al-Arab being the only hotel estimated "7 stars" in the world, it is obviously one of the most expensive! The suites are therefore not accessible to the general public.
For the least expensive suites, count between $1,125 and $ 2,820 (€1,000 - €2,500) per night. The most expensive ones can cost between $4,500 and $6,760 (€4,000 - €6,000) on average. But for a diplomatic, presidential or royal suite, expect to pay at least $7,880 and $12,960 (€7,000 - €11,500) per night.
If only for curiosity's sake, you can quickly check the current rates by clicking here 🙂
Note that all of these prices include breakfast buffet for two each day (except for Deluxe one-bedroom suite reservations), Hermès products for Men and Women, chocolates, a butler....
ANY GOOD DEALS TO STAY AT THE BURJ AL ARAB FOR CHEAP?
To stay in the Burj al-Arab for cheap (or at least, for less than $1,460/€1,300 a night!), book a suite in low season.
The low tourist season runs from May to July. These are the hottest months of the year! The temperature in the afternoon can rise to 122°F (50°C). For this reason, prices in Dubai are lower during this period, both for accommodation and various tourist attractions (desert tours, for example). So booking a suite in June, for example, will cost you less!
You can also contact a tour operator. This will allow you to take advantage of an "all-in-one stay", i.e. your stay in Dubai will include both your accommodation at the Burj al Arab and your plane ticket. For example, Promovacances offered a 5-day, 4-night stay for 2,919 €/person ($3,343) in September 2021. This price included the flight from Paris, hotel accommodation and breakfasts.
Note that competition between high-end hotels is tough in Dubai, and the Burj al-Arab hotel itself launches promotional operations from time to time. Remember to take a look at the booking platforms such as Booking.com.
WHAT FACILITIES/SERVICES DOES THE BURJ AL ARAB HOTEL OFFER?
The hotel has only one building. However, it offers a wide range of services and facilities.
- Restaurants and bars
At the Burj al-Arab, you will find nine restaurants and bars of the highest standard. For example, the "Sahn Eddar" restaurant on the first floor offers international cuisine. On the same floor, you can also enjoy Arabian/Oriental cuisine in the "Al Iwan" restaurant in a setting of a thousand and one nights.
"Bab Al Yam", the restaurant located on the first floor of the Burj al-Arab, offers European cuisine by the pool.
On the 27th floor (accessible via a panoramic elevator), you will find the best of the Burj Al Arab, namely:
- "Al Muntaha". This is the hotel's gourmet restaurant. This restaurant was built on the edge of the skyscraper, 655 feet above the ground (200 m), on the other side of the heliport. Here you can enjoy unique French dishes while enjoying a panoramic view of Dubai (it's very romantic!)
- The Skyview Bar. This cocktail bar too offers a breathtaking view of the coastline and serves light snacks such as tapas (open from 5pm to 10pm)
- Gold on 27. This club is often animated by "DJ Darko De Jan".
If you prefer fish and seafood, head to the restaurant with a unique atmosphere, the "Al Mahara" (oyster shell) which is located on the first floor. To get there, you will have to take a private elevator followed by a tunnel. Once inside, a huge central aquarium will give you the impression of being underwater. You can enjoy a view of the flora and fauna of the gulf, as if you were in a submarine!
The hotel also has two lounge bars, a beach bar and a pool bar. The most beautiful is surely the "Junsui" lounge (East Asian cuisine) which has a ceiling set with nearly 30,000 Swarovski crystals representing the Milky Way.
- 24 bungalows and 8 royal cabins
The Burj Al Arab Terrace is a project that was shipped in from Finland. Located outside the hotel, it contains 24 bungalows and 8 royal cabins (with butler and specialized service), two swimming pools and a private artificial beach (for the exclusive use of guests) as well as a restaurant "Scape Restaurant & Bar" (Mediterranean cuisine).
- Relaxation and well-being
The Burj al-Arab offers a spa situated 490 feet (150 m) above the Persian Gulf, on the 18th floor, the "Talise Spa".
This is definitely where you can relax and unwind. It offers a wide range of body and facial treatments (massage, exfoliation, manicure...) but also fitness programs in an ultramodern gym. On the menu: fitness, laps in the pool, sauna and hammam. You can even ask for a personal trainer! Open every day from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm and from 7 pm to 11:30 pm/12 am.
This Spa has won the "Best Luxury Hotel Spa" award twice.
- Sports and outdoor activities
The Burj al-Arab offers a wide range of outdoor activities, whether in the city, the desert or the Arabian Gulf. You can practice various water sports (sailing, water skiing, kayaking, snorkeling, diving...), play golf or tennis.
Of course, don't forget that the hotel has 3 outdoor pools (one of which is salted), two indoor pools (covered) and a children's pool. There are also 6 whirlpools. So you can also swim and bask in the sun!
- Daycare and Kids Club
If you have children, you can leave them at Sinbad's Kids' Club on the 18th floor (free access for up to three children). You can also request an in-suite babysitting service (extra charge).
At the Burj al-Arab, you will find 11 boutiques, mostly luxury watch and jewelry stores: Chopard Boutique, Precious times watches & Jewellery, Graff, Rivoli Prestige- Burj Al Arab...
- Event spaces
The hotel offers a 6,460 sq ft (600 sqm) conference space, ideal for business meetings.
A heliport overlooks the hotel (28th floor) and extends beyond the edges. It is used for luxury transfer service for guests who request it. The trip (from the airport) allows them to have a nice view of the Dubai skyline, Palm Jumeirah or the Deira region.
This heliport has also been used as a tennis court, especially for commercials. Sportsmen like Roger Federer, Tiger Woods or Sebastien Vettel have made it famous.
- Shuttle service to and from the airport
On the hotel's forecourt, you will see many Rolls-Royces (the Burj al-Arab has one of the largest collections in the world) and BMWs. These cars are used to transfer guests to and from the airport or around Dubai. This is the hotel's "Marhaba Welcome" service: guests are also provided with coffee, rose water and refreshing towels. It costs AED 450 for a round trip.
- Wild Wadi Water Park
Guests of the Burj al-Arab have unlimited free access to the Wild Wadi Water Park, a water park located just a stone's throw from the hotel. The standard rate (as of 01/05/2021) is AED 299/person for those over 3.6 feet (1.10m) and AED 249 for those under this height limit.
This park, which belongs to the Jumeirah hotel group, offers a large number of attractions (thrill rides, giant slides, wave pool...) and is a must-do activity during a stay in Dubai.
CAN WE VISIT THE BURJ-AL-ARAB?
The Burj al-Arab cannot be visited. It is not open to the public, only residents have access.
However, it is possible to discover it through three different ways:
- by staying at the hotel
- by booking a lunch, a dinner, a brunch or an afternoon tea in one of the hotel's restaurants or bars.
To do this, you must go to the official website of the Burj al-Arab. You will need to enter your name, the event you are booking for, the number of people, the date and time, your Dubai phone number (you can enter the hotel number) and your credit card details
- From outside
- From the public beach of Jumeirah, located a few meters from the hotel, you can take nice pictures of the Burj al-Arab. Note that at night, the Burj al-Arab is even more beautiful because the exterior lighting keeps changing through a whole palette of colors: it's a real light show that you shouldn't miss! And this makes the tower an attraction that can be seen for miles around.
- From the sea during a jet ski trip in Dubai or a boat trip. More information about the boat tour by clicking here
How much does a meal at the Burj al Arab cost?
It may be that your travel budget does not allow you to stay at the Burj al-Arab. In this case, you can always discover the interior of the hotel by having breakfast, lunch, dinner or simply by going for tea.
For example, you can get:
- breakfast at the "Sahn Eddar" restaurant from 350 AED/person (about $95.25)
- a lunch at the "Sky Bar" for 620 AED (about $169) or an Indulgent Afternoon Tea for between AED 410 and AED 620 ($111.60 - $169). The program includes tea, champagne, pastries, cakes, sandwiches, sweet and savory snacks... Be careful though, you can only stay until the dinner service at 7pm.
Of course, these prices are not cheap but at least you will have had the chance to enjoy the services of a luxury hotel! And let's not forget the breathtaking view....
- The Burj al-Arab is accessible to people with reduced mobility (the parking lot as well)
- There is a ramp for wheelchair users and Braille/relief signage for the blind/visually impaired
- The hotel has a charging station for electric cars
- The hotel is non-smoking. However, smoking rooms are available
- Pets are not allowed
WHAT ARE THE PLACES OF INTEREST NEAR THE BURJ AL ARAB?
There are many, but if you're visiting the Burj al Arab, check out the Wild Wadi Water Park (only 1,160 feet away - 353 meters), the Souk Madinat Jumeirah, a souk-like shopping mall (2,780 feet - 848 meters away), as well as the Umm Suqeim Beach, one of Dubai's most popular beaches (about 0.7 miles away, or 1.1 km). The "Mall of the Emirates" (about 1.9 miles - 3 km away) is of course a must (if only to check out its ski slope)!