Pros: This is a luxury hotel, with a 7 star feel to it
Cons: can be pricy for many
This review is about my time at the magnificent and luxury hotel the Burj Al Arab. I was lucky enough to spend two nights at this hotel during New Years Eve and New Years day 2008/2009. I had a friend who's dad did a tone of import export business and thus I even managed to stay their for free, yes that's right for free, under the condition that I paid for all my own food, and drink, which I was more than happy to at the time.
Now everyone has either heard about this hotel, been their or at least seen the pictures of what it looks like, and let me tell you its even more breathtaking in real life. This review will hopefully give you an insight into the hotel, information regarding all the rooms in particular the one I stayed in, what the facilities are like, what the food and bar is like as well as the service provided by the hotel concierge. Now most people will probably think what is the need for me to read this review when I have no hope in ever going their, will I beg to differ, you never no, and its always worth doing a big of reading just in case you get that once in a life time chance of staying their.
So The Burj Al Arab is located in Dubai, which is in the United Arab of Emirates, about a 7 hour flight from London. The hotel is the second tallest building in the World, which is used as a hotel. The hotel itself is built around an artificial island 280 m (920 ft) out from Jumeirah beach, and is connected to the main land via a private bridge. The hotel started construction in 1994, and took only four years for the construction to finish, making it not only a constructional success but also a good investment for the owner's. The architect, Tom Wright a British Architect was given the task of designing the iconic hotel. The owners wanted the hotel to be iconic to Dubai, much like the Eifel Tower is to Paris, or the Sydney Opera House is to Sydney. They wanted it to be a centrefold of Dubai, a building that would stand out from the skyline.
The owners had decided to build the hotel on an artificial island and thus wanted the shape and design to reflect this; hence the shape resembles that of a boat, or a boat sail.
Here is an interesting fact, the reason the Burj Al Arab was built on an artificial island was primarily down to strict Alcohol agreements in place at the time. Due to the strict Islamic rules still applied the alcohol agreements meant that they could not serve alcohol so close to the sea, don't know why. So the owners decided that by creating the hotel on the sea per say, these laws would not effect the current licensing requirements. This was actually a very clever concept if you ask me.
The hotel cost a total of $650 million dollars, and created over 45,000 jobs, which ranged from building and construction work, sanitation, and the future hotel work, such as hotel maids, chefs, cleaners, drivers and so on. The construction was also seen as an economic success, as it helped create all these jobs, whilst also enticing millions of tourists to visit every year, whom in turn would help contribute towards the economy.
The hotel is classified as a 7 star hotel, and is sort out to be the top of the cream in terms of style, food, luxury and service. However, by definition the maximum numbers of stars a hotel can get is 5, so the new more luxurious hotels seem to be adding their own stars. I would call it a seven star hotel for its superb customer service, the luxury they provide and the shear magnitude of just how brilliant it is, but what would you expect from a hotel that charges ridiculous amounts for their rooms.
The island on which the Burj Al Arab rests on consists of 70,000 cubic metres of concrete. The interior of the Burj Al Arab consists of 8,000 square meters of 22 carat cold leaf and 24,000 square meters of 30 different types of marble (Company Website) and the hotel has a number of bars, nightclubs, shopping areas, leisure centres and 7 types of suites. These include the:
1. Deluxe Suite 1 bedroom
2. Panoramic Suite 1 bedroom
3. Club Suite 1 bedroom
4. 2 bedroom Suite
5. 3 bedroom Suite
6. Presidential Suite
7. Royal Suite
Ok so enough info about the hotel, and more about the hotel per say. We landed at the International airport in the early hours, I would say about 02:00. As I had said before, I was lucky enough to be staying at the hotel for free and so I was going to make the most of it. The hotel offers a five star concierge service, which also included a limo ride to the hotel upon arriving at the airport. This service is expensive, I think it set my mates dad back about £200, but it is some way to arrive at the hotel. I really felt like a VIP at this stage, I had never been in a limo before, and the though of someone opening the door for me to get into a luxuries car was something special. So we got into the limo and drove towards to iconic hotel. Even at 2 am in the morning, you can see the magnitude of the Dubai skyline, lightly lit buildings, and construction workers making their way to a construction site. All of a sudden, once we had reached some open space, we begin to see this magnificent, bold, energetic and glowing hotel. We passed the main city centre, and we approached the private bridge that would lead us to the hotel.
The security is dead tight, the armed guards simply ask if we have reservations, as to show our passports and then gently nod as if they welcome us. A short drive from the bridge to the entrance and we get out of the limo. First impressions are just how big this hotel is when your right next to it, you see yourself tilting your head back just to see how big this hotel really is.
Upon entering the hotel it soon hits you that you're in a dream world, the doormen kindly open the door, and we make our way to the check in desk. The first thing that hits you is the atrium, its weird shape, design and luxuries colour make you seem as if your in a cruise ship, with rooms, and floors spiralling upwards, like that of a ship, you can even see the top of the tip. The majestic royal blue colours, along with gold incused statues, doors, window frames and designer sofas at the reception really make this the top of luxury.
Whilst my friends dad got us checked in the concierge kindly takes our belongings up to our room, whilst we are greeted by hosts who offer us a complimentary drink, at this point I was ready to die, fulfilling all I wanted to do in life, right at that pinnacle moment, but their was more too come. After about 10 minutes all the checking in was done, we were taking to the elevator towards the left of the reception area. The clear elevator is a iconic stand out in the hotel, upon boarding it, it slowly takes you to your floor, and you can see everything from the outside, all the palm trees, the different floors as you make your way up, it gives you a chance to get a birds eye view of your surroundings. One really hits you is how much gold is used in the hotel, real gold that is, everything from the window frames, desks, elevator deco, and so forth.
So we reached the middle of the hotel, I would way about half way up, and reached our floor, we were lucky enough to be staying in the Club Suite, which for me was just out of this world. It was probably bigger than my entire house, which gives you some indication of just how big the room was.
The room is about 330 sq metres in shape, which just goes to show you how big it is, it has both a upper and lower lever to the suite. The upper suite is a loft type fitting, which has the bed, or in our case 3 beds, which we had requested, this can cost extra but can be done. It also has a luxurious bathroom, which yes you guessed it, gold taps, gold showerhead, man I wish I could take these home with me.
The lower level is were the main living room area is, we also has a snooker table in the room, a dining table, a small cocktail bar, which was fully stocked, a small washroom and a storage closet, where you can put your clothes belonging etc. The room like all of them includes a state of the art safe, were you can place all your expensive belongings, money, passports and anything else I guess. The room also includes a plasma television in the living room/ dining room area as well as upstairs in the bedroom area, television comes with satellite capability. There is a phone line in both the levels as well as the main bathroom, which can be used to call the reception area or to make private external calls. The list of what you can see on the television is vast, all of which is free as you would expect for the price you're paying, anything ranging from Hindi, Bollywood, Hollywood and so much more.
The mini bar comes fully stocked, with the usual vodka, gin, soft drinks, sparkling Champaign, wine and bottled water.
The room itself is brilliant, everything from the gold and deep blue carpets, to the Greek style pillars placed around the room, or the oak tables, silk curtains, soft and gentle beds, ceramics tiles in the bathroom, gold taps in the washroom, all give you the sense that you are in a very special place.
What ever the room doesn't have, they hotel will try and provide. In all I was spectacle to ask my mates dad how much he had paid per nigh for the room, the guilt that I should some how offer some money got to me, he insisted that it only cost £850 per night, and I just said I can give you £50 for now, I need to pull out some cash. At £1700 for two nights this is not your average hotel room, and it's a luxury, something that you cannot do too often. However, there are other rooms which cost in the region of £350 upwards, bearing in mind that we stayed during the New Years season, so they probably charged us a substantial amount more.
The other rooms, within the Hotel are also brilliant, we had a chance to have a quick look at them and they were simply amazing, everything from the colour, the content, sheer size and magnitude and the amount of extras they have inside were just jaw dropping. The other suites were as followed;
1. DELUXE SUITE (1 BEDROOM)
These suites consist of beautiful views of the Arabian Gulf, the suite is 170 square meters in size, and consists of both a upper and lower level, much like our suite. The suite included a living room, king sized bed, private bare, washroom, and a bathroom which also includes a Jacuzzi.
2. PANORAMIC SUITE (1 BEDROOM)
Both levels of the Panoramic Suite offer you great views of the Arabian Gulf through floor to ceiling glass windows in an extremely luxurious setting. This room is slightly bigger with a size of 225 square meters, again with a top and lower level. It includes all that of a deluxe suite, with the exception of it being much bigger in terms of space.
2 BEDROOM SUITES:
These suites provide very good views of the sea, and consist of a large dining area with separate kitchen and two lounges.
- Area: 335 sq. mts.
- Lower level - Living room with large lounge area, dining table for 6, kitchen and separate butler entrance, small lounge, guest washroom, office with chess table
- Upper level - Master bedroom with king size bed and adjoining luxury bathroom and dressing room, second bedroom with twin beds and luxury bathroom.
3 BEDROOM SUITES:
The 3 bedroom suite, with large spaces for many forms of entertaining as well as living make it ideal for family purposes as well as entertaining purposes.
- Area: Area - 670 sq. mts.
- Lower level - 3 living areas, dining area with table for 8, kitchen and separate butler entrance, study area and library, private bar counter with seating for 4, bedroom with twin beds and attached luxury bathroom
- Upper level - 2 master bedrooms, each with king size bed and adjoining luxury bathroom
This is known as presidential for one reason and one reason only. It's due to the high level of luxury, space, décor and amenities.
- Area: 667 sq. mts
- Location: 24th floor
- Lower level - Spacious living area with private bar, large dining area with kitchen and separate butler entrance, study area and library, Majlis (reception) style lounge
- Upper level - Master bedroom and second bedroom, each with adjoining marble bathrooms with spa bath, walk-in shower, fine porcelain fittings, and full sized Hermes fragrances and body products
(We actually had a chance to visit this suite, this suite was so big, and I mean you could have so many families living inside their. The suite is so much different to the others, for one its sheer size, secondly the deco and style is so much more over the top, everything from the walk in shower, to the soft pillowed beds, free range of gifts which include fragrances, a library a spa and so much more. This was defiantly not in my price range, but boy can a man dream. The room as a blue and gold colour scheme everywhere, it's really eye catching. Even the room smells nice; it's as if you're in heaven
The stately and opulent Royal Suite on the 25th floor is the last word in luxury,
- Area: 780 sq. mts
- Location : 25th floor
- Exclusive privileges - Private elevator, private cinema
- Special features - Marble and gold staircase, leopard print tufted carpets, Carrarra marble flooring and mahogany furniture
- Lower level - Dining area, Arabic majlis (reception) style lounge and library
- Upper level - Master bedroom with rotating four-poster canopy bed and second bedroom, each with adjoining marble bathrooms with spa bath, walk-in shower, fine porcelain fittings and full sized Hermes 24 - Faubourg fragrances and body products
(All info regarding what the other suit's have was obtained from the hotel website)
Ok so now ill move onto the extra facilities the hotel offers to its guests, whilst staying that the hotel. Like the top hotels, the Burj Al Arab has a number of bars, restaurants, spa and health area's, children's area and so much more. We arrived on the early morning or New Years Eve, so we new that there would be some extravagant party, stylish settings, and all round good service offered. How my friend's dad managed to get a room this time of the year is beyond me, but we did see a lot of celebrities as you would expect, everyone from Sean Connery to Al Gore, yes that's right, the vice president, who would have been president. Obviously we didn't get to speak to him or even for that matter get anywhere near him, but the fact that we were in the same hotel as him, eating and drinking the same food, made us feel special.
Ok so as I was saying the hotel has a number of different restaurants, which cater from the average to the very rich clients, now I am not going to lie, the food is ever so expensive, our average dinner for the two nights set us back around £110 each, whilst breakfast and lunch was another story altogether.
In the morning of the Eve we decided to dine at Bab Al Yam, which is an informal café, which is used mainly for breakfast and or lunch. The best thing about this café is the magnificent views you see of the coastal area, and beyond, it's a place were you can relax, and just unwind, theirs is no busy chaotic noise of the streets of Dubai, its as if time has frozen and everything really is going in slow motion. The café, is located right outside the swimming pool, and thus gives you the chance to take in some sun, so simply sit by the pool, read the paper and have something to eat.
Breakfast is served from 7:00am till 10:30 am, whilst lunch is from 12:30 till 15:30; dinner is also served between the hours of 19:00 till 23:30.
The breakfast menu is wide and far, it can range from anything anywhere in the world, they have a nice fresh fruit deco in the middle of the lounge, were you can simply select what ever you want. They have a range of continental breakfasts, from the traditional English breakfast to an Asian theme, most of the chefs are from the areas in India, China and Malaysia, and I suppose they incorporate this into their menu. I seem to remember a cup of tea setting me back £5.00, whilst full English set me back £23.00, yes that's right, it was one hell of an expensive breakfast.
New Years Eve:
So the evening was in fact approaching, and as it was New Years Eve a number of the restaurants had offered a service, were all the drinks and food would be included in a reservation service. We decided to buy are ticket for two different places, a place were we could have something to eat and then a place where we could drink the night away. For dinner we opted for the cheap of the cheap, we had been told that the hotel did allow food to be delivered from outside, this being said we ordered some pizza from the local pizza hut, yes they do have one and they deliver, all in all two pizza's with garlic bread and chicken wings set us back about £25.00, which was the cheapest meal, almost the same as my breakfast in the morning.
Once we had eaten, we made our way into the Sky view bar; it set us back around £300.00 for the night but included all free drinks, which wasn't a bad thing I guess. The sky bar is located on the 27th floor of the Burj Al Arab, and it has some magnificent views or the night skyline. The cocktail list was far and wide, I mean they had anything and everything, and of course you didn't have to worry about the price, as you had already paid a hell of a lot on the ticket to get in. The bar is very futuristically shaped and set out, with shades of blue, with some techno theme. The best bit about the bar was the view, all that way up you can see just about everything, and the fireworks display they had at midnight was the best place to be, I suddenly felt a big feeling of guilt being in a place of such luxury, but then I thought why should I, I work pay my taxes, why shouldn't I have a night or two of absolute luxury.
The other places to eat within the hotel include;
* Majlis Al Bahar
* Culinary Flight
* Al Muntaha
* Al Mahara
* Al Iwan
The hotel also includes an underwater restaurant, which is about 200 metres underwater; we were unable to get reservations to this restaurant as the waiting list was six weeks, which was way past my fly by date.
Assawan Spa & Health Club:
Like most hotels, this one includes one hell of a spa and health club for its guests to visit, relax and unwind in. Now Its go a gym, which was actually always packed both days I went into it. It always amazes me how many people use the gym even when they are on holiday, but this gym is most certainly a must. It had all the state of the art technology and equipment; I mean everything from a treadmill to a running machine that does everything. Gym access is free along with the basic hotel room rate; however it's the spa that can be pricey. Never really used the spa, because they this point I really needed to budget, but the spa service offered everything. Stylish mosaics adorn the spa, culminating in an atmosphere of tranquil escapism. Set on the 18th floor with views to make a poet sigh, the Spa is a haven of crystal clear pools, offering only the finest treatments. Choose from a range of pampering, weight loss, stress reduction or relaxation options, all delivered by our professional therapists, and enjoy an experience that is quite simply unparalleled.
The Assawan Spa & Health Club is situated on the 18th floor of Burj Al Arab and is open daily from 06.30am to 22:30pm. Treatments are reserved between 09:00am and 21:00pm.
Sinbad's Kid's Club:
The hotel also offers a dedicated service to the young children whom stay at the luxuries hotel. The Sinbad Kids Club is located on the 18th floor of the hotel, and is places were kids can go and unwind, and were parents taking their little ones when they go out in the evening. The club has the following features;
* Spacious playroom
* Soft toys
* Board games
* Bean bags
* Large plasma screen featuring the Disney Chanel
* Computer games
* Drawing and creative
* Children's TV channels
Overall I think this is perhaps one of the best hotels I will ever have the chance of staying in. The rooms are simply breathtaking and out of this world, the price is very expensive and there is no denying that, however for what you pay you get so much and more. The rooms as bright, energetic, luxurious and most of all very spacious, it's the sort of hotel everyone wishes they could stay in, the features inside the rooms and even more exceptional. The restaurants and bars are one a penny, with many to cater for the different cliental, they offer a wide variety of menu's and drinks again to cater for ones needs. The service within the hotel is one to nothing, everyone in the hotel is ever so polite, anything you want and need, and they are their hand and toe to help you get it. If you're lost, they'll help you, if you want to get food from outside, they will arrange it all for you.
This hotel is at the pinnacle of what luxury really is, it takes you into a whole new world, one were money is no object, were your treated like a king. Don't worry if you can't afford to stay their, the hotel offers a service, were visitors pay a one off fee of £50 per person, which will give them access to the hotel, and its bars and restaurants. It's not the same as actually staying their, but given the opportunity it a wonder just to look at the beautiful architecture, the silky curtains, the deco and gold incrusted everything's. The freshly laid flowers every morning make the hotel and individual rooms smell divine, the breathtaking views both inside and outside.