Dubai landmark the Burj Al Arab goes beyond luxury, offering the best of the best. So why not go for the gold standard?
Words by Selma Day
Think of Dubai and one of the first images that springs to mind is probably that of the Burj Al Arab or “the tower of Arabs”.
With its dhow-shaped sail silhouette – a nod to Dubai’s seafaring heritage – the hotel is one of the city’s most famous landmarks.
It is a symbol of modern Dubai.
Often referred to as “the world’s first seven-star hotel”, it is repeatedly voted the world’s most luxurious hotel.
The Burj stands on a man-made island, connected to the mainland by a bridge.
Most people arrive via a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce, although there is a helipad if arriving by helicopter.
The pure decadence of this hotel hits you as soon as you step into the lobby.
The centrepiece of its vast atrium is a colourful fountain that intermittently shoots 20,000 litres of water 130 feet up into the air.
We are met with the Burj’s “Marhaba Welcome” or Arabian hospitality. This consists of dates, Arabic coffee, rose water and refreshing cold towels.
Then we are shown to our suite (every room is a suite here).
And we meet our personal butler, who is attentive without being intrusive.
There can be few places in the world as opulent as the Burj.
It boasts 1,790 square metres of 24-carat gold leaf, 28,000 light fixtures (including two opulent Swarovski chandeliers).
Plus there are 24,000 square metres of Statuario marble from Italy (the same marble used by Michelangelo).
The duplex suites are equally lavish.
There’s a separate living room on the lower level.
Then comes a bathroom complete with full-size Jacuzzi, a separate five-head rain shower plus Hermès amenities.
There are all the mod cons you would expect – complimentary wi-fi, 21-inch iMac and a range of widescreen interactive HD TVs.
Burj Al Arab is home to five swimming pools.
These include a freshwater pool with bar and infinity saltwater pool at The Terrace – a 10,000 square metre leisure facility.
The private terrace fans 100 metres into the Arabian Gulf.
It is perfect spot to relax on one the many cabanas or sun loungers.
Take a leisurely lunch at its Scape Restaurant & Lounge.
In the evening a DJ spins his decks at sundown, and the restaurant serves up Mediterranean and locally-inspired dishes.
Food wise, there are several restaurants to choose from but Al Mahara (meaning The Oyster Shell) is not to be missed.
The stunning floor-to-ceiling aquarium sets the scene for a memorable dining experience, where the menu focuses on seafood.
Two lifts with panoramic views transport guests to the Al Muntaha restaurant, which serves imaginative French cuisine against a backdrop of the Dubai coastline.
There are several other restaurants serving everything from Arabic to Far Eastern cuisine.
Afternoon tea at Sahn Eddar in the lobby lounge is a real treat if you have a sweet tooth.
By night, the gold theme is continued at Gold On 27 where creative cocktails are served.
And, if you don’t feel pampered enough by just being there, then head to Talise Spa.
Set across two levels, it offers 16 luxury treatment and therapy rooms.
There are separate male and female infinity pools, Jacuzzi, saunas, steam rooms and plunge pools.
Plus there’s a ladies’ only gym as well as a mixed gym.
The Burj is a family-friendly hotel and guests have complimentary access to a kids’ club – open to children 1-12 years. An in-suite babysitting service is also available.