It’s pretty hard to miss Burj Al Arab in Dubai; one, because it is the only structure sitting at the end of a curving causeway that connects it to the mainland, and two, because it is shaped like a sail off the Persian Gulf coast. While the building itself is stunning, the property is just as notable and is consistently voted one of the world's most luxurious hotels.
From 1999 to 2008, it was the only seven-star hotel in the world until it was joined by Pangu 7 Star Hotel Beijing in 2008 (But then again, who really knows what a seven-star rating really means?). Regardless, this hotel is pretty hot stuff. Before even stepping foot into the palatial retreat, consider arriving in style, by helicopter. Those choosing to do so will be granted a 15-minute birds-eye-view of the city, before landing on the 28th-level helipad. One-way transfers begin at around AED 10,000 (USD $2,700) for one passenger and around USD $408 for additional guests.
As a suites-only hotel, Burj Al Arab features some of the most striking accommodations around laced in royal colors like gold, purple, dark blues with deep reds. Reaching close to 1,000 square feet, the two-story Club One-Bedroom comes with a bar and snooker table, Arabic sweets and dates, a king-size bed, fruit baskets, a complimentary bottle of wine or grape juice and evening in-suite cocktails and hors d' oeuvres. During your stay in this suite, a complimentary 24-carat Gold iPad is available for use as well as 42-inch and 32-inch widescreen interactive HD TVs and a Bose iPod/iPhone docking station.
But the crème de la crème of rooms is the Burj Al Arab's Royal Two-Bedroom Suite (around USD $16,000/night) which comes with Hermès bath products, daily breakfast for two in your room, a 24-hour private butler, private lift and cinema, full-size Jacuzzis, a menu featuring 17 types of pillows, and use of a 24-carat gold-plated iPad. This is the suite that dreams are made of and the kind of accommodation you choose when only the best will do. With all the gold trimmings, sparkling chandeliers, and bright reds, pinks and pattered accents, we wouldn’t be surprised if Liberace himself designed his own home after this suite.
If you’re going to boast about being one of the best hotels in the world, your dining options better also measure up. The property has nine signature restaurants and bars, with cuisines ranging from authentic Arabic cuisine to Far East Asian and Modern European dishes. At Al Mahara, a floor-to-ceiling aquarium sets the mood for a unique dining experience alongside a multitude of colorful sea life swimming beside your table. Specializing in seafood, the restaurant serves lunch and dinner with a smart-casual dress code for the former and semi-formal attire for the latter. For dinner, guests can enjoy 9+ Wagyu Beef Seared on the Plancha which comes with long potato fries cooked in goose fat, sweet bread and mushroom in bone marrow, and dressed with a grey shallot and shiraz wine sauce.
As far as activities go, located on the ground floor is an open-air swimming pool with a swim-in pool bar, or guests can venture over to the Assawan spa and take a dip in the infinity pool overlooking the Arabian Gulf. Housed over two levels, the spa boasts close to 500 feet of space and offers treatments from such brands as La Prairie, Sundari and THÉMAÉ. A fitness center, squash court, aerobic facilities and resistance and cardio training equipment are all available through the spa.
Lest you imagine a hotel of this grandeur be filled with a pretentious staff, many visitors have praised the property’s exceptional service and wonderfully-friendly employees. From the moment you arrive, every member of the Burj Al Arab hospitality team will make sure that your stay is unforgettable. Rooms begin at around USD $2,325 per night on weekdays; a price tag that seems more than reasonable for a chance to stay in one of the most iconic hotels in the world.