Afternoon Tea at the Burj Al Arab
In Dubai there are two famous buildings called Burj – and this is the opulent one. The first self-proclaimed 7 star hotel in the world and the 5th tallest hotel in the world, the Burj Al Arab remains the icon of Dubai. It certainly lives up to its reputation and is wholly recognisable as part of brand Dubai. The Burj Al Arab in Dubai is what the Golden Gate Bridge is to San Francisco and the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. So legendary is this icon, that now the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa – finds it difficult to replace the Burj Al Arab as the symbol of Dubai.
Built on a man-made island about 280m from Jumeirah Beach, access is by private bridge and visitors will be declined entry if they do not have hotel or meal reservations. Inside, the décor is nothing short of Arabian luxury at its best and to some it can appear gaudy and ostentatious. But this is what rich traditional Arabia is all about. Bright hues of red and yellow illustrate the desert and warmth – and if it looks golden, it most likely is pure gold. Over 86,000 22ct gold leaf was used in covering the entire hotel – that is the definition of ‘bling’. The Burj Al Arab is the opposite of minimalist so common in the modern hotel.
Moving onto the rooms, all of them are duplex suites and the deluxe suite (which, of course, if the most basic of suites available) has an area space of 169 square meters. To give you an understanding of scale, a standard five star hotel room is on average 32 square meters. The deluxe suite is decorated lavishly, just as the public areas of the hotel with a winding grand staircase, electric controls to power the curtains, doors, lights and TV and the best part – you have your own butler! Pricing for the most basic suite start at about 4000 Dhs (or $1000) per night and rise to nearly 100,000 Dhs for the most expensive Royal Suite – usually it’s only royalty who can actually afford that!
If you’re not willing to cough up a small fortune to stay at the Burj Al Arab, the best way to visit is to book for afternoon tea, a fancy meal or to visit the bar. Guests, whether staying the night or just visiting for a meal get treated like true VIPs. If you are keen to visit the Burj Al Arab but are on a budget, the cheapest option is either breakfast or afternoon tea at Sahn Eddar, setting you back around 250 Dhs and 400 Dhs per person respectively. Sahn Eddar is located at the lobby of the hotel and the ambience gives a true flavour of the hotel. Sitting on plush sofas, you lift your head and strain your eyes to see the end of the ceiling, but it will be hard as you curb your dizziness looking at the world’s tallest atrium! A musical fountain plays soothing melodies and the vibe is totally relaxed.
If you want to absorb magnificent views of the palm islands and Dubai city, the Skyview Bar on the 27th floor offers afternoon tea packages at 450Dhs. You will be ploughed with unlimited sandwiches, cakes, treats and tea/coffee – and the views are awesome with floor to ceiling windows. The skyview bar is great at night, and if you have a spare 27,321 Dhs, you can have the most expensive cocktail in the world (that’s a mere $7500). Another way to visit is to book for a proper meal – book yourself a table amongst the largest restaurant aquarium at Al Mahara, one of the best seafood restaurants in Dubai.
If marvelling at the splendour of the Burj itself is what ticks your boxes, then book at Majlis Al Bahar which is the Al fresco super romantic restaurant where you can eat in perfect view of this magic building. And if you want spend all the money you have on your bride to be, then it’s possible hire the helipad and conduct your nuptuals right at the top. It’ll cost you about $55k. We think the cake is thrown in. We think.
Points of note:
If you’re not well connected, there’s no way you are getting in to the Burj Al Arab – unless you have a reservation, so make sure you book in advance.
If visiting the Burj Al Arab with children, a couple of restaurants within the hotel may impose restrictions during the evenings and Skyview does not allow anyone under the age of 21 at any time of the day.
If you want afternoon tea with the family, your best bet is to book at Sahn Eddar. If you want to see amazing views with the kids from the 27th floor, the Al Muntaha restaurant is the next best priced option for lunch. Their lunch set menu is about 450 Dhs per person and children under 12 have 50% off menus, as is the case with all restaurants within the Burj Al Arab
There’s an iconic photo of Andre Agassi and Roger Federer playing tennis on the helipad and another with Tiger Woods shooting a 5 iron. Don’t think you’ll get that opportunity! But if you have a helicopter and are a guest you can land directly at the hotel!
Other options to experience the Burj Al Arab are to try the Assawan Swa – which is probably the epitome of spa treatment opulence
The Burj Al Arab is alit with different colours at night and great to see from afar, so watch out for it after the sun drops.
The Jumeirah Beach Hotel which is built nearby is the wave to the Burj Al Arab’s sail when viewed from afar.
When – Daily
How Long – Two hours for a meal and an ogle
Location – Burj Al Arab
Cost – Starts at 250Dhs for tea
Booking – Book directly with the Burj Al Arab on 04 301 7777
More info – See the official site at burjalarab.com