This is the second part of my review of the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai.
Part 1 of my Burj Al Arab review is here if you missed it.
The hotel promises butler service. It doesn’t exist.
This is the butler desk outside our room. In theory we shared this person with the other seven rooms on the floor:
In reality, over the three days we were in the hotel, I saw this desk occupied a grand total of once.
Some other random Burj Al Arab shots …..
Before I head outside, here are some more OTT interior shots. This is the restaurant where a terrible a la carte breakfast is served (on our first day we waited an hour for the food, which arrived either cold or in miniscule portions) which also acts as a bar in the evening.
This is a PR photo, which doesn’t show the astonishing view as you are virtually on the top floor here:
Here are the lifts on our floor:
This is taken from outside our room:
Here is the odd thing about the Burj. Until a couple of years ago, it had no real facilities of its own.
It has no dedicated beach. It shares part of the beach of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel next door, which is reserved for Burj guests and ‘executive level’ guests at Jumeirah Beach. It is quiet but not exactly high class.
On the other side of the approach road is a new beach club called Summersalt. This is accessible to guests of Jumeirah’s Al Naseem hotel, Burj guests plus anyone else willing to pay. This IS classy, but as children are not allowed in for lunch I didn’t get a proper look. If you go as a couple I would stick with this.
Of course, you can also use the other 2km (not a typo) of beach which Jumeirah controls. Cross-charging is allowed across all of their hotels. This also means, of course, that booking the cheapest room at Jumeirah Beach Hotel gets you the same beach and cross-charging privileges as staying at the Burj for many times the price.
The new beach deck
To address this, a couple of years ago the Burj built a large deck in front of the hotel. Since this is built over the sea it was a trickier job than you would think. Here is a PR shot:
The Burj now has its own beach club, albeit with no beach. This is NOT exclusive to hotel guests as they appear to sell memberships. It is fair to say that, over the weekend, it looked like the sort of crowd you would expect to see on Sir Philip Green’s yacht. Once the weekend was over it became far more pleasant.
The decor of the beach deck is utterly, totally different to the hotel. It is very classy.
Along with the pool at Four Seasons Athens (which is a beach resort, despite the name) it is about as close as I have got to being transported back to the jet set age of the 1950’s.
I can’t comment on the hotel restaurants because most were still closed. We ate our evening meals at Madinat Jumeirah next door, being whisked around by golf buggy.
Guests get free access to the Wild Wadi water adjacent. Whilst this saves £200 for a family of four, this is a perk you get at all of the Jumeirah hotels so it is not a reason to specifically stay at the Burj.
A review of the Burj Al Arab cannot have a meaningful conclusion. It operates in its own little world, and you either want to try it or you don’t.
Putting on my Mr Logical hat, it may make financial sense for a family compared to booking two connecting rooms at one of the other five star Jumeirah resorts.
Apart from that, you would stay because you’d done everything else. Because you are bored with hotels where you don’t get a mirror over your bed, or a grand staircase in your room, and you are relatively ambivalent about the cost.
Don’t stay here for a high-service experience. If you are on a special trip with a loved one, get down to the Four Seasons. (EDIT: comments below suggest that recent developments nearby mean the FS is now less pleasant than it was. Perhaps Mandarin Oriental or Bulgari are better choices now.)
Don’t book in if you have to scrimp and save to get the money together because it’s not worth it unless you get a deal like ours and it isn’t ‘special’ enough for that sort of treat.
There is no scenario under which I would have stayed here for more than a couple of days. I also don’t think that I would go back unless it was cheaper than two connecting rooms elsewhere.
I’ve ticked it off the bucket list though, and I don’t regret doing it for what we paid. It was good to do something a bit daft to end 2020. It also means I have a bathroom of Hermes toiletries at home to keep me going until the shops re-open …..
If you are thinking of booking Burj Al Arab, you may be able to get a lower rate than the Jumeirah website by contacting Emyr Thomas, our luxury hotel booking partner, via this page. The rate he obtained for me was almost Dhs 1,000 per night lower than the cheapest online rate.
Hotel offers update – October 2021:
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