Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Review: Burj Al Arab, Dubai – “the world’s most luxurious hotel” (Part 2)

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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.

Butler service

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:

Burj Al Arab hotel review Dubai

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:

Burj Al Arab review Dubai

Here are the lifts on our floor:

Burj Al Arab hotel review Dubai

and:

Burj Al Arab hotel review Dubai

This is taken from outside our room:

Burj Al Arab hotel review Dubai

Facilities

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:

Burj Al Arab hotel review Dubai

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.

Burj Al Arab hotel review Dubai

….. and

Burj Al Arab hotel review Dubai

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.

Conclusion

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 – January 2021:

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Want to buy hotel points? There are currently special offers running with Hilton Honors (100% bonus to 5th March), IHG Rewards Club (75% bonus to 25th February), Radisson Rewards (50% bonus to 31st January) and World of Hyatt (30% bonus to 23rd February)

Comments (86)

  • John says:

    Good review. Looking at the interior photos, it reminds me of one of the Hiltons I stayed at in Alexandria a few years ago. Built as part of a shopping mall, and quiet, and as a diamond, so availing of the ‘lounge’ offering, I was 50/50 on whether the £25 I had shelled out for the total cost of three nights [1 comped, 1 points] was worth it or not. After reading your review, there’s only a laptop computer separating our potential buyers’ remorse. Literally.

  • Marko says:

    I disagree about the FS Jumeira comment. It used to be a great hotel, but I spent a week there last month and found it to be crowded and noisy. They opened a place called Nammos just next to the FS and you can hear the music blasting during the afternoon until late night. I got the feeling I am at the Nikki Beach hotel and not the FS. Staff are great though, and try their best. However, for a quiet and peaceful stay I would recommend the Bulgari Resort, Mandarin Oriental or One&Only Palm.

    • OHR says:

      Yes, I hear Nammos is killing the FS Juneriah. O&O Palm likely the best hotel in Dubai

    • Alex says:

      I also disagree regarding the FS it has dropped significantly from its lofty perch, far too much noise from the beach club immediately next door and the weekend day passes handed out to anyone willing to pay makes the pool impersonal and noisy and busy, its for me any more.

  • TGLoyalty says:

    recall visiting in 2017 and thinking it was a bit old and tacky, looks like it’s exactly the same.

    The deck does look very nice and something a little different. But then so does the pool at address skyview.

    • Blenz101 says:

      Zero chance of getting a pool side lounger at The Address Skyview. Maybe 12 loungers in total and pool is smaller than it appears in photos.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Can imagine.

        I should have said “interesting” I’m not really interested in spending hours/days by a pool for weeks on end.

  • Gerry says:

    Fascinating report Rob. I’ve always wanted to stay there, but I think this will now be removed from my bucket list. Service is a major factor for me if I am paying big bucks! Well done for getting a great deal!

  • Shalin Sharma says:

    Having visited in 2017, I agree with it being tacky, but the service was incredible. The butler couldn’t do enough for us, he would grab our bags and help with shopping as soon as he’d see us, deliver canapés, snacks and tea at least twice a day and was generally really lovely. The lack of service may be down to Covid. But I agree that I’m not sure it’s worth the money all factors considered…

  • Rory says:

    The Terrace only started selling day passes during COVID, as it was the only part of the hotel to stay open. Apparently they are going to stop selling them once the hotel gets back to capacity. I was there a few weeks ago, and your description of the clientele was pretty spot on!!

  • S says:

    I have to say – to my eyes it looks simply awful!

  • BS says:

    Seems amazing, and would love to experience it. For size etc. it looks exceptional. The choice of decor looks like it came out of Donald Trump’s playbook though. Not at all stylish and tacky.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Make Burj Al Arab Great Again seems very fitting based on this review.

      In fairness, this isn’t really the time to make concrete determinations on a hospitality business. I suspect a lot is down to the current pandemic.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment