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

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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.


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Comments (86)

  • Andrew says:

    That’s great the Hermes is still being dished out – I dread the day that all the hotels are forced by the Greta Police to go down the dispenser on the wall route.

    • Lumma says:

      Hope they’re better at making toiletries than they are at delivering packages

      • Sav says:

        This!!

        • Andrew says:

          😂 Yes my heart sinks when I get a tracking ref from them – DPD are my favourite, luckily retailers seem to agree.

          • ChrisW says:

            Yes I like DPD too.

            DX have been a disaster!

          • Andrew MS says:

            Hermes is my favourite. The guy is very dependable. Pre-pandemic, he would leave my parcels in the shed if i was out , none of this “ i am coming back tomorrow and if you are not here to sign then your parcel goes back to the depot” malarkey. On the other hand , UPS claim they have looked for my property three times before abandoning delivery.

          • Rhys says:

            It’s shocking how many couriers don’t even ring the doorbell. Have had 1x parcel stolen from doorstep (admittedly a big red box with ‘Virgin Wines’ emblazoned across it…) and 2+ where we just get a note saying nobody was in despite the fact we have all been working from home for the last 9 months!

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Need to get yourself a ring doorbell.

          • Chas says:

            @Rhys – that’s nothing. I had a courier pre-Xmas “deliver” some wine to me. He didn’t ring the doorbell, and after taking a photo of it on my doorstep took the wine back into his van and drove off. Courier refused to accept responsibility for it saying that they evidence it had been delivered (the photo). I then shared the evidence from my Nest doorbell as to what had really happened….

          • Rhys says:

            I’ve heard of that happening! I don’t imagine taking a photo of a package in the door is any real “proof”. Proof is a photo of the recipient with the package – which some of the better couriers wait for!

          • The real John says:

            Now I understand why they wait for me to open the door. The RM postman doesn’t.

      • Ian says:

        Just as a point of information, there’s no relation whatever between Hermes Paris and Hermes the parcel delivery company.

        • Rob says:

          I’d like to think that none of readers would believe that a company making £5,000 handbags would also be in the business of chucking Debenhams packages out of their van window into your garden as they drive past ….!

          • Anna says:

            Tongue firmly in cheek for most of us, I feel. I will risk the sarcasm of Doommonger by pointing out the irony that Hermes, the delivery company, seems to have named itself after the Greek winged messenger of the gods, noted for wisdom!

          • David Goldberg says:

            🤣🤣🤣

          • kitten says:

            £5,000? And the rest…

        • Matt B says:

          I think Hermes (courier!) if far closer to Herpes, than designed handbags!

  • Peter says:

    Went there when I had booked the Jumeirah (at Emirates Towers) Flavours package for dinner. There was a £40 supplement per person and was really not worth it. It was my dad’s birthday and they didn’t bother doing anything special apart from saying Happy Birthday at the entrance.
    The Jumeirah Emirates Towers was really good though, especially the lounge!

  • Colin says:

    We stayed at the Burj twice in 2006. We had proper butler service on both occasions and the reception desk on our floor was manned at all times. The first butler we had was first rate, the second one was bad.
    The other service around the hotel when we were there was ok but not as good as the Ritz Carlton.
    Service levels seem to have dropped considerably.

  • ChrisW says:

    Looks very over the top as expected. Pool deck looks great and shows they are actually investing in the guest experience which should be applauded.

    This hotel serves a purpose. I would never stay there but its one of the most famous hotels in the world and is for people who either don’t care about money, or want a once in a lifetime experience they will never forget, or create months of social media content to make their friends jealous.

    Value, good service, repeat business etc I doubt are priorities for management but I expect the hotel does well financially. It is quintessential Dubai.

  • Ian says:

    Great review Rob and happy for you and your family that you had the experience. Glad too you enjoyed your night at the Sofitel. I’m a great fan of Sofitel and find that the level of service is generally excellent.

  • ChrisW says:

    The common areas of the hotel look like a cross between a 90’s cruise ship and a 90’s conference centre.

  • marcw says:

    Well someone had to pay me to stay in such a place.

  • Shay says:

    A hotel stuck in 2000’s surpassed by many Dubai hotels in every aspect. Really no excuse for giving a room to a family late. I expect the be given the room in the morning, and most top hotels there do without question knowing most UK flights arrive then.

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