Stepping through the door we could hardly believe our eyes… the stunning duplex suite with gold finishes, a chandelier, sweeping staircase and panoramic view of Dubai… and this was our room?
‘Would you like me to unpack for you, Mr and Mrs Silver?’
We weren’t just at any hotel, we were at the Burj al Arab, once dubbed the most luxurious and the only seven star hotel in the world.
It was a hotel that long held curiosity for me but I wasn’t sure about staying there. Would the design feel garish? Would it be so over the top that it was vulgar? And was it really nothing more than a glorified tourist attraction? Well there was only one way to find out. I ummed and ahhed a bit but finally we booked the Burj al Arab… and I was super excited to stay there.
Located on its own man-made island, the Burj al Arab stands majestically boasting an iconic sail-like structure and is accessible only by a bridge – or by helicopter if you choose to land on the rooftop helipad. And at 321m, it is taller than the Eiffel tower and is the tallest all suite hotel in the world.
The hotel is even served by a fleet of Rolls Royce Phantoms that can be hired as courtesy cars.
The lobby truly sets the scene for the magnificence of the rest of the hotel…
With a leaping fountain and escalators flanked by an aquarium.
It even has the world’s tallest atrium which is a true architectural feat.
The upper deck from the foyer is lined with gold, more fountains and shiny mosaics and you can take your pick from the highest level luxury jewellery shops.
Every room at the Burj al Arab is a suite and comes with a butler service. There is a butler dedicated to each floor, so ours sat at a desk pretty much right outside our room whenever we needed him. The lower floor of the room is an expansive living area with a huge wide screen TV, a separate home office with a Mac computer, a bar, lots of comfy sofas and of course those floor to ceiling windows with incredible views.
Having seen plenty of photos of the bold blue, red and gold colour scheme, I had worried it would be tacky but it was utterly gorgeous and super luxurious in feel. I had also worried it might be dated but it was perfectly pristine!
Attention to detail is exquisite and there was a beautiful cake, a bottle of Louis Roederer champagne and fresh fruit left to welcome us. If you fancy making your own coffee, there’s even a gold coffee machine to match the Burj al Arab colour scheme.
The room service menu is extensive with lots of different cuisines on offer. Breakfast is included, whether you have it in the room or in the restaurant, and you can order it any time you wish.
Up the sweeping staircase is the bedroom suite…
Again with regal soft furnishings…
And panoramic windows…
Our bed was swathed with purple curtains… there’s even a mirror on the ceiling! A cot had been set up next to our bed for Oscar and they left a toy camel and a teddy bear. We didn’t even notice until we got home but the teddy bear was personalised with Oscar’s name! The curtains, TV, music and lights were all on a clever remote control panel by the bed.
I loved out gorgeous dressing area and the butler unpacked everything perfectly into here. I really enjoyed getting ready here every evening. There’s even a blue and gold Dyson hair dryer!
The bathroom is something rather special too, echoing the bold colours of the main suite – there’s even gold taps and sconces on the wall. Bright mosaic tiles add to the luxurious feel!
Every room has a jacuzzi bath and five head shower and they come complete with Hermes products and we received luxury baby products for Oscar.
I’ve had butler service before but here it truly is next level. Every afternoon the butler brings in an afternoon tea plus makes you your favourite drinks…there was even this for the kids…and the big kids like us.
He noticed when our clothes needed pressing, shoes needed shining and booked restaurants and the salon for us… it was truly first class service.
The pool deck is a relatively new addition to the hotel, having opened in 2017. The Terrace juts out from the hotel and is made up of two pools, a restaurant and bar.
These huge basket chairs were perfect for reclining with O.
And they had a great view of the hotel’s infinity pool.
Otherwise you could take a seat at the pool bar and order up a cocktail.
The Restaurant Scape serves food all day and we went there most days for breakfast.
The buffet was really high quality, serving all sorts of cuisines – there was even a chocolate fountain! Everything possible was done to make Oscar feel comfortable, and he loved munching on toast fingers in his high chair.
We came back to Scape for lunch but I have to say we were a little disappointed as the food was bad value for money, small portions and mediocre. The prawns didn’t taste fresh and we paid about £40 for a tiny fillet of sea bass and one piece of asparagus.
One thing I really recommend if you’re spending a day by the pool is hiring a cabana.
There are two different sized cabanas at different prices and we opted for a bigger one with it’s own bathroom. Included was a living room area with TV, fresh fruit and soft drinks…
A outside balcony over looking the sea.
And a terrace overlooking the pool.
A luxurious bathroom came complete with high end amenities and it’s own shower. It was an absolute perfect thing to do with Oscar as they also put a cot in the cabana so he could have a nap while we sat outside.
Talking of food, Mr S and I tried the hotels two signature restaurants during our stay. Both restaurants only allow children over 8 years old at dinner (though they are allowed at lunch) so Mr S and I took the opportunity to get a baby sitter and have a couple of date nights.
Al Muntaha (meaning The Ultimate) is located at the pinnacle of the restaurant and boasts panoramic views over the city and serves fine French cuisine by chef Francky Semblat who has previously worked with Joel Robuchon.
Adjacent to Al Muntaha and also on the 27th Floor is the Skyview Bar and Restaurant where you can stop for cocktails and tapas. Or you can totally bling it up and go to Gold on 27.
Probably the most opulent bar I’ve ever seen! Gold is actually covered in 1,790sqm of 24-carat gold leaf!
Mr S and I also visited Al Mahara (meaning the Oyster Shell) which was located in an aquarium, making us feel like we were dining under the sea!
The design of this restaurant is just spectacular and we loved the seafood menu by Kim Joinié-Maurin. Both restaurants were pretty pricey so if you’re going to choose one, I’d opt for Al Mahara.
Other options are Junsui (a pan-Asian buffet), Sahn Eddar (a lounge bar in the Atrium) and Al Iwan for Arabic dining.
If you don’t fancy any of these restaurants the Burj al Arab operates a buggy ride to the nearby Madinat Jumeirah where there is a load more restaurants and things to do. It was really useful for us as the hotel’s two main restaurants had age restrictions so we ended up here two of our four nights. It was very handy to go to other restaurants but not have to get a taxi.
The Talise spa on the 18th Floor is 180 metres above the Arabian Gulf and contains over 8,200 square metres of facilities. There’s a separate male and female area with jacuzzi, sauna and steam room plus the shared pool above with views over the city. Guests can book all sorts of luxurious treatments including high end brand La Prairie. The Kid’s Club is on the same floor as the spa and it’s quite small and not overly impressive but there are toys, games, books and children have access to the Kid’s Club at the Madinat Jumeirah which has a huge range of activities indoor and outside. Guests also have access to the nearby Wild Wadi Waterpark. So that being said and coupled with the fact that the restaurant weren’t very child-friendly, I wouldn’t say that the Burj al Arab was the ideal place for taking your kids but it was a great to get the stay in before Oscar’s too much in need of entertainment.
Though The Burj al Arab isn’t the ideal hotel with children or a baby, I still absolutely loved it. The rooms are totally insane, the butler service is second to none and we loved the restaurants, pool and spa! I was worried about staying there, it actually turned out to be one of my favourite hotels ever!
Great For Kids
Access to Wild Wadi Waterpark
Expansive pool deck
Great in room amenities for kids
Great for Parents
High end restaurants and bar (bar is child-free, restaurants for over eights)
Extremely high levels of service (butlers)
A note – I stayed in the Burj al Arab back in March before the Covid travel restrictions and I held off publishing this post because it didn’t feel quite right. However, I thought it did seemed fitting for this month’s travel link up hence the publication now. It does seem very strange to us eating at a buffet and no social distancing in this current climate!
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