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Why Dubai’s Burj Al Arab is among the top 7 luxurious hotels in the world

The spectacular Burj Al Arab hotel. Picture: Supplied

The spectacular Burj Al Arab hotel. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 7, 2021


Taking luxury to new heights. That’s the tagline for the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. Since opening in 1999, this towering paradise has hosted everyone from pop stars, sport icons, actors, billionaires to royalty.

Taking on the shape of the sail of a dhow (a traditional wooden cargo vessel), this seven-star hotel has attracted Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, as well as tennis stars Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

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Bollywood’s film royalty Abhishek Bachchan and wife Aishwarya Rai are also regulars here during their holidays to Dubai.

Aside from it being the seventh tallest hotel in the world, the Burj Al Arab is also ranked as number two out of seven of the most luxurious hotels in the world by Luxury Mag.

What makes it so spectacular?

Well, there are several reasons why it ticks so many boxes. Firstly, it’s nestled away on a private man-made island with first-rate security, making it most desirable from a privacy perspective.

The Burj Al Arab is the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed. He wanted it to be to Dubai what the Sydney Opera House is to Australia or the Eiffel Tower to France.

This hotel is swathed in extravagance. From its 24-carat gold leaf walls to the full-sized Hermes amenities found in every one of its 202 suites.

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The Burj Al Arab is celebrated for its cutting-edge engineering, which boasts a unique man-made beach and infinity pool terrace, to one of the tallest grand atrium at 180 metres high.

Talk about travelling in the lap of luxury, it also has its own helipad and a fleet of chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce limousines.

Burj Al Arab, Dubai.

Whether you want to unwind and bask in the serenity on offer or you have a hankering for a party vibe at the Gold on 27 main bar, your every whim is catered for.

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The drinks are inspired by Dubai over the years, varying from contemporary, classic to trendy.

Tom Wright is behind the iconic design. He chose bespoke translucent fibreglass to provide protection from the desert sun during the day. At night, it acts as an eye-catching illumination screen.

Credit for the interior, however, goes to Khuan Chew, who is a British-Chinese designer. Everything from the crystal chandeliers, hand-knotted carpets, water fixtures and pillars is an extension of his creative flair and gravitation to design elements that contribute to a sensory avalanche.

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Below are some of the other reasons why the Burj Al Arab is deserving of the high-praise.

  • The eiderdown duvets in the rooms are some of the most exclusive in the world. Not known to do anything by halves, the eiderdown duvets used at Burj Al Arab are the finest and rarest in existence. The down is harvested from abandoned eider duck nests in Iceland. One nest provides about 15-20g of eiderdown, and only 2 000kg are allowed to be harvested each year, which is why the duvets are so highly prized.
  • There are 17 types of pillows available to guests on the pillow menu. Their extensive pillow menu is tailormade to enable every guest to get a blissful night’s sleep.
  • In 2008, the Burj Al Arab also broke the Guinness World Record for the most expensive cocktail, valued at 27 321 AED. It also created the world’s largest tin of caviar in 2016, which contained 17kg of Empress caviar – the world’s only fully-certified organic caviar from native-raised sturgeon.
  • The hotel has 16 in-house florists. A team of up to six florists takes about eight hours to create the flower arrangements in the lobby, using flowers shipped from Holland, Kenya, South Africa and Thailand. The flower team always aims to include a guest’s favourite flowers in the floral displays in their suite, creating bespoke arrangements ahead of their arrival.
  • It is home to the largest Swarovski crystal ceiling in the world. The ceiling in the hotel’s Japanese restaurant, Junsui, is adorned with 21 000 crystals, used to represent the Milky Way. The installation is worth 1.3 million AED.
  • The hotel features more than 30 different types of Statuario marble, in the walls and flooring. It is the same marble that was used by Italian artist Michelangelo to create many of his most famous sculptures including the statue of David.
  • The hotel’s dramatic helipad has given a platform to a number of incredible stunts. In 2004, Tiger Woods teed off from the helipad. A year later, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer took to it to play tennis on a makeshift court. In 2013, Chinese world number one players, Long Ma (men’s) and ShiWen Liu (women’s) played the first ever table tennis match on the platform. And more recently, in 2017, professional kitesurfer Nick Jacobsen, jumped off it with his kiteboard, in a death-defying world first.

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