So it was my lovely nephew’s birthday last week. Little brat is 8 years old. I had to Google what to buy a kid of his age because I am clueless when it comes to things like that. Of course I don’t have any kids of my own so this was quite a pickle I was in, and all I could do was hope he turns 12 quickly so I can just give him cash. So the birthday comes, I hand over the gift, he snatches it and unwraps so quickly I almost lost my hand. He looks at the present. Looks at me. Looks back at the present and says “Is that it?”
I take a sip of wine and realize it’s not his fault. He’s not alone. It takes a lot to shock and wow people now-a-days. Everything has been done and now extreme is what gets some reaction. So I sit my nephew down and begin to tell him the story of the place built on WOW. Where nothing is done nor made without the WOW factor. He doesn’t believe it exists. I shake my head in a condescending way and tell him of the best hotel where WOW is too small a word. Impressive. Unbelievable. Magnificent. I can’t think of the right word as there isn’t a word for it yet.
For you see, in Dubai where hotels, apartments and shopping is unmatched anywhere (they created a snow and ski slope indoors, in a city surrounded by desert, now that’s grand) but nothing on this planet compares to one hotel. The Burj Al Arab is still the premier seven star luxury hotel in the world. It was designed to mimic a billowing dhow sail. The white sails covering the outer side of the atrium are used as a screen for the nightly light show at the Burj Al Arab. The 321-m tower stands on an artificial island connected to the shore by a bridge and has been known as the tallest all-suite hotel in the world. This is to Dubai’s what the Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, Taj Mahal and Sydney Opera House are to those city’s residents. Arriving Burj Al Arab guests are met at the airport by uniformed staff and driven to the hotel in a Rolls-Royce limousine. Helicopter, no joke, is the other option. There is no check in front desk and you are escorted for check in.
Real 22-carat gold leaf has been used in the decor of the lobby and the restaurants, together with Italian marble (one of nearly 30 different types used throughout the property), Brazilian granite and custom-made carpets.
There are four restaurants to choose from. Most unusual is the concept of the Al Mahara seafood restaurant, which creates the feeling of an underwater location, thanks to a simulated submarine ride and aquariums in the place of windows. Yes you can see fish next to you and on your plate. There are two pools (one up high with drop dead views), a spa, gym, saunas, steam rooms, hydrotherapy baths, several treatment rooms, and a ladies-only section. Guests at the Burj Al Arab have free access to the private beach and the Wild Wadi water park, just for something different. In-suite check-in, unpacking, pressing of clothes and delivering food orders are some of the standard services provided by butlers 24 hours a day as is the room service.
The rooms (all suites) come in various sizes but all are wonderful and spacious. It didn’t get the only 7 star rating for being small and simple. This is a WOW. Dubai is a city filled with “WOW” moments and architecture and the Burj Al Arab is just the jewel in the crown. It deserves its place in the must see and stay hotels in the world.
And so I tell my nephew if he’s good, and not so rude, he may get there one day. And with that I take another sip of my wine and tell him that he should just appreciate the tickle me Elmo doll I got for him otherwise I’m taking it back.