While Dubai boasts record-breaking feats in the fields of architecture and luxury, there’s only one place in the region (and world for that matter) where you can sleep atop a $15,000 Eiderdown comforter with down harvested from rare abandoned Eider Duck nests in Iceland, while sipping a 24kt gold cappuccino served to you by a personal butler: the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, an American Express Fine Hotel & Resort property.
The five-star hotel, yet often unofficially referred to as “seven-star” due to it’s impressive lineup of over-the-top amenities and staff-to-suite ratio of 8:1, is the crown jewel in Jumeirah Group’s luxury hospitality portfolio. The hotel stands on its own man-made island in the Arabian Gulf and is designed in the shape of a billowing Arabian dhow sail, as tribute to the nation’s seafaring traditions. After five years of construction at the cost of $1 billion, the nautical-inspired structure clocks in at over 1,000 feet tall, making it the world’s tallest all-suite hotel and fifth tallest hotel overall. The construction materials include the rarest Statutario marble—the same marble that was used by Michelangelo—and approximately 20,000 square feet of 24kt gold leaf embellish the interior. The unique design has established the Burj Al Arab as a landmark in itself and an architectural icon within the Dubai skyline.
From the moment hotel guests touch down in Dubai, they’re welcomed with the option to travel in style from the airport in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce—the hotel has one of the largest fleets in the world. Upon arrival to the one access point to the island via a guarded bridge, guests drive past throngs of tourists trying to catch a glimpse of the iconic hotel. For the super private VIP or thrill-seeking guests, there’s a second access point to the property—a helicopter landing pad hanging almost 700 feet above the water. The helipad has also hosted a number of impressive events including a tennis match between Andre Agassi and Roger Federer on a makeshift court, Tiger Woods teeing off the ledge, and a professional kiteboarder jumping from the helipad, a world first stunt.
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The hotel is comprised of all duplex suites, each including a personal butler who takes care of every need from unpacking and packing luggage to drawing a bath while guests are at dinner, a 14-piece set of full-size his-and-hers Hermès amenities, a pillow menu with seventeen options of comfort, and unparalleled views of the turquoise blue waters of the Arabian Gulf. An impressive private dining experience is available in suite 24 hours a day, and there’s no shortage of culinary options as the hotel boasts a number of impressive on-site restaurants from fine dining to poolside fare. The recent addition of chefs Francky Semblat, Kim Joinie-Maurin, and Kasper Kurdahl to the hotel’s dining program, brings a combined total of seven Michelin stars to their most recent culinary appointments.
While the “standard” amenities list of butler and chauffeur service is impressive enough, the hotel goes above and beyond for special occasions and holidays such as New Year’s, Russian Christmas, and Lunar New Year—guests from China and Russia make up the hotel’s leading markets. Unique holiday experiences include camel rides at the hotel property, special cocktail hours, nightly screenings of holiday movies on the lawn with chefs on site whipping up slushies and gourmet flavored popcorn, and an extravagant fireworks display with roving photobooth robots, ballerinas, and a marching band.
Those who need to take a break from all of the indulgences that Dubai has to offer can find a moment of serenity at the Talise Spa on the hotel’s 18th floor. Guests experience relaxing ritual treatments, access to plunge pools, steam rooms and saunas, and the perfect setup for that famous Instagram shot from the spa’s infinity pool overlooking the Arabian Gulf. It’s these over-the-top amenities and level of service that make the Burj Al Arab one of the most desirable destinations in the world of luxury travel—confirmed by it’s ranking as the number one most followed singular hotel account on Instagram (@burjalarab), with almost 900K followers.