Home And Away Guide: Burj Al Arab Dubai
The Burj Al Arab is certainly the most opulent and iconic of them all. Located on the UAE coastline it is one of the tallest buildings in the world and is the very embodiment of this metropolis. This seven star hotel designed by British architect Tom Wright is taller than the Eiffel Tower and just 60 meters shorter than the Empire State Building. Lucky enough to be returning for my second visit, it was at airport arrivals that I was quickly reminded what Jumeirah do so well – service & luxury that’s simply unbeatable.
The hotel had arranged for their airport service to pick me up. As we drive through the city I marvel at the changes to the skyline since my last visit noticing in particular the Burj Al Khalifa tower & metro line. Bellboys help you out of the car and into the hotel lobby, where hostesses are at hand to give you a refreshing cold towel with rose water. It was straight to my room on the 12th floor for check-in and a chance to meet my private butler who would cater to my every whim for the next 24 hours. Despite its size, the Burj Al Arab holds only 28 double-story floors which accommodate 202 bedroom suites. An in-suite electronic system makes it possible to perform tasks such as opening the floor to ceiling windows curtains and switching off the lights in the suit with a mere fingertip. Every suite benefits from a range of unique first-class flourishes, including an extensive selection of full-sized complimentary Hermés amenities and a pillow menu with 17 options no less!
There are several restaurants and a lounge at Burj Al Arab, serving everything from authentic Middle Eastern cuisine to Japanese food. On my last visit I experienced “Al Mahara” where sumptuous sea food is served in a wondrous, subterranean setting, so on this occasion we agreed on “Al Muntaha”. It means 'the ultimate', and this eating space on top of one of the world's tallest hotels, is certainly up there as one of the finest dining experiences ever for me. “Al Muntaha” is reached by one of the world’s fastest panoramic elevators where you are transported to one of Burj Al Arab’s most popular restaurants suspended 27 stories above the Arabian Gulf. Cerviche of Tasmanian Salmon in Soy Marination dot the menu, the sea bass, Atlantic Lobster and Australian lamb shoulder were nothing short of exceptional.
The sky view bar is great on pre-and post-dinner drinks and big on live bands - both local and international. Strong cocktails are on the menu at night or you can indulge with the glamorous for afternoon tea. The lavishly decorated “Assawan” spa at Burj Al Arab is located on the 18th floor with spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf. There are separate male and female areas, eight spa treatment rooms, a sauna, a steam bath, a plunge pool, a Jacuzzi and a solarium. If you’re feeling flush, try a full- or half-day treatment with facial, body polish and massage. www.jumeirah.com Emirates operate a double daily Dublin to Dubai double daily scheduled service. www.emirates.com
Robert Walshe is a travel broadcaster with Q Radio in Northern Ireland.