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14 April 2024

Sail into a life of luxury

By Maha Obeid

Everything about Burj Al Arab screams luxury – from the 22-carat gold finishings to the personalised catering service. The Royal Suites take level of opulence even further.
The hotel opened in December 1999 and has been dubbed the world’s only seven-star hotel, although the official hotel rating system only goes up to five. Towering at 321 metres high and designed to look like a billowing sail, it is an iconic figure on the Dubai coastline.
Although the hotel’s owners, Jumeirah, cannot reveal which celebrities and dignitaries have stayed in the Royal Suites, the hotel has hosted famous names such as tennis players Andre Aggasi and Roger Federer, golfer Tiger Woods, British chef Gary Rhodes and former American president Bill Clinton.

Despite being priced at Dh50,000 a night, the two Royal Suites are usually booked out. The Presidential Suites, at Dh40,000 a night, are a bargain in comparison. The Royal Suites occupy a whole floor of the hotel, each measuring 780sq metres. They have their own private elevator and cinema. At the other end of the luxury scale are the deluxe suites, with one bedroom, measuring 170 square metres.

The two-level suites are self-contained, just like a mini-mansion. An Arabic majlis (reception) style lounge and library are downstairs.

The bedrooms are upstairs – comprising a master with rotating four-poster canopy and a second bedroom, each with adjoining marble bathrooms with spa bath, walk-in shower and fine porcelain fittings.

The lower level includes a large dining table, which is ideal for entertaining. Guests can sit back while the hotel’s butlers, together with the private dining team, arrange for a special dinner to be set up in the suite. They can also arrange for flowers and hand-made chocolates to be delivered to your room.

A butler is never far away if a guest needs to top up the array of fresh fruit, dates and juice, which are provided in your room. Burj Al Arab claims to have one of the largest “butler brigades” in the world, with a team of about 140.

A butler is assigned to every floor in the hotel and their aim is to ensure that the guests’ stay is beyond their expectations and something that they only can experience at Burj Al Arab. No effort or detail is spared to achieve this – the hotel offers a complimentary pillow menu. The menu boasts a luxurious selection of pillows and duvets to ensure guests have a perfect nights’ sleep. The range of 13 pillows includes Burj Al Arab Premium Down Pillow Soft support and the Exclusive Neck Support Pillow. For the younger guests, there is a “cosy kids” collection of pillows.

All of the guests at Burj Al Arab are greeted at the airport by a member of the hotel’s staff and escorted to their chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce. However, most of the guests in the Royal Suite opt for the helicopter service, which leaves from the specially designated area at the airport and lands on the hotel’s private helipad. Burj Al Arab uses helidubai as its preferred provider. The hotel only uses the Agusta 109E twin engine, which seats five to eight passengers.
Although the hotel’s concierge organises the service, the hourly rate for members of the public who want to book the helicopter is Dh9,810.

The hotel features the tallest atrium lobby in the world, at 180 meters.

The bathrooms in the Royal Suite are stocked with full-sized Hermes 24 – Faubourg fragrances and body products, which are ideal for pampering yourself.

There is also a bath menu for ultimate relaxation, with options ranging from the refreshing Mint Bath to the most decadent Extreme Indulgence, accompanied by caviar and strawberries.

If you are in need of revitalisation, it is just a quick trip from your Royal Suite on level 25 to the Assawan Spa on level 18. Harmonious balance of well-being and relaxation is the essence of the spa.
Guests can bask in the quiet ambience of the wet areas, consisting of separate ladies’ and gents’ sauna; steam room; Jacuzzi and a choice of the mixed or ladies-only infinity swimming pool.

With nine restaurants, including Junsui, an Asian restaurant that opened in November, most guests do not even need to leave the hotel. Junsui, which means 'pure' in Japanese, has 12 live cooking stations and about 45 specialised Asian chefs whipping up an array of culinary delights from Japan, China, Thailand, Indonesia and Korea.