My friend Koral and I decided we wanted to go to the Burj Al Arab for High Tea. You know, that big sail-shaped incredible looking building sitting on its very own *island* off the coast of Dubai? The only 7-star resort in the WORLD??
Yup, that’s the one. Now, being a 7-star resort and all, they are not gonna let any ole riff-raff in off the street. No siree bob. Shoot, this is a resort that has a fleet of TEN white Rolls Royce Phantoms as their airport transfer cars! As you approach the causeway to gain access to the resort, you have to have a reservation of some kind, and have your name on the “list” at the guard gate. Otherwise, you’ll be directed to complete the “drive of shame” – turning around and leaving…… in the direction that’s NOT towards the Burj Al Arab. L But us? We had reservations, and our name was on the list, so we were waved on. Here’s what it looked like as we approached…. And yes, I wish I’d taken our reservation paper off the dash, too, it would have made for *much* nicer photos…..
*sigh*…. isn’t it just beautiful??
This is the short causeway across the water to the island that the Burj Al Arab is situated. There’s also a walkway to the right.
Looks like Koral was zooming along, doesn’t it?
You can see the sides of the man-made island here.
Are ya getting an idea of exactly how BIG this thing is??
This is the view from *almost* underneath this structure.
Before I forget, the website of the architectural firm and designer (Tom Wills-Wright of WS Atkins)that designed this building has some awesome information on it – take a peek if you’re just geeky enough to be curious about whether it’s built on sand or bedrock, and why it was designed to look like a sail, and why it was placed on an island, instead of built on the beach…..and exactly what that “sail” is constructed from and how it stays so clean. Now the designer also has a personal site which has got some crazy-cool stuff on it as well… don’t miss it!
Oh, and lookie here…. You know TBG is a helicopter pilot right? GUESS WHAT was on the helipad running as we drove up? YUP! A helicopter! You can *just* see the tip of one of the rotor blades on the helipad hanging off the side of the structure. We were convinced it would take off as we approached and since Koral’s hubby is a pilot too, we’d have the MOST meaningful photos ever. So we sorta hung back and drove slowly, and waited and waited….. and it shut down. *sigh* Oh well, we heard it as it ended up taking off while we were inside the hotel lobby. Made me smile.
See the edge of the helicopter’s rotor blade??
When we drove up, the number of extraordinarily exotic autos was pretty surprising, you’d expect them to all be parked as soon as they arrive – the entrance area is actually quite small for the Burj Al Arab. You drive up, the valets open your doors, you get out and they drive off. There are staff members to direct you to wherever you need to go, and will answer any questions you may have. It’s quite busy, but didn’t seem frantic. Oh, and there’s a colorful camel just to the side of the entrance which made me smile. The walls are of glass, and the outdoor columns are pretty cool looking.
Now, something tells me that these are “fire” columns.
The nation’s rulers
these portraits flanked the entrance
Ya think it’s just coincidence that this hotel looks like a big ole wave?
All shiny steel and glass outside.
cars waiting for their drivers
Much closer view of the cute camel tucked back off to the side of the resort.
This walkway also hosts golf carts.
Lovely fountain in the center of the round-a-bout
looking back towards the beach from the resort
a much better photo of the sides and edges of this island.
As we entered the lobby through a revolving door, we were greeted by staff members in the most lovely uniforms I’ve ever seen. Jewel-toned and opulent looking – the costumes truly matched their environment. They were both warm and welcoming to us, and encouraged us to enjoy their lobby and public areas. Understand, there truly is VERY LITTLE “public area” in the Burj Al Arab – the lobby is quite sizeable, and there are beautiful water features with “water snakes” very much like Disney has at Epcot – and there are matching aquariums on either side of the water feature and escalators. But it’s not huge by any means. Restaurant entrances are to the left and right, and we were directed to the escalators, across the upper level, and to the elevators for a ride down to the Ground Mezzanine level. OK….. here are some photos…..
all shiny and bright….
see that red leather sofa? Wait till you see a bigger photo of the curve it has….
this is the ceiling over the main area of the lobby. Just stunning.
Rooms start just above the mezzanine level… there’s a coffee shop/cafe there.
OK, so we’re still looking around, and starting to look up…. holy cow!
looking up through the atrium
aren’t the colors divine?
a little closer
wow – that’s the very top!
Now, our reservation was for the Asian Afternoon Tea, AED285 per person. It is served in the Junsui Asian Restaurant, one of the 9 restaurants in this resort. It was actually so very cool that I’m gonna write about it separately. Also, there’s a ton of food porn photos that will go along with it. <smile>
We took the escalators up to the next floor, past the aquariums on either side, and looking down on the lobby area, it’s pretty interesting looking seeing the carpet and big curvy sofa from this angle….. oh, and here’s what some of the gorgeous insets on the floor down there looked like…..
Some close-up detail of the flooring just inside the doors…. of *course* it’s gold, silly!
As we stepped off the elevator, the “public areas” were clearly indicated by “no photography” signs towards the open café looking over the lobby from the mezzanine level. That’s cool – but it was a beautiful looking little café, and I’d like to return to try it.
one of the restaurants
Tons more photos of the mezzanine level…..
The lights at the base of these massive support columns change color!
After the escalator ride, there is a quirky little water feature in the center of the walkway, filled with various pieces of glass that looks like sea-glass. But look at what you’re walking on to get there! Awesome tile work.
Simply stunning tilework here, isn’t it?
my favorite water feature – on the mezzanine level. It reminds me of the “water snakes” I see in EPCOT at Walt Disney World.
My favorite water feature there…. did you go to the designer’s website and read about it?
The colors are exactly like the ones in the atrium!
and look! There’s the water tubes!
Between the lights and the water, I was mesmerized
Just too pretty to stop taking photos, right??
Tiny little loose pieces of glass
The colors and placement exactly mimic the coloring of the atrium area when you look upwards…. Now this thing was designed to shoot water up 50 meters! I read about it on the designer’s website. Really cool and entertaining….I think I have a video of it!
Now, if I remember correctly, I saw a TV special about the design and building of this tallest hotel in the world – the atrium inside – the room walls, not the sail part – was originally white, stark white. And when HH visited, he asked for more color. Or I could be making that part up, but it seems like I remember it…….
We crossed past the water feature, and passed by some very luxurious-looking shops to where the bank of elevators is located. All mirrored and shiny, this was beautiful.
Transition area from the mezzanine to the elevators and shopping.
Well *certainly* there’s a Rodeo Drive here…. sheesh!
At the far end, there was a woman behind a desk in a cordoned-off area. I asked her what that area was, and she said “private elevators”.
Snuck a peek out of the window in the “private elevator” area.
Lovely glass sculpture/laser rendition of the hotel was enclosed in glass….. I tried to capture it in photos, but it was tough. Pretty interesting looking though.
Side view of the crystal replica
Swarovski crystal Burj al Arab. Mercy!
Donated by Mr. Swarovski. Frankly, I didn’t actually KNOW there was a Mr. Swarovski.
OK, our elevator’s here, and Koral and I are headed to the Junsui restaurant for our Asian tea!
Just so you know, a one night advance booking for a one-bedroom suite here (least expensive room) will set you back a cool $1951 USD non-refundable and payable in full at the time of booking. But included in that price is the following
“• Personalized butler service. • Sumptuous breakfast buffet for two in the privacy of your suite, Junsui or Bab Al Yam Restaurants. • Full range of Hermes luxury amenities for her and him. • One complimentary bottle of red wine or Bateel juice on arrival. • Complimentary in-suite tea and coffee facilities. • Fresh fruits, Arabic desserts and dates. • Complimentary internet access (Wi-Fi). • Unlimited access to Wild Wadi Water Park”
For me? Not likely that I’ll ever spend a night here, but my experience there was certainly fun, entertaining, and a once-in-a-lifetime event. Hope you have enjoyed seeing it as I did!