One of the Most Luxurious Abodes in the World
by Habeeb Salloum
If Sindbad, of Arabian Nights fame, should today sail the shores of the
United Arab Emirates, he would be truly surprised to see a giant mammoth
sail rising above the horizon and climbing endlessly into the blue sky.
What seems to be an incredibly large ship, would no doubt bring to his
mind other monsters and magical beings which he encountered during his
many sea voyages. A mirage of a giant on an enormous wind surfer',
which Sindbad would see, is an apt description of Burj al-Arab Hotel (the
Arab Towers Hotel), the United Arab Emirates' magnet for jet-setters and
all types of other affluent travellers.
Unknown to most of the world's ordinary travellers, this stunning hotel
that dominates the Dubai skyline opened its doors in December 1999 to
those fortunate enough to experience its splendour and luxury. Visually
spectacular, it is acknowledged to be the worlds most luxurious
hotel. A much sought after abode of the rich and famous, it has put Dubai,
the United Arab Emirates' commercial heart, on the tourist map of the
A billowing, sail-shaped structure 321 m (1,053 ft) high, taller than
Paris's Eiffel Tower and just 60 m (196 ft) shorter than New York's Empire
State Building, it is the worlds tallest freestanding hotel. Some
3,500 designers, engineers and building workers took part in the building
of this amazing structure. Located 280 m (918 ft) offshore and secured
to the seabed, some 45 m (148 ft) below the surface of the water, the
Burj is built on an offshore man-made island, overlooking the Arabian
Gulf. It has already become a new definition in service and luxury - some
even say decadence.
The interior, a museum of
future art, overwhelming in its rich colours and affluent atmosphere,
is simply breathtaking. A sumptuous world of blues, gold and reds provides
guests with a truly visual treat - a finesse of interior design that elevates
the hotel to pinnacles of excellence. Designed by Kwan Chew, a British-based
designer, it is an eclectic mix of gold-leafed pillars and silver sidings,
overlooking blue and red leather sofas and canary-tiled floors. No one
walks away without being impressed by the hotel's huge breathtaking atrium
or the panoramic view of Dubai and its coastline from all the rooms.
Only the finest materials
were used - from English oak and the finest-weave Irish linen to rare
Sicis glass, attractive mosaics, Brazilian Azul Bahia granite and the
same marble as that used by Michaelangelo for his sculptures. One can
feel the pure and sheer richness of the place just by walking through
the lobby area, rimmed by designer jewellery and high-class clothing boutiques.
Oozing with luxury, the all-suite hotel, no place for the poor, is comprised
of 202 duplex suites, each arranged on two floors, ranging in size from
170 sq m ( 2,000 sq ft) to 700 sq m (8,230 sq ft). The prices of the suites
range per night from some US$700 for a standard one-bedroom suite to nearly
$7,000 for the luxurious Royal Suite which reaches an unsurpassed peak
of luxury. Each is set in palatial surroundings, boasting a majlis (guest
room), a blackout cinema, a private elevator and a revolving bed. Doubtless,
as it slowly rotates, a husband could boastfully tell his wife, "I
made the earth move for you honey!"
matter, what type of suites visitors choose, they will be pampered as
no in no other hotel in the world. Guests of the Burj arrive from the
airport in grand style. They can pay for a helicopter to take them to
the 28th floor heli-pad, along with a 15-minute bird's-eye view of the
city; or relax in one of the hotel's eight Rolls Royce Silver Seraphs
limousines which drop them off on shore across from the hotel. Golf carts,
then take them across a small bridge to this unique skyscraper abode.
As guests enter the lobby, they are treated to an unparalleled taste of
21st century Arab hospitality. They are offered Arab coffee and are then
escorted directly to their rooms. Each floor has its own reception desk
and check in' takes place in the suite. In addition, for any assistance
needed, guests are assigned personal butlers who are on call 24 hours
a day, even, if desired, watching the door. For management, individual
service and personal attention are of paramount importance.
The hotel, with its many gadgets, is the most technologically advanced
building in the world. All the suites boast a sophisticated sound system,
faxes, laptop computers and 42-inch television screens on which guests
cannot only watch one of the at least 100 satellite channels, but view
the actual atmosphere of the restaurants, discover the sea temperature
and see who's knocking on the door.
This is not all! The Burj has a luxurious spa; an exquisite ballroom;
a number of conference rooms, decorated in both Arab and Western style;
and eight restaurants. The most notable among these is the Al Mahara seafood
restaurant which is reached by an underwater submarine ride and in which
one dines surrounded by marine life; and the Al Muntaha, a sky-view restaurant
suspended 200 m (656 ft) above the Arabian Gulf.
Already, the hotel has made its mark in the world of travel and hotels.
Since its opening the hotel has won numerous prestigious international
travel and tourism awards such as Best New Business Hotel in the World
given by Business Traveller Magazine, in the United Kingdom in 2002, and
the 23rd annual award given by the Institutional Investor magazine in
2003 in its survey of the worlds best hotels. Even though its splendour
and luxury are not for everyone, this fairyland structure, reflects in
a stunning manner, the blossoming tourist industry in the United Arab
For Further Information
Contact: Burj Al Arab (The
Arabian Tower), P.O. Box 74147, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, United Arab
Tel: 971- 4-3017777; Fax:
971- 4 - 301--7000.
courtesy Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing