As I mentioned in the last post, there’s not a lot of love out there for the interior of the Burj al Arab. With its vibrant colors and generous display of gold-leaf, it shouts at you. It’s like a dressed-up dinner-date who is trying too hard to impress you.
This being said, I admit that it actually started to grow on me when I visited. I started to appreciate (but not love) its brightness and the amount of natural light that fills the lobby. Where else are blues, greens and yellows used so lavishly that you feel like you are looking into a color prism? It was interesting.
My friend and I went to the breakfast buffet at the Sky Bar. Even though it was a whopping $100 a person for a continental breakfast, I knew not to expect much from the food selection by reading reviews. Visiting the hotel and the view from the restaurant are what command the over-the-top price tag.
What does it cost to actually stay at the hotel, you may be wondering? Minimum rates begin at $1,000 a night and can exceed $20,000 a night. Visitors are lavished with attention, from the time they are picked up from the airport in a Rolls Royce to when they lay their head down on a pillow at night, (which they personally chose from a menu of 13 pillows), to when they leave and likely take their full-size Hermes toiletries with them.
We arrived at the bridge that connects mainland to the artificial island on which the hotel stands and had to show the security guard our reservation before we were allowed to enter the grounds. Our car was valet parked and we entered the lobby:
I have heard that visitors are escorted from the lobby to elevator and finally to their restaurant of choice to ensure they don’t wander around the hotel. We didn’t experience this, however, and walked freely to The Sky Bar.
Even though I had low expectations of the breakfast buffet, the food still managed to disappoint. I could have been at the Holiday Inn. Selection was minimal and something about seeing cereal dispensers in a “seven star” hotel seemed just wrong. At least offer mimosas, for goodness sake! Service was wonderful; the wait staff was very attentive and friendly. But really, how difficult is it to provide good service when the set-up is a help-yourself buffet?
Despite the lackluster breakfast offerings, something about the exclusivity of the hotel made it an exciting experience, plus, I thought our table looked quite pretty.
Here’s the dining area. Again, it wouldn’t be my first choice of decor.
The weather the day we went was terrible. Since you have to make reservations in advance (and pay a penalty if you cancel too late) you can only hope for the best. I was grumpy when I woke up that morning and saw the dust and haze clinging to the skyscrapers. But when we got up to the restaurant, it actually created an interesting, futuristic, city-in-the-clouds view from the large windows.
After breakfast we quickly peeked around outside. There were pretty views of the Gulf and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
Although I wouldn’t categorize visiting the Burj al Arab as one of the top things to do in Dubai, I’m happy I went while living here.