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Move over Las Vegas, the new new standard for resort luxury, grandiosity and audaciousness is now in Dubai. It is there, on an artificial island just off the coast, that you’ll find the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab. It is the world’s tallest hotel. And that’s only one of the world records it holds.
The Burj Al Arab is also home to the world’s fastest elevators, the world’s tallest atrium and largest aquarium. No other building in the world incorporates as much gold (the 2,000 square meters or 21,500 square feet of gold leaf!) and no other hotel has earned a seven star rating.
Unfortunately, there’s also almost no other hotel that’s more expensive than the Burj Al Arab. Rates start around $900~$1000 a night. But for that you’ll be picked up at the airport in a Rolls Royce (or, flown to the hotel by helicopter) and escorted directly to your fairy-tale fabulous room.
The “standard” accommodations at the Burj—that is, the absolute smallest, cheapest room available—is a 170 sq m (1,800 sq feet) two story suite. On the ground floor you’ll get a dinning room, a work area (with complimentary use of a laptop and internet) and a living area with floor-to-ceiling windows and an array of entertainment electronics that are almost certainly more high-tech than whatever you have in your house. Up the spiral marble stairs from there is your velvety sleeping area (choose your own pillows from among the 13 options) and an enormous bathroom with whirlpool and full-sized luxury toiletries (as you may have figured, nothing is “travel sized” at the Burj Al Arab). The room includes complimentary 24-hour butler service; choose a butler-drawn bath from the menu and pair it with champagne and strawberries.
Beyond its standard digs, the Burj Al Arab has several even larger, more grandiose, suites to choose from. We suggest the 240 sq m (2,600 sq feet) Royal Suite that you arrive at via your own dedicated elevator. The Royal suite includes a rotating canopy bed and a private movie cinema.
If you can tear yourself away from your suite at the Burj Al Arab you’ll find six world-class restaurants in the hotel including the under water themed Al Mahara where a three-minute virtual submarine ride will bring you to a table with a view of a gigantic shark-filled aquarium. The hotel also has two fitness centers, two indoor pools, two diving pools, 18 spa rooms with hydrotherapy baths, one gorgeous outdoor pool and an artificial geyser in the lobby that goes off every half hour. Guest at the Burj Al Arab also get complimentary entry to the adjacent Wild Wadi Water Park.
You can get a taste of the Burj Al Arab without being a guest there but, like everything else at the Burj Al Arab, a day visit is expensive. You’ll need a confirmed restaurant reservation (call +971 4 3017777), a security clearance and the AED200 (about $55, £42) toll for the causeway road out to the hotel.
A less expensive way to enjoy the world’s tallest hotel is to go to one of two easily accessible nearby hotels, the Jumeirah Beach or the Madinat Jumeirah, both of which have excellent views of Burj Al Arab. Admiring the view of the Burj Al Arab from a distance is, at least for now, still free.
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