H and I spent our 11th wedding anniversary in style here in Dubai. We left the kids at home with M and headed out. Our first night we stayed at the Al Maha Desert Resort (coming soon!) and the second night we came back in town and visited the luxurious Burj Al Arab. First I want to talk about our experience at the Burj Al Arab because boy was it an experience! I won’t bore you with all the facts & stories about it but I will say it is the only 7 star hotel in the world. Now let’s begin…
The view of the Burj when driving to it is stunning but getting to this point is a challenge to say the least. The very popular water park Wild Wadi sits at the base of the only road into the Burj and to top it off they allow tourists to come inside to have a look around. Major Disaster! We drive up to the door and are greeted by a team of people: butlers for our bags, valets to take the car, & a team of ladies from reception. We are whisked up the escalator and to our suite right away. Along the way to the 14th floor the girl from reception is forcing tons of information at us. H & I just look at each other completely stunned. We finally arrive to our suite and we are asked for our passports or ID. H always carries his passport with him but since we are residents I only carry a copy of mine in my purse. I’m afraid I will loose it and one day I will have to leave this country. He gives them his passport and they ask for mine. We explain that I only have a copy because we are residents of Dubai and hand them my Louisiana ID. They will not except it. The room is booked in his name so it really shouldn’t be a problem, right? No. We finally ask to speak to a manager and he comes down and explains to us that because of their security they need my passport. They tell us we will have to leave and go get it and return. H tells them rather quickly that if we leave we will not return. After all of this they finally except the copy. After finally managing to secure the room, the butler arrives and asks if we have time to go through the 30 minute orientation so that he can explain how to operate everything in the room. Again H & I look at each other stunned. I may not be the smartest person on the planet but I can operate a remote & bush a button to turn on the lights. Hello! Finally after I’d say 2 hours they LEAVE US ALONE. We settle in and decide what we will do for the evening.
We both want to, of course, dine in one of the 6 “award winning” restaurants at the Burj but quickly find out that we are limited because we have not made reservations. We found out later that they allow anyone to book reservations at their restaurants not just guests. Guests also do not receive priority either. We finally chose a restaurant, requested the reservations via the butler, & got ready for dinner. We knew we were going to this very expensive hotel so we did pack appropriate clothing however H did not bring a dinner jacket. Again this limited the restaurant options. I was craving Foie Gras from our trip to Rafffles Seychelles so we chose what was supposed to be French influenced dining. Ten to fifteen minutes before our reservation we stepped out of suite and headed to the elevators. Before we could get to the elevators we were intercepted by the butlers on our floor asking us where we were headed. We passed along the information and they told us that the elevators to that floor were still closed. We explained to them our reservations were for 7 and they told us that the doors would be open at 7 on the dot. Great! We decided to go downstairs and have a drink before dinner. Now I must step out of the kitchen for a moment and tell you that this all sounds rather fine. What I haven’t mentioned yet is that we could not move without someone pushing the elevator button for us, asking us who we are, are we guests, where we are headed, & do we need help. Now back to the evening. We arrive downstairs and cannot find the bar anywhere. We ask three different staff members and they finally direct us to the cigar lounge after more of the same questions. Apparently because they allow anyone inside the hotel lobby area they have to make sure that only the guests use the amenities that are for guests only. This sounds totally fine but I have to say it makes the stay for the paying guests torture. Finally! A Drink! While we are in the
dungeon cigar lounge I am finally able to settle my nerves from the whole experience and begin to relax thanks to a lovely mojito. Before long it is time to go back to the restaurant so we make our way up.
This was the only shinning moment at the Burj. The food was delicious and I did get that Foie Gras! We dinned on Maine lobster & Australian Wagu beef & drank champagne cocktails with gold dust in them. Oh La La…until we received the bill!!! We decided we did not want to fight the staff while trying to have a look around so we headed back to the room to enjoy the view for a little while and crashed. The next morning I could not wait to get away from there and back home to see my girls. I’m glad we stayed. It was on my Dubai Bucket List but I would never go back and if anyone asks me I will tell them to save their money and visit the Al Maha Desert Resort.
To see more photos of the Burj Al Arab visit this flickr set.