Intriguing Burj Al Arab Promotion (Self Proclaimed 7-Star Hotel)

Filed Under: Hotels

The Burj Al Arab in Dubai is the world’s self proclaimed seven star hotel, and also the self proclaimed most luxurious hotel in the world. They proudly proclaim that they don’t actually know how much the hotel cost to build.

This is a hotel that many people know of, even if they’ve never been to Dubai, given how iconic the hotel looks. The hotel is on a man-made island, and you can’t just walk into the hotel.

The only way to visit is to either stay there, or have a reservation at one of their outlets (all of which are very expensive). Perhaps the most popular is their seven course afternoon tea at the Skyview Bar, which I’ve reviewed before).

I think the Burj Al Arab would make an interesting review

I really want to stay at the Burj Al Arab, since I think it would make a truly fascinating review. I’ve only visited the hotel in conjunction with afternoon tea. You’re limited in terms of the parts of the hotel you can visit when not actually staying. At the start times of all of the “activities,” there are suddenly hoards of tourists in the lobby with cameras.

So I’m undecided as to whether the other areas of the hotel make it worthwhile, or if it’s awful due to just how many people are photographing it.

Also, to say that the hotel’s decor isn’t exactly to my personal tastes would be the understatement of the year.

Normal rates at the Burj Al Arab

I can’t imagine the hotel runs very high occupancy (I feel like very few places in the UAE do), but understandably they keep their rates really high, since they want to keep it exclusive.

In the low season, rates are ~$1,000-1,200 per night.

Meanwhile in the high season, rates are ~$1,600-1,900.

Obviously that’s a lot of money, though it is worth acknowledging that base rooms in this hotel are 1,830 square feet. That’s massive, about five times the size of a usual hotel room.

Anyway, I’m considering staying here because I figured a review was worthwhile, and wanted to share a promotion I stumbled across.

Virtuoso benefits at Burj Al Arab

I’ve written in the past about Virtuoso, which is available through select travel agents, where you can score extra perks for staying at some luxury hotels. This requires paying the “best available rate” rather than the “advanced purchase rate,” but in many cases I think it’s well worth it.

For example, at the Burj Al Arab you’d get the following benefits:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability, Suite upgrade from One Bedroom Suite to the next suite category (Panoramic Suite)
  • Daily buffet Breakfast for up to two in-room guests, served in restaurant
  • A complimentary 50-minute massage for up to two people, per room, once during stay
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Those are the usual Virtuoso benefits, but then there’s a further promotion at the moment. Through September 30, 2019, Virtuoso is offering the following at this hotel:

Arrive in style as a Virtuoso guest of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Enjoy fast-track airport custom clearance, round-trip airport transfers, and guaranteed early check-in at 7:00 am or late checkout until 20:00 pm at the world’s most luxurious hotel.

So you could make a one night booking and get a room upgrade, breakfast for two, two massages, roundtrip airport transfers and fast track customs clearance, and guaranteed check-in at 7AM or guaranteed check-out at 8PM.

That’s still a lot of money, but it is one of the better deals I’ve seen for staying at the Burj.

How to book Virtuoso hotels

There are two ways to book Virtuoso hotels.

The first is to go through a Virtuoso travel advisor. Ford is of course always happy to help, and can be reached at [email protected] Other travel advisors are welcome to leave their info below.

Alternatively, you can also book Virtuoso hotels online. Here’s a post I wrote outlining that process (and if you book online you’ll want to follow the instructions in that post to make sure it’s correct).

You have to book through an advisor’s portal, so if you book through Ford’s, for example, he’ll reach out to you to confirm your preferences for the stay.

Remember that the rate will be identical to the best available rate on the Burj Al Arab’s website, but can’t be booked in conjunction with the advance purchase rate.

Bottom line

I think I’m going to pull the trigger on a stay at the Burj Al Arab. For a bit of background, Ford and I are headed to Dubai soon (enroute to Beirut), and while I’ve done afternoon tea at the Burj several times, he never has.

Understandably he wants to, but it’s also ridiculously expensive, and then I feel like I have to force feed myself scones until I feel sick to justify the price. So at that point I’d rather pay three times as much for a stay at the Burj and skip the tea, and get two massages, airport transfers, breakfast, and 8PM check-out, and experience the ridiculousness of this hotel. I also figure a review of the hotel will be better than a fourth review of the afternoon tea. 😉

It’s obviously still a lot of money, but I can’t wrap my head around how their base room is over 1,800 square feet.

Has anyone actually stayed at the Burj Al Arab? How good/bad is it?

  1. Yes, I’ve stayed at the Burj and really enjoyed it. The room was a two floor suite. It’s huge. There was an enormous jacuzzi bathtub off the bedroom on the 2d floor. Each floor has an attendant who walks you to your room every time, so you never have to use your room key. Very colorful rooms as you might imagine. Lots of places to sit and entertain if you want; although I was by myself. Laptop provided on a desk on the first floor of the room. There’s a bathroom on the first floor in addition to the full bathroom off the bedroom on the 2d floor.

    Lovely breakfast buffet – that was my favorite meal. I wasn’t crazy about the rest of the meals or the restaurants at the hotel.

    My stay included a free visit to the water park next door to the hotel. Liked the private beach for guests.

    The indoor swimming pool is also quite a sight. My room rate included a massage – which was alright.

    Anyway, I would not hesitate to return.

  2. Stay at the hotel, and do the afternoon tea. No need to force feed yourself you can enjoy it leisurely and treat it as a meal. A few years ago I went with a few friends and we spent six hours there.

  3. @mark thanks for taking the time to provide mini-review.
    Good data and a glimpse into what’s different/special about The Burj. Jacuzzi next to a great view is an unbeatable feature IMO. Will Room Service deliver caviar to me while bathing, if I promise lots of modesty bubbles?

    Ben, please do two reviews: the funny sarcastic one we’re expecting and the straight one lol. I bet they’re good with “special requests” like Etihad. Go Big or Go Home, dear writer: sample some of the paid extras, It’s only money! For your craft!

  4. I thought the tea was a terrible value, and the hotel was a huge letdown. There are so many good value high end hotels in Dubai, there’s absolutely no reason to stay there.

  5. I have stayed at and reviewed the Burj-al-Arab. I funded this stay. My gf and I had reserved a panoramic one-bed suite. The room was fine, although the decor was ostentatious and not to our liking. The service was good and the dining options provided variety and quality. However, at no time during our stay did we feel enamored by the hotel and its services. It is not a hotel we feel inclined to visit again. There are ultra-luxury properties around the world, which we consider superior, and desire to return to – this isn’t one of them.

  6. Not really my sort of place but can see why it would Ooze with appeal for the gaudy Russo- Arabian Oligarch Class.

  7. The benefits through Virtouso make it worth it imo. Although I’d rather stay at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.

  8. I rarely read hotel reviews since I’m young enough to enjoy the commendatory and craziness of hostels, but I would be very interested in this review! The afternoon tea was a delight for me.

  9. Interesting how personal preferences affect value/cost. Most here probably would find business class for 1K cheap, while 1k for 1 night hotel room as expensive 🙂

  10. I stayed there a few years ago as an anniversary present to my wife. We were living in Dubai and got a 50% off deal for residents. It was something I never really had wanted to do because there are so many great hotels in Dubai, I felt it was overpriced, overrated, decor not to my taste etc. but reluctantly booked the stay because of the 50% off and we’d had a good year financially. So I went preparing to be underwhelmed but was very pleasantly surprised. The room was fantastic, but the service blew us away in a very positive way. I went from total skeptic to truly impressed. Although the decor is not my style, I would rate the overall stay as one of the best I have ever experienced, and I have stayed in a lot of the world’s top hotels.

  11. “I can’t imagine the hotel runs very high occupancy (I feel like very few places in the UAE do)” – they run at around 80% with strong Chinese and Russian market. Beach properties in Dubai generally do better than their equivalent city hotels. Not to forget the place has been around for 20 years, with significant amount of added competition, so overall I think through their Jumeirah ownership and iconic status they have a strong setup and continue to attract a certain clientele.

  12. Lucky, I actually think the Emirates Palace in AUH (also a “7 star”) is a better hotel both in the aesthetics, the service, the architecture, the friendliness, and the rooms. The hotel is designed to resemble a mirage in the dessert. If you haven’t stayed there before, I highly recommend it!

  13. In the middle of the field, the person is buried in the ground up to her chest and everyone is circled around her. There are piles of stones ready to be thrown. These stones are large enough that they will cause life-ending damage, but not too big to kill her on impact. The stoning is meant to be a slow, painful, and deliberate death.

    Not sure if the Muslim religion or the people practicing it are hundreds of years behind the rest of the world.

  14. You don’t actually need the expensive tea reservation. It is even cheaper to just book a regular evening bar/tea-lounge reservation and just order alacarte (and you can just order one drink or one tea cup etc).

    And even then, you can use the reservation to get in the hotel and then simply …. not take the elevator up to the lounge. There isn’t really any enforcement or noshow charges. Enjoy the lobby area for free which is the most instagrammable part anyways

  15. Have stated at the Burj al Arab twice, once in 2006 and once in 2017, and the place was exactly the same the second time, with no updating. It’s still got phones made by Lucent, for pete’s sake. And DVD players (not Blu-ray). That being said, it’s still an experience to stay at least once, even if you do leave with the feeling that it wasn’t a great value. Enjoy the mirror mounted above the bed!

  16. I always felt hotels like this are just used for when rich people need a place to do weird sex stuff.

  17. @Endre: it’s the religion as stated in Quran. The people follow the religion and also very strongly identify their lives with the religion

  18. This hotel will be undergoing a full renovation until September 30. That might be why they’re being extra generous. The kind of people who tend to book Virtuoso usually have an advisor who would notify them that it’s undergoing major renovations (that includes changing the decor).

  19. “7 star hotel”?

    The thing about whole numbers is that their range is infinite. Someone can always come along and claim that their hotel is “8 star,” prompting the next hotel to assert that it is “9 star”, and so on.

    As for me, I would only spend $1600 per night in a 6,723,937,423 star hotel (or above).

  20. The Burj has always for some reason given me a late 90’s Russian robber baron feel from the pictures.

    Opulence, I has it

  21. Why do you want to spend your money at the homophobic countries ?
    UAE has death penalty for gay sex on the books. It always amazes me that some gays want to travel to middle centuries countries

  22. I’ve stayed and it was Vegas through and through, right down to the slack-jawed gawkers walking through the lobby. You pay their rate and you’re still not insulated.

    Dubai has MUCH better hotels with a lot less baggage and hoops to jump through. The design at this hotel is about as gaudy as it gets. Trump would love it, however. The rooms felt strangely dated, much like what someone in the 80’s would think was opulent.

    Service isn’t any better than a typical St Regis or Four Seasons. For the price, it’s certainly not in the same realm as an Aman.

    As for their restaurants, they’re truly abysmal. I didn’t have one great meal there and for the price, you quickly realize that you’re paying for the shtick, not the quality of kitchen staff (ie, eating in an aquarium, etc).

  23. Hm, I don’t think virtuoso is worth it. Immigration in Dubai is usually fast and taxis cheap. I went with the cheapest available rate (some promo prepaid rate) and most services are included anyway (free breakfast incl. in-suite breakfast; checked in at 8am; free internet, water park, beach and pool…).
    The butler also gets free drinks for happy hour and if there is a special occasion, you get free cake. You also get full size Hermes products.
    We really really really loved the hotel. Very unique. When we checked in, we didn’t realize that we were in our suite and I was wondering why they asked me to sit at the other side of the desk until I realized that this room with a nice stairwell, floor to ceiling windows and Mac on the desk is not a public area but one floor of our suite already

  24. Horrifying nouveau riche. I generally dislike that term, as some of the people with the best taste alive (think Brunello cucinelli) are newly minted. Here it’s apt. I tend to think life is about collecting experiences, so I stayed here a while back, but frankly I regret having done so, it’s nauseating, and even viewed as a museum of the gaudy it’s an unsatisfying museum that’s not worth the price of admission.

  25. “The Burj Al Arab in Dubai is the world’s self proclaimed seven star hotel,”
    Everything the Emirates is “self proclaimed” – until the oil runs out.

  26. Stayed there. Booked 3 nights and checked out after 1 because it was such a waste. I think it is along the same vein of what somebody said about trump- he is “a poor persons idea of a rich person”.

  27. The hotel interiors are hideous. The common areas remind me of Disneyland – false facades to suit a certain theme. Tommorrow-land meets Arabia.

    The outside is modern and striking, particularly with the helipad.

    They maybe deserve 7 stars for clever self-promotion, marketing

  28. As UK residents, Dubai has become our favourite destination for short, relaxing, luxury breaks. 7 years ago I said we’d never visit as it “wasn’t our kind of place” but after trying it on a short stopover, that all changed. We’ve stayed in many of the luxury hotels on our 25+ visits, including The Burj twice. I still get an overwhelming feeling when I think about our stays. No other hotel has ever made me feel that way. Yes some of the technology needs an update, yes the decor may not be to everyone’s taste but no other hotel has ever come anywhere near the levels of service we receive as in-house guests. From the bouquets of flowers at the airport, the Rolls Royce transfers, the line of staff to welcome you with gifts and refreshments on arrival at the hotel, the Hermes toiletries, the butlers running around after the kids… I could go on but you just need to try it for yourselves. Enjoy!

  29. DO NOT go to the Asian restaurant for breakfast.Some ( ) customer’s bad behaviors will drive you crazy.

  30. A friend of mine used to work for Jumeira Hotels, and on my visits to catch up with him we usually ate and drank in their hotels because of the heavy staff discount. We drank in the 52nd floor bar a few times (which was always nearly empty), and the duty manager used to sit and talk with us. She told us 32% occupancy was the magic figure. Told us some great stories about some of their famous guests too, which I’m not going to repeat here 😉 .

  31. In a column you wrote a few years ago you called the UAE “depressing” and lamented the terrible conditions the workers live in. But then you said, “On the other hand, nobody is forcing them to work here — they could have stayed in their country…”

    Enjoy your tea party. SMH

  32. I hear service is excellent, but the decor is awful and its starting to show its age. Time for a massive renovation.

    Also, I do not understand why you do not promote Ford’s hotel booking service more on here. You have a massive audience, and I do not think people would mind one bit.

  33. Liz – Perhaps what you aren’t appreciating are that most people couldn’t care less about a bouquet of flowers at the airport, being in a Rolls Royce, having butler or a line of staff showering you with gifts! That sounds outrageously pretentious and tacky to me (someone else described it well when they said it seems to be like the “poor persons idea of a rich person”).

    Granted, these aren’t the kind of people who would take a luxury break to Dubai anyway!

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