An Interesting Review Of The World’s 7-Star Hotel

Filed Under: Hotels

The Burj Al Arab, located in Dubai, is the world’s self proclaimed 7-star hotel.

It’s sail-shaped and built on a man-made island, and you can’t even visit the hotel unless you’re staying there or have a reservation at one of their restaurants.


I’ve done afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab several times, which is a ridiculously decadent experience. Here are the reviews I’ve written about it:

As you can see, the seven course afternoon tea is over-the-top, and given how expensive it is, it better be. But in many ways glitz is what Dubai about, so afternoon tea at the Burj could almost be considered a cultural activity. šŸ˜‰


I’ve never actually had the desire to stay at the Burj Al Arab, in the sense that I didn’t think I’d enjoy it. The lobby is constantly full of groups of tourists with cameras, and the decor is oh-so-very-Dubai, and not in a good way. It basically looks like Vegas in the 80s, in my opinion (in other words, what much of Vegas still looks like). šŸ˜‰


Still, I’ve long toyed with the idea of spending a night at the Burj Al Arab,Ā just to review it. Rates are usually $1,500+ per night in the off season, and even more that that in the high season. I still haven’t gotten around to it because there are other experiences I’d rather have at that price.

I haven’t read many reviews of the Burj Al Arab, outside of the Trip Advisor reviews. It would certainly be interesting to read more about it.

Well,Ā Live Traveled just published a review of her recent stay at the Burj Al Arab, where she paid $2,600+ for the one night stay. The review seems exactly like what I expected. The (huge) suites look outdated and gaudy, and the service wasn’t actually that incredible.

Perhaps the only part of the review which pleasantly surprised me is that they offer full sized Hermes toiletries, including perfume (which in and of itself retails for $100+). I wonder if it’s possible to request “refills” of these on a one night stay in the event that you “run out.” šŸ˜‰


That selection putsĀ the Parker Meridien Palm Springs to shame, which otherwise offers my favorite toiletries.

Anyway, if you’ve been curious to read a review of the Burj Al Arab, check it out

How does the review compare to what you expected from the Burj Al Arab?

  1. Hi Lucky: love your website. I stayed four nights at the Burj several years ago. All rooms are two floor suites and are really lovely, although decorated in wildly bright colors. My room had a very large, oversized, jacuzzi bathtub, which was enjoyable to use. Each room comes with a computer to use. Each floor has a butler attendant who escorts you to your room, so you never have to use your room key. Yes, my room came with full-size Hermes products – but, no, I never thought of asking for refills. The service was wonderful. The room had floor to ceiling windows with a wonderful view of the coastline.

    My room came with a free massage, which was great. The spa and pool are over the top with their colors. The columns in the pool are bedazzling in color.

    The service was really great. Breakfast (came with room per my platinum AMEX) was the best meal of the day – a very nice buffet.

    The other restaurants (including the skybar on the top floor) are just ok – while the decor is interesting – the food is nothing to write home about. That, along with too many non guest tourists roaming around the hotel, are my only complaints about the hotel.

  2. It serves its exact purpose as an instant recognisable shape and symbol of Dubai.

    Plus I don’t think the interiors are that dated, over the top yes, but large parts of the world love that type of interior. Arabs, russians, far eastern tourists etc. If the interior was Park Hyatt it wouldn’t generate news stories, headline, blog posts ^ all promoting Dubai, Dubai, Dubai.

    The docu on why it was built is a good watch if anyone hasn’t seen it.

  3. Ben,

    Do you think her issues with the service were more due to cultural issues? For example, if she wanted he shirt pressed she should have asked to have it pressed. Maybe the typical middle eastern guest is more used to having a household staff and knows what to say?

  4. She seems like a high maint. person who likes to complain. She should hit the exercise room a little it looks like. Yet another reviewer that expects people to fall all over themselves for them.

  5. A colleague wrote a piece on the “behind the scenes” at the hotel and I took photographs (but I didn’t stay and flew out immediately after the shoot finished). One of the interesting aspects of the hotels is their preparatory morning meeting with the entire crew and mgmt teams to facilitate a personalized service to all new and residing guests – other self proclaimed 7 start hotels also boast the same attention to detail, but I don’t have primary sources to verify that. Of course, there is always the fear of a “set-up.” The shoot was difficult due to the tourist problem and several photo crashers. It would be interesting to get a sense of the product consistency from readers here.

    Two other self-proclaimed seven star properties worth noting are the ITC Grand Chola in Madras (I stay there frequently) and the Town House Galleria in Milan (spent two nights there). A colleague reviews ultra-luxury properties around the world, who once mentioned that the Town House Galleria is actually a certified 7-star property instead of a self-proclaimed seven star property.

  6. We stayed at Burj Al Arab some years ago for two nights and yes, they do refill the toiletries if necessary — I had to test it šŸ™‚

    They also brought a bottle of wine and all kinds of sweets and food during the day so one could almost go through the day with all the free food. The service on the small stretch of beach (on mainland) is pretty good as well.

    After all the toiletries and other goodies, I think the “actual price” was closer to ordinary luxury hotels..

  7. A very interesting review, thanks for posting Lucky ā€“ if only to be reassured that the Burj al Arab is NOT my taste šŸ˜‰

    What struck me was the few points along the trip when the author was left feeling disappointed and let down ā€“ feelings that must have been amplified by how much the trip cost and that they were definitely viewing it (in their words) as ā€œonce in a lifetimeā€ etc.

    Each personā€™s view of ā€œvalueā€ will vary of course, but it did make me reflect that I have a natural limit as to how much I will pay, with a max hotel cost (for example) of around Ā£150 per night (ca. $210 – $220), perhaps up to Ā£200. There are plenty of options at that price point almost everywhere I travel to which I can comfortably afford, and then I donā€™t need to worry about absolutely maximising every aspect to feel I am getting the most out of it. It might mean no Amans and the like, but I get more pleasure out of spending money on a fantastic dining experience and staying in a quite nice hotel, as opposed to blowing the budget on lodgings.

  8. I don’t mean this in a derisive way, but she shouldn’t have stayed there.

    If you can afford a $2500/nt hotel room, you don’t care how much the minibar Coke costs … you just drink it if you want a Coke. (And realistically it’d be more like $10-15, most likely, not $65). Likewise, people who pay $2500 per night for hotel rooms are used to telling people exactly what they want and when. It’s unfortunate they spent so much on this and didn’t say something to the receptionist about it being a splurge and how they wanted to make it special.

  9. I like the idea of @niels asking which are the best hotels in the world. The three best I have stayed at are the Tawaraya in Kyoto ( a typical Japanese Ryokan), Cipriani in Venice and the Vanyavilas in India. The last one is difficult to get to but well worth the trip.

  10. “Iā€™ve never actually had the desire to stay at the Burj Al Arab, in the sense that I didnā€™t think Iā€™d enjoy it. ”


    You’d stay there in a heartbeat given the chance or opportunity.

  11. I lived in Dubai for 7 years so am very familiar with service aspirations and limitations there. I never wanted to try the Burj Al Arab, but a few years ago I did because of a special residents’ rate of 50% off. The upshot is that I expected to be underwhelmed but was actually completely blown away – by the service of all things! It was really some of the best service I’ve experienced anywhere in the world. Runner up for me would be The Peninsula Hong Kong (who’s decor I far prefer), so the Burj is in good company.

    I do agree with John that Live Traveled’s service disappointment might be because of cultural issues. Most people that stay at the Burj are pretty demanding folks. If they want a shirt pressed, they will say so, not wait for it to be offered.

    For anyone interested, you can see my review on Tripadvisor:

  12. As a family we had a ten day stay there many years ago.
    Kitschy kitschy kitschy
    I felt like i had eaten magic mushrooms.

  13. I stayed at the Burj Al Arab last summer. We pre-booked the summer rate of $1,648 for one night, and it was fantastic! We got early check in, late check out AND a room upgrade to a two bedroom suite (which retailed for $3,958)! You can read my review here:

    It was during Ramadan, but I felt like the service was phenomenal! An overall once in a lifetime experience and VERY over the top!

  14. This hotel is for posers and wannabes. Stayed one night in 06 despite making a 3 night reservation then transferred to another hotel for remaining 2 nights since I found it to be such a joke, like the city in general. Waste of time ad money

  15. I’m looking at going to Dubai for ~2 nights in May (so best to be near touristy things – probably downtown?), any thoughts on where to stay on a $100-300/n budget (or points if can be used well)?

  16. @Marcus

    I looooooooooovvvvveeeeddd the Vanyavilas in India. Actually, we travel a lot to India with our children (it’s cheap to get onto SQ Suites from SIN to DEL), and there are some amazing hotels around around India, such as the ITC Chola mentioned above, but also the Umaid Bhawan in Jodhpur, the Lake Palace (my favorite) in Udaipur, the Leela Palace in Delhi and although not strictly a hotel, the Palace on Wheels luxury train. We also love the ITC Maurya in Delhi, especially for Bukhara!

  17. On either September 16 or 17 my wife and I want to fly from Spain (probably Madrid) to San Francisco, one way. I have 200,000 American Express miles and don’t know the best way to use them. Transfer them to Iberia? Comfort is nice but I’m a Costco cheap kind of guy and Economy would be fine. Any recommendations regarding the best way to book? And, yes, I’m open to more comfortable seating

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