Back in December I revealed my plan’s to take my dad on a huge birthday trip this coming November for his “round” birthday. Then in January I shared an update of our A380 first class round the world journey, with stays at Park Hyatts everywhere along the way. On top of that, all the destinations along the way are places he has yet to visit.
I love my parents more than anything, and also love traveling with them. I took both of my parents on big trips this past year, and had an awesome time:
- I took my mom to some Aman Resorts in Bali, and we got there in Cathay Pacific first class
- I took my dad to Europe in Lufthansa first class… he enjoyed za ambiance very much
As I get older I’ve come to appreciate spending time with my parents a lot more, and there’s no better time to bond than while traveling. And hopefully the best part of sharing the experience wasn’t my trip report, but rather the reports that my mom and dad wrote.
Why my dad’s birthday trip will be even more interesting
There are a couple of things that make this trip with my dad even more fun:
- It’s going to completely be a surprise trip. He knows we’re going for two weeks, but he has no clue where to. And he LOVES that. He has gone so far as to say that even when we start the trip he doesn’t want to know our next destination, but wants each day to be a surprise.
- My dad has proactively offered to write a live, day-by-day, trip report. I’m still trying to figure out the logistics of this given that he doesn’t know how to use a computer and faxed me his trip report last time, but…
My dad’s last trip report
Maybe I should just convince him to do vlogs. That way the German accent doesn’t have to be in your head. 😉
What hotel I have booked in Dubai as of now
As of now I have a few nights in Dubai booked at the Park Hyatt. I’ve stayed at the Park Hyatt Dubai before and really love the property. It’s awesome in that it feels like a secluded resort but is only minutes from the “sights” in Dubai.
I booked the Category 5 Park Hyatt using Hyatt’s new Points + Cash option. It’s a spectacular value at 10,000 Gold Passport points plus $125 per night. On top of that I was able to apply an expiring Suite Night Upgrade Award to the reservation, so we’re confirmed in a Park Suite.
Obviously I’m really happy with that, but…
Is it worth staying one night at the Burj Al Arab?
I can’t believe I’m even considering this.
Other people spend stupid amounts of money on clothes, bags, cars, going out, etc. I tend to spend more on travel than anything else, and I’ll gladly spend a stupid amount of money on an unforgettable experience with my parents.
For those of you not familiar with the Burj Al Arab, it’s a self-proclaimed seven star hotel, and was so expensive to build that they apparently don’t know the cost.
Burj Al Arab exterior
Here’s a promotional video for the hotel:
And here’s a rather ridiculous minute-long advertisement for the hotel:
Burj Al Arab lobby
While I’ve never stayed there, I’ve had afternoon tea at the hotel twice, once at the Skyview Bar and once at the Sahn Eddar Lobby Lounge. The experience was simply over the top and ridiculous (and priced accordingly). And on one hand I don’t think I’d ever want to stay at the hotel, because it’s just obnoxious. Here’s what I said about the hotel the first time I visited, which I still stand by:
One of the nice things about visiting the hotel for afternoon tea is that you can get a sense for the hotel without shelling out the money it costs to stay there. And I’m happy I did, because this place is obnoxious… fascinatingly obnoxious. And I kind of mean that as a compliment, because I think that’s their goal.
For me hotels are about hospitality and creating an environment that’s relaxing and low key. Of course no one stays at the Burj to be low key, but there’s nothing relaxing about it either. The place is overrun with people taking pictures. Hundreds of them. All over.
You literally can’t even really walk around the hotel, because you’re constantly having to dart people taking pictures. It’s such an impressive building, but at the same time there’s nothing relaxing about staying somewhere when you literally have hundreds of people standing around taking pictures. Of course I was one of them. 😉
But then again I think “obnoxious” is kind of what the hotel — and perhaps Dubai as a whole — is all about. They need the biggest of this, the most expensive of that, etc. Dubai is basically built by gold digging size queens!
So is there any way that it could make sense to spend a night there?
If booking through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, a night at the Burj Al Arab is $1,835 plus tax and service charge:
I mean, $%&^, the taxes and service charge on the room are more than I’d otherwise ever consider paying for a room. It’s outrageous.
On the plus side, for a one night stay you do get the following benefits:
So two massages, breakfast, guaranteed late check-out, hopefully early check-in, and hopefully an upgrade. 😉
And also in fairness to the hotel, their entry level room is an 1,830 square foot suite. And they have 1,600 employees, meaning the staff to suite ratio is 8:1.
What do you guys think? The Park Hyatt Dubai is awesome and can be done on points. But in a totally twisted way does it make sense to do a night at the Burj Al Arab, both to shock my dad and so I can write a review of the property? Or is afternoon tea the way to go?