Watch: for the first time – a visit inside Dubai’s Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the tallest all-suite hotel in the world

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Dubai: Have you always wondered if you could visit Dubai’s iconic hotel, the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, without having to book a room there? The curious would reserve an afternoon tea which was the usual way for non-hotel guests to visit this architectural wonder on Jumeirah Beach Road. However, starting October 15, you can enjoy a 90-minute guided tour with a butler, called Inside Burj Al Arab, and hear untold stories about the hotel.

WS Atkins architect Tom Wright was the concept architect behind the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Architecturally designed to resemble an inflated Arabian dhow sail.

If you are a tourist in the United Arab Emirates or visiting the emirate for Expo 2020 Dubai, be sure to put this at the top of your list of places to see in the city.

The idea behind the design

One of these stories tells how one October afternoon in 1993, Tom Wright, a British architect, sat facing the sea on the terrace of the Chicago Beach Hotel, which adjoined the site where the Burj al Arab would be built. . Watching the boats sail through the water gave him an idea. The shape of the hotel, now a must in the Dubai skyline, is inspired by the shape of the sail of a boat.

On the 25th floor of the hotel, in a small frame, is the napkin on which Wright drew the design of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, with a felt tip pen.

Here is the napkin that Tom Wright first sketched the Burj Al Arab on.

This is the napkin that Tom Wright first drew the Burj Al Arab on in 1993.
Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque / Gulf News

Construction on the hotel began the following year, 1994, and five years later, “Burj Al Arab”, which translates to “Tower of the Arabs”, stood. Today, it has become one of the most photographed superstructures in the world and a gem of the Dubai skyline.

Seven-star luxury

The all-suite hotel not only defies hotel design standards, but has also redefined the meaning of luxury hospitality in Dubai and around the world. You’ve probably heard people call it a “seven star hotel”. It was a phrase, in fact, first given by a journalist when reviewing the new Burj Al Arab in 1999. The slogan clearly caught on.

Luxury flows from the start of this tour. You are first greeted with a welcome drink at an adjacent ticket booth at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, a sister property of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.

Tickets can be purchased at the box office adjacent to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Tickets can be purchased at the box office adjacent to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque / Gulf News

From there a buggy ride and an extremely polite driver who knows all about Burj Al Arab, takes you through the doors of the hotel. Your first stop is a viewpoint with a high-tech camera that clicks on a photo of you with the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah as a backdrop. You can collect this photo at the end of the visit.

A buggy ride and an extremely polite butler-driver await to take you to the hotel entrance.

A buggy ride and an extremely polite butler-driver await to take you to the hotel entrance.
Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque / Gulf News

He drops you off at the designated entrance for the visit. Upon arrival, two Emirati hosts greet you with Arabic coffee, dates, rose water and hand towels. This is called the ‘Welcome Marhaba’ and it is a symbol of hospitality, a value deeply rooted in Emirati culture and well reflected in the hotel staff, who go the extra mile to create a memorable experience for every visitor.

Gold interiors

Approximately 2,000 square meters of 24-karat gold leaf were used to beautify the hotel’s lavish interiors. It is also home to the largest Swarovski crystal ceiling in the world. The ceiling is adorned with 21,000 crystals, used to represent the Milky Way. The installation is worth 1.3 million dirhams.

At the entrance, don't forget to look up for the most regal view.

At the entrance, don’t forget to look up for the most regal view.
Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque / Gulf News

Over 24,000 square meters of Statuario marble are used throughout the hotel. It is the same marble that was used by the Italian artist Michelangelo to create several of his most famous sculptures, including the statue of David.

The hotel lobby has fountains not to be missed.

Another thing that you can’t miss at the entrance are the elaborate flower arrangements. A team of up to six florists takes approximately eight hours to create the arrangements in the lobby, using flowers shipped from Holland, Kenya, South Africa and Thailand. There are always flowers in the suites, even on the very rare occasions when there are no guests.

Interiors

Renowned Chinese interior designer Khuan Chew is the woman behind the distinctive interiors of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Drawing inspiration from Arabian sites and cultures, Chew used a vibrant color palette to design the interiors.

Look up and you will be amazed. Different colors reaching up to the ceiling. A host explained that the colors represent the different elements, fire, wind, earth and water.

From there, an escalator with panoramic views takes you to the Royal Suite on the 25th floor. “Technically, this is the 50th floor, as each suite in the hotel is two floors,” the hostess explained.

The Royal Suite

“Welcome to the royal suite, I was waiting for you,” announces a butler, opening the door of the suite. If you’ve ever wanted a grand entrance to a room, this is it. With plenty of butlers to guide you through the room, you want to head in all directions.

There’s so much to see – from handmade rugs in India to gold leaf-plated interiors, from a 19th-century Japanese room divider to walls that change color depending on the time of day. , everything is surreal.

The stairs to the second floor are covered with leopard-print rugs.

There is a royal reason for the leopard print rugs on the staircase.

Don’t miss the leopard print rugs on the stairs.

In both bedrooms, the eiderdown bedding is made from feathers hand-picked from abandoned eider duck nests in Iceland. And, the toilets in the Royal Suite have 24-karat gold showers.

Many international celebrities and heads of state have stayed in this room. Some popular names are Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Wayne Rooney, Lewis Hamilton, Selena Gomez, Gigi Hadid and Justin Bieber, who shared a video dancing on the stairs, when he stayed here.

The Experience Suite

Then you are guided to the Experience Suite where you can learn all about how the hotel was built. Here you see Khuan Chew’s design board that she used over 20 years ago, her tools, her team’s sketches, and the elements used in the design of the hotel. A solitary post-it on a sketch reads “Contract Tues PM”. It’s like traveling through time.

Khuan Chew's design board from 20 years ago.

Khuan Chew’s design board from 20 years ago.
Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque / Gulf News

You also get a virtual dining experience, more hotel information using virtual reality and immersive technology, as well as additional information on the aquarium and turtle rehabilitation programs at the hotel. ‘hotel.

Tickets start at AED 399 with the option to add signature experiences for even more unforgettable memories, including the hotel’s 24k Ultimate Gold cappuccino or afternoon tea at Sahn Eddar in the famous atrium.

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