Burj Al Arab - the price of luxury

Page update - Sep 10, 2022

The Burj Al Arab (translated as "Arabian Tower") is a famous sail-shaped building, one of the symbols of the Emirate of Dubai and one of the most expensive hotels in the world. When it opened in 1999, Burj Al Arab was the tallest and most expensive (in terms of construction costs) hotel in the world.

As of September 2022 it has already surrendered its positions - the 7th in height and gave away the most expensive hotel status to the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi and a dozen other hotels.

Burj Al Arab is located in the western part of the Jumeirah district, east of the Madinat Jumeirah resort area.

Spending a vacation at the Burj Al Arab is the dream of many. But the reality for most tourists is only a photo with the hotel in the background. But is a vacation there worth its price? What did a billion dollars of oil money go for? How to get to the Burj Al Arab without booking an expensive room? This review answers all these questions.

What did they spend a billion on?

The Burj Al Arab began construction in 1994 and was finished in 1999. It cost USD 1 billion. By comparison, the Burj Khalifa cost 1.5 billion, although it is several times bigger and higher. The interesting question is, "Why is it so expensive?"

The Burj Al Arab Hotel stands on an artificial bulk island 920 feet (280 meters) from the shore. It took 3 years to create the island. Naturally, the cost of creating this island is included in the estimate.

Like all skyscrapers in the UAE, Burj Al Arab stands on a very expensive and complex foundation. No skyscraper can be built on sand, so deep wells are drilled in the ground, concrete is poured into these wells, and piles are formed on which the building stands.

250 piles were poured for Burj Al Arab, each with a depth of 150 feet (45 meters) and a diameter of 5 feet (1.5 meters). Keep in mind that the hotel was built in the 90's when the technology of making such piles was not yet "tested" and as a consequence expensive.

In the 90's, the local beach was called Miami Beach called by this name by expat Americans. There was the Chicago Beach Hotel opposite, which was demolished to build the Burj Al Arab and the Madinat Jumeirah resort.

All this was done and money spent for the new symbol hotel, the new building that was originally planned as a "calling card" of the city of Dubai. Thus, the sheikhs said: "The UAE is a strong tourist destination, an elite destination". Hence the huge construction costs.

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As of 2022, the hotel has not recouped that spent one billion. And most likely, it will never recoup as the operating costs are too high.

And the last reason for the gigantic spending is the luxury that permeates the Burj Al Arab from the entrance to the top spire. We will talk about luxury in detail as it is quite interesting.

Luxury in figures and facts

- More than 21,500 square feet (2,000 square meters) of the hotel's interior are covered with 24-karat (.999 fine) gold. The rooms have gold-covered coffee machines and TVs;

- Surfaces are covered with marble of 30 expensive varieties, including Italian Statuario;

- The staff/room ratio is 8:1. Each room has a personal butler;

- Burj Al Arab has been nicknamed "the world's only 7-star hotel" for its luxury. Although the Jumeirah Group says they did not invent the phrase and have never used it in advertising;

- Although the building is beautiful, there is nothing record-breaking or amazing about it from an architectural point of view;

- The building took 2,472,000 cubic feet (70,000 cubic meters) of concrete and 9,000 tons of steel;

- By idea of the architects, the shape of the building should resemble the sail of a traditional Arab dhow boat. In reality, it didn't look like an Arabian dhow at all, more like the back sail of a J-class yacht;

- The Burj Al Arab is one of the few hotels with a helipad. Those who wish can book a helicopter transfer from the airport or take a helicopter to the sights;

- Now (September 2022) the Burj Al Arab is seventh on the list of the tallest hotels. Even Dubai now has four taller hotels: the Rose Rayhaan, SLS Dubai, JW Marriott Marquis, Gevora Hotel;

- Many people have heard about the golden toilet and think it is in the Burj Al Arab. No, it's not there, it's at the Emirates Palace hotels in Abu Dhabi;

- There is a 590 feet (180 meters) high atrium in the lobby of the building. It is worth getting inside if only to see this atrium. See the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge it;

- The Burj Al Arab has 202 rooms, all of two floors, with floor-to-ceiling windows. The bathrooms have jacuzzis and a full set of Hermes Paris toiletries. However, we will talk about the rooms in detail later.

How to get there and how to get inside

The Burj Al Arab Hotel is viewed from the outside by almost all tourists in Dubai. A stop at the Madinat Resort for a photo is mandatory for all sightseeing tours of Dubai. But you want to get inside!

The first option is to rent a room. The price is USD 1,500-2,000 a night. Sometimes there are promotions and a room can be rented for USD 1,000 per night. We will talk about rooms in detail a little later.

You can see the room decor only if you book a room. However, the famous 590-feet (180-meter) atrium and the interiors of the common areas of the hotel can be seen in other ways.

You can book a table in one of the restaurants or bars. Then you will surely be allowed inside.

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The most popular restaurant at the Burj Al Arab is called Al Muntaha. It is located on the 27th floor at a height of 655 feet (200 meters) and offers magnificent views of Dubai or the Persian Gulf. You can get to the restaurant by panoramic elevator. The table is better to be booked in advance and for the weekdays, on weekends it is almost impossible to get there.

To reserve a table call +971 4 301 7600 or send an e-mail to BAARESTAURANTS@JUMEIRAH.COM. Be ready to pay 500-1000 dirhams per person for a light dinner at Al Muntaha restaurant. Please check our "Money in Dubai and the UAE" page for the current exchange rates. See the interior of the restaurant in the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge to full screen.

The second option is the Skyview Bar on the 27th floor. There they hold afternoon tea or pour cocktails in the evening. AED 650 (+ AED 100 for a table near the window) for the tea party or AED 370 for the non-alcoholic cocktails is required in advance. No one under 21 years old will be admitted to the bar, not even for tea.

Table reservations only by using the form on

The third option is the Al Mahara restaurant. This restaurant is located on the ground floor, you will not see panoramic views from there. Al Mahara restaurant makes a strong impression as visitors enter through a golden arch and reach the giant aquarium with a capacity of 260,000 gallons (990,000 liters). Tables are located around the aquarium. Naturally, the restaurant specializes in fish dishes and seafood delicacies.

You can book a table at . Expect to pay between AED 1,000 and 1,500 for dinner for two (excluding alcoholic drinks).

Gold On 27 is the most chic bar you can book at the Burj Al Arab. You can try the cocktail "Element 79" with gold dust. Recall that gold is number 79 in the periodic table. There is a cocktail "Light Sweet Crude" of foie gras and truffle oil, a cocktail "Scent of the Souk" with oud oil, you can read about it in our review "Oud Perfume".

Smoking is allowed in this bar. Admission is only for those 21 years and older. Online reservations at

You can get to the Burj Al Arab by cab. Since Dubai is quite a big city, the price varies from 12 to 100 dirhams depending on where you're coming from. Look for the fares in our review "Taxis in the UAE".

Or take the subway to the station "Mall of the Emirates" and then take a cab for 12 dirhams. For the subway map see our review "Dubai Metro".

The easiest way to get from the airport is the transfer by luxury Rolls Royce is included in the booking price.

What you get if you book a room

The room price varies depending on the current season and current promotions. You can check the actual price using the form near. Set the check-in and check-out dates and click on "Show prices" button.

Let's find out what guests get for that not insignificant price.

The Burj Al Arab has a total of 202 rooms on 28 floors, all double-decker rooms with a wide staircase. The rooms are huge - the smallest are 1,820 square feet (169 square meters) and the largest presidential suites are 8,400 square feet (780 square meters).

Each room has a large bathroom with Moroccan-style tiled walls and a large Jacuzzi for 4 persons. The bathrooms feature sets of 14 Hermes toiletries, including perfume.

There are ten restaurants and bars, three outdoor and two indoor pools with fresh and sea water, Talise SPA and Fitness Center Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. The Talise SPA on two floors with pools overlooking the ocean is a special highlight.

The hotel's private beach is located on the other side of the bridge and is taken to the beach by special buggy cars. The terrace on the lower level has pools 330 feet (100 meters) long with a bar, restaurant, artificial sandy beach, 32 bungalows for recreation and 120 king-size sunbeds.

Guests at the Burj Al Arab have free access to the Wild Wadi Park. Read more about it in our review "Wild Wadi". Also free access to Sinbad's Kids Club, a kids club with pools, soccer field, climbing wall, workshops and master classes.

Is all this worth the price of USD 1,500 a night? The question is subjective. Decide for yourself.

More interesting

- If you are interested in luxury hotels, read our review about the second such hotel in the UAE "Emirates Palace";

- Do you know what building was the symbol of Dubai before the Burj Al Arab? It was the Deira Clock Tower.

Have a great vacation in Dubai and read our interesting pages about the UAE (see the list of the links below).


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