There’s been an surprising improvement at Dubai’s Burj Al Arab.

elf-billed as one of many world’s most unique accommodations and with charges ranging from €1,370 an evening, the sail-shaped landmark is now welcoming roughly everyone to roam its spangled interiors on ‘Inside Burj Al Arab’ excursions. As well as, included within the not-so-princely price ticket of €62, guests are even allowed entry to the Royal Suite.

It’s an uncommon initiative from one of many world’s costliest properties and well-known accommodations — set simply off Dubai’s shoreline by itself little personal island and with safety guards manning its gates 24 hours a day.

Nonetheless, there was by no means any doubt {that a} receptive viewers would respect the chance. When the resort opened in 1999 it instantly asserted the emirate’s urge for food for audacious structure, subsequently consolidated by the 2010 opening of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest constructing, and final month’s inauguration of the oval-shaped Museum of the Future.

One of many world’s most photographed buildings and with over a million followers on Instagram, the Burj Al Arab, just like the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty, is genuinely iconic.


The Membership Suite Dwelling Room on the Burj Al Arab

That’s to not say it’s to everybody’s tastes. I’ve stayed within the Burj, as everybody calls it, on a few events. Unfold over two flooring, entry-level one-bedroom suites are mammoth. Bogs are stocked with full-sized Hermès facilities, together with his’n’hers aftershave and fragrance, and there’s a butler on standby to assist with quibbles and queries.

Interiors, nevertheless, are… characterful. Suites are vibrantly embellished in gold and purple, mirrors are suspended over the beds. After I’m there, I give up to it: with so lots of Europe’s extra trendy luxurious accommodations taking part in it secure in greige, it’s oddly refreshing to see an alternate strategy delivered with such conviction. It’s paying off too: the resort has remained packed all these years. Occupancy was at 85pc throughout my late-February keep.

With demand so excessive, visitors on Inside Burj Al Arab excursions received’t see common visitor rooms, nor the resort’s varied eating places and seashore membership which can be booked by day visitors however at considerably increased charges and with much less availability. Surprisingly, nevertheless, they’ll be assured entry to the resort’s Royal Suite.

Previous to being integrated into the tour’s itinerary, this suite secured common charges of €23,000 an evening. However occupancy could possibly be sporadic and repurposing the suite has proved profitable: accommodating as much as 12 individuals, tour teams depart each quarter-hour between 9.30am and eight.30pm each day. I used to be advised as much as 700 individuals a day signed up in the course of the peak winter season, although extra sometimes the quantity is someplace round 500. At €62 per individual, that also equates to about €31,000.


The Talise Spa on the Burj Al Arab

That’s quite a lot of guests, although the teams stay surprisingly inconspicuous to in a single day visitors (earlier than becoming a member of myself, I hadn’t observed the excursions going down). That’s as a result of members enter the property by way of a aspect entrance the place they’re briefed on the Burj earlier than wandering by way of the foyer, previous one of many resort’s enormous aquariums, after which up a delegated elevator to the twenty fifth ground. Right here, there’s an opportunity to pause en path to take footage of the showstopper atrium — one of many highest on this planet at 180m. However apart from that, tour teams and resort visitors stay aside.

Up on that increased stage, a besuited butler introduces all 780sqm of the two-bedroom Royal Suite. For higher or worse, that is the place the Burj actually meets expectations. The carpet lining the grand staircase is leopard print; on the contact of a button, one mattress revolves; the unique design of the majlis-style sitting room was rejected for being insufficiently pink.

Catching my gawps, my butler surmised guests’ normal response to the décor: “Most of the Inside Burj Al Arab visitors desire softer shades and aren’t essentially huge followers of those colors, though after I ask in the event that they’d be completely happy to remain right here, everybody says sure,” he tells us.


Johan O’Ceallaigh within the Burj Al Arab

After exploring the suite, the tour concludes in an adjoining zone filled with artefacts and heirlooms regarding the Burj’s historical past. There’s the serviette upon which architect Tom Wright scrawled his authentic design for the resort. Close by stands the F1 automotive that David Coultard did donuts in on the resort’s cantilevered helipad. Via the home windows there are clear views down under to the World, a map-shaped archipelago of synthetic islands, and a sprawl of different formidable luxurious properties that belong, just like the Burj, to the UAE’s Jumeirah Group.

It’s a becoming finale earlier than tour teams are introduced again right down to earth (through a small outside café and bar, and a present store the place you’ll be able to choose up Burj-branded souvenirs together with small packing containers of candies for €41).

Do it: Guide excursions at (€62pp). For in a single day stays (from €1,370 in off-season) or different experiences at Burj Al Arab, see jumeirah.comJohn was a visitor of the Burj Al Arab.

Six methods to do Dubai on a finances

Had the pioneering Burj Al Arab not set such an enduringly profitable precedent, it’s doable the encompassing metropolis would have advanced very in a different way. However immediately, Dubai is a dab hand at offering extravagant distractions for privileged travellers. Experiencing the easiest of town’s luxurious providing won’t ever come cheaply, however much like this tour, there are methods to take pleasure in what’s on provide a bit extra economically. Right here’s only a small choice…

Guide Brunch

Dubai is chock-a-block with luxurious accommodations, and plenty of host lavish weekend brunches that grant guests a taster of what’s on provide. Typically limitless drinks are thrown in and the spreads can present unexpectedly good worth.

On the newly opened canal-side St Regis Downtown, Dubai, for instance, the buffet-brunch idea sees cooks from the resort’s eating places serve signature dishes at tables indoors and out, so it’s doable to expertise its full culinary providing in a single afternoon. Dishes would possibly embrace black truffle and porcini tagliatelle from Italian restaurant Basta, top-tier sushi and desserts galore. There’s stay leisure, children below 13 dine without spending a dime, and the unfold is so beneficiant it is best to positively skip breakfast (you may also find yourself ditching your plans for dinner).

Do it: Brunch prices €88 inclusive of soppy drinks or €112 with alcohol. John was a visitor of the St Regis;

Rent a Supercar

Dubai’s spotless metro is frequent and dependable, however the Ferrari and Lamborghini dealerships you’ll spot when travelling on it are reminders that that is town of the supercar — even the police fleet contains an Aston Martin. Whereas shopping for a Bugatti may not be viable, it’s doable to rent all method of outlandish cars — some by the hour for those who simply need a fast photograph.

Do it: Among the many metropolis’s many supercar-rental specialists, presents Maseratis from €260 per day.

Go (Seashore) Clubbing

Endlessly sunny climate means Dubai’s seashore golf equipment do a roaring commerce with locals each weekend. However on weekdays they typically lower their charges to lure holidaymakers. Excessive-end Drift overlooks a one-kilometre seashore and presents an infinity pool, glorious Mediterranean restaurant and delightful skyline views.

Do it: Entry prices €62 throughout weekends however varied reductions in any other case await, together with a ‘girls’ day’ providing on Tuesdays that sees girls pay €25, together with a welcome cocktail.


The Dubai Mall. Picture: Pól Ó Conghaile

Store Seasonally

Some individuals like purchasing, and plenty of of them are in Dubai. Town’s colossal malls are points of interest in themselves, whereas this fixed consumerism has additionally precipitated the emergence of low cost retailers promoting plenty of ‘last-season’ wares.

Do it: If that feels like enjoyable, attempt Dubai Outlet Mall (for reductions on the likes of Burberry and Marc Jacobs;; Garderobe (pre-owned merchandise from Chanel and Celine; and Manufacturers for Much less (which incorporates magnificence and homewares alongside clothes from Calvin Klein and Adidas;

Lounge Round

One of many world’s finest airways, Dubai-based Emirates presents glorious business- and first-class lounges (it additionally flies direct to Dubai from Dublin). Unusually, these amenities are additionally accessible to economy-class passengers who pay a premium to entry them. If flying economic system to Dublin, it’ll value you €95 to make use of the business-class lounge for as much as 4 hours. That features limitless eating and free-flowing champagne.

Discover extra info on Dubai and its newest Covid-related restrictions on

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