My husband and I have bucket lists – things we want to see, restaurants to eat at, bands we want to see live, and places to stay. One of my places to stay was the Burj Al Arab Jumeriah in Dubai. We always said before our time is up here we will go stay. Well that time came around sooner than expected as a birthday with a “0” at the end arrived and I was surprised with a couple of days of relaxation at this iconic hotel. My husband planned it all and whilst I had an idea that this was the plan I could only guess the details.
So we took a day off work and started our staycation on the Thursday morning with lunch at a favourite café on the way (will share that one another time). We arrived at the Burj Al Arab mid afternoon and even though we have been there before for meals I was quite excited pulling across the causeway and stepping out of the car to be greeted and escorted up to our room.
Colloquially know as the “sail building” to amny Dubai raised kids, it is so much more – this hotel has become a global symbol for Dubai (it used to be on our carplates) – it represents the vision that Sheikh Mohammed, and his family, have for the city and why people come here both to live and visit. Once inside you can’t help but be blown blown away by both its size and the attention to detail in design. It is a busy space with glimpses to boutiques, opulent restaurants, a stunning view above and a dancing fountain to boot. It is a sensory overload, but in a good way!
We were treated to a room that looked back across the “old dubai” skyline and were welcomed by one of the butler team for our floor. This is really where we saw the hotel’s ethos come to life. Attention to detail in every element of the room but even more importantly this set the stage for the hotel team to really provide us with such a special experience. We are quite self-sufficient travellers but it was nice to know that everything my husband had pre-booked was in hand, my odd dietary needs (I was pregnant at the time with our third) were passed on to everywhere we were to eat, and they left us with the feeling that no question or request would be a bother.
Now the room, there is nothing standard about these – two stories with the living area downstairs, connected to the bedroom by a grand sweeping staircase! Vibrant colours, gold leaf everywhere, little visual treats to make you smile, little edible treats to make you really smile.
A few over the top favourites were the gold plated expresso machine, a projected clock on the wall, pretty much anything that could have gold leaf attached and the mosaic painting enveloping the bath. The one thing I wasn’t sure about, and I think it has to be your thing, was the mirrors over the bed.
So an afternoon enjoying the hotel and soaking in its gorgeous pool was just what we needed. It was so nice to see the hotel from a resident guest’s perspective. It is actually very relaxed not as formal as we have seen when coming to a restaurant or the spa in the past. Being in the hotel industry I just like to watch …. the hotel team were superb. Adjusting to the style of each guest like they had known them for years (I suspect there were a few regulars). There were those that wanted to have a good chat, a group of merry-men who wanted to horse around and a couple that just wanted to be alone. They all got the same level of service just in a style that really fitted who they were.
By the time dinner came around we were well rested and ready to be wowed and dining at Al Muntaha did not disappoint. I don’t know how many of you have been pregnant before but there comes a time when you just can’t fit a three course meal in but the chef was not taking no for an answer and delighted us with some of the yummiest food with intense flavour profiles that I have ever had. The server was very chatty and the detail to which the dishes where introduced was fascinating – the French influence was obvious in the dishes and the plating was modern. The interior of this restaurant continues on the idea of igniting the senses with circuit board designs on the wall and the most stunning of views. I would say if you are bringing visitors from out of town a daytime visit for lunch or afternoon tea to the adjacent lounge is probably a better option as you get to enjoy the fabulous view for longer although there is something quite romantic about looking out to the pitch black of the Arabian Gulf with only the boat lights to see.
For breakfast we had a few options – room service, the very modern Asian Junsui or the more traditional red velvet and gold Al Iwan. We opted for the latter and enjoyed a view along Jumeriah Beach whilst nibbling on all sorts of breakfast delights both Arabic and European. I think is the most grand room we have ever eaten breakfast in.
I was then surprised with a visit to the Talise Spa. Traditionally spa rooms are darkened to help you shut out the outside world and allow your body to sink into the treatment. This was completely the opposite – the sunshine streamed in, the sea could have almost been lapping at the windows (it wasn’t – we were well above it) but none the less my body relaxed and I walked out feeling much lighter and energised. Whilst the rooms are quite simple and allow the light to fill them, the spa itself is exquisitely tiled with nods to an empire long gone.
Returning to the room I was surprised (pleasantly as I had been missing them) to find that my husband had popped home to collect the girls. The plan had been to have lunch at Al Mahara (now home to Nathan Outlaw) but we figured that we could come back anytime so opted for a pizza party in our room with the girls – it was so much fun to share this experience with them. They had a blast exploring our room, and parts of the hotel and thought the golf cart ride to Wild Wadi and the pool was quite special. The butler team had arranged for the girls to visit Al Mahara before service started so they could still see the aquarium that surrounds the restaurant. The only thing that they missed out on was the wonderful turn down service that the hotel puts on for kids – a cart shaped like a train with lots of bedtime treats and storybooks – perfect to set them off into a lovely slumber, maybe another time.
Whilst we checked out at the normal time, we then opted to stay on at the pool. On our way back a quick call to the butler on our floor meant that we were greeted at the entryway with our car, filled with our luggage and a birthday cake for me to take home and enjoy with the girls that night. This just capped off a fantastic two days and a magic birthday celebration – one that I won’t forget.
Since our stay at the Burj Al Arab Jumeriah, a few things have changed – restaurants have been updated, the new terrace that extends from the hotel itself has opened and a beach club next to the recently opened Jumeriah Al Nasseem is available for guests to use. We had a sneak peak at this a few weeks ago and it looks fantastic. I strongly suggest that if this hotel is not on your bucket list to visit (or stay at) then make sure it gets added straight away – you will love it! Book directly through Jumeirah’s website.