Around 1999 I had seen a news report on the Burj al Arab – a 7 Star ultra luxurious hotel built on a manmade, private island in Dubai and the only way to cross the island is if you were a guest at the hotel or one of the restaurants. I was so in awe over the images of the inside, where everything was adorned with real gold and the suites start at $5000/ night. It was at that moment I had decided I have to visit this place at least once in my life. Over the years, my fascination with the Burj al Arab, as well as Dubai only increased my desire to see this incredible dessert oasis.
Fast forward a decade or so……My childhood best friend, probably my first friend in life, now lives in Dubai. We have know each other so long, that neither us remember every meeting. Though I moved away and we both grew up in different countries, we would spend summers together and still share a deep bond. As we got older we kept in touch, but hadn’t met in a couple of decades. She had been inviting me to come to Dubai for a while and finally the starts aligned on New Years a couple years ago – I was able to spend 10 memorable days with her and Dubai. By this point, my friend was a local, planning everything so well for my visit – it was amazing catching up and seeing Dubai.
The one thing that was “too tourist” that she didn’t plan was a visit to the Burj al Arab. Given that it was the Christmas holiday time, the tiny city of Dubai was swamped with tourists and you could feel the crowds literally swell. Once I got to Dubai, I called the Burj al Arab several times a day and spoke to everyone I could to try to get a reservation at any of the restaurants or even a quick drink a the bar (and probably driving everyone crazy with my manic enthusiasm to see the hotel). After several attempts, and a LOT of persuasion, we were finally able to get reservations for a 7am breakfast. What started out as a solo mission, turned into a table for 7 and a memorable morning.
Since we had a packed week of activities, we had a very late night before this breakfast. Hardly sleeping a couple of hours everyone woke up and cleaned up as best as we could for this 7 star breakfast. We got there early so we could explore the hotel a bit before our meal. As we got on the private bridge for the hotel, this was the majestic viewthat welcomed us to the Burj al Arab, with the early morning sunrise in the background. I had the excitement of a child as we approached the hotel. From here we could see the sleepy Dubai waking up and the striking Dubai skyline glowing in the first rays of the morning sun. Even the view outside this hotel was breathtaking!
Once we got inside, I was just taken aback by the grandeur. Everything so colorful and in real gold. Dubai has refined the art of making things – the opulence of everything in Dubai is like nothing I have every seen – from tallest building in the world, to the huge malls, to the indoor ski slope. And for me the Burj al Arab was the crown jewel. As we entered, the first thing we saw is a huge 2 story fountain. Just this size of this fountain reminds you that you are in the lobby of a 7 star hotel!
Once we get to the top we saw all the detailed gold work. Gold chandeliers in a gold ceiling with gold pillars…..A lot of gold – yet so classy!
With 2 large fountains and amazing decorations everywhere, this place looks like nothing I have every seen. Even the elevators are super ornate.
But the most incredible part of the view of the Burj Al Arab is as you look up. There is literally a rainbow painted before your eyes. The V- shaped floors magnificently frame the huge open space created inside. Adding to the beauty, the floors are painted in a gradient from deep blue to yellow, help up at the base with huge gold pillars. This creates a feel of playful elegance. The sheer size of this space is regal.
My decades old dream to see this majestic 7 star hotel was fulfilled on this trip. So grateful for my best friend for making this possible for me. The images of this magnificent Burj al Arab will stay with me forever.