A Visit to Dubai's Burj Al Arab Hotel
By Natalcho on February 28, 2012
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If you go to Dubai you will want to visit Burj Al Arab - probably the world's most luxurious hotel. The building is stunning and is a hallmark of Dubai's skyline. Since a one night stay costs $1,000 to $27,000 per night, I recommend doing the next best thing - go for a cocktail or dinner.
Image: Ian Cumming/Axiom via ZUMA Press.
But don't think you can just walk through the security and hang out in the hotel. We made that mistake one night and our cab was turned around at the security gate, about a kilometre away from the actual hotel. We were given the following unreasonable justification by the helpful guards:
"You have no reservation. We are sorry but you cannot enter."
"You are wearing flipflops. We are sorry but you cannot enter."
So, go prepared or go home.
The next night we were prepared. All dressed up and ready to spend some serious money we made our way to the hotel...again.
This being the world's most luxurious hotel and all, the interior is what some might call 'a bit too much'. The colour scheme is appropriately a mixture of gold and blue, the design is Alice in Wonderland - yes, that's an official design theme. At all times, there are about 30 employees observing you and trying to predict what you might need. Needless to say, I felt right at home.
Yeah, that is pretty much what the interior of my London apartment looks like...
We made our way to the top of Burj Al Arab to the Al Muntaha Restaurant. At 200 metres above sea level, the views are spectacular. The restaurant interior is very different from the Burj Al Arab lobby. The interior is what I would call 80s-inspired. (I hope I don't have any actual designer readers...well, even if I did I probably just lost them.)
When I say 80s-inspired, I mean a really poorly designed alien space ship that you can see on one of the Alf episodes - colourful, plastic, fun. I half expected Michael Jackson to be dining next to us dressed in his gold jacket and white glove. I loved it. I guess I am just a sucker for the 80s.
So you go to one of the most expensive restaurants in the world - what do you order? I went for a £30 cocktail - go prepared or go home, right? Of course this is not the kind of place where you can afford to have five large vodkas.
Next, we had to choose what to eat. The menu is four pages long with 5-6 dishes each. Yes, the selection is not great but every dish is exclusive so I guess it's ok to go low on diversity. Imagine my surprise when one of the four pages was taken up with this:
That's right - 30 grams of esteemed farmed Bulgarian caviar going for £100 to £240 depending on the caviar type. Now, I am no expert in caviar farming, but I am pretty sure that Bulgaria doesn't have a reputation for the world's best caviar. And even if that was the case, I can assure you that producing 30g of caviar in Bulgaria cannot be that expensive. Unless we secretly bred a super duper kind of fish during those dark Communist years...you never know!
I didn't order the 30g of caviar and my heart broke a little. But I did ask the waiter exactly where in Bulgaria was this caviar farmed. He had to go check with the chef but assured me that the caviar came from Bulgaria's most exquisite caviar farms. (What does that even mean? The chef couldn't remember the name but they insisted on taking my email so they could answer my question the following day when the manager came to work. I am still waiting for that email.
Image: Frilet Patrick/Hemis via ZUMA Press.
So I skipped the exquisite Bulgarian caviar and went for the tasting menu which was the only option if I wanted to get enough food in that restaurant and not bankrupt myself. The meal was fantastic - modern European cuisine, 1,000 courses - perfection. As you know by now, I am the world's best food blogger so of course I took no pictures of the actual food I ate. (In my defence, this was over a year ago when I had no clue I would be starting a blog.)
But I did take this photo of the lobby on our way out:
Can you guess around which over marketed holiday I went to the Burj Al Arab?
(All images taken by Natalcho unless otherwise noted.)