Have Lunch at the Al-Arab: The World's Only Seven-Star Hotel
The Burj Al-Arab is a self- proclaimed seven-star hotel. While most of us could not afford to stay in even their cheapest room, if we want to get up close and personal we can book a tour that included lunch for around $100 US. Otherwise the closest we can get is the security booth at the start of the bridge that stretches to the private man made island on which the hotel sits.
The Burj al Arab (the Tower of the Arabs), is the tallest hotel in the world at 321 meters. Construction of the hotel started in 1994 with the 60-floor hotel costing an astounding $650 million to build. During construction, the interior of the building was cooled by one degree per day over a six-month period in order to prevent condensation and worse yet a raincloud - yes a raincloud - from forming inside the 180 meter tall atrium – the tallest atrium lobby in the world.
The official website of the hotel promises its customers a “chauffeur driven Rolls Royce, discreet in-suite check in, a private reception desk on every floor and a brigade of highly trained butlers who provide around-the-clock attention".
Some of the other luxuries offered by the hotel are plasma televisions with satellite, international direct dialling, voicemail, high speed wireless internet, bathroom telephones and CD players as well as fresh flowers, fruit and Arabic sweets.
For recreation, the hotel offers indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, sauna and steam bath and gymnasium as well as a private beach and complimentary passes to the Wild Wadi Water Park nearby.
They also cater to kids with the Sinbad’s Kids Club, a supervised play area where kids can play with toys, take a nap or watch the Disney Channel.
Located near the top of the building is a helipad which has been the site of numerous publicity events. In 2004 Tiger Woods hit golf balls into the Persian Gulf then in 2005 professional tennis players Roger Federer and Andre Agassi played an exhibition match on a temporary grass tennis court constructed on the helipad.
The Burj al Arab has a mere 202 suits, each ranging two floors. Rates start at $1000 per night for the smallest suite (1,819 sq. ft.) and go up to $28,000 per night for the Royal Suite. The largest suite in the hotel is 8,396 sq. ft. which is almost four times larger than the average house in Canada!