The Burj al Arab counts as one of Dubai’s most famous landmarks and chances are that you’ll drive past it on your Dubai travel itinerary. Many know what this glamorous hotel looks like from the outside but only some get to experience what it’s like inside Burj Al Arab. We were intrigued by the reputation of this 7-star hotel and decided to see for ourselves how next-level luxurious this hotel really is.
Although you can’t just walk up to this iconic hotel, there are several ways to visit Burj al Arab that don’t involve spending the night. The Inside Burj al Arab tour is one of those options. It was introduced in the fall of 2021.
A team of hosts and butlers shows you around this iconic hotel and highlights some interesting facts about the architecture and service that the hotel has to offer. They even welcome you in the opulent Royal Suite. Intrigued yet?
It was one of the rather expensive activities in Dubai that we chose to do (the other one being our luxurious desert safari). Was it worth it? Continue reading to find out!
Check out our Inside Burj al Arab tour review.
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Inside Burj al Arab tickets and timing
The standard guided tour is priced at AED 249 (which is equivalent to €62, $68 or £52) per person or AED 599 (which is equivalent to €150, $163 or £125) for a family of two adults and two children. The family package wasn’t available yet when we visited and so we paid full price (a higher price than the one that’s currently being promoted) for the four of us.
Although we were lucky enough to enjoy a private version, this is actually a shared tour. It takes about 90 minutes to complete. You can extend your experience by opting for a cocktail or dining package.
Prices for packages that include a mocktail, cocktail, champagne or a 24-carat gold cappuccino at the UMA Sky Deck range between AED 299 and AED 369. When you’re looking to add a light meal (a pizza or wagyu burger) at this lounge, you’re looking at prices up to AED 454.
Prices for packages that include a lunch, dinner or afternoon tea at the Sahn Eddar lounge range between AED 599 and AED 839. The four-course dinner package at restaurant Al Iwan is priced at AED 699.
It goes without saying that you should dress the part. Smart-casual is the standard.
Inside Burj al Arab tour
We were warmly greeted at the welcome center, which is actually located in a wing of the Jumeirah beach hotel. This gorgeous resort is located right next to the Burj al Arab and both are part of the Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts group.
After our check-in and welcome drink, we received a lanyard and were invited to take a seat in one of the hotel buggies. Our driver took us to the entrance of the Burj al Arab, from where we passed the gate and crossed the bridge.
Along the way, there’s a photo stop with a set installation but our driver was kind enough to take a whole series of photos with our own camera too.
The tour has its own separate entrance at the left side of this signature building. As soon as you enter the Burj al Arab, you’re greeted by a host(ess) and butler. After refreshing your hands with some rose water, you can indulge in tea and dates while the host(ess) gives you an overview of the guided tour.
The first stop on the tour is the hotel lobby which is a feast for the senses. Burj al Arab is a celebration of color featuring the four elements. Look up and you’ll see one of the world’s tallest atriums with a height of 180 m (590 ft) in a honeycomb-style grid. The decor is brought to life by water a colourful aquarium and a water feature.
That same water feature looks all tranquil and enchanting but at set intervals a 32 m water column leaps skyward from the shallow pool towards the peak of the atrium. The lighting which illuminates the droplets that fall back down adds a touch of magic.
Make your way towards the elevator and you’ll see 21 000 Swarovski crystals sparkle from the ceiling.
I must admit that the interior of Burj al Arab was very different from what we had expected. We’ve stayed at many luxury hotels around the world and the decor always tends to be understated and neutrally-toned. No other luxury hotel compares to the Burj al Arab when it comes to the use of color.
Elevator to the 25th Floor
The express elevator ride in the outside elevator is magnificent thanks to the panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf and Palm Jumeirah. Passenger lifts reach a speed of 7m per sec. It’s fast but not as fast as the elevators going to the top of Burj Khalifa.
The hotel has 28 floors… multiplied by 2 because all floors – and therefore all 202 expensive hotel suites – are two-tiered.
Upon arrival at the 25th floor, we were instructed to knock on the door of a suite and a butler graciously welcomed us in the Royal Suite. This same suite, which was priced at around AED 90 000 (which is equivalent to €22 500, $25 000 or £19 000) per night, has accommodated a variety of VIPs over the years. It’s now no longer open to overnight guests but exclusively reserved for Inside Burj al Arab tours.
The monumental staircase is quite the eye-catcher. On the ground flour of the Burj al Arab Royal Suite you’ll find a colorful living room, a private dining area and an office that can be converted in a third bedroom.
But the most striking rooms can be found at the first floor, where you’ll find separated rooms for the king and queen. The interior designer wanted yellow to reign because, to her, fire is the brightest and strongest of four elements.
The king’s quarters feature yellow and red tones and a rotating bed while the queen’s quarters feature yellow and pink tones as well as a comfy Majlis room. Opulence is an understatement when it comes to the Royal Suite where even the showers are coated with 24-carat gold.
The next stop on the tour is the dining experience… or should I say dining illusion? Just take your pick from the interactive menu and the dished magically appear. Yes, even the 24-gold cappuccino can be ordered here.
Learn more about the Burj al Arab’s design and architecture with a cup of coffee and a fresh date in hand. The exposition features a model of the hotel, samples of the fabrics used in the rooms and shares the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, architect Tom Wright and interior designer Khuan Chew.
Other displays highlight some of the memorable stunts that have taken place at the helipad. It’s where Tiger Woods teed off, where Roger Federer and Andre Agassi played a game of tennis and where kitesurfer Nick Jacobsen jumped off it with his kite board.
You’ll also learn more about the fish and turtle hospital that’s housed at the basement. Every year, this sanctuary cares for over 200 rescued turtles. Thousands of turtles have been rehabilitated and released from Burj al Arab.
The tour ends at the luxurious boutique where you can choose the perfect souvenir for yourself or your loved ones. We brought an extra family member back home. Meet Sheikh Teddy, the favorite Dubai souvenir of youngest daughter.
An external company is in charge of the photography spots. There’s on the bridge with the Burj al Arab in the background, one in the lobby and one a the staircase of the Royal Suite. The outdoor photo set up features the actual background but the ones that are taken indoor are green screen photos.
UMA Sky Deck
No better way to process all these extravagant impressions than with a cocktail at UMA Sky Deck. This patio is exclusively accessible to guests of the Inside Burj al Arab experience. When you’re ready to go, your driver will give you a ride back to the welcome center in the trolly.
Is the Inside Burj al Arab experience worth it?
We think it is. This Burj al Arab tour isn’t just branded as exclusive, it really feels exclusive too. The hosts and butlers go above and beyond to make you feel welcome and give you the royal treatment. The tour provides an excellent opportunity to experience the level of service of this famed 7-star hotel in Dubai without breaking the bank.
The only points of criticism we have, is that the tour feels a bit rushed and that you don’t have the opportunity to explore the hotel’s commons areas on your own after your visit. You’re basically completely separated from the guests who stay at the Burj al Arab Dubai.
The green screen photos kind of suck. The photos that we had ordered only loaded halfway so we had to reach out via mail. When we finally received the photos, we were really disappointed. One photo showed me with one leg, the other with a cut-off hairdo. The company fixed it and sent the corrections but the result is still subpar and not by far the quality you would expect from a Burj al Arab partner (and at that cost). So, you’re much better off taking a tripod (if allowed) or asking the hosts to take your photos. We certainly wish we had.
When will you visit Burj al Arab
That’s it for this review of our Inside Burj al Arab experience. Will you add it to your Dubai bucket list? Let us know in the comments!