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Guided tour for non-guests: inside Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

  • For the first time in almost 22 years, Inside Burj Al Arab experience gives non-guests access to its $25,000-a-night Royal Suite and other previously inaccessible areas
Published December 31, 2021
The lobby: Image courtesy of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
The lobby: Image courtesy of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
Royal Suite Queen Bedroom: Image courtesy of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
Royal Suite Queen Bedroom: Image courtesy of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

DUBAI: At Dubai’s Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, elaborate fantasies come to life. It’s a jewel in the UAE’s crown with a glistening façade that echoes its nearly 22-year-old history.

Step inside and nothing can startle you out of your reverie – about 1,790 square meters of 24-carat gold leaf bedeck the hotel’s opulent interior that’s flanked by the largest Swarovski crystal ceiling in the world at AED1.3 million; and Statuario marble, a material used by Italian artist Michelangelo to create some of his most famous sculptures, dresses its wide expanses.

The Royal Suite at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah has often been frequented by royal families, heads of state and celebrities like Lewis Hamilton, Kendall Jenner, and Justin Bieber, who garnered nearly 14 million views on Instagram with a snippet of him dancing on its elaborate staircase during his stay in 2017.

Now, for the first time since the hotel opened its doors over two decades ago, it has launched an experience that allows non-guests to immerse themselves in the extravagant indulgences of the suite and previously inaccessible locations across the address.

It’s called Inside Burj Al Arab, a 90-minute, butler-guided tour for UAE residents and tourists that reveals untold stories of the iconic hotel. The experience was conceived in 2020 as an optimistic nod to the future of travel and Dubai’s position as a coveted tourist destination. “We felt it was the right time to bring this experience to life,” Andy Nicholson, General Manager and Director of Experience at Inside Burj Al Arab told Business Recorder.

“Its opening also coincided with the launch of Expo 2020 Dubai, which was anticipated to attract millions of visitors to the city of Dubai. We knew Burj Al Arab Jumeirah would feature high up as one of the most visited landmarks during the Expo and as such, Inside Burj Al Arab seemed like the perfect opportunity for local and international guests to experience the wonders of this world-famous landmark first-hand,” he states.

The journey begins with a brief buggy ride that offers views of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, a design and engineering marvel, envisioned by British architect Tom Wright of WKK Architects. Upon entrance, guests are greeted with a splash of rose water and wet towels.

The tour provides exclusive access to some of the most Instagrammable areas of the hotel, including the Royal Suite that houses a private elevator, two bedrooms, five bathrooms, a dining room, cinema, library, Hermès amenities, and a 24-hour private butler service, so you know that it’s fit for royalty. Guests of the suite are driven in a Rolls-Royce from the hotel’s private fleet of cars.

Inside the space, classical furnishings and plush details abound – think about gilded wallpapers, traditional sconces, distinctly pink decoratives in the ‘for her’ suite, handmade Indian carpets, royal supplies sourced from London, 17 types of pillows and eiderdown duvets, which feature down harvested from abandoned eider duck nests in Iceland.

“The hotel’s interior is just one of the many reasons why people travel to Dubai from all over the world. Teams of designers, decorators and craftspeople have made sure that its features are presented to the celebrated standards enjoyed by our hotel guests,” Nicholson shares about the hotel, which was designed by the famed Khuan Chew, founder of interior design company KCA International.

“But Inside Burj Al Arab is much more than simply a tour of Dubai’s history,” he adds. “It’s a fully immersive journey into the world of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, designed to appeal to those intrigued by its story.”

Visitors of Inside Burj Al Arab also get to relive history through the curated Experience Suite’s digital interactives, which offer a closer look at the hotel’s journey. At the Architect’s Studio, they can peruse the design vocabulary of the hotel, from the first sketch of the building and detailed designs by the original architect and interior designer to the samples of fabrics used across the space.

There’s also the chance to relive a few iconic events, sporting feats and cultural moments that have been hosted on the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah helipad, including the decks from David Guetta’s spectacular ‘United at Home’ lockdown performance earlier this year. “A must-visit at the end of the tour is the new outdoor lounge, UMA, created exclusively for Inside Burj Al Arab guests,” notes Nicholson.

Guests of Inside Burj Al Arab can also add a series of signature experiences, including the hotel’s 24-carat Ultimate Gold Cappuccino or signature afternoon tea at Sahn Eddar at the atrium. They can also reserve a table to enjoy signature dining in one of the hotel’s restaurants. To round off the event, they must relish the luxe hotel boutique that features a sumptuous gifting range, from souvenirs to accessories like the Burj Al Arab-shaped San Eduardo ring worth AED430,000.

“The feedback has been incredibly positive with hotel guests, UAE residents and international travelers,” shares Nicholson. “In fact, some of the first people we had through the tour had postponed their flights to fit the experience into their schedule. It was also touching to see generations of families visit the tour. In one instance, a grandfather was narrating the story of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah to his grandchild, all from his own life experiences.”

Plans are under way to further develop the Inside Burj Al Arab experience and the hotel has recently launched an exclusive family package, inviting visitors and residents of all ages to discover the journey. The new package starts from AED599 for two adults and two children.

“We’ve also launched a joint ticket for Inside Burj Al Arab and Ain Dubai, which allows people to experience two of the must-see attractions in Dubai,” explains Nicholson.

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