It is one of the most exquisite and beautiful buildings in Dubai, but what do you actually know about the Burj Al Arab?
Insider tips on how to get into Dubai’s most exclusive address
The stunning sail silhouette is symbolic of one of the world’s most luxurious and exclusive hotels – complete with its own helipad no less. It is also renowned for being hopelessly difficult to get into for a sneaky peek!
You must be a guest of the hotel, but there are plenty of ways you can do this without actually staying the night – though be warned it certainly won’t be the cheapest thing you do in Dubai, whatever way you play it! (But we’ll share with you below one option under $30 USD!)
Burj al Arab – a Seven-Star hotel?
OK, we should all know by now there’s no such thing as a seven-star hotel, but where did the catchphrase come from? It was actually first expressed by a journalist when reviewing the newly opened Burj Al Arab in 1999 but clearly left a lasting impression.
Whilst classifications in Dubai – regulated by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing – only give the hotel a 5-star rating, even the Jumeirah group who run the hotel still refer to their “7-star service” in their marketing; so you decide!
(Want to read more on the 7-star debate – if it doesn’t exist it looks like you ask someone to create it!)
So can you get inside the Burj al Arab?
The million-dollar question! The hotel is NOT open to walk-in visits from non-paying guests – and don’t even attempt it; you will be stopped by security well before you are near the building.
However, you need not stay the night in any of the Burj al Arab suites (they are too posh for hotel rooms). Instead, you could try booking in at one of the restaurants or bars for an indulgent treat or entering on a recreation day pass. We will look at each in turn:
Note 1 USD = 3.67 AED | 100 AED is approximately $28 USD
The easiest way into Burj al Arab is to book an afternoon tea
The restaurants themselves in the Burj al Arab, as you can imagine, are masterpieces before you even get to the food.
The Muntaha Restaurant and Skyview Bar and Restaurant are located on the 27th floor. 200m high they both reward visitors with amazing panoramic views of Dubai’s beaches, the Dubai Marina, the Palm Jumeirah, and in the distance the skyline of Downtown Dubai.
There are two afternoon tea restaurants with several variations available at Burj al Arab:
Sky Tea is served in the Skyview lounge
Perched on the 27th floor of this iconic building, this is one of the most elaborate Afternoon Tea experiences in Dubai. Try date juice and exotic savouries before moving on to a delectable selection of sweets. There are options for a 5-course menu, or why not go all out and treat yourself to the 7-course option with champagne and caviar?
There are two seatings daily, the first is at 1:00 pm and another at 4:00 pm. The afternoon tea costs from 500 AED for adults and 315 AED for children (aged 8+).
Be warned if this is on your agenda it can sometimes book out weeks in advance, especially if you are eyeing up popular celebration dates. You pay an additional fee of 100 AED per person to be seated beside a window.
Afternoon Tea at Sahn Eddar
There is a second luxurious 7-course afternoon tea held on the 1st floor at the Sahn Eddar restaurant. The beautiful mosaics, marble floor, fountains and torches create an alluringly beautiful Middle Eastern atmosphere in the magnificent hotel lobby. Enjoy pastries, cakes and the finest teas and coffees you can imagine.
The afternoon tea is served from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm and starts from 550 AED.
A 3-course High Tea is then held at Sahn Eddar, commencing at 7:00 pm.
Throughout the day there is also the option of their “Sweet Indulgences” packages offering a seasonal cake with mocktail or signature gold cappuccino for 280 AED per person.
Dress Code for High Tea or Afternoon Tea at Burj Al Arab
As you can imagine for such an opulent hotel there is a strict dress code in keeping with luxury and Muslim standards. You really need to dress for the occasion when you attend a Burj al Arab dining experience.
This means strictly no torn jeans, shirts without sleeves, translucent clothing, or gym gear. Gentleman are requested to wear a collared shirt, full-length trousers, and closed shoes.
As always for women in Dubai, respect the rules of no excessive cleavage, covered shoulders, no short skirts. Women are requested to wear a suit or dress, long skirt or dressy slacks and top. UAE National Dress is welcome.
Lunch and Dinner at Burj Al Arab
There are several other dining options at Burj al Arab to look out for at both lunch and dinner time across the Burj Al Arab’s diverse range of restaurants.
Specialising in French cuisine, Al Muntaha offers a weekend Brunch experience with the international buffet “Le Grand Petit Dejeuner“, described as ” an innovative interpretation of seasonal cuisine, artistically combining the finest of ingredients from around the globe into stylish masterpieces”. Situated on the 27th floor, this is one of Dubai’s best dining experiences with a view.
There is an early bird (10:00 am to 12:00 pm) seating and the full brunch which runs 10:00 am to 3:00 pm (one of the only hotels in Dubai we know where Brunch actually starts in the morning! ). Priced at 695 AED, which in 5-star Dubai brunch terms isn’t actually too bad!
They are also open for lunch and dinner throughout the week. For a greater sample of what’s on offer, you can enjoy a 4-course contemporary French lunch, or a luxury 5 or 7-course offering starting from 550 AED per person.
Dinner in the stunning aquarium restaurant
Al Mahara Aquarium Restaurant is an exquisite and unmissable touch if you are looking for the ultimate wow factor. Enjoy a 4, 5 or 7-course menu on the ground floor of Burj Al Arab. You will feel like you are dining under the sea in this exquisite one-of-a-kind restaurant, with naturally the best seafood menu you could imagine. It’s mocktails only though starting from 550 AED.
Al Iwan Restaurant
If you are looking for a traditional Arabic feed to pair perfectly with your extravagant Middle Eastern experience, look no further than Al Iwan Restaurant. Situated with views of the incredible hotel atrium, enjoy a selection of hot and cold Arabic mezze over lunch from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm.
Bab Al Yam
The family-friendly dining option at the hotel – as casual as it gets is Bab al Yam. One of the only restaurants to let under 8’s in for the dinner time sitting.
A final dining option is Junsui, the hotels Far East Asian cuisine offering. As far as we are aware there are no special packages, just a delectable a la carte menu and setting to enjoy.
A little bit of everything? The Culinary Flight
Enjoy the culinary flight which will see you enjoying starters at Al Muntaha, followed by a main course at Al Mahara and mouth-watering mixology and dessert at Gold on 27. The package lasts from 7:00 pm to midnight for a princely sum of 1500 AED per person – a superb special occasion idea to wow your loved one.
Enjoy sundowner drinks from the Burj al Arab
If you don’t fancy shelling out for a meal, there are a couple of drink package options that will see you past security and into the Burj Al Arab – one which might even work on a budget!
Skyview Bar Beverage Package
Once afternoon tea is done and dusted, there are half-hourly slots to book yourself a spot at the Skyview bar and enjoy the views at sunset while sipping on a mocktail and a cocktail prepared by one of their resident mixologists. It still doesn’t come cheap, however, from 330 AED per person.
Gold on 27
Now, this is the one we’ve been dying to share with you. Arguably the cheapest way to enjoy “7-star service” and still enjoy the ambience and experience of being inside the Burj Al Arab. NB since COVID temporarily closed.
All you need to do is head to the Gold on 27 website and select your number of guests and prefered time slot. This will get you your reservation confirmation. The Sundown on 27 menu which includes two drinks and one appetizer is 250 AED per person BUT you only need to make a minimum spend of 200 AED. Appetizers are priced at around 60 to 100 AED and cocktails around 100 AED to 140 AED.
Due to Gold on 27’s position in the hotel, yes you’re on the 27th floor, but you won’t get much of a view outside. You do get to travel through the exquisite hotel lobby to arrive at the bar and stake your claim to fame you have BEEN to the Burj al Arab!
This is the cheapest way we know to get into the Burj al Arab! (But let us know in the comments below if you think there’s a trick we’re missing!)
Guided Tour of Burj Al Arab
New in 2021, Jumeirah Group have launched a 90-minute butler-guided tour of the Burj Al Arab.
There will be morning, day, sunset and evening tour options. These can be taken in conjunction with other bookings at the hotel restaurants, or just take the tour on its own for an exclusive inside look at one of Dubai’s most luxurious and extravagant buildings.
Enjoy this little preview from insideburjalarab.com
Pool day passes for Burj Al Arab
As well as dining experiences, another way to enjoy the Burj al Arab is to consider a day pass to use the exquisite pool and recreation facilities.
The Burj Al Arab Terrace is famously one of the most beautiful in the world. A triangular deck that juts out from the base of the Burj al Arab, there are two infinity pools, designed to make it look as though you are floating above the Arabian Gulf waters.
The Terrace prices for non-guests of the hotel don’t come cheap, however. Prices start at 2000 AED to rent a cabana for one day, with prices as much as 7000 AED.
The cabanas are as luxurious as you might expect though from a “7-star” resort. They come decked out with your own coffee machine, mini-bar, dining and spa menus, sound system, television, air-conditioning and sunbeds.
Another moderately cheaper option is “A Day at the Terrace”, pool access accompanied with a 3-course lunch at Scape, the Mediterranean poolside restaurant.
Other ways to see the Burj Al Arab from outside.
Without a reservation, you simply won’t be allowed close to the hotel, even just to snap off a few shots for Instagram (despite what some reputable travel sites may have told you). It’s a big fat no, no matter how charming you think you are!
If you are like most of us mere mortals though and budget will not stretch to even a drink at the Burj Al Arab, your best bet is to head along to Umm Suqeim (Also known as Sunset Beach, or the Burj Beach) and here you can have some fun taking you snaps with the Burj from afar.
We also love the view from Souk Madinat Jumeirah. The beautiful canals make the perfect setting for viewing arguably the most stunning and luxurious hotel in the world.
The most exciting way to see the Burj Al Arab from outside though is to take a tour on the water! Adrenaline lovers will want to check out jet ski options or go for a luxury yacht tour to see how the other half live.
Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack, and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws, and customs to be aware of.
- Check out this incredible list of 150+ places you should visit when you’re in Dubai.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass from iVenture or a Dubai Go City Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover the best areas to stay in Dubai, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
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