Burj Al Arab – Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Atlas Obscura
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Burj Al Arab

A preposterously luxurious hotel with gold-plated iPads, Rolls Royce chauffeurs, and a staff that trains by watching "Downton Abbey." 

Located on a manmade island off the coast of Dubai, the Burj Al Arab is the third tallest hotel in the world, and, according to some, the most luxurious place to stay on the planet—dubbed “the world’s only seven star hotel.”

Built for $1 billion and standing at 56 floors tall, the shape of the Burj Al Arab is modeled after the sail of a J-Class yacht, and its features are no less extravagant; a room will run you between $2,700 and $24,000 per night.

The luxurious Burj Al Arab experience begins even before entering the hotel. Hotel guests are greeted at Dubai International Airport by their choice of a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce or a lift from a helicopter. Those who choose the latter will land on a helipad suspended at the very top of the hotel, a platform that was converted to a tennis court in 2005 to host an epic match between Andre Agassi and Roger Federer.

Once guests enter the hotel, the over-the-top extravagance becomes even more amplified. One of sixteen elevators will bring guests to the lobby, built with 258,000 square feet of Statuario marble. To add on to the marble, an additional 22,000 square feet of the Burj Al Arab’s interior is covered in 24-carat gold. In the Talise Spa’s “Romantic Moonlight Swim” you can swim in four indoor and outdoor pools while enjoying champagne, strawberries, and a view of the Persian Gulf. There are nine restaurants at Burj Al Arab, including Al Mahara (“Oyster”), where you can dine beside a 260,000-gallon aquarium.

After a nice meal, you may want to lie down in your room, which come replete with revolving beds, gold-plated iPads in every room, a selection of 17 different types of pillows, mosaic tiling, a marble jacuzzi, and a private butler on each floor. The hotel staff is so committed to luxury that part of their training includes watching episodes of Downton Abbey.