By Melody Mercado & Jennifer Pelaez
Dubai is one of those places in the world that takes luxury to the next level. Just when you thought the zenith of luxury equated to 5 stars, they redefine the standards with a new 7 star mega resort in the works. Nothing summates the pinnacle of man’s desires and capabilities more than Dubai, which has become the most luxurious and decadent epicenter of the Middle East.
Soaring 1,053 feet over the Persian Gulf, on an artificial island off Jumeirah Beach, the iconic Burj Al Arab Jumeirah epitomizes Dubai’s opulence integrated with sheer design genius. Resembling the profile of an Arabian sailing ship this majestic structure pays homage to Dubai’s seafaring heritage while also embracing modernity and symbolizing its ambitious construction projects and success moving forward into the future. As one of the tallest single structure hotels, Burj Al Arab is simply individual, inspired, impressive and has taken design and technology forward into the next millennium. Illuminated at night by choreographed lighting representing water and fire, The Burj encapsulates the Emirate’s ethos and is truly a tribute to the decadence and first-class service for which Dubai has cornered the market on so well.
Whether arriving in style by private chauffeured Rolls Royce, BMW 7, or in the fashion of the rich and famous, by helicopter onto its 79 foot wide helipad, the distinct Burj Al Arab can be seen miles away. Upon crossing the gently curving road bridge linking the mainland to the hotel one can only anticipate the interior is as breathtaking as the facade. The nearly 600-foot-high lobby atrium is equally splendid, richly decorated in sumptuous fabrics and majestic columns. Emulating the quality of palatial interiors, it is an expression of wealth and lavishness.
Consistently voted the world’s most luxurious hotel, the Burj Al Arab pushes the boundaries of extravagance, scale and excellence, deserving of its popular description as a 7 star wonder, although its formal rating is five-star deluxe, the highest the international rating system offers. And for good reason, at the Burj every wish is your command with an army of highly trained personal butlers and a staff-to-suite ratio of eight-to-one ensuring every need and desire will be met. Their hospitality and superior service redefine excellence.
The 202 suite-only duplex accommodations offers discreet in room check-in, a private reception on every floor along with floor-to-ceiling windows offering spectacular Arabian Gulf views, mosaic-tiled bathrooms, Hermès products and a pillow menu with every imaginable option. You will surely feel like a sheikh in your own palace with interiors adorned in 24-karat gold, lavish textures and exuberant colors. Other opulent amenities standard for all suites include 21-inch iMac, remote controlled environment including curtains, TV, in-suite music and lights and an exclusive 24-carat gold iPad for use as a “virtual concierge.” For those seeking the ultimate imperial treatment, The Royal Suite even has a revolving bed and a private cinema.
In keeping with the superior quality and luxurious surroundings, one need not venture out of the hotel for a world class dining experience. With eight signature restaurants to choose from, even the most finicky eaters will find a cuisine they crave. Each restaurant is not only about the well thought out menu but an overall fusion of gastronomical delight and dazzling ambiance including the seafood centric Al Mahara, formal afternoon tea at Sahn Eddar, and haute Asian fusion at Junsui. Soak up the vibrant atmosphere in the elegant spaces dispersed throughout the Burj from the atrium all the way to the skyline. The astounding Al Mahara undersea Restaurant not only serves delectable high-end seafood but is recognized as one of the ten best hotel restaurants in the world having successfully created an underwater heaven, designed with a huge central dining room aquarium with sand tiger sharks, rays and other sea creatures.
For those not daunted by extreme heights, an elevator ride to the top of the Burj should be your next stop. The Al Muntaha Skyview Restaurant boasts awe-inspiring views, situated over 600 feet above the sea. It is an elegant fine dining restaurant serving imaginative Modern European cuisine complete with magnificent panoramic views over Dubai and beyond. For after dinner cocktails the Skyview Bar is the perfect way to end the evening with views over the Gulf, including the artificial Palm Jumeirah Island and The World archipelago.
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
An architectural and engineering marvel in itself, the Palm Islands, a man-made archipelago off the coast of Dubai, are a sight to behold. Extending into the Persian Gulf, perfectly geometric and pristine, Palm Jumeirah Island sets the stage for one of the most beautiful resorts, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. Imbued with an air of elegance and sophistication, it overlooks a private stretch of beach and speaks of luxury and decadent tranquility.
Inspired by the famous palaces of the Ottoman era, one cannot help but feel like a royal ready for some spoiling. The soaring lobby supported by massive gold-leaf-covered pillars and multi-colored crystal chandeliers set the tone for the rest of the grandiose and luxurious resort. Turkish artworks and stunning murals conjure up images of this grand and magnificent era with sublime marbles, exquisitely decorated woods and accents of mosaics and hand painted frescoes.
The 441 rooms, suites, and private villas are equally as striking and embellished with plush brocades and silks, beautiful furniture, and deluxe amenities, including stately bathrooms with oversized rectangular marble tubs. Still, if you require more space, why not indulge yourself and upgrade to one of the Royal Residences, which come with their own private lagoon pools with direct access to the beach.
Food connoisseurs will surely feel at home with an array of ten dining venues to choose from. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray’s signature restaurant Amala embraces authentic Northern Indian delights while Imperium serves international cuisine with a French twist. Alternatively, feast on traditional Arabic and Lebanese dishes at Al Nafoorah, and be sure to partake in the nightly Arabic entertainment. For cocktail lovers, head over to Voda Bar and the C Club, both sophisticated venues for drinks. With such excellent evening diversions like supperclub, MusicHall Theatre-night club, and dance and cultural entertainment, guests can continue to unwind and enjoy their stay without the need to leave resort grounds.
Not to be missed, at the heart of Jumeirah Zabeel Saray lies the award-winning Talise Ottoman Spa, one of the largest spas in the Middle East, boasting 42 individual spa rooms and suites, an indoor swimming pool and three authentic Turkish Hammams. Relax and get pampered with a selection of signature treatments, such as an Arabian Rose or Gold Mask Hammam. Afterwards, bask in the sauna, laze in the floating baths, or refresh yourself in the beautiful infinity pool overlooking the perfectly golden beach.
To truly experience dizzying heights visit the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world reaching 2,722 feet, and was featured prominently in the movie Mission Impossible- Ghost Protocol where Tom Cruise actually dangled outside 123 stories off the ground or 1,700 feet above ground. The design is derived from patterns in Islamic culture including the spiral minaret and is a mixture of residential, hotel, and office space. At the Top can give you a similar view without the danger on the Observation Deck that gets off at floor 124, with a narrated elevator journey chronicling the history of Dubai that travels at 10 meters per second. Admire the 360 degree views of the city, desert, and ocean that can be seen through floor to ceiling windows or along the outside terrace along the perimeter as you ponder what can be accomplished with endless amounts of wealth.
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