How is it possible that I came away from a tea thinking “that was worth the $200 price tag?”
This post isn't so much about the Skyview Bar tea as it is of the entire experience visiting the Burj Al Arab in Dubai and it isn't so much a thoughtful review as it is an expression of my emotional attachment to this hotel. If you're interested in visiting, you can send an email to the Skyview bar contact email listed on the hotel website.
Cost & Reservations
The experience started online. I booked my reservation for the the SkyView Bar about four months in advance because I thought it would book up (but that was excessively early). It was AED 620 per person plus AED 100 for the window per table. So for the tea for one it came to exactly $196.03 with today’s exchange rate. Now the price has increased (again) to 650 AED per person, so about $10 more.
The reason I decided to book an absurdly priced tea is because you can’t go inside the world famous hotel without a purpose - you need to be staying or dining there to gain access. Dining at the Skyview Bar is probably the cheapest way to accomplish this (though I'm not suggesting it's cheap!) and if you decide to bite the bullet, you are in for a treat. (On the other hand if you had $8500 per night to spare for a room, you may as well stay in the Presidential suite!)
Arrived at the Gate Looking Like a Mess
Upon arrival, I looked a bit like a hot mess. I traveled the entire previous day in South Africa, took a red eye to Dubai landing at 5 AM, bussed to Abu Dhabi after a chaotic morning running around the airport, dressed like a Puritan idiot, taxied to Dubai, and then finally arrived at the gate of the luxurious Burj Al Arab.
All of this on one shower.
At the gate, I strode in confidently, but the employee stopped me and asked if I had a reservation. I gave him my details and walked through. Then, another attendant saw me a few yards in and basically chased me down and said “Miss! Miss! You need a reservation!” (This shit always happens to me because I always look like a walking disaster). I had to again explain that I looked like a slob, yes, but I still belonged.
I walked into the lobby. It is so over-the-top. I can’t explain it so I’ll just show pictures:
Not shown: The (really cool!) uniforms of the employees, the timed fountain, and my imposter syndrom.
I walked up the front steps and found a bathroom on the second floor. This would be where I changed into a human woman.
One thing that struck me about the bathroom was that there was someone tending to it basically at all times. I felt a bit awkward because I was in there for so long, but every time I used one of the perfectly folded hand drying towels from the perfect triangle of drying towels, the service lady would come in and replace it so that it remained a perfect triangle (and never a perfect triangle minus the top towel because that would have just been awful). She also flushed some toilets for some stanky people who don’t know basic principles of bathrooms. I took a lot of pictures of the bathroom so I also don’t know the basic principles of bathrooms.
It was impressive.
I walked straight through to the back of the hotel where an elevator bay would lead me up to the Skyview bar (I tried to take the one for hotel rooms, but a man working there redirected me). There was a reception and a woman with an official looking binder in front of those elevators who took my name and invited me to have a seat on a really cool couch that I can't afford while I waited for the elevator to arrive for my reservation.
Me to me: “Fancy.”
Me to me in response: “Am I sure I'm allowed to sit here?”
Finally, it was my turn, along with a couple, to head up to the Skyview Bar. The elevator went SO FAST, taking us 200 meters above sea level to the 27th floor with a view of the ocean the whole way. Again, we were all quite impressed.
Finally, we stepped out. There were two people there to greet someone from both parties. Since I was flying solo, the hostess offered me a selection of trendy magazines to choose from as my company, and I chose Kendall Jenner on the cover of a magazine and she would hang with me for the duration of the tea, now that I was a high class lady.
Looking around, everything was blue with green accents and the bar almost blended in to the ocean outside, visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows. From the window you could just make out the world islands (or was it the palm islands? Like I said, you could just make them out) and could look straight down onto the beach below. It was such an amazing view! I was in for a treat.
Once seated, I was immediately poured a glass of champagne, which was quite welcome. I also thought alcohol was illegal in Dubai for non-residents but I won’t tell if you won’t.
Then, there was a many-course tea with sandwiches, scones, desserts, and coffee - all with a gorgeous view.
What I think most impressed me, even more than the bougie treats, the stunning view, and the exemplary service was....drumroll please.... the attention to detail! The sugar holder and the tiered dishes were all SHAPED LIKE THE BURJ AL ARAB THE HOTEL WE WERE IN. I mean, come ON. It’s laughably over-the-top or as I think the kids would say "so extra."
I asked my server to take my photo and he committed - getting many angles (and shots with and without flash). I was quite happy that he was so dedicated to my Instagram.
Even though at that point I hadn’t eaten for like eleven hours, I couldn’t finish everything. I did, however, have a latte and two double-espressos and I owe my ability to staying awake the rest of the day to those three beauties. About an hour and a half later, it was sadly (so sadly) time to go.
Luckily this time I had the elevator all to myself, so I was able to properly fan girl out, making a video.
I broke the eleventh commandment and filmed horizontally on my phone. This is the most guilty I've felt in a long time.
On the way out, I decided to stop once more in my fav bathroom just because I loved it so much. On my journey some guy went full rich creep and yelled across the hallway "you are beautiful." Boo you guy.
Finally, it was time to leave. On the way back out the creepy guy said "Oh, you're leaving so soon?"
How did he know I usually spend 45 minutes minimum per sesh in the bathroom.
I was emailed a survey from the Burj so I obviously gave it a perfect score in every category. They actually emailed me a personalized response with the following message:
Dear [my last name, bonus points for correct spelling],
I am delighted to learn that your overall visit was enjoyable and we were able to create an ultimate experience for you. I have conveyed your compliments to all the staff members and they are certainly pleased to see that their efforts are so well appreciated.
Money Well Spent
The Burj is considered “The Only 7-star Hotel in the World.” This is something that isn’t even a thing, and that the hotel itself hasn’t perpetuated...guests just like it so much that this rumor exists. (I had to Google it since I thought it was true but there is no 7-star status possible, so it is all just the guest’s chatter!)
Hot Mess Tips
My advice is that if you get the opportunity #TreatYoSelf and DO IT.
Book months in advance. (You will also need to pay a few weeks in advance in order to keep your reservation).
Definitely pay for the window. The view is unbelievable and without the view you're just paying a lot for some scones.