What’s the most you would ever spend on a hotel for a night?

I’m considering a trip to Dubai, and of course one of the first things that comes to mind when I think Dubai is the Burj Al Arab, the world’s “seven star” hotel. Yes, it’s that absolutely ridiculous, blinged out, sail looking monster. They charge you just to visit it. The hotel is all suites, and the smallest one is around 1,800 square feet… yeah, you heard me right.

Just for fun I looked at their American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts rate, which includes a room upgrade, late check-out, breakfast, and a 50 minute massage. The rate was $1,149 plus the service charge and tax, or about $1,350 all-in. Yeah, that’s for a night.

For obvious reasons I’m saying to myself I shouldn’t even consider this, but then again, I almost always spend next to nothing on trips, since hotels and airlines are always covered on miles/points. A lot of people spend a ton of money when traveling on attractions, and given that Dubai is a city of glitz, what better “entertainment” cost than a night an the Burj, right?

Anyway, I’m going back and forth on this one. I certainly could use points for the Park Hyatt or Grand Hyatt and then do a night here, but then I say to myself “I might as well just book a revenue stay at the Park or Grand Hyatt for five nights, save the points, upgrade to a suite, and earn points.” Or just save money altogether and book the Park Hyatt or Grand Hyatt on points and call it a day… I spend enough money on travel!

So what say you, readers? What’s the most you would ever spend on a hotel for a night?

Comments

  1. Oh, don’t. It’ s only one night. That’s a whole lot of money, unless you’re rolling in dough. That’s a business class trip on LH to Europe using US miles bought on sale.

  2. The downside of stretching yourself to a night at the Burj is that you may end up feeling like a ‘5 star person in a 7 star hotel’, similar to the video you posted below!

    Once inside, the price of everything will make you wince. I’d agree with Mark. Stay somewhere more reasonable and do lunch at the Burj.

  3. Just do it !!! It’s probably a once in a lifetime experience and thus worth spending the money on. (I personally run this type of decision through the “If I were to die tomorrow would I be upset for not spending a night there?” filter)

  4. Buy the night through a german travel consolidator like DER Tours, Meiers Weltreisen or the like and you’ll get it MUCH cheaper.

  5. Do it. Totally worth it and I’m sure if you plan the trip right you could get 1400 or more in other upgrades comps vouchers etc…

  6. I’d stay at the Grand Hyatt and upgrade to a suite, I spent 8 nights in one of their suites earlier this year and it was huge. They included transfers to and from the airport, the minibar, access to the lounge and butler service upon request. I loved it. Saw the Park Hyatt from afar and looks amazing too. I’d save the money and use it to buy miles later this year or something like that!

  7. I’d pass and just visit it if your that interested. I’ve heard having tea there is an alternative to lunch and less expensive. I think it takes you to a different part of the hotel as well. Lunch is on the bottom floor or underwater but tea time is on a higher floor. I was there in July and stayed at the Marriott Dubai Marina. I booked a single room but ended up with a crazy suite that was ~1,800 sqft. I think you’ll be pleased with whatever hotel you end up at.

  8. You can rationalize this however you want Ben, but at the end of the day, it’s still $1300!

    But if you do it, I think you should pay cash, American cash, in the form of GOLD coins. Seems like the locals would love the bling!

  9. The most I’ve ever spent on accommodation was $1200 per night, for two nights, at Pom Pom Camp in the Okavango Delta. It was a difficult decision, but ultimately it was well worthwhile (if only for the excitement of waking up with a hippo scavenging next to our luxury tent.) Of course, the price included all meals and two game drives per day.

    For the Burj al Arab, I wouldn’t waste the money (but that’s just me!)

  10. I’ve spent that much on a hotel room before, once in Vegas and the other in Bangkok.

    What the hell, do it.

    “30 years from now you will regret the things that you DIDN’T do, more than the things you DID do!”

    Believe me, I’m starting to see it now, and I’m only 30 🙂

  11. After staying in so many nice hotels for free using points it has really devalued the whole expensive hotel experience to me. For $1350 I’m sure I would be disappointed. On a side note, the Atlantis in Dubai has a fish tank view suite for something like $8k a night.

    We did a massage and tea at the Burj Al Arab for $150 a person. Include 30 minute massage, 7 course tea, and all day beach access. That’s the best way to see Burj Al Arab if you ask me.

    We stayed at the Ritz a few times, the Grand Hyatt, and Park Hyatt. Of those, the Park Hyatt was by far the best. Location – it’s not on the beach but on the river. Even using free nights, breakfast was free for Diamonds at an $80 p.p. value plus we got a room upgrade. I’d say it was one of the best hotel experience I’ve had (at it was “free”).

  12. It’s very easy for people here to encourage you–though I’m heartened to see a lot of them didn’t–but I personally think you’re out of your mind if you spend 1300 on one night. As many have reiterated, think of what you could do with that money. Fly to Ecuador and spend a week. Hell fly to Europe in March when it’s only 600$ to get everywhere. But don’t blow it on one night of your life, especially when there’s no woman involved 🙂

  13. Thanks for all the perspectives/ideas, folks!

    @ Mark — Is the restaurant at the top of the hotel, or is it the underwater one?

    @ Baggageinhall — LOL! VERY good point.

    @ Mike — I’ll look into that, thanks.

    @ Richard — While you seem to continue to want to attack me for that, did you bother reading my response to the last comment you left?

    @ Stephen W. Thomas — Might just have to go with that. Good deal for a massage and tea, not to mention beach access. Might instead split time between Park and Grand Hyatt.

    Thanks again, everyone! And if anyone has more thoughts, by all means, let me know!

  14. I think when you pay cash money for luxurious rooms, you’re bound to be dissapointed.

    After 3+ years of free hotels and flights, using points, on the other hand, I still feel like I’m pulling a fast one on the hotel when I stay on points and have a hard time being disspointed.

    Save the cash… use your Hyatt points.

  15. If spending the money does not take away else in your life (meaning, you can truly afford the nightly rate), would you be satisfied with just seeing the inside or is staying there what is important? If you don’t stay there, would you always wonder? Will spending that amount cause you guilt or give you regrets? I think those are the questions for you to answer.

    There is a trip report on FT in which one of his stops was in Dubai. He did the breakfast buffet. The title says something about Buffett in it (he featured eating as much as flying in the report). It might give you some insight to if eating there would satisfy your curiosity. If you can’t find it, email me and I can dig it up.

  16. A friend went there for dinner, and when about the rooms (I think the front desk ended up giving them a tour of a few rooms–who knows what they asked), was offered the room for the night at half price. That could be worth it. As for tea, there’s two–one in the atrium, and one near the top. There is a (dinner) restaurant “underwater” that you take a “submarine” to. Regardless of what you choose, if you want to visit, you have to make a reservation, no walk ins.
    Second suggestion of Grand Hyatt.
    My favorite hotel (other than on safari, which is totally different) that is worth some serious $, is the Oberoi Amarvillas in Agra. Hotel is incredible, all rooms face the Taj, Fine Hotels upgrade was great for me.

  17. Hello there. Recently came back from Dubai and had high tea at the Burj Al Arab which was a fun experience. I also visited a suite which was impressive but nowhere near worth $1300. The hotel is fabulous from the outside but fairly gaudy inside and WAY over the top. If you like lean lines and clean minimalist looks (of say, a Park Hyatt), you’ll be horrified at the Burj. I stayed on the Walk on JBR (Sofitel) and had a great 5 stars experience for barely more cash (£1000 for 8 nights). Definitely stay on the beach though (Jumeirah). There are cheaper hotels inland but transport is painful in Dubai… Do go see the Atlantis and Aquaventure park – a fun day out on the Palm. Hope you have a great stay!

  18. Didn’t you just write about becoming jaded? Save your money. You’re only twenty. How much pleasure are you really going to get from a $1000+ room in one night? What are you going to do with 1800 square feet? Wouldn’t you rather spend your time exploring Dubai?

  19. I lived in Dubai for 2 years and had X-mas eve dinner in the resturant at the top of the Burj (Al Matuna or somthing like that) . I’d recommend what others have said. If you’re in Dubai, have tea there, take a tour of the place, eat at the resturant at the top BUT save you’re $1400 for other adventures (somewhere in South America perhaps). I really suspect someone who has travelled like yourself would be disappointed. That said, if you could cut the rate in half………….

    SafeTravels!

  20. Been there twice for a high tea. The hotel is very touristic with busses full of Japanese coming every hour. It isn’t so exclusive and serene anymore. Ofcourse facilities and service would be top notch but hope this isn’t yet another overrated luxury thing.

  21. I refuse to spend no more then $300 for a room night. Granted, I also like to experience the best of the best hotels but for rock bottom prices. Look around and see if you can negotiate a better walk up rate?

    Granted, the selfish part of me wants you to stay there and chronicle all your adventures to and from in another one of your kick ass trip reports.

  22. If you can swing it, I say go for it! I’ve always wanted to try it myself, and I’m sure that when I finally make it to Dubai that I will have to experience at least one night there.

    However, if you do go for it book through a Virtuoso agent who can personally call on your behalf to VIP you. You’ll get the FH&R amenities and more at the same rate.

    If you don’t know a great Virtuoso agent, I can recommend a few.

  23. Ben,
    This is a business expense. You’re investing in a TR for the viewership of your audience. The (full sized) Bvlgari products offered in the room are worth money and the 50 minute massage is an incredible deal. Although it’s sticker-shocking, the value is great relative to its retail component. If the Park Hyatt is “F” class, this is certainly “R”. Subtract the rate of what the alternative would cost from $1149 and write this off as the ultimate upgrade.

    My .02 (and I like my change)

    Justin Ross Lee

  24. When you are talking about $1400 for one night, unless you are very wealthy, it is not really a one night stay in the hotel, it is an entire adventure;
    Would I pay $ 1400 for an adventure – absolutely.
    It is a hotel stay you will never forget and will talk about for many years.
    Once you have forgotten all the other hotels, upgrades, suites and flights; this one night stay with you for a long time.
    Could the money be spent “better” or “wiser” somewhere else? most likely but your entire obsession of flights, miles, points, vouchers is non-conventional to say the least so why worry about a “wiser” use of your money.
    To make this short: GO FOR IT

  25. Write to the Burj’s public relations folks and tell them you are doing a travel article for your blog. They are well known for comping nights to journalists and rolling out the red carpet and more.

  26. I used to work at a hotel where we charged people $10,000CAD for a night in our penthouse suite. It wasn’t worth it, but it would have been worth $1500 if you had it to spend.

    I usually go with ” I do not regret the things I’ve done, but those I did not do” and think of the amenities!

  27. The advice to write this off as a business expense can’t be sound advice. It is a very long stretch to suggest that a $1300 hotel is a reasonable and necessary business expense when there are plenty of cheaper alternatives, and unless I’m mistaken this is a pleasure trip not a business trip so that makes the case even shakier. You don’t want to get in trouble with the IRS.

  28. We had the same debate a few years ago when we went to DXB. At that time the Burj was about $800 compared to the GH & PH at about $400. Ended up doing the GH on FFNs upgraded to Club (confirmed in advance with an offer to pickup at the airport – airport transfers for club guests are complimentary). GH is probably more DXB glitz than the PH (never been there – but it appears to be more low key). Do the desert safari (where they pick you up in an SUV to go for a drive in the dunes, short camel ride, dinner at an “oasis).

  29. re: Justin, AS: While it’s true the IRS doesn’t care for overly lavish expenses, it doesn’t specifically disallow expenses just because they occur at an expensive hotel or restaurant. You’d need to make a strong case though for business purpose (ie extensive trip report, able to advise your points clients on whether to stay there or not, etc.). Presumably the room doesn’t cost more even if someone else is staying with you. For meals, on the other hand, you can only deduct 50%.

    The rate is at least a lot lower than hotel suites at the Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton Central Park and other 5-star properties in NYC.

    Btw, stay tuned for a chance to win NYC suites when TravelSort launches auctions late this month. . .

  30. The problem is that the Burj is tacky as hell inside. If you wanted to see one of the world’s great hotels, the Burj isn’t it. Even in the UAE, the Emirates Palace is surely nicer, right? And if you want big views, why not something like the new hotel in Hong Kong, or the Shanghai Hyatt?

  31. Lucky,
    You have to ask yourself that. Is it really worth it? Am I going to regret not staying at Burj 10 years from now? If I were you, I’d do it and not regret it 10 years from now.

    The most I spent on hotel was $380 in Moscow.

  32. I have visited Dubai twice for more than 20 days. The price of the hotel is NOT worth it. I would stay at the Hyatt or even better the Hilton Jumeirah Beach hotel which has a great location on the walk. If you want to experience the Burj, go for tea or dinner. For $1250, you could get multiple nights at the Dorchester in London or Park Hyatt Tokyo

  33. @Justin – tax deductions are not “writeoffs” or dollar for dollar tax credits. They are deductions from taxable income, not from the tax itself. Assuming it meets the IRS test of a valid business expense (e.g., primarily for business, bona fide business purpose), his tax benefit is the product of his marginal tax rate and room cost. Assuming a marginal federal rate of 25%, he would be saving $337.50, not the entire $1,350.

  34. Waste of money IMO. No room would be worth $1300 to me as a single traveller – I really don’t care if I get suites even when I travel alone.

  35. I’m surprised no one has put two and two together and guessed that Dubai is the destination that Lucky alluded to in a recent post about an upcoming trip in March.

    Am I right Lucky? If so, you even managed to use your United miles for an Emirates First Class ticket, didn’t you?

  36. I’d go for staying at one of the Hyatt’s and using the left-over cash to explore Dubai. Who know’s maybe they’ll start running a BWB promo or something while youre there.

  37. Lucky,

    You have to do it big…real big. I was the one who said the Emirates 380 to Dubai. Thr mst I ever paid for a hotel was 1.3k. It was in Dubai at the Address Downtown Burj Dubai for their Spa Suite. Worth Every Penny. When I get remarried I will spend a night at the Burj Al Arab.

    So few no what it is like to do it real big. Keep it up.

    G

  38. I would never be able to justify spending $1300 for a night at a hotel, when there are numerous Hyatts in town that can be had for around $200 a night.

    The most I have ever spent on a hotel is $220 in Vegas and only paid more than $200 for a hotel only 3 times out of 250+ stays. While it would certainly be an amazing place to stay, in my shoes I would rather have an extra $1100 in my checking account. $1100 is almost a year of car insurance or 10% of what some new cars cost.

  39. Max I have spent on a single hotel night is around $500.

    I disagree with all the “once in a lifetime” comments. You don’t take “once in a lifetime” trips, so the opportunity to stay at the Burj al Arab will reappear to you in the future. The tea/lunch/dinner suggestions are a great value for your purposes.

    There is a possibility in the future that justifying $1400/night hotel stays will present itself to you. TravelSort could take off to the point that it will pay for such reviews, you could be hired to write a travel review of Burj al Arab for an established publication, or someone could post a $14/night rate mistake on Hotel Deals.

  40. Lucky,

    This time from a proper keyboard. Many people hate on the Burj Al Arab…because they cannot either afford it or cannot justifiy staying there. Many people will tell you to just go there for afternoon tea, breakfast, dinner, etc. Then they will tell you that they were not impressed…from the comfort of their boring hotel room. Just like someone would say the same thing about the Park Hyatt Tokyo who went to the New York Bar for a drink…they think they got to experience the splendor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo…but no they saw and felt nothing.

    That is what the Al Arab is like. You have to stay there and get a feel for it. Why stay at a Hyatt or Westin or something else when you can stay at one of the four most impressive hotels in the world (The Kempenski in a Ski suite, the Armani Hotel, The Al Arab or the Address Downtown in the Spa Suite) you cannot get that type of view or feeling anywhere else in the world. That is what Duabi is about.

    You do not go to Dubai to do it mid-size or a little bit…you go to Dubai to do it Large…to do it REAL BIG. For real…Dubai is very much like Dallas…unless you are staying at one of those places…please my friend…DO IT REAL BIG.

    G

  41. Well I have been in the hotel industry for nearly 25 years and can say that
    people spend on hotels, what they earn themselves in one day. For example if a person makes $60,000 a year, then they can afford to pay about $140-$150 a night for a hotel room, if a person makes $1 million a year then staying in a $2,000 a night presidential suite would not hurt them one bit. Just divide what you make by 365 days in a year..Hotel rooms and suites costing $500 a night and up cater to the top 2% of the population, most people can’t afford hotels in that price range, sure some people splurge for honeymoons or family vacations, but as a rule $500 a night and up for a hotel room is reserved for a wealthy select few. Hope this helped.. Allen J. Womack

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