Review: Afternoon Tea At At.mosphere Burj Khalifa Dubai

Introduction
Emirates First Class Dallas to Dubai
Two Suites At The Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Exploring Abu Dhabi
Exploring Dubai
High Tea At at.mosphere In The Burj Khalifa
You Can Take Your Mom To Singapore But You Can’t Make Her Eat
Thoughts On Traveling With Infrequent Travelers


One of my guilty pleasures when traveling is sampling High Teas around the world. It’s such a ridiculous tradition (“Why yes, I’d love an entire tower of cake in the middle of the afternoon. Why not?”), but it’s fun anyway. Especially because a full afternoon tea tends to be a lengthy endeavor, and it’s rare to just sit down for two hours in the middle of the day to talk.

While there are numerous options for afternoon teas in Dubai, my mom also wanted to have a meal at at.mosphere, the tallest restaurant in the world. We decided to kill two birds with one stone (and save spend an obscene amount of money in the process), and booked High Tea at the Burj Khalifa for our last day in Dubai.

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I thought the timing was rather brilliant — I made our reservation for 2:30PM, which would allow us to linger at the Park Hyatt in the morning. The Burj Khalifa is adjacent to the Dubai Mall, which meant we could spend a few hours browsing the shops before heading to the airport for our redeye flight to Singapore.

Booking afternoon tea at the Burj Khalifa

This entire trip was booked rather last minute, but I was able to secure a reservation just a few days prior by emailing reservations@atmosphereburjkhalifa.com. High Tea is offered in the At.mosphere lounge between 12PM and 4:30PM daily.

Unlike afternoon tea at the Burj al Arab, At.mosphere doesn’t have set seating times. So you could make a booking for noon and stay for four and a half hours, though I’m not sure that is recommended.

This is as good a place as any to note that this is not a cheap outing. At all. When Ben took his Dad to lunch at this restaurant he summed it up thusly:

Now, it’s not cheap. And when I say it’s not cheap I mean it’s the most expensive place I’ve ever had lunch. Ever. By, like, a factor of five.

And that really applies to the afternoon tea as well. The prices are nearly all-inclusive (though one of the signature tea varieties has an up-charge, which seems unnecessary to me), and include the service charges and taxes. The per person costs depend on where you sit in the lounge:

  • AED 580 (~$158 USD) for a window table
  • AED 530 (~$145 USD) for a non-window table

We chose a seat by the window, because let’s face it — you’re already paying hundreds of dollars for freakin’ hot water and finger foods. So what’s an extra $25ish at that point?

Afternoon tea at At.mosphere

Upon arriving at the Armani Hotel we made our way through the building to the private At.mosphere lobby. Our names were checked against a list, we were offered mints for the elevator ride, and were whisked away to the dedicated elevator.

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The At.mosphere Restaurant is on the 122nd floor, and the elevator is fast. I was grateful for the mint, but my ears were still unsettled when we reached the top.

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The seating arrangements in the lounge are very soft and cozy, and the floor to ceiling windows mean even the seats set away from the windows have a decent view.

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Even with less than lovely weather you still get a sense of how very high up the restaurant is. Those buildings look downright tiny!

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We were seated immediately, and then presented with a bottle of Luc Belaire Rosé.

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I always enjoy Rosé, and this one was quite nice. The bottle was left on ice near our table, and our glasses were refilled throughout the afternoon, which was a nice touch. Most of the high teas I’ve attended have offered a single glass of something sparkling to start, so if you’re looking for some “value” here, we may have just found it. 😉

I can’t believe I have been to enough afternoon teas to know how many glasses of bubbly are typical. Mercy.

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From there, we were presented with tea menus. Both the “traditional” and vegetarian options had two choices for the main course, followed by six pages of beverages (click through to see the full menu):

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The berries and cream were brought out to start, and were of course accented with gold leaf. Anything else would have been barbaric, I’m sure.

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At our waiter’s suggestion we ordered a “Red Sand” and “Miraculous Mandarin,” both of which were delicious:

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An assortment of sandwiches and savories were brought out as well:

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The sandwiches were followed by the mains (we ordered one of each just for variety):

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And oh my goodness everything was delicious.

I don’t typically have high expectations for the actual food at an afternoon tea — I tend to feel it’s more about the experience and the presentation — but everything we tried was very high quality.

By this point we had been in the lounge for about an hour, and had made our way through most of the bottle of Rosé. I don’t think the service is intended to take that long, but we weren’t in any particular rush.

We then ordered actual tea. Mom selected the “Red of Arabia” while I chose the “Indian Nights.”

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I think my mom may have ordered tea just because she was excited about the sugar service.

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Along with the tea came the tower of cakes and scones, which was beautifully presented:

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I mean, just look at the layering on that cake:

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We ended up lingering in the lounge until nearly 5:30 — we had a ton of food to eat, my mom had to exchange life stories with all the staff including the bathroom attendant, etc. Eventually the bill was presented, and I was very excited to at least be getting double points. 😉

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After we’d finished, we took the opportunity to enjoy the evening, and the twilight views of the Burj Khalifa.

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It’s only a short walk from the Burj Khalifa to the fountains of the Dubai mall, which made for a perfect finale to the outing.

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Burj Khalifa afternoon tea bottom line

If you’re looking at having an extravagant high tea in Dubai, and are comfortable with the expense, this is a great option. The pricing is comparable to the Tea at the Burj al Arab, and there is something fun about being in a restaurant 122 stories above the ground.

Compared to the price of lunch or dinner I think the afternoon tea is probably the better “value,” particularly if you don’t have foodies in your group. While the offerings at the tea were delicious, nothing was particularly unapproachable.

It’s still ridiculously expensive, and probably not something I’d do again, but it was awfully fun.

Has anyone been to afternoon tea at At.mosphere? What did you think?

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Comments

  1. I am impressed they gave you the whole bottle of Luc Belaire. I have ordered that bottle before for 75+ dollars at less impressive places.

  2. Awesome! It really seems like something you must try once when in Dubai!

    It’s expensive, but at the same time, for the amount of food and drinks you get, there seems to be a lot of value out of it. And when you factor in that you typically pay a high price to get to an observatory on top of a high building, without being served any food, the value for the food and drinks is even higher.

    Thanks for the review!

  3. I always wondered, Is this a so to speak ‘stuffy’ place when it comes to attire? I assume it is dress to impress….is a dress code somewhat enforced and if so what is it for guys/gals?

  4. Beautiful pictures! Also great to know they have a veggie option. Always annoyed when I go to an expensive restaurant and find myself confined to the most uninspiring creation on the menu.

  5. Nice review Tiffany! I’ve been there with my gf earlier this year. I fully agree that its worth the experience. There is a dress code for both men and women (smart elegant), but it is not very strict (as long if you wear long pants and leave your flipflops at home it will be ok). I would recommend to visit this place (highest restaurant in the world!) if you go to Dubai.

  6. Wow, a whole bottle of rose! It actually looks like a better value than afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab. Hmmm…

  7. Great review Tiffany!

    I’m more excited for my trip in October now. I’ll be having afternoon tea here as well, and at the Burj Al Arab.

  8. Thanks, great review, I will now plan on doing this myself. Am enjoying these posts on Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I hope there are more.
    Does having tea there pretty much remove the need to go up in the building otherwise?

  9. @ bob — Probably more so in the evening. We both wore longer sundresses, but there were plenty of people in what I’d consider “resort wear.” All the gentlemen had collared shirts, but some were short sleeved, etc.

  10. @ Kate — Thanks! I would think so. I’ve been to the observation deck, and it’s not significantly more interesting, so I wouldn’t do both.

  11. Great review! My best friend and I have made a tradition of having afternoon tea on every trip we take. I would love to hear what some of your favorite locations are!

  12. Great review, this looks like something I will have to try if/when I make it out to Dubai. Thank for taking the time to put this together!

  13. Great review. If my feedback is worth anything, I like the inclusion of some experience write-ups in addition to Ben’s reviews of flights and hotels.

    For what you had in terms of experience, food and beverage, I really don’t think that was a bad price. It’s a splurge, sure, but you can spend $150 a head for something far less memorable in the US if you’re not careful.

    So I have to go there – were there any kids? Was there any outright ban on children? My daughter would love this and I’d love to bring her in a couple of years when she could remember it.

  14. Very good review but then your reviews always are very full so no surprise.

    Seems like a very odd “Afternoon Tea” to me though. What kind of Tea starts at 12 noon? This is more like an odd Lunch/Tea hybrid. And the “main course”? What’s that all about? Plus points for getting all the rose.

  15. Pretty weak selection of teas but everything else looks wonderful. The main does seem a little incongruous. Of course from an Australian perspective the lack of a meat pie and a sausage roll is a glaring omission, with my British hat on, where’s the clotted cream?

  16. @ Ed — There weren’t any children, but I don’t think it would be inappropriate as long as they’re well-behaved. I often see younger children at other “fancy” teas, and it always seems like they’re enjoying it.

  17. @ Leo — Hah, agree it is very early, but having a hot dish isn’t unusual for a High Tea. In fact, I had someone at the Hotel Des Indes in Den Haag go on forever about how a “proper” High Tea should have a hot dish, and if it didn’t then it was properly called an “Afternoon Tea.” They were quite passionate about it, but i have no idea if they were correct.

  18. @ Ed — Hah, they did bring clotted cream along with the cakes and scones. I just neglected to take picture!

  19. You might be right about the “High Tea” business – my mother used to distinguish between the two, I think it did involve something hot, but I think it was a bit more simple like something toasted. Anyway Tea be it high or afternoon is my favourite “meal” but then I do have a sweet tooth. My vertigo would keep me out of that particular establishment however!

  20. @ Dave D — Roast beast indeed, with Yorkshire pudding. The second dish had marinated and grilled prawns with a pasta.

  21. I’ll be visiting Dubai in January and now trying to decide between High Tea at Burj Khalifa or at the Burj el Arab.

    I’ll be by myself … so if they give you and entire bottle of champagne to enjoy at the Burj Khalifia it might be worth it to go there!

    Do you get any privileges to visit the observation desk as well before/after your visit for the Tea service? I would doubt it but just curious.

  22. Great review. I’m thinking of visiting UAE, but would be a middle aged woman traveling alone. I’m not easily scared or paranoid, but I am a little anxious about this area, what with all the clothing and alcohol rules. Any tips (other than this spot for tea, which is now absolutely on the list)?

  23. Oh, and please post about Singapore. I’ll be there in mid-September, and have no ideas at all of what to do.

  24. Great post! $150 seems well worth it for a splurge when you get such a view and high quality food and drink. And the chance to take Mom: priceless.

  25. Thanks for this trip report Tiffany. I’ll be in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai for the first time this November by way of taking the long way home from Sydney in an Etihad First Apt. I have booked tea at the Burj Al Arab based on Ben’s review but this series has certainly given me ideas on what else to do. Great pictures by the way. Any special camera or just a point and shoot?

  26. @ mbh — Thanks! Did you happen to see the earlier post in this series? It’s not something I worry about too much, to be honest, but I made a few notes there.

  27. @ puckjeff — Sounds like a fun trip! I just got lucky with the photos, honestly — these were all with my phone.

  28. @Tiffany

    Maybe it’s just the computer I’m viewing this on, but the text on menu pictures seems smaller and difficult to read when you put them in the image flip thing.

    Work reasonably well on normal pictures, but perhaps not on text?

  29. Just stumbled on this excellent review, thank you Tiffany!
    I’m planning a stopover in Dubai next September on our honeymoon trip and will definitely make a reservation. One thing I wanted to ask is in order to see the dubai mall fountain show on our way out with good lighting, what time is the best to leave the restaurant? 5.30 like you did or a little later?
    Thanks!

  30. @ Leonardo — My pleasure! I think the first show is at 6PM, but the lighting will depend a bit on the time of year.

  31. Thank you Tiffany! I just checked on the Dubai Mall website and you are absolutely correct, for the evening they start at 6 pm with a show every 30min up to 11pm.

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