The World’s Self Proclaimed 7-Star Hotel Isn’t As Expensive As It Used To Be

I’ve written in the past about the Burj Al Arab, which is the world’s self proclaimed seven star hotel, located in Dubai.

The hotel probably isn’t everyone’s style. I’ll take it a step further — it’s not my style. But Dubai is all about 90s glam, and this hotel is the epitome of that.

Burj-Al-Arab-Afternoon-Tea-06

You can’t even visit the hotel unless you’re staying there or have a reservation at one of their restaurants. I’ve had afternoon tea at the Skyview Bar several times, which is an insane experience. It’s the most over the top afternoon tea you’ll ever have, and is priced accordingly. The seven course afternoon tea with champagne retails for ~$150 per person. Half of the reason to do it is to be able to actually visit the iconic hotel.

Burj-Al-Arab-Afternoon-Tea-35

Anyway, in the past when I wrote about the Burj Al Arab, the cheapest rates I could find were ~$2,200 including taxes and fees. That’s obscene, though at the same time the entry level room at this hotel is an 1,830 square foot suite. Furthermore, the hotel has 1,600 employees, so the staff to suite ratio is a crazy 8:1.

Anyway, while still not “cheap,” reader Christian left the following comment in the “Ask Lucky” forum:

Am I crazy, or has the Burj Al Arab gone down considerably in price? I was using the Chase Ultimate Rewards book travel engine, and found that suites at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai during weekends in May 2017 were pricing at only $950 per night. Using the Sapphire Reserve to pay with points, that would allow you to spend roughly 60K to 65K Chase points to stay there. I’d love to see you review the hotel from a stay as opposed to visiting during the tea. Seems like an opportunity.

Rates do indeed seem to be much lower than in the past at the Burj Al Arab, at least over certain periods. This development is interesting for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that it reflects the current economic landscape in the UAE.

There are indeed rates of $950 per night, though personally I’d be more tempted to book a flexible rate of ~$1,050 through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, which would come with a room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a massage for two, 4PM guaranteed check-out, etc.

amex-fhr

If you’d otherwise pay for afternoon tea (which is ~$150 per person), and if you’d otherwise consider getting a massage somewhere else (which at a luxury hotel would be $100+ per person), and if you consider the value of breakfast, and if you’d otherwise stay at another five star hotel, the cost difference for the overall experience often isn’t that much.

Don’t get me wrong, ~$1,000 per night is still an obscene amount of money for a hotel. However, for a hotel that rarely had any sort of promotions (even in the peak of summer), a 50% drop in price on many dates is a pretty big adjustment.

Or if you’re looking to redeem points, redeeming ~65,000 Ultimate Rewards points for a one night splurge stay isn’t that horrible either.

Burj-Al-Arab-111

Bottom line

More than anything else I just find the trend of lower rates at the Burj Al Arab to be interesting. No, I’m not suggesting this is an amazing deal and everyone should suddenly stay there, but for those who are curious about this hotel, the current rates are the best I’ve seen in a long time. If you stay for one night and book through a program that gets you extra benefits, I think this is a deal that some would find worth the splurge, especially when you consider a base room is 1,800+ square feet.

Comments

  1. The style of the Burj was never timeless in design and they haven’t updated it. So dated and gaudy, doubtful that it even remains in the 5 star category.

  2. I believe the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, FL also considers itself to be a seven-star property. Would love to see a review of that place! 😛

  3. Burj Al Arab has offered a “UAE Residents” rate of around AED 4000 per night ($1100) pretty much every summer.

  4. The Jumeirah group had very poor financial performances in 2015 and 2016 – primarily due to fewer Russians and Saudis visiting due to low oil prices.

    They’ve been told to get back in shape, and part of that is becoming more price competitive.

    Told to me by someone in the know.

  5. $1,000 isn’t obscene for a hotel and I’m not entirely sure why you wrote that. $400 for a Holiday Inn Express in London or New York, which is a regular occurance during peak periods, may be obscene. I doubt you’d get a 1,800 sq ft suite at a regular Sheraton in a regular city for $1k.

  6. Ben, the rates you’re referring to fall over the period of Ramadan in the UAE. It is typical of hotels in this regions to drop pricing due to limited service accessibility during this time period.

  7. @ Raffles — It’s obscene in the sense that a vast majority of people in the world would never pay $1,000 per night for a hotel room. I’m not suggesting it’s obscene in the context of an 1,800 square feet, but incrementally most people don’t really value the premium for a suite. So most people aren’t going to pay $1,000 for a suite at a “regular” Sheraton. Again, everyone is different, but $1,000 for a one night hotel stay is still a LOT of money for a vast majority of people.

  8. Time to branch out. How about reviewing evverything luxury.

    Yachts, cruises, restaurants.

    You are loaded. Go for it!

  9. Can I book THE amex deal through your boyfriend since in europe we don’t have all THE luxury credit card deals!

  10. @ Eric — You do need an Amex Plat to book FHR, though he could book you a Virtuoso rate, which has virtually the same benefits and same price:

    — Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability, Suite upgrade from One Bedroom Suite to the next suite category (Panoramic Suite)
    — Daily buffet Breakfast for up to two in-room guests, served in restaurant
    — A complimentary 50-minute massage for up to two people, per room, once during stay
    — Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
    — Complimentary Wi-Fi

    The only difference is that late check out isn’t technically guaranteed, but in practice I’d suspect they’ll have no issues accommodating that.

  11. @petter it’s obvious you feel guilty.

    I really want lucky to review all that. Where do you find jealousy?

  12. Complimentary Wifi and breakfast are featured with any standard room booking. Early check in/late check out are also usually available. We’ve stayed there twice in the past couple of years as a family of four (from the UK). We’re not loaded but enjoy luxurious treats. No other hotel we’ve ever stayed at has come close to the standards of service we’ve experienced there. When you take into account the size of the “room”, the Hermes full size toiletries, the levels of service etc., on both occasions we have left feeling that we got incredible value for money. Have stayed in both the one bedroom entry level suite and the Club suite and would recommend the latter for just a little bit more. On both occasions we have managed to get a good deal just by being flexible with our dates. Was looking to go again this year, so will be having a look at possible dates in May.

  13. Price of afternoon tea has gone up to 620 AED, ~$170pp. Carvery course isn’t there anymore and was replaced by a quiche. I went in mid-December and felt like it was an awesome experience.

  14. Our family of 4 did a special UAE residents package a few years ago when it was “only” $900, including a whole bunch of extras. I would say we definitely got our money’s worth: 4 tickets to Wild Wadi (worth ~$280), 4 breakfasts ($200), anniversary cake and champagne (at least $100), and we took ALL the full size Hermes bath amenities: shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, perfume, and cologne (together worth about $400 at retail). Plus they upgraded us to an even better suite due to my status. In terms of the dollar value, we definitely came out ahead.

  15. There is a much cheaper and/or free way to visit the hotel also – make a reservation online at the skybar for their evening drinks service (~$100 per person, instead of the more expensive tea option). They don’t ask for a credit card really (atleast they didn’t ask me), but if they do, just give a card you’ll be cancelling before the reservation date.

    Print out the reservation, show it at the gate-check, enter. At that point, you can decide if you want to go up to the skybar for your reservation or just wander around the lobby for a bit and then leave.

    I’m not sure why no blogger talks about this, they all talk about the afternoon tea, when clearly there are easier and cheaper options to visit both the skybar or just the lobby area.

  16. If only you could get a 50% rebate on MR points for this! Spent 39K SPG x2 and $135 upgrade fee for a 175 sq. meter (1884 sq. feet) suite at Al Maha over Christmas with 28C/87F temperatures, it was expensive ($224 + 79K SPG with transportation to and from the airport) but a cool memory and comes with great food and activites included. However with 55C/120F temperatures in summer, I would not do it. [The 39K instead of 60K per regular suite is often offered around March and sometimes other times of the year]. So for that kinda cash or points I would choose Al Maha at a discount. Also we could have had 4 people feed and housed [only had 3 as 4th could not make it

  17. Any idea how booked this hotel is year round. With 202 rooms, i’d be curious if we are talking 50% or 90%.
    Anyone know?

  18. We went to Dubai last May and the best rate I could find at the Burj then was $1,600 a night, so it indeed has come down.

  19. The middle east is against and prosecuting gays like you. Say no to any products from these Muslim sh**t countries.

  20. Lucky – I assume you’ve booked this?

    It’s less than most flights you book for a similar amount of time.

  21. Jumeriah definitely needs to spend some money on that hotel. The decor is becoming very dated and it now pales in comparison to some of the glitzier properties which have opened in Dubai and Abu Dhabi – like the St Regis you reviewed a couple days ago.

  22. At least in the past they had full size Hermes toiletries, a nice souvenier worth quite a few $$$ to cover the costs.

  23. Lucky I’m with Raffles on this. How much have you spent at Aman properties in the past? And then there was that dreadful Casa di Volpe place – I know you didn’t pay it but you did quote a rate of €2000 per night and the place looked none too special.

    I find it amusing that Liz claims she’s “not loaded”. Twice at the Burj Dear? As a family of four?

  24. this hotel is sold frequently on german tv as part of a package trip. one week including etihad flight in economy, 4 nights hilton ras al-khaima and 3 nights burj al-arab is around 1,100$ including half board. so one night is less than 100$ room only.

  25. I went in 2006 and paid 850 a night (divided amongst my 2 friends and I). We left after 1 night because it was such a bust. All those low-paid foreigners they got working there don’t know anything. Butler service lol! Everyone assumes you get Alfred from batman but you just get some 26 year old Indian with a week of training, if that. I could care less about Hermes toiletries. It’s nice that to say that I stayed there because most people buy into the hype of this place but I won’t ever go back.

  26. @Ben, Hi Ben, I’m in Dubai at the moment (in Al Maha Resort) and the afternoon tea now cost 620 AED which is around $170 USD.

  27. Ha … the Burj is included in many package tours in Europe and i.e. in Germany can be booked with Neckermann Reisen and others for €983 as part of a package deal in high season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *