Today I was lucky enough to be invited for high tea and a tour at the famous Burj Al Arab. Rising from the gulf with the impression that it's about to sail away into the sky, this 321 metre tower is supposed to be the world's only seven star hotel. The exterior is truly a magnificent sight, yet the interior was not unlike a Vegas hotel; wildly coloured with clashing patterns and an abundant, flamboyant use of gold. Stepping through the door, I felt like I had entered some kind of fantastical palace— a small man in an embroidered uniform walked the lobby with a censer that filled the space with the most heavenly scent. Water leapt joyously from an enormous tiered fountain, and the light, oh the light— it could only be described as divine. It was another world, and with one look up through the 180 metre atrium, I felt my knees tremble.
There are 202 bedroom suites that go anywhere from $2000–$28,000 a night! Nearly all the fixtures and accents in the suites are either gold plated or gold leaf. The bathroom is stocked with Hermès products— and this I found rather amusing— there is a giant gilded mirror right over the bed. I suppose one might never notice the stunning views of the gulf and the city, what with the view from lying on your back!
The Burj Al Arab and nearby Jumeirah Beach Hotel have replaced what was once the Chicago Beach Hotel, where as a girl, I spent loads of time building sandcastles and swimming in the sea. During our brief return when I was fourteen, my best friend and I would laze away afternoons secretly sipping strawberry daiquiris and munching on fried kalamari before a dip in the water.