Immoral luxury in Dubai

Immoral luxury in Dubai

Everyone has heard about it. ”World’s only seven-star hotel”, ”World’s most expensive hotel”, “Consistently voted the world’s most luxurious hotel” are just some of the catching phrases used when referred to it. Lonely Planet’s “Globetrekker” visited it. Tiger Woods played golf on its helipad. Think Dubai and your imagination conjures up its sail-inspired silhouette. Burj al Arab, the (unofficial) symbol of luxury and decadence, otherwise known as the emirate of Dubai.
As is the case with every cliché, the ones surrounding Burj al Arab are only partly true. It is luxurious and expensive, but far from the most expensive hotel in the world, or even in Dubai. As no organization or formal body awards or recognizes any rating over five star deluxe, the claim of seven stars is a pure advertisement gibberish, with no real meaning to the frase. Still, the modern, elegant, 321m meters tall building on an artificial island surrounded by the waters of the Gulf is the worthy symbol of this fast-growing and modernizing emirate.
Wishing to add a touch of luxury to our otherwise so modest lives, in 2008 we decided to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday at the “cheapest” room at the Burj;  a real bargain of just USD2000.
Already the drive to the hotel gave us the feeling of luxury. The taxi promptly left the permanently congested streets of the city behind, and entered a much quieter neighbourhood. The hotel, clearly visible from the distance, grew with every meter, until its triangular shape loomed over the long drive-way. On entering the hallway, all our senses got under assault simultaneously, leaving us temporary numb and breathless. The eyes could not take in all the colours, the ears shut down to the music and the whisper of water in the numerous fountains, and the nose twitched at the mixture of incense, dates, and money dispersed in the air. The huge hallway, with its red carpets, green and blue honeycomb of the floors, and the gold covering every available surface, stood in stark contrast to the predominantly white and sober exterior of the building.
The “room” itself, a two-storey suite of 335m2, was as much as six times the size of the flat we lived in at that time. The first floor comprised a dining room, tiny but fully equiped kitchen (why? what for?), a toilet and a living room with an enormous TV-screen, all in tasteful decor of royal blue, red, and gold. A lot of gold.
burj_al_arab_living_room
A marble staircase led to the second floor, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Each of the mosaic-clad bathrooms was equipped with a jacuzzi, in which our personal butler could prepare one of the herbal aroma baths available from the bath menu for a humble sum of 1000 AED; penny pinchers by nature, we made our own bath later in the evening, with Hermes bath bombs provided for “free”.
burj_al_arab_bathroom
The butler , available 24/7, had other duties as well. He taught us to use the keyboard-sized remote control, operating the lights, the curtains, and a TV set sliding in and out of the tabletop. He filled in the check-in forms for us. He brought us coffee (70AED for two tiny cups). Finally, he and three of his colleagues sung my husband a birthday song, and presented him with red roses, a chocolate cake, and a set of three desserts.
In the evening, gorged on the cake, fruits, dates, and other “free” snacks made available in our room together with a “complimentary” bottle of wine, we took one of the gold-encrusted lifts up to Skyview Bar, suspended 200m above the waves of the Gulf. Not in the mood for a golden cup of world’s most expensive drink (27000AED), we chose one of the humblest items on the menu – a glass of beer, out of a truly impressive beer list. The beer came accompanied by yet more snacks, making the dinner totally unnecessary.
This night, soaked in luxury and comfort, I experienced how fast the divine wrath can hit. The almighty god of travellers, disgusted over my deadly sin against all things a traveller holds saint – dusty trail, old shoes, heavy backpack, cheap hotels, malaria – decided to punish me with a sudden outbreak of tonsillitis. Feverous and in pain, I spent half of the night awaken, turning about in the huge, soft bed. Still, the god did not achieve his goal – far from repented, I acquired a taste for luxury, breaking free from the sect of backpackers forever.
burj_al_arab_bedroom
Immoral luxury in DubaiImmoral luxury in Dubai
Closest neighbours – Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Wild Wadi waterpark.
Immoral luxury in Dubai Immoral luxury in Dubai Reviewed by Zahir Style on August 08, 2019 Rating: 5

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