Not just for the rich and famous: Burj Al Arab in Dubai now opens doors to visitors too

Built in the shape of a sail on an artificial island, it has captured the imagination of Dubai for years. Until now, you could only enter the luxurious hotel Burj al Arab as a hotel guest or restaurant visitor, and you had to pay a lot of money for that. But that will change from now on.

Showers embellished with gold tiles. Thirty different types of marble. A ceiling made of 21,000 Swarovski crystals representing the Milky Way. All this can be found in Burj Al Arab, one of the world’s most exclusive hotels. Here you pay up to almost $1500 per night. A stay is therefore only reserved for the super-rich.

But from October 15, today, the hotel will open its doors to all visitors who want to glimpse the luxury and learn all the intriguing stories about the iconic 321-meter hotel.

Why right now? Hotel manager Andy Nicholson explains to CNN that the United Arab Emirates is blowing out 50 candles and that the ‘Expo 2020 Dubai’ – the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East – has recently opened.

“So this year, Dubai is really in the spotlight, and it seems like the perfect time to open up one of the icons to visitors,” he says.

The 90-minute guided tour begins at a new welcome center and starts with a ride over the 340-meter bridge that connects to the island on which the hotel stands. But first – on general request – a pit stop is made. “We noticed that most guests stand on the bridge to take pictures of the hotel,” Nicholson says. “A new platform has now been created to provide visitors with the perfect vantage point.”

Not just for the rich and famous: Burj Al Arab in Dubai now opens doors to visitors too
Burj Al Arab ©AFP

On arrival at the Burj Al Arab, after a traditional welcome with a splash of rose water, you will enter the impressive atrium – at 180 meters the tallest in the world – and the actual tour begins. A glass elevator takes visitors to the 25th floor for a tour of the opulent ‘Royal Suite’, after which all manner of tidbits are shared about the hotel.

Each group is limited to a maximum of 12 people. Guests of the hotel can also join the guided tour. “The new tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at 21 years of amazing stories about the hotel and its employees and guests,” continues the hotel manager.

Visitors will also not be asked to vacate the premises immediately after the tour. Uma’s new outdoor lounge is open exclusively to visitors, and non-hotel guests can book each hotel restaurant.

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