Designed to look like the white sail of a traditional Emirati dhow, the Burj Al Arab hotel located in the Emirate of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is one of the city’s top attractions. This opulent hotel has routinely been awarded the prestigious titles of "Best Hotel" and "Most Luxurious Hotel in the World" year after year and is one of the world's only 7-star hotels. It was designed with the intent of being the most impressive hotel on Earth, and it certainly doesn't disappoint! Towering high in the sky at 341 meters, it has become an icon in the Dubai skyline, with thousands of tourists flocking to it each year.
However, most of those tourists will be stuck at the security gate, snapping their selfies and hoping to bribe the guard. While you, with a little planning, will find yourself being waved on through and feeling like a million bucks! You see, the Burj Al Arab takes exclusivity to a whole new level, making it nearly impossible for the average tourist to see it. One cannot simply just show up at the hotel on a whim and casually stroll through the lobby to take pictures. This grand hotel is built on a small man-made island slightly offshore of Dubai, and connected to the mainland via private bridge. There is heavy security at the start of the bridge, and they only let in those people who have hotel reservations (whomp, whomp!) Read on though, because in this post we are sharing the secret to getting in to tour the property for free, on your next trip to Dubai!
Method #1: Stay in the Hotel (Most Expensive Option)
Perhaps the most obvious way to get in to the hotel is to actually stay there. If you have an excess of points or money, then the easiest and perhaps most fun way to see the property is to go ahead and book a room! We give you permission to splurge, if only just for one night to check it off your bucket list! Did we mention they have full size Hermès amenities in the bathrooms?!
Rooms range from ≈$1300/night all the way up to ≈$25,000/night for a suite! Your room reservation also includes breakfast, access to Wild Wadi Waterpark, a personalized butler, and use of a chauffeured Rolls Royce to tour the city!
Method #2: Dine in the Hotel (Midrange)
If you don't have the means nor the desire to stay at the Burj Al Arab hotel, you can also get in if you have reservations at one of the many world-class restaurants on the property. Reservations are easy to make online ahead of time, and when you get to the gate, simply show your proof of reservation and the security personnel will wave you on through. Below are your dining options listed in order from cheapest to most expensive.
Restaurant guests are usually only permitted in to the hotel 30 minutes prior to their reservation time. So don't come too early, or you may be asked to wait outside. However, once in, you are allowed to stay on the property as long as you want.
Method #3: Book a Spa Treatment (Midrange)
Another way to see the hotel is to make a reservation for a spa treatment at the hotel's distinguished Talise Spa, voted "Best Luxury Hotel Spa" award two years in a row. Stretched out over two floors, and 500 feet up in the air, it's the perfect place to enjoy a facial or massage with a fantastic view.
Cost: $160-$550 per treatment
Method #4: Book a Beach Day Pass (Great Deal)
It's a little known fact, but although the Burj Al Arab is on a private beach, they do allow for non-guests to buy access to it via day passes valid daily from 9:00am-6:30pm.
The beach day pass includes one complimentary cocktail, pool and beach access, sun beds, shower amenities and 25% off additional food and beverage. There is also the option to rent a cabana, which includes all of the above, plus exclusive cabana access, stocked with water, house rosé wine, and a fresh fruit platter.
Ladies Only Swim on Mondays: $28/ lady
Weekdays: $50/ person
Weekends (Fri and Sat in UAE): $95/ person
Cabana rentals: $135 (weekdays) $275 (weekends)
Method #5: Reserve and Ditch (Free)
Here's a hack for the ultra thrifty traveler who still wants in. Remember when we mentioned that you make your dining reservations ahead of time online? Well, there's a glitch and two of the restaurants do not require credit cards to make reservations! That's right! For both Bab Al Yam and Summersalt restaurants all you need to hold your spot is your name and email. You'll also notice that neither has a cancellation policy listed on their websites, whereas the other restaurants do show a cancellation policy and fee.
So, what you could do is make a reservation at either of these two restaurants, use the proof to get passed the security gate, and then simply skip out on your reservation and not show up. Instead, just tour the property to your heart's content: see the exquisite golden fountains in the lobby, take a ride up to the top in the all-glass elevator to enjoy one of a kind Dubai views, check out the helipad on the very top, walk down to the beach and when you're all done, just call a taxi to take you back to your budget hostel. None of your social media followers will ever know your secret- that you really didn't stay there. We certainly won't tell! ;-)
The hotel does have a dress code and they do enforce it. We do know people who were turned away for wearing shorts! The security will check to make sure you are dressed appropriately. No shorts, sandals, sleeveless shirts, or swim suits are allowed in the interiors of the hotel. Come on, you're going to where the rich and famous play, so look the part yourself; that's half the fun! Happy travels!
This lady thought I was someone famous (lol)