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Burj Al Arab, Dubai

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Africa + Middle East: Burj Al Arab
Jumeirah Beach Road
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4301 7777's insider take:

The 202 all-duplex-suite Burj Al Arab is, at 1,053 feet, the second tallest building in the world to be used exclusively as a hotel. Low-key it is not, with Rolls-Royce pickups at the airport, a rooftop helipad, and an entrance that denies mere plebeians the right to gawk (a barrier ensures only guests and those with restaurant reservations get onto the man-made island on which it's located). The interiors are brightly colored and Midas-touched, while the service is slick and discreet, thanks to battalions of 24-hour personal butlers and in-room check-ins. Each suite has private dining facilities and 42-inch plasma-screen TVs, while the Club suites have their own snooker rooms. The decor is pretty garish, with lots of gold leaf and mirrors over the beds, but the views either out to sea or back toward the coast are breathtaking. Additional facilities are as luxurious as you'd expect: They include the Assawan Spa & Health Club, a secluded infinity pool, and six restaurants, among them the Al Muntaha, 656 feet above sea level on the 27th floor, which serves Mediterranean cuisine, and Al Mahara, the flagship seafood restaurant on the ground floor. But all this glitz comes at a price: Deluxe suites (the most basic) start at around $2,000. If you're determined to get that unique Burj experience, shop around off-season, as it's highly likely you'll find a cheaper rate.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
Overall Score: 94.5
  • Activities: 93.2
  • Design: 96.6
  • Food: 89.9
  • Location: 95.5
  • Rooms: 97.8
  • Service: 94.4
"Get used to out of the ordinary" at this sail-shaped, fiberglass landmark on the Persian Gulf. Aside from the "very gold and very loud" decor, the rooms—all duplex suites—offer floor-to-ceiling windows and Hermès amenities. At Junsui, Asian dishes are prepared at 12 cooking stations. "I couldn't figure out how every staff member knew my name within minutes of my arrival."

(202 rooms)
—2011 Gold List

Amenities: Beach, Pool, Spa

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.