High tea at Burj al Arab

Luxurious holiday

High tea at Burj al Arab

One of the iconic buildings in Dubai, the Burj al Arab, is built in the shape of an Arab dhow with sails. The building, together with Burj Khalifa, adorns the impressive skyline of this rapidly growing metropolis in the UAE. ‘Burj’ means ‘tower’ in Arabic, my Pakistani driver-cum-guide told us, rattling off a string of unique features in both the structures. Having visited various places of interest including the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and the university town of Sharjah, I decided to visit the two towers.

Visiting the Burj Khalifa was not too complicated, as the building is open to public for regular tours. The super-fast lift took me to the 124th floor in under five minutes, stopping just below the 36 floors reserved for the Sheikh. We marvelled at the spectacular view of Dubai by night from this magnificent height.

Since the Burj al Arab is a hotel, entry is restricted to only guests and restaurant-goers. I made enquiries and found that I could afford either breakfast or high tea. Even though it was going to set me back by a few dollars, I decided that on the last evening of my stay in Dubai, I would enjoy high tea at the Burj al Arab. My Pakistani guide made the necessary reservations.

While most of the guests were getting dropped at the lobby in their Maybachs, Maseratis and Rolls Royce Silver Ghosts, I arrived in my modest Toyota Land Cruiser. The hotel also boasts of a helipad for the high and mighty.

The lobby and the interiors of the hotel were charming with their opulence, as I gaped up at the tallest atrium in the world. My high tea was to be served in the coffee shop where a live band played soothing Western classical music, as I was greeted and ushered in to my table.

Champagne was followed by a choice of hors d’oeuvres. Sandwiches with caviar and salmon, as well as a variety of pastries and ice creams were finally topped off with a choice of tea or coffee. High tea at the Burj al Arab was worth all the greenbacks I shelled out. Personally, the only aspect of the hotel that did not agree with me was the over-powering perfume that was circulated inside.

Flying over Dubai offers another unique charm. The magnificence of the aerial view of the Palm Jumeirah and the Palm Jebel Ali — two sets of luxury dwellings on reclaimed land in the sea — is breathtaking. To top it all, there is yet another ambitious conglomeration of luxury dwellings on a reclaimed archipelago in the shape of the five continents named, ‘The World!’

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