Would you pay £80 to tour a hotel you weren’t staying in?

Oct 12, 2021

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Would you pay £80 just to have a look at a hotel you weren’t even staying in?

Dubai’s most iconic, and only (self-proclaimed) seven-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab has launched Inside Burj Al Arab, where members of the general public can purchase tickets for a small-group, butler-guided tour of the property.

This landmark hotel is usually closed to anyone who is not staying at the hotel, or has booked a meal in one of its sky-high restaurants (with astronomical prices to match).

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Tickets start at 399 dirhams (£80) per person and run every 15 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily. You might think the price covers a whole day of hotel entertainment and use of their extensive facilities such as the pool deck — but you’d be wrong. This is Dubai, after all.

The ticket only includes the guided tour and the ability to take photos inside one of the most opulent buildings in the Middle East. No bed for the night, no cooked breakfast, not even a soft drink.

When booking your tour ticket online you have the option of purchasing additional items, such as the hotel’s famous 24-carat Ultimate Gold Cappuccino served at Sahn Eddar restaurant, or a full meal in any of the hotel’s restaurants.

These don’t come cheap either, of course. When it debuted, the glitzy cappuccino cost about £19.

Related: Sky High: Dining at At.mosphere in the Burj Khalifa

Note that anyone can gain access to the public areas of the hotel just by making a restaurant or bar reservation, without the need to pay extra to purchase an Inside Burj Al Arab ticket. This allows you to have a good look through the hotel, though you won’t have anything in the way of a guided tour — which includes a peek into the Royal Suite the hotel describes as the “pinnacle of luxury” — and simply dining or drinking at an on-site venue could cost be an expensive endeavour.

The tour promises to “appeal to those intrigued by [the Burj Al Arab] story, not just of the building, but of its people, creativity and ingenuity, as well as its Emirati hospitality, Arabian opulence and world-class service.”

Note the hotel is only 22 years old, so the tour may not be as rich in history as, say, a tour of the Palace of Versailles.

Photo by Basith Rahman Rahman / EyeEm/ Gettys

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