Back in March, I wrote about how to book partner award flights on Etihad Airways. We originally booked First Apartments both to Abu Dhabi from London and from Abu Dhabi back to London over the Thanksgiving holiday, but unfortunately, the airplane for our flight from London was switched from an A380 (which has First Apartments) to an A340 (which has Etihad's standard First Class). The airplane switch was somewhat devastating, but at least we will still experience the Apartments on our way home. We planned a whirlwind luxury long weekend in Dubai around these flights and I'll be covering all the details in upcoming posts.
Review: British Airways Club World SFO - LHR
Review: LHR Etihad Airways First & Business Class Lounge
Review: Etihad Airways First Class LHR - AUH
Review: Park Hyatt Dubai
Review: Afternoon Tea at At.mosphere Burj Khalifa
Review: Burj al Arab Part I: One Bedroom Suite
Review: Burj al Arab Part II: Grounds and Amenities
Review: AUH Etihad Airways Premium Lounge
Review: Etihad Airways First Apartments AUH - LHR
It was a "bucket list" item of Chris' to stay at the Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai, so when we booked the Etihad flights, he decided we should stay for just one night to experience the "world's most luxurious hotel".
There's pretty much no chance of getting a discount on the room rate and there's also no easy way to use points (unless you spend a lot of time in Jumeirah hotels and earn their loyalty points), so we paid the full cash rate for the night. In the interest of transparency, the room rate for the night was AED7990, which is approximately $2175 USD. After taxes and fees, the charge came to $2616.17 USD.
Note: We realize this is outrageously expensive and fully accept that this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we will always remember.
One thing we did make sure to do when booking was to book through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts, which was approximately the same rate and allowed several benefits:
We arrived at the hotel from the Park Hyatt Dubai around 3 PM. The Burj is located on a private island accessible from a single road only with a reservation at the hotel or for one of the restaurants. In order to pass through security, they had to check our name off a list of guests. Once we pulled up to the hotel entrance, we were greeted immediately by a porter who grabbed our bags and put them on a luggage cart. He asked for the name on the reservation and assured us our bags would make it to the room shortly. A woman approached us and had already been told a last name, so she escorted us inside where we were presented with hot towels and dates and offered Arabic coffee. We declined the coffee and she began showing us around. She pointed out the front desk (which really isn't used) to the right of the door and the concierge desk to the left of the door and then led us up the escalator which runs along an elaborate jumping fountain and has fish tanks along the walls. She pointed out the restaurants available for breakfast and gave a detailed overview of the hotel's facilities while escorting us to our room on the 12th floor.
The hotel is sail-shaped and has an open atrium nearly all the way to the top of the sail. Upon arriving at the top of the escalator, you'll see another gorgeous, colorful jumping fountain and will see multiple shops, including Chopard, Graff, and a shop called Rodeo Drive as well as a bank. One of the hotel's restaurants, Al Iwan, is also located among the shops, and a lounge and seating area is along the wall behind you.
The decor is completely over the top. You'll find beautiful tile designs and intricate carpets on the floor, and looking up is absolutely breathtaking. Each floor is painted a slightly different color, so there is a gradient effect going from deep blue to bright yellow. Everything is accented with gold and I'd hazard a guess that it's almost all solid gold. We visited just before the UAE's national day, so there was also a UAE flag hanging along the entire length of the atrium in celebration.
Just a girl with a full-time job and a full-time obsession with traveling. It's best to LiveTraveled.