How To Get Into the Burj Al Arab With 30 USD Or Less
No, I did not decide to change direction and write about budget traveling. However, I am money conscious, and I believe traveling is a hell lot more fun when you feel like you’re getting more than you paid for. It’s like going shopping when things are on sale. You know. You are ecstatic because you feel like you’re getting a bargain.
Burj Al Arab is the so-called 7 star hotel. Of course, there’s really no such thing as a 7 star hotel. But it’s true that not all 5 star hotels are created the same. Some are barely good enough to make the cut, and the others can totally blow your mind. Burj Al Arab is rumored to be in the latter category.
So if it’s so wonderful, why did I decide not to stay a night there? Well, I thought it’s a little expensive….
The other “so-called 7 star hotel” I stayed at was the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore. And other than the pool, I did not find the hotel that wonderful. The view of the infinity pool is out of the world though, I must say. Click here for an image.
Anyway, back to the Burj Al Arab. Since I decided not to stay a night, I told myself I at least need to step foot into the building. It’s like one of those must-do’s. I don't want to fly out of Dubai and wonder if I had missed something totally wonderful. FOMO is a serious disease of my generation.
Since I’ve already decided to save some dimes by not staying at the hotel, I challenged myself to save more.
This budget conscious thing got a little addictive.
According to my research, if you are a solo tourist (meaning you’re not in a tour group), you cannot enter the Burj Al Arab unless you have a reservation at one of the restaurants, bars, or cafes in the hotel. Basically, after you make a reservation, you’ll receive a confirmation code. Then you’ll have to show the code to the guard who’s manning the gate, then he’ll let you through.
There are quite a few of options at the Burj Al Arab. I read reviews for pretty much all of them, and I decided to choose amongst these three: Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara, Gold on 27, and the Skyview Bar.
Nathan Outlaw is known for its fresh seafood. According to the reviews, the food is not that bad, but what’s more impressive is the fact that your table is situated next to the fish tank. So you’re literally eating fish amongst a bunch of fish. I knew it would make for an awesome Instagram photo, but I felt uncomfortable at the idea of eating fish while staring at fish. So that one was a no-go.
Out of all the restaurants in the hotel, Sky Bar is the most famous. If you want a day view, go for the afternoon tea, which is the most popular choice. You can also opt for drinks at night. The afternoon tea set costs AED 620 per person (170 USD). From the many reviews I read, it seems like the food is not bad, but it’s also not the best in the world. High tea has never been my jam, so I decided against this option. As I was getting ready to reserve for a table for drinks at night (which has a minimum spending of AED 350 (95 USD) per person, I came across a new bar that opened in 2016, called Gold on 27.
The pictures of Gold on 27 on the official website looked very appealing. Modern, upscale, and sexy! It’s what I imagined Dubai to be. And as I looked even more closely at the pictures, I had a feeling that I have seen the backdrop somewhere before. Then I remembered a picture that Kenzas, one of my favorite bloggers, posted a while ago.
What about the prices? Well….appetizers range from 60 – 100 AED (that is 16 to 27 USD). Cocktails range from 100 – 140 AED (27 to 38 USD). I also discovered a “Sundown on 27” menu, which costs 250 AED (68 USD) for two drinks and one appetizer. If you do the math, that is a really good deal because you essentially get the food for free. The minimum spending at the restaurant is one drink per person, or 100 AED.
So think about it this way, you get an entrance ticket to the Burj Al Arab for 27 bucks, with a free drink. That is a great deal!
One thing to note though, you don't get much of a view at night. So if you’re keen on enjoying food/drinks with a side of view, I would recommend just going to the Skyview Bar for afternoon tea. However, the interior of the hotel is more beautiful at night (according to my boyfriend, who previously went during the day).
Itinerary-wise, I have two suggestions:
- If you want to have a full day at the Madinat Jumeirah area without heading back to the hotel and come out again: Have a late Friday Brunch at the Madinat Jumeirah area. Take an abra ride and a stroll to walk off the enormous amount the food you just consumed (more on this in my previous post). Then spread your towel on Sunset Beach to swim with Burj Al Arab in the background as the sun dips.
- If you want to look fabulous and chic for the Burj Al Arab: Spend the day touring the city. Head back to the hotel and change. Get glammed up. Take an Uber to Burj Al Arab. (When I purchased my SIM card at the Dubai Airport, it came with a free $20 credit on Uber. USE IT!)
And if you’re wondering, I took option 2.
Did you really think I could walk a whole day in those 5 inch heels? Who are we kidding?
- Be realistic about your budget: Do you want to STAY or EAT or DRINK at the Burj Al Arab?
- For a day view, go for the afternoon tea set at the Skyview Bar.
- For a night visit that is budget-conscious, go for drinks and appetizers at Gold on 27.
Depending on your itinerary (see above), you would choose very different outfits. I am a big believer that you should always dress for the occasion, so I did swap out my outfit. And judging by the other people at Gold on 27 that night, I’m glad I did so. Everybody was DRESSED. UP. So wear those heels you packed into your suitcase and pretend you’re a royalty for a night.