I read somewhere that one of the ways to kill curiosity, is to try doing things at one time only.
Extravagantly built on its own man-made island situated 280 meters offshore, the world’s most luxurious hotel with unique exteriors, inspired by the shape of a billowing sail of Arabian dhow, piqued my curiosity since the day I first arrived in Dubai.
One summer afternoon in this cosmopolitan emirate, I decided to treat my senses to a lavish and overwhelming indulgence, at a highly regarded dining place, strategically located at 200 meters above sea level, at the 27th floor of the world’s seven-star-rated-luxury-hotel. Not that I discount or belittle myself, however, neither I thought I would step inside Burj Al Arab so soon, nor to dine at one of its restaurants, the Skyview Bar, that’s certified for Excellence for this year, 2015 by no less than traveler and tourists’ favourite-go-to-site, TripAdvisor. Thankfully, it happened. I gained another (learning) experience. Despite no special occasion other than to celebrate my weekend, I did my reservation over the phone, followed their smart-casual-no-rubber-shoes-dress code politely, and finally killed my curiosity of how it feels like for a common employee to dine inside Burj Al Arab.
After alighting from my taxi cab, I held my chin up, walked straight to the lobby, paused with intent, and exhaled my deepest discreetly. That moment was simply remarkable. I realized that such opulent place, apparently built for those who live and breathe for elegance, sophistication and royalty, isn’t biased and also welcomes ordinary people. Perhaps, I may be ordinary but my curiosity and dreams are otherwise.
Either you find the interiors as awe-inspiring, or you may perceive it as oddly looking. Certainly, no one can deny that it’s one of a kind! The main hotel lobby is adorned by two huge fish tanks, cascading waterfall, and escalators that lead to the atrium. Known as tallest atrium in the world, with the height of 180 meters, it’s designed with impressive golden columns, uniquely shaped central fountain, colourful tile-mosaic on the floor.
With all amazing things inside Burj Al Arab, waiting for several minutes at the reception before my name was called, became bearable. Next thing I knew, I was taking the glass lift up to the 27th floor, with two Australian women in their senior years, who ogled like teenagers at the stunning view of Dubai’s man-made islands in the Arabian gulf. I cannot blame them.
Another reception area greeted us, as we exited the lift.
Then, I was personally led to my reserved table by one of the ushers.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, was the view that made every single dirham I spent, worth it!
Breathtaking, isn’t it?
It was my first time to appreciate Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the wave-like-hotel, from afar.
I gazed and tried to snap photos from every single angle of the Skyview Bar, and easily noticed the spontaneity of nautical theme from the ceiling, down to the serving trays and everything.
Sooner than I thought, a staff approached me and introduced himself with utmost courtesy. He briefly explained what to expect from the Sky Afternoon Tea at Skyview Bar, casually inquired if I have food allergies particularly with nuts, then handed me the set-menu. After doing so, he poured a very light and refreshing drink called, Bateel Sparkling fruit juice, that’s made from apples and dates. Best thing with it, serving was bottomless. I forgot to count how many glasses I savored. I loved it to my last sip!
Dates were served at the table, followed by White Chocolate “Petit Pot” with strawberry.
Delicate and decadent. One of the finest that I’ve tasted!
Other than that dates and apple juice, they also served me my preferred tea, Chamomile.
While the view was utterly fantastic, the initial serving was a perfect prelude to the afternoon tea that my senses will remember for as long as I live.
The moment the wait staff sees that you’re done with your plate, he’ll ask you if you want to have the next on the menu.
Willingly, I agreed. Next to land on my table was Duck Confit Pie with Ceps and Foie Gras, served with Cranberry Dressing.
Divine and luscious.
The last time I ate a dish with foie gras was in a heritage-boutique hotel in Penang, Malaysia. I swore I’ll never eat foie gras again. I broke my promise to myself. That Duck Confit Pie with foie gras was irresistibly rich and its cranberry dressing made it even more tasteful. Following that unforgettable pie, the wait staff brought in a two-tiered-metallic-tray, shaped like the Burj. It contained two servings of Finger sandwiches.
I found Finger sandwiches interestingly good! It’s like a bite-sized version of the usual club sandwich, although served with more fascinating fillings. Salmon, beef, chicken, and all-other-meat that’s certified Halal. Few more bites and sips, the waiter brought in a palate-cleanser.
Lychee and rose sorbet.
It may appear nothing special on my photos however, allow me to declare that it’s the most wonderful sorbet I’ve ever tasted! Such brilliantly refreshing fusion of flavours! Bravo!
Contract your eye muscles and you’ll see the majestic Burj Khalifa on the photo above, gloriously dominating Dubai skyline.
At this point, I remember, I was mildly struggling with satiety. It was a happy problem, actually! Then even before I burp, I smiled my widest when the next and final course for that memorable afternoon tea was served to my table.
Homemade scones with Devonshire clotted cream and homemade jams and collection of mini pastries.
Heart-stopping goodness! A wholesome sumptuous afternoon feast!
I didn’t finish eating everything, so I asked them if I can have some for takeaway. They explained that those with creams are not allowed to be taken home; they won’t risk its viability as one’s digestive system might be at risk. I liked it. They sounded so concerned with their diners’ health. Two thumbs up to the staff of Burj Al Arab!
Just when I thought I was done with everything on the set menu, the wait staff asked me if I want coffee.
Me? Of course, yes!
In a heart beat, I opted for cappuccino from the list.
They served me a tall glass of warm and foamy cappuccino with a special gift. The unexpected box contained a specially engraved Burj Al Arab pen, and few bite-sized chocolates. Ladies on the other seats received roses each.
To my delight, I paid the total bill of 620 AED, and asked permission if I can take a few more photos from the other side of Skyview Bar.
Do you have a clue what happened next?
Still overwhelmed and mesmerized with the entire gastronomic experience, I took photos of the stunning view and uniquely beautiful interiors.
Then I forgot where I put down the box of pen and chocolates from Burj Al Arab.
With that, the next time I’ll share with you my experience with Burj Al Arab, you know it’s no longer out of curiosity.