I just got back from an amazing trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. On the way there, I flew in Etihad’s A380 Pearl Business Class from New York to Abu Dhabi, and flew in the First Class Apartments on the same aircraft on the way back. Both flights were phenomenal, and I’m excited to share my review about both flights on the blog soon.
This trip was my second visit to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In 2013, I traveled with friends and had a great time. I vividly remember saying “no way” to afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab because I was intimidated by the hefty price. I sat out while they were on top of the world for a few hours at the Skyview Bar.
If you’re not familiar, the Burj Al Arab is the iconic sailboat building in Dubai and has been named “the world’s only 7-star hotel”. You can only get on to the property if you have a room reservation ($2,000+) or a dining reservation of some kind. Compared to the nightly room rate, $168 for a few hours of afternoon tea doesn’t seem so bad (ok it’s ridiculously expensive, but still…).When my friends originally told me they were paying $150+ for tea, I was under the impression that they’d be getting a teapot with a view – big deal. I later learned that it was so much more than that. It’s an over-the-top, multi-course experience.
I gave it a shot on this trip, and now I truly understand the hype.
Reservation Info & Price
First of all, reservations are definitely required. Some people book their reservations as far out as 6 months in advance. Afternoon tea on the 27th floor at the Skyview Bar is served at 13:00, 13:30 and 16:00, 16:30 (except Friday) and costs AED 620 (USD ~$168) per person (tax and service charge included). Information about the dress code and other important details can be found here.
Since this trip was planned relatively last-minute, I was nervous that I would not get a reservation. I sent an email to BAArestaurants@jumeirah.com a week before my requested date and received an reply back with my reservation confirmation almost immediately. I was set for 1:30 pm.
We arrived at the Burj Al Arab at about 12:45 pm and had to show proof of our reservation before being allowed past security. We arrived early enough to be able to get some pictures of the lobby before heading up for tea. I recommend arriving early not only for pictures, but mainly because the seating is prioritized on a first-come, first-served basis (and you DEFINITELY want a window view).
The lobby itself is pretty extravagant and worth an admire:
We arrived pretty early, so the restaurant was pretty empty at the time, and it’s safe to say that we got one of the best tables in the house with an incredible view of downtown Dubai (including the Burj Khalifa).
We were greeted by our server, Zen (who was phenomenal), and were handed menus while he explained the process. The menus seem to change frequently to keep it a unique experience.
We started off with a glass of Louis Roederer Brut (you also have the option to upgrade to Dom Perignon 2006 for an additional AED 260 pp, but I don’t think that’s worth it).
Next we had a warm chef’s plate which was a Mediterranean Tartlet Stuffed with Ratatouille, Olives & Feta Cheese. It tasted great.
After the first two courses, it’s important to pace yourself because you can order the drinks (minus the champagne), finger sandwiches, scones, and pastries in unlimited quantities. My husband and I like to brag about our bottomless-pit stomaches, but we absolutely could not stuff ourselves for seconds on any of the courses, so be warned.
Next up was the finger sandwiches – a total of 10 (5 different varieties for each person to try one of each). I believe they were chicken, crabmeat, beef, egg, and vegetable. This was the point we started feeling stuffed, so we decided to pass on a “sandwich refill”.
Next up were the scones and pastries. The scones were served warm and the homemade jams were so delicious. I wish I had more room for seconds.
As far as teas and beverages, there were about 7 pages to choose from. Teas are served by the teapot and other drinks by the glass. Over the course of the experience, I had the Lychee Red Tea, Yellow Gold Oolong Tea, and Lemongrass & Ginger Tea. I also had two cappuccinos. Everything was delicious.
Keep in mind that this is a relaxed affair… and you’re expected to savor each moment and take your time enjoying the experience. We stayed a total of 2 and a half hours and still were the first to leave.
Here are images of our dining itinerary (minus the drink options):
Although prices do include a service charge, the service was truly impeccable here (think International First Class flight), so we did leave a little extra.
Afternoon tea at the Skyview Bar at the Burj Al Arab is definitely an over-the-top and pricey experience, but it’s definitely worth doing if you want to taste the novelty of the “blingy” side of Dubai. It’s also equal parts romantic, luxurious, and special. The views are to die for. Sure it’s crazy expensive, but you’re getting way more than just tea (this was our lunch), with service and tax included.