- One of the most decorated luxury hotels in the world, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai , was recently named the "best hotel in the world" by the Ultratravel Awards.
- The Burj has been called "the world's first seven-star hotel" and "the most luxurious hotel in the world" by travel writers and critics.
- I recently spent a night at the hotel and a night at its sister hotel next door, the five-star Jumeirah Beach Hotel, to see how the two compared.
- While I expected the two hotels to be fairly similar in quality, I was surprised to find just how much more luxurious the Burj Al Arab is than Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
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How luxurious can a hotel possibly be?
I was determined to find out the answer to that question on a recent trip to Dubai. I planned to stay at two well-regarded hotels by Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, a Dubai state-owned luxury hotel chain.
The first was the Burj Al Arab , a $1 billion hotel shaped like the sail of an Arabian dhow ship. In just the last year, it was named the Best Hotel in the World by The Telegraph's ULTRA Awards and given a Five-Star Award by Forbes Travel Guide . When it first opened, a journalist was supposedly so enamored with the Burj that she exclaimed that it must be a seven-star hotel, a rating that does not exist.
The second was the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, a family resort next door shaped like a cresting wave. It was renovated last year with a new lobby, guest rooms, and restaurants.
I figured that my experience at both would be about the same: over-the-top luxurious.
I was wrong. Keep reading to see what it was like:
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