We feel woefully inadequate as we hand the keys to our rented Ford hatchback to the valet in front of the Burj Al Arab, the most luxurious hotel in the world. Around us is a flurry of activity as guests and valets drop off and hand back extravagant vehicles- mostly blinged out SUVs that dwarf our modest little car.
But no matter. We shrug off our inadequacies and enter the hotel. We are not guests of the Burj Al Arab, but have been invited to indulge in afternoon tea at the Skyview Bar, one of the hotel’s many dining areas. We relish the opportunity as only guests of the hotel or those holding a reservation at one of the restaurants are permitted on the premises. Located on 27th floor and boasting an impressive view on the man-made islands of Dubai and beyond, we have been told that tea at the Skyview is the highlight of any trip to this glitz and glamour city, and cannot be missed.
Massive pillars and gold leaf bombard us as we make our way through the lobby and up to where our tea and goodies await. The hotel interior screams decadence and we cannot help taking pictures at every turn. I discreetly eye my surroundings and take extreme care not to include any people in my photos, for signs everywhere tell me that the privacy of the well-to-do guests is of the utmost importance. I wonder if any big names in entertainment are in the building.
We go up in the elevator, step out on floor 27, and are directed by the kind staff to our table in the Skyview Bar. Having arrived just before the 1pm sitting for tea, the bar is nearly empty and the atmosphere is relaxed, yet elegant. Soon, smartly dressed people appear and are lead to other tables around the half moon-shaped bar, itself a sea of greens and blues which have a strangely calming effect.
The tea itself is quite the affair, with seven delectable courses that leave one satiated with very little effort. We begin with champagne and a cup of tea chosen from an extensive list that spans a few pages of the menu. I opt for an Earl Grey, longing rather to eat and not drink, barely managing to quell my hunger and excitement. I came hungry on purpose, acutely aware of the variety and abundance of food to come my way. And what a joy it is when it arrives. Included in the feast are assorted berries with fresh cream, small sandwiches with fillings ranging from tuna to egg salad, scones with clotted cream, and patisseries. I eat everything and have to refuse the final course, which are squares of rich chocolate. I am way too full to accept the extras of sandwiches mentioned above, proffered by the neatly dressed waitstaff.
The view is just as scrumptious as the food.
The food, presented just so, the surroundings, and the attentive and painstakingly polite staff add an aura of class and contribute to a delightful experience at the Burj Al Arab overall. Another unforgettable experience to add to the travel repertoire, and another afternoon well spent in the desert oasis that is Dubai.
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