An afternoon at the Burj Al Arab hotel

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.

Have you ever gone for afternoon tea?  What was your experience?
A huge thank you to the Burj’s Skyview Bar, who graciously hosted us for tea in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own! 

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  • Sue @ SimonsSistaSaw says:

    Wow. Dubai's never been somewhere I've been keen to visit but your posts are winning me over (especially as it's an easy stop over on the way to Australia). I had a really nice afternoon tea at the Dorchester here in London with some friends. Lovely, but very much a once off treat.

  • Emm says:

    Oneika, this post is fantastic! This is great travel writing and your photos are excellent, as usual. We had afternoon tea in the nearby Madinat Jumeirah, overlooking the Burj Al Arab. It was stunning!

  • Anonymous says:


  • B says:

    Cool, the food and view looks awesome!

  • Audrey | That Backpacker says:

    The opulence! The first photo alone leaves me without words. Looks like a wonderful place for afternoon tea. The fanciest tea I've ever had was at the Royal York in Toronto.

  • Filipa says:

    Wow… the view is something that has no comments… i'm afraid of heights… so don't really know if I would feel very well… but I would try because I think it would be worth it…
    Want something like this πŸ˜€

    Thanks for sharing

  • Crystal says:

    Amazing. Decadent. Gorgeous.


  • Rooney says:

    wow amazing views!

  • Ashley says:

    Best view ever! Wow πŸ™‚

  • Brendan says:

    Afternoon tea? I'm afraid that, no, I've never indulged in any conscious or formal sense. I do like sandwiches, but I keep the crust on. And they somehow look less sculpted and delicate. With no view.

    But, really what I want to know is how the hell do you get invited by the most extravagant bar in the world's most extravagant hotel? Are you on some sort of secret society phone list? Are people around the world elbowing each other out of the way, offering you helicopter trips over volcanoes, yacht cruises around the Mediterranean, a movie and popcorn with the Jordanian royal family?

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    O.M.G. look at THAT view!!!!!!!! Beyond amazing! And the view + the food = perfection. You look gorgeous as always.

  • Try Anything Once Terri says:

    Gorgeous! I thought I was going to find a way yo ge to Dubai this year, but it seems like that will not be the case. I love high tea, and I'm hoping to have some next month.

  • Papyrus & Cloth says:

    With these delightful photos you have piqued my interest in visiting the U.A.E..even more. For now, I'm happy to experience its incredible opulence vicariously through you. Thanks Oneika πŸ™‚

  • Papyrus & Cloth says:

    With these delightful photos you have piqued my interest in visiting the U.A.E..even more. For now, I'm happy to experience its incredible opulence vicariously through you. Thanks Oneika πŸ™‚

  • catae says:

    I would love to go inside that building!!! I always like to watch the tv shows where they explain how the palm island was built. I'm a nerd that loves her engineering things and Dubai is probably one of the places where I would be amazed all the time. I had tea in London. It was a nice experience! something that I had to do. I went with a friend that has lived in London for a few years. She picked the place: Dean Street hotel in Soho. Very nice tea room. My favorites were the scones with the cream! BTW, I love that dress! very chic! πŸ™‚

  • LadyLittleFoot A says:

    I'm so sad that I did't at least go for a tour of Burj Al Arab while in Dubai! Everything from the food to the view looks gorgeous and scrumptious!

  • Curious Kinks says:

    did you guys finish everything? because it seems like a lot! and where's the tea? This post has inspired me to try an afternoon tea here in Beijing, though i predict there won't be as many snacks πŸ™
    Love the platter the desserts came in
    How much would an afternoon tea at the hotel cost?

  • Dee O. says:

    WOW WOW WOW, that hotel is absolutely stunning! I've always wanted to go to Dubai, how fortunate that you've experienced it! Looks like fun πŸ™‚

    That GOOD GOOD Blog

  • Oneika says:

    I've heard really good things about the Dorchester; my mom is actually coming to visit in a couple of days so I might have to take her there for afternoon tea!

  • Oneika says:

    Awww! Thanks Em! We should really plan a blogger tea outing and soon! I've been to the Madinat, it's lovely!

  • Oneika says:

    Cool! Where? Which hotel?

  • Oneika says:

    It was really good and there was so much of it!

  • Oneika says:

    Ooh! I never even thought about going for tea back home… Must add it to the list! Never been inside the Royal York even!

  • Oneika says:

    Thanks for reading! I am afraid of heights as well but it really wasn't an issue!

  • Oneika says:

    lol!! Maybe after Thailand you should think about going to the UAE… ;-0

  • Oneika says:

    Gorgeous, no?

  • Oneika says:

    I'm not a "view" person, but admittedly this one was quite good!

  • Oneika says:

    LOL! Not part of any secret society, but I was in cahoots with some of the folks at the Burj! I must have won them over with my charm.. πŸ˜‰

  • Oneika says:

    Thanks Andi! Definitely channelling some of your style and fashion sense. πŸ™‚

  • Oneika says:

    Nice! Where? In New York?

  • Oneika says:

    Glad to have been of service! I hope that you do get to go to the UAE and experience the tea at the Burj for yourself πŸ™‚

  • Oneika says:

    Omg! I actually went there a few weeks back with a friend! And thanks for complimenting me on the dress- I got it in Marshalls last summer in the States!

  • Oneika says:

    Next time!

  • Oneika says:

    Oof, it was impossible to finish even half- even Liebling was stuffed! Afternoon tea at the Burj costs around 325 AED! I'm not too sure how much that is in USD though!

  • Oneika says:

    Such a fabulous time and I recommend it to everyone!

  • Sonjia Mackey says:

    Ah, brings back memories of my visit to the Burj al Arab for tea last April. Loved those scones!! LOL. πŸ˜€

  • D.J. - The World of Deej says:

    A visit to the Burj al Arab is at the very top of this hotel junkie's bucket list. Perhaps one day…

  • Kanika Ameerah says:

    I did the afternoon tea thing just this past December on a Princess Cruise ship. It was very elegant and well- a face stuffer…lol. I'd definitely do it again if the opportunity arises.

  • Kathy Cox Vaughn says:

    I just finished reading a book last week that has a scene that takes place at this hotel. Thanks for sharing.

  • Emily in Chile says:

    It all looks amazing! I would love to do this, and honestly I think it would be even better to just go for tea than to stay there. A little over the top luxury is great, but I feel like it might almost be a bit too much to be surrounded by that 24/7.

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