Burj Al Arab

Top choice landmark

in Jumeirah
Image by Tuul & Bruno Morandi / Getty Images

The Burj's graceful silhouette – meant to evoke the sail of a dhow (a traditional wooden cargo vessel) – is to Dubai what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Completed in 1999, this iconic landmark sits on an artificial island and comes with its own helipad and a fleet of chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce limousines. Beyond the striking lobby, with its gold-leaf opulence and attention-grabbing fountain, lie 202 suites with more trimmings than a Christmas turkey.

It's worth visiting if only to gawk at an interior that’s every bit as garish as the exterior is gorgeous. The mood is set in the 180m-high lobby, which is decorated in a red, blue and green colour scheme and accented with pillars draped in gold leaf. The lobby atrium is tall enough to fit the Statue of Liberty within it.

If you’re not staying in the hotel, you need a restaurant reservation to get past lobby security. Don’t expect any bargains: there's a minimum spend of Dhs370 for cocktails in the Skyview Bar, while afternoon tea will set you back Dhs590. Check the website for details and to make a (compulsory) reservation.

Note that some refurbishments will be taking place in 2019, so there may be temporary closures.