The iconic Burj al Arab Jumeirah is known globally as the most luxurious hotel on the planet, and it's definitely worthy of the two extra stars it's been awarded, making it one of the world's few seven-star hotels. A symbol of modern Dubai and shaped like a giant sail of a ship, it's hard to miss - or resist - when visiting the sun-soaked popular tourist destination. With Dubai already known for its high-end shopping, modern architecture, vibrant night-life, and stunning beaches, the Burj Al Arab is where you go if you want the ultimate A-list experience.
On my visit to the enormous establishment, I discovered that the Burj Al Arab holds an additional title as the most followed hotel on Instagram. It boasts 889K (at the time of writing) followers; in today's world of social media, this is a noteworthy achievement and a huge driving force for the hotel's business. It is now a must-see destination for travel, fashion and lifestyle bloggers and 'Instagrammers' to grab a quick snap or a highly choreographed picture to post on their feeds.
A must-see destination
From the start, you'll want cameras at the ready. As you pull up to the hotel's red-carpeted lobby in a Rolls Royce, you are greeted by your own personal butler holding a special bouquet of flowers. With 202 luxury two-storey suites, a fleet of Rolls Royce cars, 24-hour personal butler service, five-star dining with nine signature restaurants, stunning poolside cabana experience, rooftop helipad and no less than five swimming pools, there are plenty of moments to capture on your stay. Those impressive Instagram pictures will cost you though, with a single bedroom suite costing £1,250 a night during high season. Meanwhile, the Burj's stunning Royal Suite, with its golden marble stairway and 24-karat gold leaf pillars, private library, dining area, lounge, Hermes fragrance-filled bathrooms, will set you back a mere £13,800 a night.
Here are my five top Instagram picture shots not to miss:
1. Mirrors above every bed
This is an iconic shot shared often on the hotel's feed. I gave it a go during my 30-minute tour of the Royal Suite on the 25th floor. You'll need to stay in the Royal Suite to get this particular picture, or settle for the square-shaped mirrors in the other suites.
There are 202 luxury two-story suites
2. Liquid gold - the famous Burj Al Arab cappuccino
If you can't make it up to the golden suite on the 25th floor, you can instead choose to drink some! Yes, you read that right. This iconic golden coffee made the rounds quickly on social media, and hoards of tourists come for a taste and a picture. The Burj's very own baristas have created the perfect cappuccino with 100 percent arabica beans, perfectly foamed milk stamped with the Jumeirah logo, and blended with a generous quantity of liquid 24-karat gold and then sprinkled with even more gold flakes. The definition of luxury, it is currently priced at £20. The coffee is served one floor above the lobby, and you can enter without being a guest at the hotel - but reservation is required.
The perfect cappuccino is priced at £20
3. That impressive open lobby view
You've seen this picture before, but I could look at it all day long. This is the view you get once entering the lobby. A truly mesmerising vista, the type that makes you almost fall backwards when looking up - you cannot take a bad picture of this! Extra points if you make your way up to the top of the hotel and get the same shot looking down. During the festive period, a gigantic Christmas tree is installed in the lobby.
A gigantic Christmas tree is installed in the lobby
4. Swimming pool with the best view of Dubai
Nestled in the ladies' spa area is this stunning infinity pool overlooking an amazing view of Dubai. There are many ways to take this shot, you can walk around the edge to make it look like you're walking on water or make a splash and pose looking out the window. Unless you ask very nicely and go during a quiet time (I went at sunrise and the lifeguard took my picture for me), this photo is for ladies' access only, sorry boys!
The hotel has five swimming pools
5. Aquarium in the Al Mahara restaurant
Another recognisable shot, the Al Mahara restaurant has plenty of fish to photograph. And you can book a table here without being a guest at the hotel.
There are plenty of fish to photograph
Extra secret spots
On the same floor as the spa, you'll find a balcony area with a grand piano and view of the top floors of the hotel. This was a favourite spot for me, I visited twice to photograph it!
The best spots for Instagram don't stop at the Burj Al Arab, the neighbouring Jumeirah Al Naseem (£235 a room) and Jumeirah al Qasr (£195 a room) offer beautiful and stylish rooms with views of the Burj to suit any taste. With more direct access to 2km of private beach and more than 50 restaurants, there's plenty of hidden gems to explore. You can take a ride on an abra boat, the resort's floating transport system over 3km of waterways, to get a picture of the Burj Al Arab from afar.