Despite the Burj Al Arab’s existence since 1999, the idea of a “seven-star” hotel is more myth than reality; it’s a misunderstanding. The term was coined to exaggerate the opulence, service, and decor, leading to the ‘seven-star’ accolade. However, neither the media databases nor any official body recognizes such a rating, with five stars being the highest official rank. The Burj Al Arab, in Dubai, is a sui generis standing 1,054 feet tall, a billion-dollar masterpiece, is renowned as the most expensive and lavish hotel in the world.
Its sail-inspired silhouette and maximalist interiors, adorned with more than 5,500 pounds of gold leaf, surpass what is typically described as a five-star hotel. Despite its unofficial status, ‘seven-star’ became an apt descriptor for this marvel of the hospitality world. This designation originated from a British travel writer who described the place as a “seven-star hotel” in her article.
Over two decades, this glittering description has persisted. The ranking system, as Whatson stated, varies from country to country; a five-star hotel in one place might be rated three stars in another. International publications like Forbes Travel Guide follow the Five-star rating system and claim, “We are the only independent, global rating agency for luxury hospitality.”
Per The National News, The British Automobile Association (AA) also uses star ratings, with the highest given red stars. In the UAE, each emirate has its own grading system for hotels. While a one-star hotel is typically basic with budget-friendly options and basic amenities and services, a five-star typically entails having the best of luxuries, standards, inviting designs, and unparalleled levels of comfort. Round-the-clock service and top-notch quality of facilities and infrastructure are a given.
The Burj Al Arab went above and beyond every luxury witnessed with a six-to-one staff-to-guest ratio. In addition, the property boasts a Michelin-star restaurant, Al Muntaha, located on the 27th floor with exceptional fine-dining experiences. Despite all the glitz and glamour, Dubai’s very own Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing rates the Burj Al Arab as a five-star hotel. So the next time you live life king-size in Burj Al Arab’s $24,000 per night Royal Suite, do remember, ‘what’s in a name, or stars?’