This very week, what many say is the world’s most luxurious hotel, Burj Al Arab, Dubai, UAE, officially opens its Scape Bar. This is outdoors, on the luxury property’s new Terrace dock, fixed to the rear of the iconic 28-floor, sail-like construction: the entire terrace, all 110,000 sq ft of it, was made, in eight pieces, by ADMARES in Finland, and shipped to Dubai to be assembled here, says the gal. It is now permanently fixed, on 90 steel poles, and it thus gives the Burj a sand beach, two full-size pools (one fresh water, one seawater), 32 amazing air-conditioned cabanas with Bang & Olufsen, fully-stocked minibars and private terraces facing out to sea – plus Scape restaurant, which serves Californian food, and the Bar. Look back up, as above, and you get a vista of the Burj that was before only seen by passing boat.
One of the pools has, half way along, a glass-sided catwalk bridge, just ideal for fashion shows. This is, indeed, an event space, of the most superior style. On Friday, October 28th, Super Cars takes place here, on the deck: Dubai car enthusiasts bring along their Lamborghinis, Maseratis and the like to show them off – you can drive right to the deck, around the side of the main Burj building. Next month, November 17-19, 2016, it is the turn of the world’s owners of priceless classics: they fly the precious cars in, for a two-day extravagance that is a Concours d’Elégance aiming to rival the annual event Pebble Beach in California.
The rest of the time, the Terrace is reserved for guests of the 202-suite hotel, and local members who pay dirham 125,000 a year for double membership, kids come free – one local likes the idea so much he has paid extra to have a cabana rented by the month (well, they do also have lovely bathrooms, with Sodashi toiletries). I just hope they have time, too, to explore and try the Burj’s sensational indoor restaurants. I have already raved about the redone Bab Al Yam, with its wood-burning oven. Today I am shown the new-look Al Mahara, with a refreshed decor, new fish, and new coral. The mezzanine half-way down to the lower-level restaurant now has a big-window bar instead of the somewhat-claustrophobic submarine simulator, and cloth-free table tops and food by English chef Nathan Outlaw – it was full at lunch today, though mostly with young Asian couples who seemed more preoccupied by taking and posting photos than looking at the thousands of fish in the aquarium, or by the food.
But where we brunched, at the 27th floor Al Muntaha, was such an experience that even the world’s top luxury hotel excelled itself. About 200 would be at the regular Fridays-and-holidays brunch today, said German manager Melanie Klatt, but it was all so spacious, and small amounts of at least 200 dishes were constantly replenished. I was with international-Spaniard Sandra Farrero, who regaled me with memories, of working at Harrods, of flying to Havana with Mohamed Fayed to meet Fidel Castro, and more, and we toasted a mutual friend’s health in Dom Pérignon 2006 and then, like sparrows, composed our plates, starting with seafood and going on to melt-in-mouth Japanese Wagyu ribeye, carved tableside by a tall young Kenyan. Honestly, I thought, this taste rivals any other wagyu, anywhere – and those anywheres normally serve it as a steak rather than a whole standing rib-on-the-bone. And then the white car, a Rolls Phantom naturally, was ready to drive me on. NOW SEE THE VIDEO OF THE TERRACE, BELOW