Burj Al Arab
If Marilyn Monroe came back as a hotel, she’d be the Burj Al Arab: curvy, colourful, sexy and iconic, with an over-the-top style all of its own. Pop idols, movie stars, society scions, heads of corporations and heads of state have fallen under its spell. Rising in solitary splendour from its own private island like a magical vessel, the illuminated billowing sail is a symbol of Dubai’s creative energy. The dazzling suites expand over two floors, linked by a marble spiral staircase perfect for making an entrance. Floor to ceiling windows overlook the sparkling Gulf, and high-tech touch pads control everything from the a/c to the curtains. You’ll find boudoir bathrooms, a personal laptop with WiFi, and huge beds with the softest linens. The butlers are among the best, happily catering to the whims of their guests. It’s all about luxury, from the full-size Hermès toiletries to the Evian water sprays keeping you cool at the pool. Though you may never want to leave your suite, the hotel tempts you with such diversions as shopping trips in a Phantom Rolls Royce and helicopter jaunts from the hotel’s own landing pad, and the exquisite Assawan Spa offers indulgent treatments (try the La Prairie caviar facial). Having drinks at the pricey but unmissable Skyview Bar, with its retro-chic disco style and bird’s eye views, is a Dubai rite of passage.