When I had never been to Dubai, there were three things that came to mind when someone spoke it’s name. Sand, gold, and The Burj. At that stage, it was still simply ‘The Burj’, in the times before there were so many burjs in the city that it was eventually dwarfed. Burj is Arabic for ‘tower’, and Dubai has pricked the sky with so many pointy things since I moved here in 2008 that I sometimes forget about the Burj al Arab.
And then I see it again.
This building is Dubai’s Eiffel Tower. For anyone who ever comes to this city, it will be the place they need their photo taken, the place they want to say they have visited, the place they wish they could have stayed in, the image that follows them home on a tacky souvenir. It doesn’t matter how many hotels are built taller than it, how many other man-made islands accompany the coast line, how many restaurants are placed 50 levels above the Arabian Gulf. It will always be the icon.
And so I wonder why I’ve only been there four times in my seven years of living in this country? It’s a question that definitely hit me as my family and I indulged in the Al Muntaha Friday Brunch.
Possibly it’s the changing face of Dubai… There are new venues opening weekly – a restaurant only has to be a year old before it loses it’s shine. There are around 7000 now, and I’ve got at least 30 on my must-try-new-restaurants list, and it seems to be added to faster than I cross the tested ones off. Why would anyone ever need to go to a 15 year old restaurant?
Maybe it’s all about elitism… Are people a little worried about how they could possibly slide into a place so fitting for billionaires? I mean, what on earth do you wear when the person sitting at the table next to you might be donning a pair of socks that cost more than your entire wardrobe? What if the kids don’t behave? What will the valet think as you pull up in your dinged-up 7 year old Volvo, next to the Bugatti Veyron and three orange Lamborghinis they have parked out front?
Possibly it’s just simply the price… At 765AED for a starting rate (no, that does not include free-flowing tipples as many of the Dubai Friday brunches do), it’s definitely not something you can do every weekend.
Maybe it is something else. But I can tell you, when you finally get there, you’ll probably do exactly what we did, and forget about it as soon as you are flying up those 27 double-levels to the hammerhead shape at the top of the tower that houses Al Muntaha. You’ll walk through the room, past humble, welcoming smiles. Oblivious to the other guests, zombie-like, stagger between tables to the gaping windows, and loudly point out all the other landmarks you can see in Dubai and over the water. You’ll eventually make it to your own seat, where you will look at each other with inquiring eyes, and ask “Why has it taken us so long to do this?”
The questions above will seem pithy. Probably best you ignore your logic every now and then and just give it a go.
This particular brunch was offered to The Hedonista gratis, however comes on the back of three other paid experiences, none of which have been less than completely worth every cent. I’d sincerely recommend the experience to anyone. Al Muntaha Friday brunch detailed here (Kids currently dine free), High Tea at various outlets starts at 400AED (Junsui reviewed here) and other offers from this page.