What luxury does a seven-star hotel have that a five-star hotel cannot offer? Well, the prestige of being able to stay in such exclusive places is sometimes more than enough reason for the rich and famous to indulge.
Each country has its own rating system so having seven stars is actually subjective. The hotels themselves made some of the claims. Not all the hotels have been completed. Still, here is a list of the seven star hotels in the world.
1. Burj Al Arab, Dubai
This luxury hotel stands on a man made island around 280 meters away from Jumeirah Beach. It is the fourth tallest hotel in the world at 321 meters high and it is connected to the main island by a private curving bridge. The exterior was designed to look like the mast of a dhow, which is a type of Arabian ship. It has 28 double-storey floors that can accommodate 202 suites. The most expensive room is the Royal Suite, which can cost nearly $19,000 per night.
The building was intended to be the iconic landmark of Dubai, similar to the Opera House of Sydney, the Big Ben of London and the Eiffel Tower of Paris. Designed by the New Zealand-based architectural company called Atkins, Fletcher Contruction, the hotel was built by Murray & Roberts of South Africa and Al Habtoor Engineering. It opened in December 1999, though it was greeted by controversies and criticisms. There were critics who thought that the hotel looks like a giant Christian cross, which is an affront to the Muslim nation. There were also negative reviews on the lack of substance and practicality of the hotel as the Dubai government seemed to have prioritized style and the display of wealth and opulence in building the showcase landmark.
2. Town House Galleria, Milan, Italy
Located inside an upmarket shopping arcade called the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, Town House Galleria got its seven star rating from the SocieteGenerale de Surveillance, or SGS, a renowned private inspection company. The entrance to the hotel seems normal enough, even understated, with its narrow courtyard that does not have clear-cut signs and directions. The VIP treatment, however, starts once you set foot inside. Only guests of the hotel are allowed to enter. There are only 20 suites available, all of which are elegantly designed. Guests are also given a choice of bed cover fabrics (cotton, linen or satin) and the kind of pillow (neck roll, hypo allergenic, memory foam, eco-lates, goose down, feathers, polyester, siliconized fiber, anatomic, orthopedic) you want to use. In other words, the room will be set up with your needs and preferences in mind.
There have been criticisms, however, on the service that the hotel has been providing. Guests have complained of missed reservations and slow response time. Room service has not lived up to its 24-hour service claim. The hotel’s management has been active in addressing these complaints, even going to the extent of apologizing in public to the guests who were not satisfied with its service.
3. Pangu Seven Star Hotel, Beijing, China
It is also called Morgan Plaza. The hotel actually has multiple buildings. It has a great view of the Olympic District in the Chinese capital. Famous Olympic venues are just steps away, like the Bird’s Nest, where the track and field events were held, and the Water Cube, where swimming, diving and water polo were contested. Also nearby is the National Library of China, the largest one in the country and touted as the fourth largest in the world. The hotel is located in the complex’s first block. It contains two pavilions, a Japanese restaurant, a temple and an extended corridor.
The world-renowned architect named C.Y. Lee, who is also known as the designer of Taipei 101, designed the hotel. The plaza is in the form of a dragon, which is considered the most powerful animal in the Chinese zodiac. The ancient Chinese principle of fengshui was strictly followed when the hotel was being designed. It is located on China’s dragon vein that connects the seat of government with the historical central axis that stretches all the way up to the Forbidden City.
Guests have loved the hotel’s location and first class amenities and meals. Its breakfast buffet is reputed to be one of the best. A television is also available even inside the bathroom and shower areas. Though it is around 30 to 45 minutes away from the city, taxis are readily available and the subway is just nearby. The bed sheets and fabrics were always fresh and new. Even the gym on the 21st floor was designed thoughtfully by maximizing the view from the workout area so that guests can enjoy the skyline of the city.
The only drawback is the below average capacity of the employees to speak in English. But generally, so long as big words are avoided and sign language is used to accompany the actual words, one can get around the problem.
4. The Flower of the East, Kish Island, Iran
In 2004, the Islamic Republic of Iran embarked on an ambitious tourism project in Kish Island. It was supposed to feature upscale malls, yacht harbor, marina, residential complexes and condominiums, golf clubs and hotels. The project was called “The Flower of the East.” A luxury hotel of the same name was designed and was to be built using Persian and modern architecture elements. The tower was to be shaped like a flower. The plan was to offer 200 rooms to guests and tourists. Touted as the second seven star hotel in the world after Burj Al Arab, the project was unfortunately cancelled in 2007.
Had the hotel been completed, the facilities in the area would have included an 18-hole golf course that is up to par with the standards of the PGA, as well as a smaller 9-hole course designed for beginners. The Marina Club would also have been the center of water sports in the country.