From the outside it is palatial in every way, occupying a prime spot with its own private sweeping beach on Abu Dhabi's corniche, the Emirates Palace hotel exudes grandeur and allure. The external architecture conveys the palatial experience, but once inside, we discovered that there is so much more to this iconic hotel than meets the eye. The sometimes cavernous communal lobby's of the hotel, with their high domes are grand and extravagant, but there is also a cozy warmth to this luxurious regal hotel.
After a seamless check-in, assisted by gold tail-coated erudite staff, we were shown to our room. Plush, seeped in creature comforts and beautifully soft bed linens as well as beautiful views of the Arabian Gulf. We were struck by the intimate and classy lay out. No cavernous high ceilings here, but the perfect balance of space, luxury and just enough of the homely touch (even if you don't have a palace of your own to call home). The decoration is doused in gilding and gold thread but is contemporary and not gaudy. The bathrooms are wonderfully spacious with grand bathtubs that you could quite easily luxuriate in all day, which would be no bad thing were it not for the numerous other attractions available to explore...
The Emirates Palace Spa, for example, is something else, and a must for any visit. Combining the essence of Moroccan charm and traditional ancient therapies, with a Moroccan hammam forming the centre-piece for the spa, this is the perfect sanctuary for bespoke treatments. Seven luxurious treatment rooms instantly envelope you in calm, close the door to the world and experience any of the signature treatments available. From a relaxing 90 minute massage to a five hour 'A Day of Gold' package, which includes a 24 Carat Gold Radiance Facial (Buro 24/7 Middle East recommends).
There are plenty of other spots to find solace and relaxation, lounging by the pool or on the pristine private beach, or enjoy the landscaped grounds and manicured lawns. But to soak up the atmosphere and ample flavour, try any of the 14 eateries and treat your taste buds to a culinary adventure all around the world. There is something to satisfy every taste.
Choose from the all-day restaurant, Le Vendome Brasserie, or the award-winning Emirati restaurant, Mezlai, showcasing more than 100 different local dishes. Grab an authentic taste of Italy at Mezzaluna or head to the grill at BBQ Al Qasr if you are feeling somewhat more carnivorous. There is some of the best fresh seafood you will ever taste at Sayad and contemporary Chinese cuisine at Hakkasan also on offer.
Breakfast is a sumptuous buffet fit for a king, featuring many favourites including Nutella with strawberries and waffles, and eggs cooked to order. We were also tempted to order the cornflake-crusted French Toast from the in-suite dining menu for lunch, and must encourage you to do the same – divine.
We opted for the indulgent afternoon tea to fill the gap between lunch and dinner. We recommend this as a delicious and refined way to while away a few hours of your afternoon. Choose from the Traditional Afternoon Tea or the Emirates Palace Afternoon Tea and sit back and enjoy the flow of delectable tea's and coffee and the option of a glass of bubbles, paired with freshly baked scones, savoury tea sandwiches including roasted Angus beef with horseradish cream, sweet treats including strawberry vanilla tarts and vanilla crème brulée, and a choice of cake. Or enjoy some Arabian mezze and artisan pastries. Bliss.
Emirates Palace By Numbers. Did you know...
–At a cost of $3 billion it took 20,000 workers to build the Wimberley Allison Tong & Goo designed hotel, over three years.
- –The hotel spans an impressive 1 km from wing to wing, comprising a vast 100 hectares total area.
- –The hotel has a total of 394 rooms and suites, ranging from 55-square-metres to 680 square-metres.
- –There are 40 meeting and conference rooms available for private hire.
- –For large functions there is a full scale Ballroom with a guest capacity of up to 2,400.
- –To cater to the 14 restaurants on site, as well as the function requirements and room-service, there are 128 kitchens and pantries in total.
- –For the fitness fanatics there is a 6.4 km jogging trail around the grounds.
- –The hotel's design comprises 114 domes, with the Central Dome at a height of 72.6 metres above ground.
- –There are 102 elevators servicing the hotel with a maximum capacity up to 55 persons per elevator.
- –The luxurious marble stone used in the interiors of the hotel has been imported from 13 countries across the world.
- –There are 12 external fountains and 8 indoor water features scattered around the hotel and its grounds.
- –There are 1,002 chandeliers illuminating the interiors of the hotel, the largest weighs 2.5 tonnes.
- –There are a total of 8,000 trees set in landscaped gardens.
- –There are two focal wall display carpets that have been handmade in Thailand and weigh an impressive 1 tonne each.
For more information or to make a reservation, visit emiratespalace.ae