A landmark of opulence glows like a sheik’s palace on the tip of Abu Dhabi’s west end corniche. Rising like a well-sculpted mountain of marble, archways, dazzling cupolas and domes – the message is clear, Abu Dhabi is built on nothing but sheer finery and the Emirates Palace Hotel is proof. Racing up the long palm-lined drive to the entrance, one almost wants to shrink away from the formidable sight – but the temptation of decadence waiting behind the door is like a magnet pulling you forward. The extensive grounds are well-manicured, dotted with lawns and lights and palms, and flanked by the serene harbor and sandy beaches.
The Emirates Palace is more than a hotel, it has carved a name out for itself as being a heady tourist attraction, often showcasing local arts, theater and spa soirees for those who can’t commit to a stay. This makes for a convivial atmosphere – with guests and visitors milling around the cavernous halls, gazing in wonder at the sea of marble that makes the lobby floor, and sipping frothy camel cappuccinos as an afternoon treat. The gold ATM sitting in the lobby also draws quite the crowd.
The staff set the mood in their golden tailcoats, treating every guest who passes through like a king. Expect to be well pampered and cared for in a way that makes you feel warm, without ever feeling too close or cloying. Rooms and suites come with more than a teaspoon of taste. You may expect Dubai’s glitz – all silks and sashays and gold studded walls, yet the Emirates Palace is much more refined. There is more a Versailles inspired theme in the pretty pastel blues, freshly cut flowers, and picture windows with heavy drapes. 24-hour butler service comes as standard, meaning that its champagne on tap for those who want it.
The three-bedroom palace suite is extensive in both space and beauty. Endless living space is gracefully divided and has accommodated an impressive list of characters including; Bill Clinton, James Cameron, and Elton John. Shining Swarovski crystal chandeliers punctuate the ceiling, pillars stand proud, and silk brocade sofas plumply await service.
The bathrooms don’t skip a beat with their mosaic tiled walls and roman inspired jacuzzi bathtubs. From the bedroom you can also look out over the sea, whose sunset colors of pale pink and blue are sure to inspire every inner romantic to linger a while longer.
There is a part of the palace completely cut off from the public, reserved only for the rulers of the UAE. Six suites that the imagination cannot even fathom as no pictures are ever allowed to be snapped. There are rumors of staircases awash in gold and marble, gold leaf sinks, libraries and private theaters, personal hair salons and private fleets of cars.
An array of restaurants and bars ensures that you never need to step foot out of the resort. For dining you can choose your mood and travel the globe with the endless food choices. Feast in fabulous style with white linen and sea views at Le Vendome.
Embrace your inner Italian with stuffed lamb and lobster linguine at Mezzaluna. Opt for award winning seafood at the stylish Sayad Restaurant. Escape to the splendor of a Bedouin tent with the highly prestigious Arabic inspired Mezlai, and go glam with upscale Chinese food at Hakkasan.
Gold flaked coffees, distinguished afternoon teas and grand surroundings are a must at Le Café, and hand rolled Cuban cigars and Latin vibes provide the perfect nightcap at the Havana Club.
Aside from the finery and dining, guests can languish by the two-oversized jeweled blue swimming pools, go camel riding on the beach, or take the limousine service to explore the sights. The final touch of extravagance can be found at the spa, where 1500 sqm of space invites you to unwind in the Moroccan hammam, get a 24 karat gold facial, a royal massage for two, and any number of services that are impeccably top of the game.
Rates for Pearl Rooms start at $638 per night and 3 bed Palace Suites can be booked for $9071. Visit the website to find out more.