Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
I was lucky enough to be transiting through Abu Dhabi not long ago. It seemed only natural to check out Emirates Palace which was heralded upon opening as being the most expensive hotel ever constructed – just under 2 billion pounds. Now, i’m not one to pass up a bit of ‘posh’, so I jumped at the opportunity to get me a room at fairly discounted prices.
Our flight from London arrived in the early hours of the morning and the lobby was deserted – it was just us and an abundance of night staff. We were presented with a chilled Arabian beverage whilst the staff arranged the room keys… beautiful. I was a smoker at the time, so my eyes lit up at the sight of ashtrays… it’s not terribly common to be able to smoke in Hotel lobbies in this day in age. We were then gracefully escorted to our room which weaved in and out of grand hallways. It was an incredibly long walk from the reception to the room, but we were rewarded at the end of the trek for the room was just stunning.
The Suite we were given had beach frontage and was up on the second or third floor – the views were to die for… white sandy beaches with Arabian tents and camels and their herders relaxing in the shade. The balcony was huge but we never used it. The heat was a stifling 40 degrees or above so relaxing in the sun was just not an option for us cold bloods – such a waste of space. The room was luxurious beyond words – the two 60 inch LCD TV’s in the lounge and the room keep us more than entertained when not out and about exploring.
The dining room area was mainly left empty because the restaurants at the hotel were of top quality and varied as far as cuisines go, though we did get room service once and it was divine. If eating out however the best option is Hakkasan - a world class modern chinese restaurant which I just love love love (Hakkasan makes sensational duck salad and dumplings by the way, worthy of a visit in its own right). Those readers who live in London and who eat out in Soho will recognise the name – and understand why we ate there three times in as many days, though the Emirates Palace Hakkasan was easier to get a table at.
Things to do? Well – we didn’t do a hell of a lot truthfully. When we weren’t in bed watching TV we were exploring the hallways or eating somewhere – life on holiday is fabulous is it not? Within the halls of the Emirates Palace there are also bars and nightclubs and even a piano-come-cigar bar, perfect for a late night cognac. The nightclub is fine if your into Arabian pop and overpriced Vodka Redbulls.
There are a couple of shopping malls within a short taxi ride away. Louis Vuitton and other name brands are here of course so if you want to splash out on luxury items this is the place to come. I bought my mother a handbag from here which was slightly cheaper than in Australia.
Back at Emirates Palace however there are some criticisms that it is just too big to be personal and look – I get that. Some people may feel lost amongst the gold tapestry and exquisite furnishings. I understand that they may not like sharing all this luxury with thousands of other well heeled guests and their wealth pales in comparison to the average. But this is certainly a place to check out if you want to buzz out. It is purely a sight to behold and must be on everyones bucket list. Don’t go on a daytrip – actually stay the night. Splash out and treat yourself.
PS… You must try the high tea and get the gold leaf coffee!! Stunning….