If you love a bit of opulence and you’re looking for a resort that is larger than Buckingham Palace to get a little lost in then look no further than the magnificent five-star Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi, often frequented by heads of state and government (Blair, Clinton to name a few), diplomats, nobility, business moguls and the A-star of A-lists such as Sir Elton John, Will Smith and Justin Timberlake.
The five-star property owned by the Mandarin Oriental group oozes luxury, dripping in gold from every angle you look – there are over 6,000 square metres of 24-carat gold leaf and it truly is the epitome of grandeur and as sophisticated on the inside as it is regal on the outside.
Read on to find out more about this extravagantly luxurious hotel and why it quickly became one of the very favourite resorts we have had the pleasure of staying at in the world.
The lavish Emirates Palace has eight stories and is a whopping one-kilometer-long making it difficult to miss from its location on the western end of the Corniche; after all, it’s larger than Buckingham Palace.
One of the property’s biggest appeals is its long private beach, which provides guests with privacy and immediate access to the surrounding marina. It’s a short walk to nearby hotels, restaurants, and shopping centres and the international airport is only 20 minutes away by car, whilst attractions such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Louvre Abu Dhabi are within a 12-mile radius.
Qasr Al Hosn, Yas Waterworld, thrilling theme parks, traditional souks, Heritage Village, sand dunes, desert safari, private marina, Formula1 Yas Marina circuit are also within a short distance.
Rooms & Suites
As with all Mandarin Oriental properties, from even the lowest category of the 394 rooms and suites, romantic luxury and stunning decor can be expected on all levels. The hotel’s Coral rooms have views of the hotel’s courtyard, whereas the Pearl rooms have views of the glittering Persian Gulf Sea. All guests are given complimentary butler service, a pillow menu, iPad control stations, desks, and tea and coffee making facilities. The suites, like the standard rooms, are elaborately furnished, but a tad more opulent and feature whirlpool baths, lounge areas, and sea views.
We stayed in the Khaleej Suite located in the West-wing of the hotel – vast in size and featuring the comfiest cloud-like king bed, large marble bathroom with a jacuzzi-style bath tub, rain shower and twin-sinks. We also found the fresh flowers and fruit plates to be a lovely addition in the suite, and the Amouage toiletries impressive and memorable, not to mention the 24-carat gold water found in the separate living area.
The hotel has plenty to offer in terms of dining options, with Mezlai being the local favourite of the nine restaurants. The restaurant specialises in Emirati cuisine and offers an authentic local dining experience which is not to be missed when visiting Emirates Palace.
For a more romantic choice ideal for couple’s, there’s BBQ Al Qasr, an intimate oceanfront dining option where guests can relax in a cabana by the hotel’s private beach under the stars with the best view of Emirates Palace magically lit up at night. The menu is vast, with the seafood and meat platter being a must-order.
Elsewhere the Asian-inspired restaurant Hakkasan is best known for its brunch offers views of the city skyline and is ideal for those wanting to dress up for a special occasion. For more skyscraper views, treat yourself to a coffee and cake or a light lunch at Le Cafe by The Fountain, located on the front steps of Emirates Palace.
Service & Facilities
Check-in at the hotel is all part of the Emirates Palace experience, much like all Mandarin Oriental hotels. We were greeted at the entrance by smartly dressed and welcoming staff in gilded tailcoats before being escorted to a reception area, where professional desk staff were on hand to check us on and give detailed information about the hotel amenities. The only disappointment was that we weren’t assisted to our room and with the hotel being so large in size, it took us some time to find the correct wing and room!
The expansive private beach is reminiscent of a private oasis, and the two on-site spectacular hotel pools are a key highlight for those looking to catch some sun and recharge. For extra privacy and relaxation, you can rent a cabana for the afternoon complete with its own plush sun loungers and comfortable furniture right on the beachfront.
Spa & Wellness
The 1,500 sqm award-winning Emirates Palace Spa spa dazzles guests with its Turkish hammam and elaborate treatment list, which includes 24-karat gold facials and diamond-infused oils. We were treated to a 90-minute couples massage, which we were able to personalise with our therapist before the treatment – the most ideal way to relax after a long flight. We were also particularly impressed by the attentiveness of the spa team, who were above all the most welcoming in the hotel. The spa also boasts two Jacuzzis, two steam rooms, a heated marble, and ice cave.
Visit the Las Brisas Pool at the East Wing Beach Club for a calmer and more serene environment. The Las Brisas Pool has a huge Jacuzzi beneath a picturesque gazebo, three smaller bubble pools linked to the main swimming pool, and an adult swim-up pool bar.
Emirates Palace is committed to reducing waste and managing the environmental impact responsibly and has introduced many initiatives around the property that corresponds with its group-wide aim of eradicating single-use plastic.
This started with the replacement of plastic water bottles with glass bottles in Palace Suites and has continued with reusable substitutes introduced for take-away packing, café mugs, and in-room slipper packaging. Straws, rubbish bags, and vacuum packs have been replaced with biodegradable equivalents throughout the hotel.
West Corniche, Abu Dhabi, UAE
00 971 2 690 9000