Abu Dhabi – The Emirates Palace Hotel

The Palace Hotel – Emirates (Abu Dhabi)

Well… this is certainly some hotel. The London Metro states that a night in this Palace of luxury can cost £7,000 a night. However, if you go for a cheaper option, the Observer states:


A double room at the Emirates Palace Hotel costs from £300 inclusive of breakfast and 20 per cent service charge (00 971 2 690 9000; www.emiratespalace.com; or book at www.kempinski.com).

In fact last Friday’s Metro goes on to say…

FANCY bathing in champagne, sleeping between scented sheets and cooling off round the pool with the help of hotel staff armed with water sprays?

A single night of such pampering will set you back £6,766 – plus 20 per cent service charge at the new Emirates Palace. [for a three-bedroomed suite – ed]

The Abu Dhabi hotel opens to the public on Sunday and, at £1.5 billion, claims to be the most expensive hotel ever built. Although it has fewer than 400 rooms, the Palace boasts 128 kitchens and pantries, 20 restaurants and 755 plasma screens.

Its 144 domes are adorned with 1,002 custom-made Swarovski crystal chandeliers – requiring a full-time staff of ten to keep them clean.

The hotel is so sprawling that staff will be equipped with golf carts to navigate its endless corridors.

Even when it is full, employees will outnumber guests by six to one. On arrival, guests will be whisked from the airport in a luxury limousine. They will sip cocktails during check-in while a concierge stands by to prepare one of seven perfumed baths listed on a special menu.

If you are prepared to pay a few thousand pounds more, you can get your tub filled with the very finest champagne.

During turndown service, staff put sachets of lavender between the sheets and under pillows.

By the pool and beach, assistants clean sunglasses and supply fruit sticks.

General manager Willy Optekamp says he wants his guests to feel as though they have been whisked away to old Arabia.

`Everyone will be – treated like royalty,’ he added. `After all, they are at the Palace.’

An average bedroom suite at the Palace

To wet your appetite further, here is a snippit from the Sundat Times…

It officially opens on March 7, but The Sunday Times was given an exclusive preview. Last weekend, I checked in to discover just what all that money could buy.

The bare statistics certainly whetted my curiosity: an entrance arch 40 metres high and 36 metres wide, just a shade smaller than the Arc de Triomphe; a lobby-atrium with a dome larger than St Paul’s Cathedral, topped by a two-metre finial made of solid gold — 20kg of it. Just to walk around the place would take almost an hour.

Even so, when I caught my first glimpse of the hotel, I was taken aback by its scale. It is a colossus: the architects describe it as the Taj Mahal of the Middle East, though its dusky-pink granite and rose-coloured marble facade, delicate Arabic carvings, endless domes and scalloped arches are much more in keeping with Granada’s magnificent Alhambra. I hardly noticed its beauty, though — I was too preoccupied with its size.

A few minutes later, it was showtime. As my car pulled up alongside the hotel’s fleet of white Rolls-Royces, a guard of honour of 25 white-shirted bellboys flashed Colgate smiles right on cue.

Meanwhile, four enormous Kenyan doormen, in uniforms created by a former Versace designer, helped me from the car, magicking away my bag and ushering me towards reception.

Inside, an entourage of “international ambassadors” pounced, offering a choice of Arabic kahwa (coffee), German hot chocolate or Moroccan or Asian tea. I opted for coffee. One sip, and my guest ambassador guided me through to the Grand Atrium, the pièce de résistance, where the orgy of excess continued in earnest.

The Emirates Palace has so many biggest and best boasts, it could have its own chapter in the Guinness Book of Records, but the atrium is the whistles and bells, the jaw-dropping big daddy of them all — 60 metres high, 42 metres wide and topped with the largest dome in the world. Staff need golf carts to negotiate their way around it. It is decorated with 13 colours of marble, ranging from sunrise yellow to sunset red (to reflect the many hues of the desert), and lots and lots and lots of gold: 6,040 square metres of gold leaf cover the largest gilded expanse ever created in one building. It’s even in the food. I ate gold leaf on my chocolate cake. Apparently, it aids digestion.

Click here if you want to read the full article.

I decided to find out how much it would cost if I took my wife there for a weekend. First of all, I would need a limousine – definitely a Rolls Royce – to take me from my little maisonnette in West Finchley to Heathrow – cost including gratuity £440.

Then first class flights, leaving Heathrow after work in Friday, and returning to Heathrow in time to get home for a 9:00am start for the week. Gulf Air had just the flights for both of us for £2353.80.

Then, as I would be travelling in first class style, I wouldn’t want anything less than their best suite, now would I?

There are suites of up to three bedrooms but, according to expedia.com, a deluxe one bedroom suite (1,775 square feet) would cost us a total of £3,391.00 including service charge. And, I suppose, if our friends brought camp beds, we could put up a few dozen of them without even noticing!

I guess the £7,000 quoted in the Metro is not only for the larger three bedroom suite, but also, at present, all room charges are being heavily discounted until the Hotel and staff “gel together“.

Anyway, after reflection, I thought paying over £6,000 for a weekend away was a little too much, so we went to Brighton instead!

And who is running this superb property? Read on dear reader…


Kempinski Hotels & Resorts, the world’s oldest luxury hotel collection, has been chosen to operate the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, officially opening in March of this year. Geneva-based Kempinski was selected because of its century-long experience managing legendary hotels such as the Adlon in Berlin, the Vier Jahrezeiten in Munich, the Baltschug in Moscow and the Ciragan Palace in Istanbul. “It is a great honor for us to have been invited by the rulers of Abu Dhabi to run this five-star-plus deluxe palace,” says Reto Wittwer, Kempinski president and CEO, “and it is both our Middle East flagship and our newest landmark hotel.”

Considered to be the most expensive hotel ever built, the Emirates Palace is monumental and enormous, opulent and plush, but never garish. The design of the hotel incorporates the beauty of traditional Arabian elements such as the Grand Atrium dome finished in silver and gold glass mosaic tiles, and topped by a golden finial. The color mirrors the shades of the desert. Seen from afar, the Emirates Palace seems to rise from the shimmering sand itself, as if in a mirage.

The building is 1 kilometer in length and has, in reality, three interconnecting elements. It is a 346-room ultra-luxury hotel, complete with private butler service for every guest. It is also the Middle East’s most sophisticated convention center. And it is the official guest palace of the government of Abu Dhabi, with 22 three-bedroom suites capable of hosting as many heads of state and their entourages – without one ever bumping into the other.

The Emirates Palace is unlike any luxury venue in the world, with:

  • 1000 staff members representing 40 nationalities
  • 114 domes, of which the largest – the Grand Atrium – is higher than the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome
  • The Emirates Palace Archway, covered in Italian stone, and bigger than the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
  • 1002 Swarovski crystal chandeliers, including some of the world’s largest
  • Over one million square feet of marble, imported from Italy, Spain, China, and India
  • 200 fountains amid 600 acres of exotic park grounds, home to over 8,000 trees, and the palace’s private heliport
  • A mile-long stretch of Abu Dhabi’s most beautiful sandy beach.

Throughout the entire palace, roses abound: in the rooms, in the public areas, in the private spaces – some 20,000 are used every day. Two extensive landscaped pools are located on the grounds, and two sumptuous spas will shortly be open. By the end of 2005, all 20 restaurants will be operating.

“The United Arab Emirates is home to many spectacular hotels,” observes Kempinski’s Wittwer, “but it is the Emirates Palace that brings a heightened level of opulence, refinement and grandeur to this part of the world.”

Finally, as we have gone on long enough today, here is a link for more photographs of this wonderous hotel.

If you want to go to the hotel’s website, take the link below my sign-out.


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