Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi

31 Aug 2008 by Ciprian Hirlea

WHAT’S IT LIKE? It’s a palace in the real sense of the word, with 6,000sqm of interiors covered by 22-carat gold leaf and more than 93,000sqm of the finest marble from Italy, Spain, China and India. It has 114 domes, of which the Grand Atrium Dome is taller than the one in Saint Peter Basilica in Rome. It’s reputedly to be one of the most expensive hotels ever built at over US$3 billion. This is the official Guest Palace for the Government of Abu Dhabi and VVIPS.

WHERE IS IT? About 30-minutes’ drive from the airport, the hotel is near business quarters and the Marina Mall. An unmistakable landmark on Corniche Road.

HOW MANY ROOMS? 302 Grand Rooms and 92 suites in the East and West wings. Each wing enjoys its own reception area, beach access, swimming pool and fitness centre.

ROOM FACILITIES: Every room is a masterful blend of Arabian regal splendour and the latest technology, as well as marbled bathrooms with their own balconies. Perks include 24-hour butler service, 50-inch plasma screen, Wi-Fi and others.

RESTAURANTS: Seven. Le Vendôme Brasserie for international, Sayad for seafood fine dining, Mezzaluna for Italian, Cascades and Las Brisas for poolside dining, Diwan L’Auberge for Lebanese and Anar for Persian.

BARS: Al Majlis & Caviar Bar for gold-drizzled chocs and tantalising teas, and Havana Club with the finest cognacs, armagnacs and cigars, both at the fourth-floor lobby.

BUSINESS FACILITIES: A business centre with high-tech amenities.

LEISURE FACILITIES: Guests are spoilt for choice. The Anantara Spa offers a serene Moroccan and Thai-inspired backdrop and the 1.3-kilometre private white-sand beach beckons for guests to take a dip. Tyson Thomas from the Peter Burwash International Tennis Services can help improve a game, while the Energy Zone has machines specifically designed to offer fitness regimes similar to extreme sports. Underwater lessons are available at the Blue Dolphin Diving Centre.

Also, Emirates Palace is a place to catch world-renowned exhibits like the Picasso Exhibit by Paris’ Musée National Picasso, which runs until September 4. It also has an emerging venue for live concerts (Bon Jovi performed last May).

PRICE: Online rates for mid-September from AED1,392 (US$379).

VERDICT: Pure indulgence with top-of-the-line service levels.

CONTACT: West End Corniche, Abu Dhabi, UAE, tel 971 2 690 9000, www.emiratespalace.com

Gigi Onag

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