All that glitters is not gold, unless we’re talking about the newly inaugurated Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi.
Emirates Palace is one of the world’s most opulent addresses and one that comes with a storied history. Originally built to host heads of state, royalty and celebrities, the hotel opened in 2005 and is known for its sheer extravagance. One hundred and fourteen breathtaking golden-gilded domes, 302 ornate hotel rooms and 92 luxurious suites decorated in gold and marble await guests looking for a palatial stay in the heart of the UAE capital.
Affectionally referred to as ‘The Palace’, the sprawling property boasts abundant dining options, numerous recreational facilities and a stunning spa to ensure guests receive a truly royal experience.
As a former employee of Emirates Palace, my stay at the recently inaugurated Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi, offered a pleasant mix of nostalgia and excitement as the capital’s grandest hotel transitions towards the future under the guidance of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, savouring its most cherished qualities while captivating guests with plenty of new and exciting elements in the process.
The arrival experience remains breathtaking no matter how often you visit. Passing the central fountain and ascending the sweeping driveway towards the palace entrance makes every guest feel like a VIP. Ushered through glimmering glass doors and into the golden-hued interiors, make sure you stop at the central dome and look upward for a truly mesmerising view.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to call a palace home? Emirates Palace presents this notion to its esteemed guests, including Beyonce, Jay-Z, Pamela Anderson, Rihanna and Ryan Reynolds, who have all graced the halls of The Palace. Whether you’re checking into the lavish Palace Suites or Deluxe or Vegan Rooms (designed to support the vegan lifestyles of guests), it’s clear you’re in for uncompromising indulgence.
Our Deluxe Sea View Room more than delivered on its namesake, providing sweeping views of the Palace Terrace and ocean vistas from the spacious balcony. Inside, the room encapsulates everything you would expect from the Mandarin Oriental brand, from the bespoke contemporary furnishings and décor touched with Arabian design elements to cutting-edge entertainment technology. Think: super-fast WiFi, a large flat-screen television, lighting panels, remote-controlled curtains and ample charging points for your devices.
To complement the luxurious room with its plush bed, entwined golden light fittings and high-end toiletries, a 24-hour private butler ensures that every whim is taken care of while exuding the Arabic hospitality for which the emirates is known.
When it comes to dining, Emirates Palace offers nearly as many restaurants as it has room categories. There are currently eight restaurants on site including the FACT Award-winning Hakkasan for upscale Chinese fare and Talea by Antonio Guida for those in search of authentic Italian delights. Elsewhere, Martabaan by Hemant Oberoi offers a contemporary take on classic Indian dishes, BBQ Al Qasr provides a beachfront BBQ experience and The Lebanese Terrace serves Middle Eastern delicacies.
Vendôme is a vibrant day-to-night destination with a stunning al fresco terrace designed for long lunches and leisurely breakfasts. An expansive buffet matches the room’s stature, thanks to a vast selection of perfect laminated pastries, sushi, salads and hot dishes.
Most visitors to Emirates Palace will head to Le Cafe by the fountain for gold-dusted cappuccinos and camel milk ice cream or the recently opened Episodes, where four distinct spaces – a tea apothecary, gourmet deli, cake shop and gelateria – compete for diners attention amidst pretty pink floral blooms. Episodes marks the first of Emirates Palace’s retooled dining experiences, with two new family-focused restaurants expected to open before the end of the year. We’ve also heard rumours that Netsu and Sublimotion from Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai, may be making an appearance at The Palace soon.
The 1.3km private beach is, hands-down, the best on Abu Dhabi’s glistening corniche. It stretches to the hotel’s marina overlooking a sheltered bay and includes everything from cabanas to camels. There are more than enough sun loungers between the shoreline, lushly landscaped gardens and the two glorious swimming pools – one designed for adventure with slides and a lazy river – and one for relaxing with an adults-only section of in-water hammocks.
If you like monumental hotels with grand décor, plenty of architectural wonder and exceptional service, Emirates Palace will exceed your expectations. The official rebrand to Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi, signals a new golden era for the iconic property, with plenty of excitement in store for both visitors and in-house guests.
GO: Visit mandarinoriental.com/abu-dhabi for reservations and more information.