Ok, so it’s not The Burj (which is on TTG’s bucket list) but it is still a rather nice hotel ;)I stayed for one night at the very grand Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi as a stop over on the way to Singapore. Part of the Kempinski chain of hotels it seemed like it had the most “bling” of the hotels in Abu Dhabi
I had booked a few months prior online with booking site Booking.com which had the best rate (prepaid) for around $270 AUD which was way below any other rate I could find (including the hotel’s own website).
It was to be my first visit to the United Arab Emirates, a country which I had always found fascinating but in the past had only stayed within the airport via transit. Flying in with Etihad in Business Class, we had the private car service as part of the fare which was waiting for us when we cleared customs.
It was Ramadan during our visit, of which I asked friends who had travelled to the UAE as well as reading up before hand on the correct etiquette during our time there (You can’t eat, drink or smoke in public places during Ramadan; only until sundown).
Upon arrival at Emirates Palace my first impression was “Wow!”. Such a beautiful property from what I could see. My next impression when I got out of the air conditioned car was “HOT!” and I mean hot!!! The temperature gage in our car read 49 degrees celsius. Our driver explained to us that it will never show 50 degrees (even when it is) as the work sites must be shut down due to heat, so it will always show 49. Incredible. I really feel for anyone who has to work outside in these temperatures.
We were greeted by friendly staff who walked us to the reception area. We were given a cold towel and I was given a rose. It was around 8pm when we arrived and I was keen to visit the mall as it closed around 1am. I wanted to ensure that I was dressed respectfully and asked at reception if the dress I was wearing was ok or should I be covered more. She assured me it was fine.
What I love about this hotel is the room key. It’s a coin!
We were escorted to our room personally (which took around 10 mins as there are lots of long corridors and different parts to the hotel). I had only booked the base room as it was a short stay but was very pleased with the size (more like a suite in some of the other major hotel brands).
After a quick demonstration of how everything worked in the room and introduction to a butler we were left to explore the room and property ourselves.
Pretty much everything operated by remote. The curtains, the television, the lights, the door bell, calling reception/room service. Easy to use!
I liked the room. There was enough bling without it being too over the top. The bed and linen were of the highest standards, decent channels on the television, a large desk with very nice paper, pens and envelopes, and various places to sit including a very nice chaise lounge.
The bathroom was incredibly large with full size bath and separate shower. The bathroom products were their own brand in the shape of the Grand Mosque. They certainly didn’t feel like other hotel branded amenities that are made and there were quite a few different ones to choose from apart from the usual shampoo, conditioner and soap (Body Lotion, Facial Moisturiser and a couple of others I don’t recall).
The room also had a large balcony with table setting but due to the heat there was no chance we’d be sitting out there. The air was too thick and our sunglasses fogged up immediately when stepping outside!
A nice touch was the complimentary fruit platter and bottle of wine that was in the room upon arrival.
Before venturing out to the mall we took a walk through the hotel and had a look at the incredible art work and various sculptures.
Want to buy some gold? Gold bricks, necklaces and gold charms were available in the gold vending machine!
Need a new mobile phone cover? A cool $20,000 and this could be yours!
Getting a taxi out the front of the hotel was very quick thanks to the wonderful staff. It was only $7 to get to the mall of which we spent a couple of hours shopping.
Room service was ordered around 1am and was very good quality and tasty (Spaghetti, Burger). Prices were in sync for similar type hotels around the world and arrived quite quickly and a separate table was set up for service.
After a very comfortable night’s sleep it was an early 7am wake up and our Etihad driver was waiting promptly to pick us up to take us back to the airport for our next flight.
I was sad I didn’t get to see any of Abu Dhabi apart from the mall. The hotel grounds looked amazing and it would have been wonderful to spend some time in the pool and relaxing (they offer complimentary buggys to take you around the hotel grounds as everything is quite spread out). Visiting the Grand Mosque is also on the list.
Emirates Palace is a fine 5 star hotel with attentive staff and a relaxed atmosphere. It was inviting and friendly and though it was a very short stay, everything ran smoothly.
We will definitely return here in the future (have 3 nights in the UAE planned in July 2015).