Why the Emirates Palace Is the Most Luxurious Hotel in the World

Emirates Palace | © Raventhorne / Pixabay
Emirates Palace | © Raventhorne / Pixabay
Photo of Judy Cogan
4 November 2021
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Dripping with gold in all its grandiose glory, Emirates Palace sits on the western end of the Abu Dhabi Corniche. Expect grand, stately interiors, room keys shaped like gold coins and an enormous luxury spa offering 24-carat facials. There’s even a signature gold cappuccino, and well-versed butlers who will treat you like royalty.

A brief history of the hotel

This opulent five-star hotel opened in 2005, having taken three years and a work force of 20,000 to complete, at a cost of $3 billion. The property is owned by the Abu Dhabi government and was built to host heads of states, royalty and celebrities. Dwayne Johnson, Will Smith and Orlando Bloom have stayed here, as well as hundreds of tourists.

Even without the grounds, the hotel covers some serious square footage, and includes 394 luxurious rooms, numerous restaurants, tennis courts and a sprawling spa. Add in the gold-bar vending machines and 1,002 Swarovski crystal chandeliers, and the atrium with its dome coated in 22-carat gold leaf and decorated with 13 colours of marble imported from India, China and Spain, and you have a real sight to behold.

This opulent five-star hotel opened in 2005 | © robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo

What are the rooms like?

All the rooms and suites are decked out with elaborate furnishings, such as silky fabrics, chandeliers and, of course, gold leaf. Coral rooms offer views of the courtyard, while Pearl rooms look out towards the sea. Enjoy free butler service, a pillow menu, iPad control stations and a whirlpool with a separate rain shower inside the palatial marble bathrooms. Fresh flowers are a welcome touch, as are the Amouage toiletries, particularly the eye gels left on the pillow at turn-down.

All the rooms are decked out with elaborate furnishings, chandeliers and more gold leaf | © Emirates Palace / Expedia
There’s plenty of space to play with in the suites, such as this elegant Three-Bedroom Palace Suite with sea view | © Emirates Palace / Expedia

What about the food?

Our favourite spot is the Mezlai restaurant, designed to look something like a Bedouin tent crossed with a royal residence. In keeping with its grand surroundings, the space is decked out in red velvet, with brass chandeliers and polished oak furniture. The menu offers traditional Middle Eastern cuisine made with local ingredients such as za’atar, saffron and rosewater.

Elsewhere, choose from a huge range of other restaurants, including the sea-facing BBQ Al Qasr, Asian chain Hakkasan and poolside beach club Cascades. Breakfast is served in all-day dining spot La Vendôme, while Martabaan is the place to tuck into world-class Indian cuisine. Don’t leave without trying the signature 24-carat-gold camel burger, which is also available from room service.

There’s an abundance of restaurants to choose from | © Emirates Palace / Expedia
Cappuccino with gold flakes, anyone? | © hardsky / Alamy Stock Photo

What are the wellness offerings like?

It wouldn’t be a legit palace without indulgent wellness facilities, and the Emirates Palace Spa really delivers when it comes to restoring balance and calm. Inside you’ll find a traditional Moroccan hammam with two whirlpools, steam rooms and an ice cave, and an excellent treatment menu of facials, body scrubs and massages. Teaming up with the Elixir Clinic, the spa offers tailor-made IV infusions to boost energy levels, strengthen immunity and rehydrate the body from the inside out.

Indulgent wellness facilities await you at the spa | © Emirates Palace / Expedia
Take a candlelit bath strewn with rose petals | © Emirates Palace / Expedia

What makes the Emirates Palace stand out from other hotels?

There really is no place in the UAE – or in the world, for that matter – like this hotel, and it positively drips in gold. But it’s probably its size that sets it apart from the rest. The enormous property is larger than Buckingham Palace. The smallest suite covers 110sqm (1,184sqft), while the grounds comprise 222 acres (90ha) of landscaped gardens and pools and are replete with 200 fountains, 8,000 trees and a private heliport. The long, sandy, private beach is another of the hotel’s biggest draws.

The Emirates Palace is larger than Buckingham Palace, and its grounds include hundreds of fountains, thousands of trees and a helipad | © Emirates Palace / Expedia

How to get there

Emirates Palace is a 40-minute drive from Dubai International Airport, and attractions such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Louvre Abu Dhabi are also close by. The hotel is within walking distance of nearby hotels, restaurants and shopping malls, and sits next door to Qasr Al Watan (the presidential palace).

Who wouldn’t want a stay at the Emirates Palace? Book your stay in this luxurious hotel with Culture Trip.

This is a rewrite of an article originally by Thais Kelly.

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