Emirates Palace Hotel

View of the Emirates Palace from the marina

So, as you’ve probably seen from my instagram / twitter / facebook page updates over the last couple of days, we spent the weekend at the Emirates Palace Hotel. It’s a place I’ve been many times before, either with visiting family and friends, or on business in my previous job in Dubai – but I have never before seen it quite as I had the chance to see it this weekend.

We checked in straight after work on Thursday night, and after a busy week all we wanted to do was relax and do nothing, so after checking out the view and getting over the excitement and novelty value of the coins that were in fact our room keys, we settled down and decided to get comfy and order some room service.

The view from our room over the East wing pool and Abu Dhabi
The view from our room over the East wing pool and Abu Dhabi
These are the room keys!
These are the room keys!

Between us, we ordered one fish and chips and a seafood mixed grill. The seafood mixed grill was quite the spectacle, containing a half lobster, prawns, scallops, mussels, hammour, salmon fillet and of course, lemon.

Seafood mixed grill
Seafood mixed grill
Fish and chips
Fish and chips

We got stuck in and enjoyed the food, taking care to leave room for the most important part of any meal – dessert. Having ordered the ’24 carat chocolate’, I was quite excited. I love chocolate mousse at the best of times, but as you can probably see, this was no ordinary mousse. Aside from the fact it was massive, it was also sprinkled in edible 24 carat gold flakes. Gold flakes or not, I can confirm that it was amazing – a must for chocolate lovers.

'24 Carat Chocolate' dessert - complete with 24 carat gold flakes
’24 Carat Chocolate’ dessert – complete with 24 carat gold flakes

After a good nights rest and plenty of time to sleep off the indulgent meal of the night before, it was time to head to the East wing pool and get down to some serious relaxation.

East wing pool
East wing pool

We plumped for a rather nice, quiet looking area with a perfect shady spot in what turned out to be the adults only section, although families shouldn’t be put off by that as the main East wing pool area is still family friendly with kids and family pools to enjoy as well. There’s also giant chess, billiards and pool toys on hand, though the West wing beach club is where the kids club and main kids facilities are located, although that I think is deserving of a post in itself for another time.

East wing adults only pool
East wing adults only pool

All that lazing around really works up a thirst, so I decided to sample a ginger lemonade. I have to say, the range of mocktails and lemonades is certainly befitting of a Palace, and it’s tempting to work your way through them all. Still, I stuck with my ginger lemonade and I wasn’t disappointed – very tasty and refreshing. They certainly know how to mix a drink.

Ginger lemonade
Ginger lemonade
View back to the Etihad towers over the East Wing pool
View back to the Etihad towers over the East Wing pool

I’m sure lots of you reading this will have been inside the Emirates Palace at one time or another as I had, but unless you’ve stayed there, there are many sides of the palace that you won’t have seen before.  The building itself is around one kilometre from West to East wings meaning that from reception, it’s around a 500m walk to your room whichever wing you are staying in.

One of the grand internal atriums in the residential wings
One of the grand internal atriums in the residential wings

Wherever you go, and round any corner you turn, you are greeted with yet another incredible atrium or grand staircase – it’s the gift that keeps on giving and that never ceases to amaze.

Grand staircase in the central building
Grand staircase in the central building

After a long, hard day relaxing by the pool, of course it was time to eat again, so this time we decided to head out to BBQ Al Qasr. A place I have wanted to try for a while but never managed to find the perfect excuse until now (the perfect excuse was – we’re here, so why not?!). BBQ Al Qasr is a restaurant situated right on the beach, with tables inside cabanas. The whole place is dimly lit with candles and low lights, giving it a very relaxed and romantic feel.

BBQ Al Qasr
BBQ Al Qasr (bit of a dark shot, but hopefully you get the idea).

Being a barbecue restaurant, after making the most of the impressive bread selection (impossible to say no), we of course decided to go for the house speciality of a fine steak. If you’re looking for somewhere to go for a special occasion, or just wanting to impress someone special, then BBQ Al Qasr is it. Undeniably beautiful and with great food, you can’t go wrong here.

Bread-tastic
Bread-tastic
Centre cut fillet steak
Centre cut fillet steak
Rib eye steak
Rib eye steak

On our way back to the room we stumbled across yet another amazing area we had never had the opportunity to see before. The central building of the hotel is open for anyone to visit (when dressed appropriately of course – no shorts, flip flops etc), but far beyond the central parts, the East and West wings of the hotel are only open to residential guests.

Another impressive ceiling in near the ballrooms
Another impressive ceiling in near the ballrooms
Another ornate atrium
Another ornate atrium along one of the East wing corridors
City panorama
City panorama

The hotel is set in grounds of 85 hectares and as well as the pools and beach – you can also borrow bikes at the beach club receptions (yes, there’s two, one for each hotel wing) and get out on your own and explore the grounds. I’d highly recommend this as a really great fun thing to do – there’s so much of the palace grounds that you get to see this way that you’d never know anything about otherwise. I was a little surprised on turning a few corners away from the East wing beach club to come across a perfectly manicured cricket pitch, complete with match taking place. Who knew?!

A stones throw from the beach, there's a perfect patch of Little England with a cricket match
A stones throw from the beach, there’s a perfect patch of Little England with a cricket match

The Emirates Palace is one of those places that deserves the right to ask “what’s your Emirates Palace?”, as it seems every corner you turn, both inside and out, there is something not only new to see, but something entirely different and contrasting from the previous space. Cricket pitches, tropical beach landscapes, rolling lawns with trees and gardens – you never quite know what’s coming next – and for me, that was part of the charm and wonder of the place.

Tropical Emirates Palace
Tropical Emirates Palace
One of the beautifully landscaped areas of the 85 hectare site
One of the beautifully landscaped areas of the 85 hectare site
View of the Emirates Palace from the marina
View of the Emirates Palace from the marina (west wing side)

Our final day was spent relaxing on the beach – and wow, what a beach. 1.3kilometres of pristine sand and gorgeous, calm blue, gently lapping waves on the shore.

The beautiful beach
The beautiful beach

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What can I say to sum up? We had an amazing time, and a weekend that we’ll never forget. I’m certain that should we go back again, it’s the kind of place you’re sure to keep discovering a new side that you didn’t know existed previously.

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Central atrium
The much photographed central atrium

It’s the kind of hotel that has something for everyone, and if by any chance there’s something they haven’t thought of, the friendly and accommodating staff will be only too happy to help you out with whatever it is you’re after. What more could you possibly want? There’s even an ATM to get your gold to go…

Who needs cash when you can get gold from the ATM?!
Who needs cash when you can get gold from the ATM?!

Their bookmark speaks for itself really… ‘Live with us and then judge us’.

'Live with us and then judge us'
‘Live with us and then judge us’

Let me know your thoughts and comments here!

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