A night in a 7-Star hotel

For our sixth wedding anniversary, the hubster and I decided to cross another goal off our bucket list and stay at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. This hotel was built in 2005, is owned by the Abu Dhabi government and is currently managed by the Kempinski Group (http://www.kempinski.com/en/Pages/Welcome.aspx)

The costs to build the hotel were 1.9 billion GBP or 11.02 billion dirhams. The Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore surpassed these costs when it opened up in 2010. The hotel occupies 850,000 meters squared of floor space, has underground parking for 2,500 vehicle, two swimming pools, spas, its own marina, tennis courts, a rugby pitch, soccer facilities, fitness suites, 1.3km private beach,  a ballroom with a guest capacity of 2,400 theatre style, auditorium with seated guest capacity of 1,100, 619 plasma and LCD screens in guest and meeting rooms, 128 kitchens and pantries, a 6.4km jogging trail, 8 escalators, 102 elevators with a maximum capacity of up to 55 persons each,  12 external fountains, a gold bar vending machine, 8 indoor water features, 1002 chandeliers with the largest weighing 2.5 tonnes, 85 hectares of landscaped gardens, 114 domes and a helipad.

Don’t worry, I didn’t spend my time counting the number of vehicle spaces and domes in the hotel, a lot of this information is in the media and of course Wikipedia has a lot of facts and figures about the hotel.

Many of the suites offered are furnished in gold and marble. The main central area houses an expansive marble floor, balconies and a large patterned dome above, picked out in gold. The topmost floor has six Rulers’ Suites which are reserved solely for Emirati (local) royalty and dignitaries. The hotel also contains a large conference centre. In December 2010, it boasted the world’s most expensive Christmas tree, valued at over 11 million dollars. Overall, the hotel has 302 rooms and 92 suites. But, the hotel has 16 Palace Suites on the sixth and seventh floors. 22 three-bedroom suites are reserved for hosting Heads of State or Government, recently for example, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Angela Merkel. The cost of one night begins at $400 for the Coral Room (floor space of 592 square feet) in the low season and $11,500 for the The Palace Grand Suite (7319 square feet) the most expensive room.

So, the hubster and I booked the Coral Room, but we were upgraded to a Seaview Room on Level 5 where we not only had beautiful views of the Arabian Gulf, but also a large screen LCD TV (which came in handy for our anniversary sign only), an expansive balcony, a private butler and of course fluffy slippers and dressing gowns.

This place oozes grandeur. From the moment you drive up the luxurious driveway to the hotel, to the reception staff, the chief concierge, the service, everything is pristine.

Our day consisted of lazing around the relaxation pool. (The other swimming pool is the adventure one and is mainly suited for children). We also checked out the spa but decided that the costs of the massages were a little excessive. This spa however is set around lush gardens and has the perfect mood lighting, candles and senses for ultimate pampering.

The hotel serves alcohol. Being in a Muslim country, there are some hotels that do not serve alcohol, but this hotel is set up for tourists. In fact, when the butler realised we were celebrating our anniversary, he arranged for a bottle of champagne to be delivered to our room. The hotel also has some amazing restaurants, cafes, bars and an amazing cigar lounge. We booked our dinner at the seafood restaurant Sayad, but we were absolutely spoilt for choice with an option of Italian, Chinese, Lebanese, Emirati and even a BBQ set outside looking across the Gulf.

Sayad is an amazing restaurant with a cool blue and white interior, views of the beach and marina, seating inside and on the terrace, as well as a three-star Michelin trained chef. It is here that I had the most amazing steak I have ever experienced. Yes, I know it is strange that I went to seafood restaurant and ordered steak, but I am so glad that I did. The steak was cooked to perfection and literally melted in my mouth. Having a tender steak is a luxury in Abu Dhabi as the food is mainly imported and not quite up to the standard I am used to in Australia.

After our meal, we visited the cigar lounge called the Havana Club where we replenished our palates with some spirits and partook in sharing a cigar. While relaxing in our leather chairs, a female piano player filled the room with moody jazz music. The cigar lounge is located right next to Etoiles, a club that has a reputation among A-listers including Paris Hilton, Justin Timberlake and Pamela Anderson. Unfortunately, the hubster and I were not up to clubbing after our chilled time in the Havana Club so we ventured up to the room and slept soundly on what felt like clouds!

The next morning, hubby and I enjoyed a cappuccino sprinkled with gold flakes at Le Cafe, before we checked out of this dream hotel.

I am so glad we got to cross this off our bucket list and highly recommend this luxurious palace to anyone looking for some glamour.

Here are some more facts and figures, courtesy of Wikipedia:

• It approximately cost 3 billion USD to build the property in 3 years with 20,000 workers,

• 5 kg of pure edible gold is used per year for decoration mainly on deserts.

• 200 tonnes of oranges squeezed for fresh juice every year.

• Marble imported from 13 countries across the world.

• 8,000 trees set in landscaped gardens.

• 2 wall display carpets, handmade in Thailand, weighing 1 tonne each.

• Daily laundry capacity of 6 tonnes.

• 1200 employees from 58 different countries.

• Emirates Palace offers the world’s most expensive one million dollar tailor-made suite holiday.