Living in the lap of luxury on visit to Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace

The Emirates Palace is only the second SEVEN star hotel in the world
The Emirates Palace is only the second SEVEN star hotel in the world

Recently though, it really did just strike me how totally jammy I am. Why?

Because I was lucky enough to stay somewhere that was truly jaw-dropping – the stunning Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi.

I was so blown away, I thought I’d dedicate my whole column this week to it (I’ll tell you about Abu Dhabi next week).

So, if you want to know what it feels like to stay in a ridiculously swanky place – somewhere that was genuinely built as a palace – read on…

If your lottery ticket comes up trumps any time soon, this is where to book into.

After all, it was the most expensive hotel in the world to construct (rumoured to have cost around $3bn).

It also has the distinction of being only the second seven-star hotel in the world, next to Burj Al Arab in Dubai.


One of the countless stories about this place is that it once famously had a $11 million Christmas tree.

Anyway, moving on, this palace has 1.3km of private beach and 85 hectares of gardens.

Calling it the Emirates Palace was a good choice – it is truly palatial, combining Arabian splendour with the latest technology for the ultimate in luxury living.

Opened in 2005, and now operated by the Kempinski Hotel Group, it’s actually owned by the government of Abu Dhabi.

The hotel was built as a show-stopper to house royalty and top politicians, hence why they spared none of their copious amounts of oil money when building it.

The operation employs around 2,000 staff, representing more than 50 nationalities, with an average of four staff members for every guest.

There are 20 different places to eat in the complex, two swimming pools and spas, underground parking, a marina and a two-helicopter helipad.

The entrance gate gives you a clue to what’s in store – it’s the size of London’s Marble Arch, a full kilometre from wing to wing, and boasts expensive marble imported from no less than 13 countries.


The scale of everything here will blow you away.

It’s got 394 rooms and suites, ranging from 55 sq metres to 680 sq metres – in other words, they’re all vast.

There are no less than 8,000 trees set in landscaped gardens.

It’s just insane how much money has been spent on this place.

All within its own grounds, there’s also a 6.5 kilometre jogging and cycling trail.

Among the luxuries you can expect is ‘bath caviar’ in your bathroom.

After your soak in that you can pop down to the bar and order a vintage cognac that will set you back a mere $15,000.

You might then be in the mood for some Albino caviar (only 6kg is produced in any one year – at £30,000 per kilo – and the hotel has two kilos in stock at any one time).

After all that you might be tired, so time to retire to your room and maybe  watch the 52 inch plasma screen.

But the thing is, you can actually get by on a whole lot less.


They have a truly fantastic Friday brunch. It’s a veritable all-you-can-eat feast with drinks for £54.

The Emirates Palace Spa, meanwhile, is a delight – the therapists are wonderful (ask for the delightful Na if you want a deep massage) and later you can chill out on the 1.3km private beach, which offers countless water sports.

So, how much does all this insane luxury cost?

Rooms are generally priced from £420 to £2,325 a night. Well, you did ask!

Now, I know you’re thinking, that’s all fine and dandy for her, but it’s just a pipe-dream for us, so what’s the point of all this?

Well, here it is – they have a fantastic offer on this summer which puts a room in this amazing place within the grasp of many.

Their special readers offer is available to you if you quote TSPSUMMER16 when contacting the hotel.

You will then receive a 25% discount on the best possible flexible rate they ever offer, inclusive of their amazing buffet breakfast – which is room after room of food from all over the world.


Stay between May 15 and September 30 this year and you can get a room from £195 a night (plus 16% tax) – unbelievable for the luxury experience offered.

Book via and look for ‘Summer at the Palace’ or email

If you’re flying on to the Far East or Australasia why not do as I did and enjoy the convenience and quality care of Etihad Airways, the national carrier of Abu Dhabi?

They fly non-stop from Edinburgh daily and you can break your journey here for a night or two and experience living in a palace and get over some of the jet-lag, all for a bargain price.

I really was genuinely impressed by Etihad – great food and drink, good in-flight entertainment and wonderful staff.

I can see why they won airline of the year in Air Transport World Awards 2016.


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