Emirates Palace regularly hosts key dignitaries and heads of state visiting Abu Dhabi. It was operated by Kempinski from 2005 until 2020, when Mandarin Oriental took over in 2020. After an extensive rebranding exercise, it officially opened in February this year as Mandarin Oriental, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.
where is it?
As you drive along Corniche Road you will reach a crossroads with the Founder’s Memorial in honor of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan on your right and ADNOC Headquarters on your left. Continue on for a few meters and you will arrive at the hotel.
what is it like
Double wide columns, different shades of marble, gold leaf inlays, magnificent chandeliers and plush carpets are just some of the features that grab your attention the moment you enter. There are 114 domes throughout the hotel. The grandest of these is the central dome behind the lobby, more than 70 meters high, where the hotel’s suites are located.
The hotel is divided into two wings – Mandarin and Oriental. We stayed in a deluxe ocean view room in the Mandarin building, which is more for families, while the Oriental building is aimed at adults. Our room had fresh orchids and beautiful furnishings, including a gorgeous freestanding bamboo cabinet that held a minibar, a velvet sofa and a curved marble top. The bathroom has a full size marble bathtub and a separate shower, and is also stocked with Diptyque products. Our room was also assigned a dedicated butler who was very responsive during our stay.
The hotel has a total of 11 food and beverage concepts. There are only three Michelin-starred restaurants in all of Abu Dhabi, and two of them – Antonio Guida’s Hakkasan and Talea – are in this hotel. We stopped by for dinner at the elegant Talea Restaurant, designed by Antonio Guida. Great attention was paid to detail in every dish on our table – from the bruschetta topped with anchovies from the Cantabrian Sea to the Milanese schnitzel and tiramisu assembled tableside. This is one restaurant that really earns one star. The Vendome serves a daily buffet breakfast, and during the day you can visit the Episodes lobby lounge or pool restaurant for snacks.
There are 44 meeting rooms on site. Its event spaces include a 3,000-square-meter auditorium for up to 1,100 guests (we’re told it will eventually host high-profile theater shows like Cirque du Soleil), a 2,183-square-meter ballroom for up to 2,400 guests, and Dominated by a 2.5-ton chandelier. For outdoor events, 3,000 square meters of outdoor space are available for large events.
There are two outdoor pools – one with a built in mini water park. There’s a long private beach, a 6.4-kilometer jogging track, and a full-fledged spa is under construction (a temporary spa, The Hideaway, has been created on the first floor near the lobby). Those who sign up for EP Club, the hotel’s membership club program, enjoy a dedicated breakfast center, private check-in and check-out facilities, and direct access to a stretch of the hotel’s beach that is inaccessible to other hotel guests.
Absolutely majestic, this hotel is set on 222 acres and lives up to its title of “Palace”. The transition to MO has been smooth with the addition of staff from several Mandarin Oriental hotels around the world, with a level of service close to the detail for which the brand is renowned worldwide.
Most suitable: Indulge in ultra-luxury accommodation at one of the UAE’s grandest hotels
do not miss it: Dine at Antonio Guida’s one-Michelin-star restaurant Talea
price: Internet charges start from AED 1,870 for Deluxe Ocean View rooms for mid-week stays in June
touch: West Corniche Road, Al Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi; +971 2 690 9000; www.mandarinoriental.com/abu-dhabi
(Photo: Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental)