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Abu Dhabi wanted to make a big statement when it arrived onto the international tourist destination stage, and what better statement than the Emirates Palace?
Consider the stats: nearly £2 billion to build, a mile of private white sand beach, 210 acres of landscaped gardens and a building stretching a mere 0.6 miles from end to end. The only surprise is that there are 'only' 394 rooms and suites.
Once your brain has computed the size and scale of the project, it's time to jump on your bike (provided) to explore and enjoy some of the excellent facilities, including two luxurious pool areas, camel riding on the beach, four floodlit tennis courts, a brilliantly thought out and staffed kids zone, two gyms and a watersports centre offering sailing, snorkelling and windsurfing. After all that, you'll doubtless need some pampering at the Anantara Spa.
The ten onsite restaurants should cater to your particular passion, be that anything from top quality Italian cuisine, superfresh seafood, Hakkasan's superb sushi or delicious Lebanese specialities. A Cuban style cigar bar and another serving caviar complete the picture.
Big? yes. Brash? Undisputably. Brilliant? Actually, we think so, and even if you don't stay here, it's absolutely imperative that you come and have a gawp at the sheer chutzpah required to build such a place.
It would be difficult to make the most of all the facilities at the hotel if you stayed a month, let alone a week or weekend, but fortunately the team of hotel butlers - complete with tails and bow ties - are on hand to explain what's on where and when, and to help unpack your bags and generally make the stay as pleasant as possible. Not that you'll need much help.
Isabel, Original Traveller
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Isabel is our 'Emirates Palace' expert and as a seasoned traveller has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.