Abu Dhabi’s opulent Emirates Palace: The world’s 2nd most expensive hotel ever built

By: | September 26th, 2016 | 0 Comment

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When we think of the United Arab Emirates, we envision extravagant and luxurious royal palaces gilded in gold due to the ridiculous amount of money in the country from the oil industry. Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi is an embodiment of that vision and is open to the public as a 5-star luxury hotel. Their website claims they are “the definition of an unrivaled Arabian fantasy.” The hotel was created with the aim of showcasing Arabian culture and luxurious Arabian hospitality, and boy does it deliver. When it was built by the Abu Dhabi government, it was the world’s most expensive hotel ever built with a price tag of a whopping 3 billion dollars. It lost its title to the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore, but we still think it is pretty amazing as the world’s second most expensive hotel ever built. It has been described as going beyond 5 stars, even a 7-star facility. It boasts 1002 custom-made Swarovski crystal chandeliers, gold and marble just about everywhere you look, and a 6 to 1 staff to guest ratio when fully booked. Rooms include a 24 hour butler who will prepare one of seven baths off the bath menu for guests, or for a few thousand dollars, you can soak in a champagne bath. Now that’s extravagance! The penthouse floor has 6 suites reserved for royalty and dignitaries, and we can only imagine how over the top those are in terms of luxury. The Arc de Triomphe-style entrance is reserved for royal motorcades, but the regular entrance is not too shabby either. If the hotel looks familiar, you may remember it from the movies Fast and Furious 7 and The Kingdom, since both were filmed at Emirates Palace. So when in Abu Dhabi, a visit to walk around and explore or to sit down for a luxurious afternoon tea should be on your agenda. If you are ambitious like us, you can even visit Emirates Palace, Heritage Village, Etihad Towers, and the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in one day. Make sure you are wearing pants or a long skirt/dress because we were turned away originally because Bertaut was wearing shorts (long shorts at that). He bought some traditional Islamic clothing, a gandoora and headscarf, nearby¬†to be allowed entrance. His chocolate complexion made him stand out as a foreigner, and he got some honks and thumbs up from people driving by when we were on our way to the palace. Honestly, his Arab Sheikh attire made the experience even more fun and looks great in photos! We try not to take ourselves too seriously, life is too short. Now allow Sheikh Bertaut take you on a tour of his royal palace. ūüėČ

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Sheikh Bertaut invites you on a tour of Emirates Palace

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Entrance at Emirates Palace reserved for motorcades of royalty and dignitaries

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Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi proudly displaying flags of the UAE

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85 hectares of gardens and lawns at Emirates Palace are so green you forget you are in the Arabian desert

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Beautiful fountain in front of Emirates Palace would be fun to run through and cool off from the desert sun

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View of fountain and Etihad Towers from Emirates Palace grand front stairs

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In front of Emirates Palace with the view of the Etihad Towers

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Entrance at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi

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We loved the uniforms for the doormen at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi

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Magnificent doorway to enter Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi

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Splendid front porch at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi

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Elegant entryway at Emirates Palace with portraits of important Sheikhs

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Welcome drinks at Emirates Palace lobby show famous Arabian hospitality

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Bertaut enjoying a small glass of juice- not sure what kind but it was tasty- in Emirates Palace lobby

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Reception area at Emirates Palace with its golden ceiling and beautiful imported marble

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Muted color scheme inspired by the Arabian desert in the lobby and throughout Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi

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Golden columns and ceiling at the entrance to Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi

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We aren’t sure how tall these ceilings are, but they are very high at Emirates Palace

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Huge corridors, some 1km long, at Emirates Palace with marble floors so clean you could eat off them

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We loved the golden color scheme and these glowing wall sconces

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A shimmering golden area for guests to relax over a cup of Arabic coffee at Emirates Palace

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The photo does not do justice to how beautiful this area was with its sparkling gold mosaic wall and arch

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Live palms inside the Emirates Palace show its grandeur

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Grand stairway with incredible chandeliers and golden domed ceiling at Emirates Palace

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The muted color scheme is very inviting, relaxing, and luxurious at Emirates Palace

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The walls are so detailed and beautiful throughout Emirates Palace, and there are plush chairs and couches everywhere for lounging

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Even the elevators are golden and shiny at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi

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I just love these door handles with the sparkling crystals and palms at the top

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Golden dome over the lobby at Emirates Palace is stunning

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View of the gorgeous blue Gulf from a veranda at Emirates Palace

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Live piano music for guests who are enjoying afternoon tea at Emirates Palace

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Glamourous lounge area to enjoy afternoon tea at Emirates Palace

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We could spend hours just sitting and soaking in the luxury at Emirates Palace and admiring the decor

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Tea selection for afternoon tea at Emirates Palace

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Menu for afternoon tea at Emirates Palace, which includes 24 carat chocolate fondant. Not surprising at this golden palace. Prices are in AED.

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More swanky seating areas for afternoon tea at Emirates Palace

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Afternoon tea includes pastries, sandwiches, scones, 24 carat chocolate fondant, and champagne for an extra charge

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Artistic and colorful display of macarons at Emirates Palace

As we explored the magnificent hotel, we discovered a shopping area with beautiful home decor items, heavenly perfumes, jewelry and more. As much as we appreciate luxury, we do not like paying luxury hotel prices (we usually stay at luxury hotels on points so don’t have to shell out any money or pay just a fraction of the normal cost) so did not buy any souvenirs at Emirates Palace. We prefer the thrill of bargaining at markets where you can find unique items at a fraction of the cost of what high end stores charge. Nonetheless, we enjoyed window shopping and the Jealous perfume smelled so divine I almost splurged on a bottle for my souvenir.

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Signature scents sold at Emirates Palace are unique and intoxicating

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Jealous sells their signature perfume at Emirates Palace, the only place you can find it.

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Shops sell exquisite home decor items inside Emirates Palace

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Delightful home decor for sale at a shop inside Emirates Palace. I wanted these!

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Sheikh Bertaut posing in front of a beautiful rug for sale at Emirates Palace

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If money is no issue, you will find some fantastic souvenirs to decorate your home at Emirates Palace

We couldn’t leave Emirates Palace without checking out the bathrooms. Maybe I’m weird, but I (Alexis) really appreciate beautiful bathrooms when visiting luxury hotels. The ladies room did not disappoint at Emirates Palace with gorgeous marble and mosaics, elegant sconces gracing the walls, deluxe hand soap, and rolled cloth towels sitting on a pedestal to dry your hands.

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Even the bathrooms are elegant and sumptuous at Emirates Palace

We hope you’ve enjoyed your tour of Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, although we have to say that photos really don’t do it justice. It is best experienced in person when all of your senses can be entertained. Arabian aromas from incense waft through the corridors, piano music plays in the lounge, golden mosaics sparkle in the sunlight, plush couches comfort your derri√®res, and your tastebuds will delight in decadent food should you choose to stay for afternoon tea or dine in one of their fine restaurants. We heard Hakkasan, a world-renowned restaurant featuring a unique take on modern Chinese cuisine, is amazing! Unfortunately they weren’t open during the hours we visited. For a unique Arabic twist on the American Classic, try the Emirates Palace’s signature dish: the 24 karat gold Camel Burger, which is served on a gold-dusted bun. Have we inspired you to visit yet? Maybe even to splurge for a room if you are really a high roller? Rooms and suites range from about $700 to $13,000, but remember they include a 24 hour butler! At turndown service lavender sachets are placed on the bed to help you drift off to sleep. If you’ve ever dreamed of being treated Iike royalty, this may be your best bet and your only chance to stay in a palace. There is so much more of the palace that we didn’t even explore due to not being guests, including the beach club, 6 km cycling and jogging path, tennis courts, outdoor pools, soccer facilities, and of course the guest rooms and suites. Based on the photos of rooms on their website, they deliver the same caliber of luxury and extravagance throughout the hotel, with some unbelievable bathrooms and gorgeous Arabian decor. I’m dreaming of living an Arabian fantasy at Emirates Palace for just one night, perhaps next time. On this visit to Abu Dhabi, Hyatt Capital Gate was perfect for us. What luxury hotel or resort do you dream of staying in? Please share in the comment section. Now if you will excuse me, I need to go pour myself a champagne bath. ūüėČ If you liked this post and want to get tips to travel like a millionaire, please sign up for our email newsletter¬†and RSS feed.

About Bertaut & Alexis

Abu Dhabi’s opulent Emirates Palace: The world’s 2nd most expensive hotel ever built
Travel addicts and proud parents of two young kids who make exploring the world a priority while working full time. Bertaut & Alexis enjoy traveling like millionaires without spending a fortune and share their tips on how to get luxury for less.
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