I have just returned from 10 days at the Emirates Palace (April 2012) with my husband and 10 year old daughter.
We had looked forward to the trip for 7 months but I have to say that we were underwhelmed by the hotel and service. We are regular travellers and have been fortunate to stay in some of the best hotels all over the world. This had been recommended to us so we were really excited.
Arrival was great and the room was what we expected, however as the trip went on, we were seriously underwhelmed by the service and stunned at the costs. (BTW - we are not skinflints and have no problem paying any amount for good service and quality).
The first day, we ordered 2 cokes and a small bottle of water on our sunbeds and the cost was approx £30!
As the days went on, we were stunned that we were paying £100 for breakfast for the 3 of us (£45 per adult) and over £200 for supper in any of the restaurants (one glass of wine each) - including the beach bar. The quality at each of the restaurants was edible but not special. Certainly not Michelin star, which is what we would expect for these prices in London.
The cheapest bottle of wine on room service was £75 per bottle. The cheapest at the beach bar was £45.
One morning at the hotel breakfast buffet my husband was aked what eggs he wanted. He asked for sunny-side up and after 20 minutes nothing had arrived. He asked where they were and they had forgotten. They then brought over-easy a further 10 minutes later. In all of that time, not one cup of coffee. he walked out and told then it was the worst service he had ever received in an international hotel ( this was true). He refused to pay. I am sorry to say this was not a one off.
The hotel is huge and grand but has no atmosphere in the central areas. Large empty spaces. No bar outside to enjoy the weather or view. Just one in the airconditioned dark lobby. It seems a great waste.
Outside there are loads of wasted terraces and spaces that are crying out for some sitting areas.
The Butler service is not what it claims to be - there is a call centre that can be called and they send someone to you. The Cell centre is useless. We called and asked if shorts could be worn at the beach restaurant and the next thing we know, a Butler has arrived to collect our Laundry!!!
On Day 1 they took 6 hours to make a restuarant reservation for us.
The West Wing is best for Kids but be aware that the depth of the pool and lazy river are waist height (I amd 5 foot 2 inches), so if parents want to swim or kids dive for coins etc, this is a no-go. In the East Wing, the pools are more grown up and has a swim up bar, but again, I do not believe any area is deep.
The beach is nice and private and water-skiing is good value, but be aware that it is a secluded harbour, so if you want waves for body-surfing or normal surfing, you wont find any. This was a bit of a killer for my Aussie husband as he loves a wave.
Overall, the people were nice, the prices were double most other hotels around the world and we did not get value for money. We spent over £3k for 2 meals a day for 10 days (with little alcohol) for 2 adults and 1 child (Again I stress, we are happy to pay this for good service and quality). Don't bother going here unless you have are happy to waste money or unless you get a half-board deal.
Pillows are dreadful too. Very soft and you have to have 3 to be the same thickness as a normal one pillow in UK.
Would I go back - NO!
I will go back to JW Marriot in Phuket or the Madinat or Juneirah Beach in Dubai, or Grand Hyatt in Bali.
Only pluses - nice Kids club and there is a Mall nearby so you can get your water for £1 a bottle rather than £8 per bottle. (You do get 2 small free bottles per room per day and a few soft drinks).
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Emirates Palace
- Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi
- Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi