We flew overnight from Glasgow to Dubai in an Emirates sauna: worst flight we have ever had! The driver who collected us from the airport was brilliant: he stopped at a filling station to buy us bottles of water for the journey and would not take cash for it. We arrived at the Emirates Palace hours before check in but were told the room was immediately available. The check in process was impressive and very welcoming. The hotel is vast and opulent and gives an immediate wow factor. The standard of cleanliness throughout is superb. In such a vast hotel there is a huge management challenge to ensure a consistently high standard of service throughout, and we encountered some bad examples. Our trip was to celebrate my 60th birthday. I am a party animal but on this occasion I decided to forego a large party in favour of this trip. The hotel was advised of my birthday by the travel agent. However on arrival I was disappointed to be told that the prophet Mohammed's birthday was the day after mine, and that from 5.30pm on my birthday until 6.30pm the next day the UAE was dry, and that there would be no music throughout that period. I could, however, have drinks in my room. On my birthday we decided to have afternoon tea. We arrived in the lobby less than halfway through service and I was told they'd run out of food. When I remonstrated the waitress handed me a business card and told me to book ahead in future. I asked a supervisor for the phone number for the Etihad Towers, then a manager arrived and brusquely told me to order tea and that he'd have words with the waitress later. Afternoon tea when it arrived was not the best: tip-try the Etihad Towers instead as I've heard it's better. On the plus side when we returned to our room a butler arrived with a cake. Though we're both non smokers we visited the Havanna Club a couple of times and the service from Katerine and Anthony and other staff was superb. They arranged for the duo to sing happy birthday and presented me with a chocolate cake. There were a number of other examples of great service, but-other tip-pay attention to the house rules and meal times. We paid for half board but it later transpired that this only applies to four of the restaurants. When we went to settle the bill we had to pay for a couple of a la carte meals, with no reduction for the half board status. This was not properly explained at reception, though it was in a badly worded letter we were given at the start of the holiday. We loved the food so just accepted this. In the lobby of the hotel there are security guards and notices saying no photographs beyond this point. Both are largely ignored and one irritation as a guest was having crowds of people milling about taking photos when you are having tea/trying to chill out. Overall the positives outweighed the negatives. We loved the hotel and prefer Abu Dhabi to Dubai. We'll be back!
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Emirates Palace
- Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi
- Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi