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“Very, very disappointed - such high expectations, such low delivery...”
Review of Emirates Palace

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Emirates Palace
Ranked #5 of 128 Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 August 2014

My wife booked a night at The Emirates Palace as a treat for my 40th birthday. Sadly, of the lovely hotel I've been fortunate to stay in, Emirates Palace disappointed most.

Overall, we were very disappointed in the experience and won't be recommending it; Etihad Towers, the Rosewood, Yas Viceroy and the Ritz Carlton all offer what we would consider to be a much better, more sophisticated, polished and elegant service. We stumbled from one bad customer experience to the next, with multiple organisational issues confounding matters along the way.

The décor reminded us of a giant, empty 'Vegas casino or a glitzy airport terminal, compounded by the highly present, aloof and totally unnecessary security presence. Crime in this region is simply non-existent - there's no need for such an ostentatious show of force - although perhaps that's just the point.

The Emirates Palace is hence, in our eyes, outclassed by at least four five-star hotels in Abu Dhabi - disappointing for a hotel that seems to try to market itself as a class leader. Other (particularly Chinese and Russian) guests seemed to love it so perhaps we're missing the point.

Incidentally, if you want to understand the minutiae of our issues, see below (copied from our feedback to the hotel). To give them credit, we received a phone call from the General Manager apologising and, had we asked, I'm sure we'd have been compensated - but that would be to miss the point. This place sets itself up as something special but it's really just something big and gilded. But special? Not for us.

Sadly, I think this is a case demonstrating that 'more' does not always equate to 'better'.

*****

1. Our room was not ready on check in - we were offered no explanation, but simply told to walk around the hotel till it was ready. When we inquired how long it would take, we were told 45 minutes. The receptionist did suggest we could use the pool but, as we were not dressed for the beach, this was impossible without access to our room. We left the desk and went and bought a coffee.
2. When we returned an hour later, we were told our room was still not ready. When we pressed for an explanation, we were told the safe was locked and housekeeping were on their way to open it. We waited another ten minutes to be told the safe was now open but there were documents in it and we had to wait for security to empty these before we could get access to our room. At this point (over an hour after arriving) we were offered a complimentary coffee. Having just purchased one ourselves, we declined and simply asked for another room. We were pleased to be offered a complimentary upgrade to a suite, and headed upstairs.
3. The suite was very nice but had a number of issues. The safe could not be closed, the main TV made a loud buzzing noise, the sound from the TV (delivered through in-ceiling speakers) was poor, the AV CPU in the master bedroom was missing its cover, exposing the inside cables, power supply etc (a severe safety hazard if we'd had children with us). My wife also informs me that the hairdryer was very poor, and we were disappointed that there was no iPod dock or similar. Also, the lighting was very annoying - the smart lighting controls were slow to react, it was too easy to turn the lights in the bedroom on full when we just wanted to turn on a sidelight at night, and turning off the lights in the bathroom caused the bedroom lights to come on - annoying when it woke my wife up when I popped to the bathroom in the night.
4. My wife ordered a celebration package. The wine, banner and cake arrived but, unknown to me, my wife was also told to expect a bouquet of flowers - nothing arrived. When checking out the next day, my wife enquired as to the flowers and the receptionist confirmed they were supposed to be part of the package but then added that the reason we didn't get them was 'possibly because I'm a man'. No apology was offered, no offer to refund (part) of the cost of the package, nor an offer to forward them on to our home in Abu Dhabi.
5. The hotel could better sign restaurants etc - trying to find Hakkasan was difficult with various signs pointing to various unnamed restaurants.
6. The lack of an indoor pool seems surprising, given the size of the complex and the issues surrounding using the outside space due to the high temperatures in the summer months. We were also somewhat confused by the contradictory guidance that we could use either the East or West Pool which, to get to, we were told to take the lift to the fourth floor and then walk via the lobby area, compared to the instruction not to walk through the communal lobby area in swimwear or beach attire. Are we expected to take beachwear with us and change at the pool / beach? If so, no instructions or guidance were given and, in any event, this would seem very strange.
7. Breakfast was disappointing. We were left waiting for 15 minutes for my omelette whilst my wife’s breakfast (Eggs Benedict) arrived twice – the first serving of which was cold and had evidently been left standing for quite some time.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank foggy74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HolgerSchroth, General Manager at Emirates Palace, responded to this reviewResponded 24 August 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for our pleasant conversation over the phone. As discussed, we hope to show you in future our usual high standards of service, and look forward to welcoming you back to the Palace.

Best regards,

Holger Schroth
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 August 2014

Heyy Guys!

I was in Abu Dhabhi on 9th August along with family and decided to stay at Emirates Palace . As informed by my travel advisor i have booked Khaleej Suite to accommodate 4 people. On reception i was told that this suite was wrongly booked and was not available due to some nationality issue . My hopes doomed as i have already paid full money in advance and there was no reason to be refused on spot. However, i was pleasantly surprised when the people at reception told me that seeing my small kids and long journey they would be happy to offer me an upgrade to next best that is palace suite at no extra charge. I was happy to lap up this offer and when i entered into the suite my whole family was astounded by the massive space, ambiance, amenities and what not befitting a royalty. To top this they even had a hands on butler to take care of your needs , travel etc. I am writing this report on trip advisor rather than on hotel site just to thank tripadvisor guys to have mentioned and posted great reviews about this hotel. Again i through this site thank hotel , their staff and their big hearted effort to make our stay as memorable as it could be.

Thanks !!!!!
Manesh

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank raj10002014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HolgerSchroth, General Manager at Emirates Palace, responded to this reviewResponded 24 August 2014

Dear Manesh,

Thank you for taking the time to write a kind review of your visit to Emirates Palace with your family earlier this month.

I am happy to hear that you enjoyed your Palace Suite. We hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back soon.

Sincerely,

Holger Schroth
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2014

Well basically this is the ultimate luxury hotel in the world. Staff is friendly, facilities are out of this world, rooms are super spacious, try to go for a suite, is totally worth it. Amazing views and delicious food... The suite was fantastic, very spacious very clean and with ALL the possible amenities. If the quality of the slippers is good then you know you are at the right place. Amazing jacuzzi and well what else can I say. East wing pool is a total hit, amazing bar, cocktails and service, hammacks to lay inside the pool to relax under the sun. They give a lot of refreshments complimentary like lolypops, fruits, and so on. REstaurant at the pool area is nice, better than average for a pool bar. tuna salad and salmon are a total home run.
You can rent bikes and make a trip around the premices of the hotel which I definitely encourage you to do, specially during the sunset you should drive to the marina to see the amazing view. Camels are available and the bedouins are very friendly and they cant do enough.
We went to have dinner in mezzaluna, it was my birthday so they were sure to prepare a nice dessert for me. It was not the typical boring cake but instead it was a delicious tiramisu. Pasta was delicious and the sharing appetizer was the best!!!!!
Service was friendly and non obstrusive and there was either an indian or nepali girl that was super fantastic. I will take her if I can so watch it.
You can have a hotel tour to see the biggest suite, ballroom and auditorium definitely do it, it is totally worth it you will never see anything like it.
Overall it was an amazing experience and I will defintiely come back. Karen at the front desk was very helpful and charismatic. You need that kind of professionalism in this hotels.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Knej C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2014

This is one amazing hotel and is fully deserving of its rating. To pick up on some minor issues is really nitpicking. The room is large and spacious and the bathroom well appointed. Staff are friendly and helpful as you would expect from this hotel.

Room Tip: look for the star buys - from the best rooms down to the "normal" rooms all is good
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank John M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HolgerSchroth, General Manager at Emirates Palace, responded to this reviewResponded 24 August 2014

Dear John,

It was an absolute pleasure to welcome you to Emirates Palace earlier this month. Thank you for taking the time to write a kind review of your stay.

I am delighted to hear that you were impressed with the property and the service. We continuously strive to offer the best accommodation and hospitality in Abu Dhabi, and we appreciate the feedback of guests such as yourself.

We hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back to the Palace soon.

Sincerely,

Holger Schroth
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2014

Having been a regular user of the EP since it was first opened - for conferences, exhibitions, concerts and meals - this weekend was our first time to stay there. We had two nights in conjunction with a special deal which included a concert on Friday night. I have always loved the grandeur and scale of the building and the huge internal spaces but have never been particularly impressed with any of the food venues - there is more of an emphasis on formality than food. While the breakfast buffet this weekend had plenty of variety - even wheatgrass! - the experience was not pleasant. The room was overcrowded, with tables close together and people bumping into each other - like an ordinary package tour breakfast. Given the vast spaces in the hotel, I wonder why the Vendome has to be so cramped. People even had to sit out in the lobby!

I think the staff / service has improved over the years - our check-in and check-out was friendly and efficient. A map of the hotel would help, with one's room marked on it. It took us a while to work out the most efficient way to get to the pool! The coral room was fine but don't expect anything special - not nearly as impressive as many other rooms I've stayed in in the UAE.

BUT what bothered me most about the whole experience? Something I could have avoided if I'd read Trip Advisor reviews beforehand. There are no tea or coffee making facilities in the room!!! I've lived in the UAE for 14 years and stayed in most of the high-end hotels and this was a first for me - a very unwelcome first. Who wants to wake up in the morning and have to speak to someone, and then let them into the room in order to get that first cup of tea or coffee! If I'd known, I'd have brought my Nespresso Pixie with me! The cost is not an issue, just the awful start to the day and the great inconvenience. For this reason alone, I would never stay here again.

All in all, we had an enjoyable weekend but there are much better hotels now available in Abu Dhabi. The EP could be great if more thought is given to details that would make a guest's stay more comfortable, and less thought to having 6 stars. Facilities aren't everything!

Room Tip: Bring a travel kettle!
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
7  Thank BrooklynAD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HolgerSchroth, General Manager at Emirates Palace, responded to this reviewResponded 24 August 2014

Dear Brooklyn,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience at Emirates Palace. I am very sorry to read that your stay with us did not meet your expectations. I have noted your feedback on the lack of tea and coffee facilities in the room.

Sincerely,

Holger Schroth
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 August 2014

I have stayed at many good hotels in the world - and so many hotels in the world claim to be the best. I can assure you that the Emirates Palace is probably really one of the the best hotels in the world. The hotel is really majestic and I can't imagine that many other hotels come close to the service, cleanliness, natural friendliness and magic that this hotel offers.

I stayed twice in the Emirates Palace and everything was always simply perfect:

- most professional check-in and check-out
- unbelievable luxurious and large rooms (we stayed in a Pearl Room which offers a view to the Beach, I would not recommend to book a Coral Room, the view seems to be boring) and also large bathrooms (best towels!)
- best bed mattress with best pillows (upon choice) I have ever experienced
- most perfect housekeeping ever - spotlessly clean rooms
- not even a piece of dust in the entire hotel
- two great swimming pools (one for relaxation and one with water flow for "rafting")
- beautiful long empty sandy beach
- most luxurious breakfast (unbelievable how they manage to have those fresh raspberries) with really highest quality and professionalism of services.
- great location, even a bit outside the city center (but cabs are always available)
- high level of security in the entire hotel
- hotel service great in all aspects (personal Butler!). The staff is really 5 star!

What are the cons? Difficult to tell, everything was just too perfect. Perhaps the hotel lacks a bit of charme, but nevertheless I will be back. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank netsrac99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HolgerSchroth, General Manager at Emirates Palace, responded to this reviewResponded 14 August 2014

Dear Guest,

It was a pleasure to welcome you to Emirates Palace twice. Thank you for taking the time to share your kind feedback. I am happy to hear that you had a wonderful experience!

We hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back to the Palace soon.

Sincerely,

Holger Schroth
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 August 2014

We are currently having the most wonderful experience of staying at the Emirates Palace, yet again.
Although we check out later today, we have, as usual, had the most amazing time. We love coming to the Palace, the staff are truly some of the best trained in the world, their attention to detail and customer care is second to none. The Palace offer a taste of an opulent lifestyle we would all love to live in full time.
I have to mention Jashim and Yuan, our very attentive Butlers, also the concierge staff who are able to fulfil your every need.
The restaurants and the food they offer is incredible.
I would recommend visiting The Palace to anyone, it's a truly magical experience.

Room Tip: All rooms are beautifully furnished.. You would not be disappointed with any room. It will just depe...
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Jlpbtyone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HolgerSchroth, General Manager at Emirates Palace, responded to this reviewResponded 14 August 2014

Dear Guest,

It was an absolute pleasure to welcome you to Emirates Palace this month. Thank you for taking the time to write a kind review during your stay.

I am delighted to hear that you were impressed with the property and the service. We continuously strive to offer the best accommodation and hospitality in Abu Dhabi, and we appreciate the feedback of guests such as yourself. I will be glad to pass your kind words on to the rest of my team.

We hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back to the Palace soon.

Sincerely,

Holger Schroth
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Emirates Palace

Address: West Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Phone Number:
Region: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Abu Dhabi > Abu Dhabi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#3 Romantic Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#4 Spa Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#5 Luxury Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#10 Business Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#12 Family Hotel in Abu Dhabi
Price Range: £291 - £907 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Emirates Palace 5*
Number of rooms: 394
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hotel Emirates Palace
Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi
Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi

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