This November we spent a week in the Emirates and I must say, this trip was a definitely one for several books. After a long 13hrs flight from Montreal via Frankfurt we arrived in Abu Dhabi in style. We were met at the gate by our hotel concierge who wisked us through customs and then put us into a BMW 740i with our driver for the trip to the hotel. I thought “HOLLYY COWW” as we pulled into our hotel, overawed by the palatial driveway and lobby.
The luxury at the Emirates Palace hotel is above and beyond. No money was spared in the construction of this grandest of hotels in order to provide every conceivable luxury. Grand ballrooms, 11 restaurants, bars and lounges, coffee and Shisha cafes, luxurious guest rooms, 24/7 butler service are part of the scenery. There are two different entrances to the hotel, one for the hotel guests and one for the royal or diplomatic guests. The actual palace for the Emir of Abu Dhabi is right next door. The hotel employees comes from all the world – Germany to Russia, India, Thailand, France, Japan, every country. You name it, they are all represented here.
My favourite things to do during our stay at the Emirates palace were the camel rides and hanging out at the shisha restaurant, both by the beach. Almost every night during our stay at the Emirates Palace we would have a night cap at the lounge by the beach, smoke some shisha and listen to the waves,. Insanely relaxing!
I did check out the gym as well but used it only once. One doesn’t really need to use the gym here, walking around this expansive hotel gives you enough exercise.
The hotel was very amusing but our trip to Abu Dhabi was not complete without visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand mosque. It was a huge marble-clad mosque, with the most humongous chandeliers I have ever seen in my life, beautiful prayer rooms and the softest persian carpets everywhere. Upon entering the mosque all female visitors are required to cover their heads and all visitors must take their shoes off. No PDA of any kind is allowed inside the mosque. The mosque visit was definitely impressive and I highly recommend it for any visitors to Abu Dhabi. We also visited the nearby Yas and Saadiyat Islands, very beautiful as well.
While in Abu Dhabi I also got a chance to check out the Gold souk at Madinat Zayed mall. For my gold lovers, this gold souk is definitely a must-visit. Be sure to check out the gold rate online before visit so you know what you are paying for and don’t pay the first price they give you. You can bargain the price down needless to say! They charge a small/negotiable manufacturing fee depending on what you are buying but other than that the gold price is standard across the globe. During our stay in Abu Dhabi, they were also opening the Louvre Abu Dhabi. We did not get a chance to visit as it was not yet open to the public, but I highly recommend it if you are in the area. On our drive back from dinner at the beach at the Park Hyatt on Saadiyat Island we saw the Louvre lit up as politicians and celebrities partied it up at the private opening.
After four nights in Abu Dhabi, we visited Dubai. It’s a little less traditional, a lot of European expats and and a whole lotta partying. Our stay in Dubai was brief but very memorable. We spent days lounging by the beach, doing water sports like wakeboarding and heeeey I got to put on my lil’ black dress that I felt was a bit inappropriate in Abu Dhabi.
As our Arabia trip came to an end, I felt very blessed and thankful of the experience. Inshalllah until next time.
With love from Arabia,