I’ve never been to the Emirates Palace. Seen it from above when we stayed at the Etihad Towers, but that’s as close as I’ve ever been. So when it was heating up this summer (you never get used to the heat…), and I was itching for a getaway with the family – I figured it might be a good idea to check it out when it was affordable 🙂 A few emails to and fro with their reservations team later (shout out to Pia!), we finally booked it for this weekend, and thought it might be a good idea for a belated celebration for Sophie (you can never have enough celebrations when you’re 2!)
So, thoughts? Did it live up to our expectations? Is it as family-friendly as everyone claims to be? Here are our thoughts on the resort.
Coral Double Room with Garden View : For the ‘Summer at the Palace’ deal – which they will quote 990 AED with a lot of plus pluses – it works out to be 1275 AED for a night in the Coral Room with breakfast. We were so hoping for an upgrade (doesn’t everyone?) 🙂 Even tried the “Do we have a nice room?” line at check-in, and “We’re celebrating my daughter’s birthday” – still no luck. Hahaha. Oh well, better luck next time. What’s your trick? 😉
The room is….. alright. No photos of the room itself here, just check it out on their website – click here. We were placed on the 5th floor of the West Wing, which is also where the Kid’s Club and Kid’s Pool is located. You get the “garden view” like this below. For the room, you can get either a spare single bed OR a cot, not both. So if you have two kids like us, just choose whichever that suits. There’s a chaise lounge chair which you can shift next to your bed to fit the other child. Honestly the king bed is big enough to fit everyone if you don’t mind squashing!
For amenities, there’s a nespresso machine, which is quite standard in hotels now, isn’t it. No teabags at all which was quite odd, so when I rang housekeeping they said it should be there but if it isn’t they’ll bring some. No kettles either, but they will bring one upon request. All good.
They supply complimentary beach bags which is something different. For our girl, they had kid’s toiletries, little slippers and bathrobe ready which she absolutely loved 🙂 She’s still using the one we got from the Ritz Carlton in Almaty, at home, haha.
Onto the facilities that we used.
We spent most of both Friday and Saturday at the pool. There’s a lazy river with donut floats that you can use – loved it 🙂 No kid’s float though, but you can just hold onto the little ones while you bob around. There’s shade here and there underneath the trees, under the “cave”, and bridges. There are two slides, which I had a lot of fun going down. Slides are too high and fast for a 2-year old, and they don’t let you hold onto them whilst you go down. More suited for 4-year olds and above I’ll say?
There’s a shaded kid’s pool which we spent a lot of time at with our girl and her new friends. The great thing about these pools is, the sunloungers are right by the kid’s pool so you can chill out there whilst your little ones muck around. Plus the adult pool is just next to it, so you can go from one to another. The floor is very hot though, mind you.
What I love about nice hotels – complimentary fruit skewers, mm mmm 🙂 Imaginary pina colada in hand as well 🙂 Another great thing – they supply complimentary water in buckets filled with ice. All hotels should do this.
Keep walking and there’s a really nice playground behind the pool area which my girl spent ages in the swings. What I love about going to resorts during Ramadan is – that it’s quiet. Which means no need to wait for a turn on the swings and lots of free sunbeds with shade!
Considering how big the hotel is, the Kid’s Club is tiny. If the hotel was packed, I doubt there will be space in the Kid’s Club for all the children. I don’t know why it’s so disproportionately small. We spent sometime in there whilst waiting for the weather to cool down a little before going into the pools. The Kid’s Clubs at other resorts like Jumeirah Beach Hotel or even Lapita Hotel are so so so much bigger. The good thing is, it’s really close to the pools.
We had breakfast this morning at Le Vendome, located on the 4th floor. Again, similar to the Kid’s Club, the breakfast hall indoor area is disproportionately small. We had no issues getting a table because, as most families with young children do, we were the first ones down in the morning. Come a little later and you’ll probably have to wait though. I’m not sure how they manage during the busy periods. Is there another breakfast hall on the other end of the Palace? Do they have different breakfast halls for each wing? No issue with what they served or service in general, I was happy with my Egg’s Benedict and they prepared my girl’s hard-boiled egg perfectly.
Husband spent some time in the gym as well, on both days. Again, it’s small, i.e Habtoor Grand’s gym is much bigger even though the resort is so much smaller. No issues though because it was so quiet when he went so he could use what he wanted to use. Again, I just can’t imagine what happens when the resort is at its max occupancy?
So, in general – I guess because it is Ramadan, the hotel was very quiet – which was perfect for us. This meant our girl could run around the hotel, playing with other kids 🙂 Here’s a snapshot of her and her new friends for the day 🙂 Isn’t it nice to be 2-years old again. A lot of facilities seemed quite disproportionately small like the Kid’s Club, the Gym, and even the Club Lounge on the 4th floor. All this wasn’t a problem for us during our staycation simply because it was quiet, but I’ll be honest and say I’m glad we didn’t pay a lot of money to have access to the Club Lounge.
Our suggestions on things that could be better are :
a) It was a nice effort for the resort to provide a complimentary birthday cake in our room for our girl, though it would have been nice if they made a little more effort for these special occasions – like a balloon or two! (sorry, we’ve stayed in too many resorts in the UAE for special occasions – so our expectations are way up there 😉 )
b) Please install changing tables in all female and male restrooms. What a hassle for a mum with a newborn to walk from the breakfast hall all the way down to a restroom which was under repair, to another restroom which did not have anywhere to change a baby. Also, since these restrooms are so big, it would be nice to put a couch or two in case mums would like to feed their baby in there as well.
c) I don’t think there’s much that can be done on what I had already commented above i.e the disproportionately sized amenities. I guess it’s just a head’s up for people who are going to Emirates Palace!
For those travelling without kids, you’re likely to be placed in the East Wing closer to the pools on the other side i.e the “adult” pools. Away from us family people, hahaha. One of the great things they did provide are complimentary bicycles which you could use to explore the Emirates Palaces. Ah, how I wish I went for a ride around. Next time… next time.
Overall, happy with our stay. Perfect time to go, also for a great price. Definitely highly recommended for families, and I’m sure for those without children as well. Let me know how it goes if you do head over there!
- Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi
- Deal : Summer at the Palace
Disclaimer : We paid for our staycation at Emirates Palace Hotel, and booked directly with the hotel’s reservation team. All thoughts are our own 🙂