Just how do you segue from live goats at a Farmer’s Market to 24 Carat Gold flaked cappuccinos? I don’t know, but I am going to try in this post. Life here in the Middle East certainly presents you with the most peculiar contradictions imaginable, from weather to markets, camels to cars, goats to 24K gold.
While I am not really one for luxury and all the trappings that come with it, it’s not often that a girl gets an invitation to coffee at the Palace with friends—that’s kind of a new and different thing for me, and you might have guessed by now that I LOVE new and different.
Let me just start by stating the obvious: no trip to Abu Dhabi is complete without a visit to one of the most expensive hotels ever built. The Emirates Palace is the capital’s most iconic structure. It is also Abu Dhabi’s answer to Dubai’s Burj Al Arab (the only other 7-star hotel in the world), which you have to pay an entrance fee just to have a gander. Emirate’s Palace is free to view. This luxurious hotel cost more than 6 billion USD to build. The location is so superb that Sheik of Abu Dhabi, himself, lives right next door. It has classic Arabian architecture with extravagant amenities and services that go far beyond 5-star, which is why people often refer to as “7-star,” though no certified organization gave the palace this distinction.
The Emirates Palace has:
- 1 km large, from the west wing and east wing
- 400 rooms and suites, the cheapest are around 965 USD per night
- 2000 employees (about 5 per room),
- 1000 Swarovski chandeliers,
- 8000 palm trees in the gardens and private beach,
- 3 camels and camel drivers to entertain clients,
- 33 kitchens
And I’ve saved the best & most ridiculous for last: 20,680 USD per night for the presidential suite.
My friend, her mother, who is visiting from colder climes, and I descended upon the Palace the other day—I, for their renowned gold-flaked cappuccino and, they, to have a peek inside. We have all passed it from the outside. You cannot miss it! The Emirates’ Palace transforms the cityscape with it vastness and beauty. It is really a sight to behold. It’s very different from palaces in Europe in that it’s new, bright, surrounded by palm trees and all the colors really complement one another; this is a virtue of being new and in a very warm climate.
We entered the lobby, which had a magnificent ceiling, akin to any cathedral in any part of Europe. The colors were glorious. There was a flautist and a piano player playing old–80s music–-standards in the lobby—not sure how I feel about that, but let’s move on.
We were seated in the luxurious café. The menu was not exactly as you might expect in a place like this; it was a little odd. But, there it was: my 24 K Gold Cappuccino on the menu:
24K Gold Fries:
24K Gold Camel Burgers:
We settled on Cappuccino, Chai and Blue Tea—yes, it’s a thing from Taiwan–and, fries of course, because they were special and because a gal cannot subsist on 24K gold flakes alone, right?! God knows I’ve tried. Lol! When it was served, it looked like this:
****WARNING, if you are ridiculously immature and bad in a formal setting: A 24K Flaked Gold Cappuccino may lead, if unmannerly drunk, to a 24K Gold Mustache:
The service was impeccable, of course. The coffee was the best coffee I have had in some time, but then I am still a bit parched in the coffee department, so I am probably not the best person to assess this at this moment in time. The drinks were all served with a perfect macaroon and a date. They were divine.
We wandered the palace aimlessly taking random pictures:
Having fun in our luxurious setting:
Until a Michael Clarke Duncan looking & sounding security guard dude ended our quest for more and more extravagance—it was inevitable. Guests only were allowed beyond this point. What?! Don’t you know us?! He didn’t. He ushered us back to where the other 99.999999999% are allowed to inhabit, albeit in as kindly a manner as he could–I am sure he does this all day long, poor guy. We let him remain where he was; We remembered the beautiful way back to where we belonged—residual memory guided back towards the café.
If you are ever in Abu Dhabi, please do not miss Emirates’ Palace. You may be like me and think you are not into princesses, palaces, high tea, luxe, et al, but the Emirates Palace is full of grandeur, recent history and a scrumptious cuppa joe, which is surprisingly not too pricey for a palace (12 USD ish). Do it, just to say you did.
Enjoy. Life’s short!! Stick with me…I’ll take you from Goats to 24K Gold as often as I can. I can also teach you how to get the best 24K gold mustache possible. Just ask! It took me a few too many times to get it right.
[lg_slideshow folder=”Emirates Palace Visit/”]