Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental Abu Dhabi

Review of Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental Abu Dhabi

BusinessClass.com review by Varun Sharma

Set within 100 hectares of landscaped gardens and lawns, the Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi is a palatial beachfront hotel located in a sweeping natural bay on the Arabian Gulf. With a 1.3-kilometre pristine beach with luxurious beach cabanas, the resort offers 390 luxurious rooms and suites featuring tranquil views of either the verdant gardens or the sea with either a private terrace or balcony. The property’s Marina features dedicated large yacht facilities with unrestricted tidal access providing 169 visitor and residential berths for yachts from 12 to 140 metres.

Facilities are plentiful with ten restaurants, lounges and bars offering an array of cuisines and a 1,500-square metre The Hideaway by Emirates Palace Spa with private and luxurious Spa Suites, Spa Cabanas and treatment rooms to spend an hour or a day with refreshing and nourishing treatments alongside Fitness Centres, a Pedi-Mani: Cure Studio by Bastien Gonzalez, a Hair Salon and The Barber for haircuts and more with Gentlemen’s Tonic.

Other facilities include two temperature-controlled resort pools and in partnership with Abu Dhabi Marine, superb water sports facilities offering everything from high-tech X-Jetblades to catamarans, windsurfing boards to sailing. The Beach Club also offers water adventures including kayaking, surfing and paddle boarding whilst the Ocean Dive Centre will take you on scuba diving excursions or can help you attain PADI scuba certification. On the beach, try Beach Volleyball, Beach Boot Camp and yoga. For younger guests, the Kids Play Zone will keep them safe with a menu of creative endeavours whilst the AquaFun Park is just 70 metres from the shoreline for family fun. With over six kilometres of jogging paths within the grounds, the property also offers complimentary cycle hire for the more active.

Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi is managed by Mandarin Oriental.

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Centrally situated in the heart of Abu Dhabi at the western end of the city’s Corniche next to the Royal Palace, the Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental sits on a pristine private beach, close to major visitor attractions and the main business areas of the city. The Marina Mall and other shopping attractions are within walking distance of the hotel with popular tourist sites such as the Grand Mosque and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre just 20 minutes away.

The property is also within easy reach of attractions such as Qasr Al Hosn, The Louvre Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, and Formula 1 Yas Marina Circuit. There are also theme parks, traditional souks, a Heritage Village and sand dunes close by.

Abu Dhabi International Airport is about a 40-minute drive from the hotel whilst Dubai Airport is around a 90-minute drive.



Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi offers 390 rooms and suites, luxuriously styled as you might expect from this palatial property. There are five categories of guest room each sporting a soothing marine colour palette with design aspects having an Arabian motif with ebonized walnut and polished marble. Rooms range from the Deluxe City View, Deluxe Garden View, Deluxe Garden Terrace and the Deluxe Sea View Rooms – all sized at a spacious 55 square metres. With private balconies or terraces and marble bathrooms, the elegant furniture is custom designed with daily replenished fruits, Diptyque bath amenities, pillow menus and a Bluetooth speaker alarm clock. The Club Sea View Room additionally offers access to the exclusive EP Club. There are also six signature rooms – the Vegan Rooms – of the same size but furnished with sustainable bedding, bamboo towels, 100% plant based bathroom wet amenities by Votary with travel-sized vegan skincare products by Tata Harper and in-room amenities by Palatino. There are also bespoke Vegan minibars and a Vegan in-room dining menu. Nothing in the room from furnishings to fittings, has been made with animal-based products or materials. Vegan guests may also experience vegan-certified spa treatments too with Sodashi products in The Hideaway by Emirates Palace Spa.

When we come to the suites, there are eight categories to choose from, all with EP Club access, starting with the spacious 110 square metre Sea View Suite with breath-taking views out over the Gulf and 24/7 butler service to cater to every whim and the similar sized Beachfront Suite with its private terrace and custom designed furnishings. Slightly larger at 165 square metres of living space are the Panoramic Sea View Suites and the Beachfront Suites, all with those mesmerising views and bathrooms with hot tubs for relaxation. The Deluxe Palace Suite (140 square metres), the Two Bedroom Palace Suite (330 square metres) and the Three Bedroom Palace Suites (470 square metres) offer an opulent, more traditional style of accommodation with luxurious touches including majlis, embroidered silks and Spanish marble – all as spacious and grand as can be. The one-bedroom Royal Suite at 280 square metres is luxurious living at its best, as one might expect, with unobstructed views out over the palm-fringed beach, a larger master suite, a separate dining room and an enormous sitting room - all styled with a more contemporary feel with design elements including gold, silk and Swarovski crystal.  

Service & Facilities


With a 1.3-kilometre stretch of golden sand, the resort’s serviced private beach looks out over the Arabian Gulf. For those who like some shade, the property offers wooden hand-crafted beach cabanas situated on the shoreline. Sun worshippers who dislike the feeling of sand between their toes should head instead to the two gorgeous temperature-controlled swimming pools with cabanas and sun loungers under shady parasols and palm trees with service on demand.

The luxuriously designed 1,500-square metre The Hideaway by Emirates Palace Spa offers a luxurious haven of tranquillity and serenity with a wide range of indulgent, rejuvenating and holistic therapies, treatments and rituals using skin products by Tata Harper and Oto among others within individual and couples’ treatment rooms and spa cabanas. With a stunning traditional Moroccan Hammam with two Jacuzzis, two steam rooms, heated marble and an ice cave, there is also The Mani: Cure Studio by the acclaimed Bastien Gonzalez, who will ensure both hands and feet will be cossetted and pampered. For men, The Barber is an outpost of London’s Gentlemen’s Tonic, offering a traditional barber shop alongside lifestyle and grooming treatments. For those who like to keep active, there are two fitness centres with a full range of Techno Gym machines and free weights, personal trainers on demand. The spa will also offer an exclusive Acqua di Parma Barbiere service and retail products.

For water babies, head to the Water Sports Centre operated in tandem with Abu Dhabi Marine, offering everything from high-tech X-Jetblades to catamarans, windsurfing boards to sailing. The Beach Club also offers aquatic adventures including kayaking, surfing and paddle boarding whilst the Ocean Dive Centre will take you on scuba diving excursions or can help you attain PADI scuba certification.

For fun on the sand, play around or get competitive with a Beach Volleyball game with balls provided by the Beach Club or try a high-octane workout with a Beach Boot Camp operated by Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental alongside Desert Shield Fitness. For that Robinson Crusoe moment, the property also offers a three-hour Sandbar Island Getaway Experience accessible by boat, with a custom picnic to enjoy on a pristine beach, lapped by the ocean.

There are also yoga classes for inner tranquillity as well as jogging and cycling trails along six kilometres of paths within the groups with cycles available for rent. Do not be surprised to pass a cricket pitch along the way, just one of the many facilities at Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental. Located in the East Lawns, professional groundsmen ensure that the cricket wicket as well as the four grass pitches are well maintained and prepared for every game throughout the year.

For children, there is a Kids Play Zone for safe monitored play and engaging educational experiences for those aged from four to twelve whilst aquatic fun can be had for all the family at the supervised AquaFun Park located in a gentle bay, 70 metres from the shore.

For golfers, there are four championship golf courses within 45 kilometres of the hotel – in Abu Dhabi - with transfers easily arranged via the concierge. The Abu Dhabi City Golf Club has nine holes and is just ten kilometres from the Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental. Saadiyat Golf Club with 18 holes is the first ocean golf course designed by Gary Player. It is a short 18 kilometres from the Emirates Palace. The Abu Dhabi Golf Club has 27 holes and is the largest course in Abu Dhabi and is home to the PGA European Tour. It is around 45 minutes’ drive from the Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental. With 18 holes, Yas Links is the first Middle Eastern links course and is located at a distance of 42.1 kilometres from the hotel.

For superyacht owners, the Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental Marina is a natural lure and the first of its kind in the country. It features 169 berths with dedicated large yacht facilities and unrestricted tidal access for yachts sized from 12 to 140 metres. The Marina was designed as a stage for the region’s most luxurious yachts, high profile events and an exclusive welcoming harbour for visiting yachts. All kinds of services are offered including gourmet gastronomy on demand, massage and spa services, personal trainers, delivery of locally sourced ingredients and helipad access.



Said to be the most expensive hotel ever built in modern terms, to be larger than Buckingham Palace and to feature the largest dome in the world, the stunning Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi is a showcase for the Emirates in many ways.

It is hard to think of another property off hand which has the wide range of facilities offered to hotel guests and local residents. The addition of the 169 berth Marina designed to lure the most luxurious yachts in the world to its safe haven, takes it to another level. When you factor in the amount of gold used in the opulent interior design – more than 6,000 square metres of 22-karat gold leaf – and the renowned service standards offered by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group with their Eastern influences and style, you have a hotel marriage made in heaven.

If you want to take some of that luxury home with you, try out the uber-indulgent 24-carat Gold Radiance Facial which uses micronised 24-carat gold sheets which are then massaged into the skin under an ultra-sonic Nano mist.

Restaurants & Bars


There are ten different wining and dining venues at the Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi, offering a world of gastronomy to suit every and any palate.

The one-Michelin starred Talea by Antonio Guida serves authentic Italian cuisine within a bright white arched space, full of murals of Italy with comfortable blue dining chairs and a contemporary edge. Based on a family-style cuisine, reinterpreting classic Italian masterpieces, his menus fuse traditional Milanese techniques with an innovative modern twist. Using seasonal and authentic Italian produce, chef Luigi Stinga, Guida’s protégé, is at the helm.

Martabaan by Hemant Oberoi is a “contemporary classic” Indian dining experience by celebrated master chef, Hemant Oberoi. Deeply embedded in cultural traditions, his innovative recipes have revolutionised the world of Indian cuisine, served within an opulent décor of Moorish arches and gold leafed walls, looking out over the Arabian Gulf’s crystal blue waters. The “Tikka Le” Bar, a focal point of the restaurant, offers a range of signature cocktails to complement the dishes. Long forgotten recipes are brought back to life and given a contemporary touch by Chef Oberoi with offerings as varied as Varqui Crab and Masala Chai Crème Brulée.

For an al fresco meal, head to BBQ Al Qasr and their elegant beachfront gazebos. Offering the romance of an Arabian fable, expect food grilled to perfection by the sea using the freshest and best of ingredients within a romantic, curtained beachside oasis. 

The poolside Greek-inspired Cascades by the West Beach Club is an altogether more casual dining space, named for the cascading waterfalls and sea grottos within the adjacent water park and particularly family friendly. Enjoy anything from tacos to mezze, Truffle Fries to King Crab Niçoise under shaded parasols. Near the East Beach Club meanwhile, the Spanish inspired Las Brisas is another family friendly poolside restaurant offering global favourites with anything from calamari to Wagya beef burgers, sushi to nachos in a casual setting.

Hakkasan Abu Dhabi, which has received a Michelin star from the Michelin Guide’s Abu Dhabi edition, offers a wide variety of dining options – a restaurant, bar, lounge, terrace and four private dining rooms - over an enormous 1,4886 square metres of space. Each is separated by carved and latticed wooden screens, a nod to their original London restaurant. Designed by Gilles & Boissier, the main dining room is crafted into a wooden cage surrounded by backlit blue glass with embroidered furnishings and Chinese motifs. The 108-seat terrace has a stylish bar area complete with custom cocktails and lounging cabanas overlooking the city skyline. Expect a musical backdrop from the best of local and international DJ talent whilst feasting on signature dishes like Peking Duck with Caviar and Crispy Duck Salad alongside a range of new dishes created especially for an Emirati clientele. On Friday nights, there is a Friday Night Brunch whilst every Saturday, enjoy a Dim Sum lunch.

The all-day dining restaurant, Vendôme, offers a range of dishes from the Middle East and global favourites in an elegant dining space. Linger over breakfast, lunch or dinner, grazing on healthy salads, soups and sandwiches or hearty curries and beef fillets. On Saturdays, Vendôme offers an “Enchanted Brunch at Vendôme” where mini chefs are encouraged to create their own dishes in an innovative brunch situation.

When you just want a refreshing cup of tea or coffee, along with light snacks and meals, head to Le Café by the Fountain where you can relax in comfortable armchairs under the shade of a parasol whilst looking out over a bank of fountains and the contemporary architecture of the city beyond.

Episodes is a new dining experience offered by Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental and will take you on a culinary journey with an array of teas, patisserie and savouries to tempt even the most discerning of palates. It starts with Episodes 1, a tea apothecary with sweet and savoury creations, carries onto Episodes 2 for a gourmet deli with takeaway classics before arriving at Episodes 3, the Mandarin Cake Shop for sweet treats. The final Episodes 4 or rather Episodes Gelateria, offers a range of refreshing gelato classics and invigorating aromatic newcomers.

For a taste of Arabia, the tenth venue is The Lebanese Terrace situated al fresco with views of the magnificent grounds and the private beach. Featuring live cooking stations and entertainment, this is the perfect place to experience sophisticated Arabic cuisine at its best.



The guiding principle at Mandarin Oriental is “Acting with Responsibility” where they strive to achieve through their Naturally Better Plan. As well as embracing and putting into practice the brand’s global sustainability initiatives such as eliminating all single use plastic, the Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi has set its own local initiatives to make sure they play their part in making guest stays more sustainable and comfortable.

Emirates Palace Mandarin Palace has replaced all plastic water bottles with glass bottles in the Palace Suites and has continued with reusable replacements implemented for take-away packaging, cafeteria cups and in room slipper packaging. Biodegradable alternatives for products like straws, garbage bags and vacuum packs are in place across the hotel.

There are 8,000 trees in the hotel’s landscaped gardens that are spaced out. Besides looking beautiful when in flower, these trees also provide shade and help to improve the climate which in turn paves the way for bird migration. The property also hosts a turtle rehabilitation centre where a dedicated team of professionals provide medical aid for sick and injured turtles that are washed up on the property’s shores.

The UAE has abundant Date palms – they are cultivated for their sweet, edible fruit. Dates have a long shelf life and may be eaten fresh or dried. The Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental has approximately 500 date palms of six varieties within the gardens, producing close to 20 tons of fruit per year and making organic date jam at the hotel.

Clean Energy is an emerging industry in the UAE focused on creating a sustainable source of energy with zero or very low carbon emissions. The hotel contributes to this focus via energy-efficient control systems including manual occupancy linked controls, time scheduling and daylight responsive controls and sensors which limit the consumption of electricity. They also have a desalinisation plant which converts sea water into potable water used for gardening. An average of 2,500 cubic metres of water is produced per day which accounts for 912,500 cubic metres of water saving per year. The installation of the new energy saving pumps installed in the East & West swimming pools saves 900 MW of energy per year. 

Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental has joined the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group and contributes to the Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 “Estidama” drive to green the city. Staff are committed to working with communities and charitable organisations to make a difference and includes taking part in blood donation drives and visits to Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and People of Determination.

As part of their commitment to reducing waste, Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental gives gently used soaps to Aid Agencies and used cooking oil is converted to Biodiesel. Another initiative they undertake is to request suppliers reduce the usage of plastics in their packaging and encouraging them to use products that are easily bio-degradable along with reusable containers. 

What We Love

  • Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental is just that – a palace! It’s also the size of a small city. However, you never feel lost and there is always a member of staff on hand to advise, help, book or guide.
  • The rooms & suites. They are pretty substantial – even the entry level ones. No expense has been spared and helps ensure that Emirates Palace is the premier hotel address in Abu Dhabi.
  • The facilities and amenities are endless. One can never get bored at this property. There is always something to do, see, eat or drink! From a huge meal at an award-winning restaurant to just sitting on the beach with a coffee in the morning, an Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental experience is always memorable.


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