Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai hotel review: Versailles on the dunes

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Dubai is a place where dreams meet innovation, creating new superlatives of architecture and luxury. The rapid pace of expansion and development in this unique region means that a new hotel needs a very special concept to set a new benchmark.

From the foundation of its first hotel in 1879, the Kempinksi Group has sought inspiration from the palace of Versailles- the original definition of luxe – and it has continued to do so for its latest launch.

Emerging from the Arabian sea on the west crescent of the Palm, the Emerald Palace is a striking statement of 17th century European architecture reinterpreted through the lens of a cutting edge luxury hotel.

The sheer scale of the building already creates a dreamlike environment in which to enjoy the experience of living as the residents of a palace – and who doesn’t want to live like a king or queen on holiday?

From the moment guests step into the Emerald Palace they are transported into a world of marble pillars, ornate 24-carat gold decoration and quite possibly the largest chandelier ever made, embedded with 40,000 Swarovski crystals.

Rivalling its ancien regime inspiration, this 21st century palace has 391 spacious bedrooms and suites, each decorated with elegant fabrics and classic french furniture. The marble bathroom with gold fittings and a supremely comfortable bed – complete with pillow menu to select your perfect cloud nine – ensure the dreamy vibes continue.

Wandering into the formal French-style gardens of the hotel makes for a surreal landscape of contrasts – ornate fountains in the dry desert air, elegant pools and the sharp modern steel and glass skyline of the Dubai marina in the far distance, viewed from a private white sand beach imported from the Maldives.

Dining in a palace should be special, and with eight different restaurants guests enjoy an array of signature creations from an award winning multinational team of chefs, not least the extended Friday brunch. Served on the All’Onda restaurant terrace, a host of indulgent mains are preceded by signature cocktails and sushi.

Michelin star chef Alain Ducasse has a reputation for combining contemporary and classic influences, so The Emerald Palace is the perfect location for the miX restaurant – his first in the UAE. Expect the exceptional and you will not be disappointed ,as each dish is created with artisan craft and a bold new interpretation of French cuisine.

Sometimes, however, it’s the long, lazy lunches which frame a holiday experience, and the fresh blue interior of the Mediterranean-themed Villamore beachside restaurant, serving fresh Italian seafood and pasta, is the perfect spot – its Antipasti Room confirms the maxim ‘there can never be too much choice’.

If you are looking for rejuvenation or relaxation, the experts from the Paris-based Cinq Mondes Spa have got you covered, providing a wealth of therapies spanning Thai, North African and Polynesian rituals in 23 treatment rooms. The high tech fitness suite is complemented by an ornate carved yoga studio and the largest indoor pool in Dubai.

For families, the Palace includes a beautifully designed creche and an uber-cool teen lounge kitted out with wireless speakers and games consoles, as well as a ‘Royal Carriage’ full of sweets and fruit which visits each room daily. The 80-seat private cinema with luxurious red velvet chairs is a smart addition, offering a late afternoon family film and a new release movie in the evening.

The phenomenon that is Dubai sets the visitor a challenge, to seek out the most innovative and luxurious experience. The Sun King of France set out to make such a statement, and the Emerald Palace – bold and extravagant, in a region that invites bravery and the pursuit of luxury – is a worthy heir to that vision. 



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