The interior is far more memorable, centred on a dazzling central dome-cum-atrium, with vast quantities of marble and huge chandeliers. Cavernous corridors stretch out for what seem like miles towards the rooms in the two huge flanking wings – you can work up a healthy appetite just walking between your room and the lobby, and even staff have been known to get lost. The six “ruler’s suites”, with gold-plated fittings throughout, are more conveniently situated, but are reserved for visiting heads of state. Visitors with cash to drop can shop to impress at the world’s first gold vending machine (in the lobby), which dispenses over three hundred pure-gold products, including miniature gold ingots. Non-guests can visit for a meal at one of the numerous restaurants, or drop in for one of the sumptuous afternoon teas – but dress well to avoid being turned away at the gate.
The vast new building you can see directly behind the Emirates Palace (and designed in a similar style) is Abu Dhabi’s new Presidential Palace, under construction at the time of writing but planned on an unprecedentedly monumental scale which may eventually make even the Emirates Palace look relatively understated by comparison.