Dubai is not a city that embraces subtlety. And its over-the-top aesthetic is something the gleaming desert city’s hotels have proudly accepted—incorporating everything from real gold and precious gems to aquarium-style suites. And though recent openings like the sprawling Bulgari Resort have tempered opulence with restraint, that is decidedly not the case for the newest property to open on the shores of the Arabian Peninsula. Instead, the aptly-named Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai steps gamely into the traditions of glitz, dizzying proportions, and splashy Michelin-star restaurants.
The property, which welcomed its first well-heeled guests in late November, sits on the West Crescent of Palm Jumeirah—presiding over the turquoise waters of the gulf on one side and offering up glittering city views on the other. Inspired by the palaces of 18th-century Europe, the resort’s neoclassical exterior is dialed up to an extreme inside. There, guests are greeted by a massive chandelier made from 40,000 Swarovski crystals (and there are 6,399 more chandeliers to be discovered throughout the grounds) and sweeping rosy columns made of the finest pink Portuguese marble in the grand atrium. The 391 guest rooms are gilded with 24-karat-gold-accented classical friezes. And though all of the rooms are plush—featuring ornate damask wallpapers and gold or silver silk headboards—the 10 stand-alone villas are the most luxurious. Dotted around the Versailles-style gardens, each of the four-bedroom spaces features the same opulent decor as the rest of the property but come complete with private rooftop pools, spa rooms, and a dedicated butler, available to restock the caviar supply 24 hours a day.
This lush atmosphere is found throughout the hotel—from the half-mile-long private beach to the spa, which boasts 23 treatment rooms, two spa suites, and the city’s largest indoor pool. And though we’d recommend getting out into the city to sample restaurants from the megawatt celebrity chefs that have descended upon the city, with eight restaurants—including the first in the UAE from Alain Ducasse and a European-style tea salon complete with a Blünther Supréme Edition Louis XIV grand piano—guests wouldn’t be blamed if they stuck closer to their seriously lush accommodations.