Palace Coup

Even by the profligate standards of the Gulf, Abu Dhabi's new Emirates Palace hotel marks a new chapter of excess. A mini-city of monumental cast, the 400-room, pink granite hotel, tel: (971) 2 690 9000, cost its owners, the government of Abu Dhabi, a reputed $3 billion to build. It fronts its own 1.3-km beach and sprawls over 40 impeccably manicured hectares—an astonishing 10 of which are devoted to its vast indoor spaces. Dwarfed by soaring columns and boundless ceilings, guests can wander among 6,040 sq m of gold leafing, 114 domes adorned with glass mosaics, and 1,002 bespoke Swarovski crystal...

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