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 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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