Abu Dhabi has a special place in my heart.
I first visited the Emirate one year ago and stayed at the iconic Emirates Palace hotel. I knew back then that I would want to return for a special occasion, and Valentine’s Day was the perfect excuse.
Every time I drive to the Emirate, I feel as though I’m stepping into an island paradise without having to board a plane.
And it was here that I embarked on a whirlwind staycation with my husband to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Emirates Palace is like nothing I have ever experienced. It is truly palatial in its statuesque beauty, sitting on the city’s corniche, an architectural masterpiece which has become one of the city’s most famous landmarks.
As we drive along the corniche and see the palace in the distance, I immediately fall back in love with the city all over again.
Driving up the regal driveway to the hotel, we are surrounded by the perfectly manicured lawns and stunning fountains. We have nothing like this back home in Israel so this experience for me is something so quintessentially UAE. The architecture honours the local design while the interiors are breathtakingly majestic, with the most exquisite marble and gold leaf gilding literally fit for a king.
We started our day with the hotel special, ‘Picnic Under the Stars’ which we chose to enjoy during the daylight afternoon hours. The beautifully romantic setup included a heart-shaped picnic blanket, two large bean bags and an enormous straw lunch box, all placed in a secluded green area of the hotel grounds.
Gastronomic delights included a wide selection of cold mezze, winter melon salad with mango and feta cheese, assorted artisan charcuterie, caviar and gourmet cheeses, salmon with avocado, foie gras on sable, and an assortment of mini-French pastries. The relaxing surroundings set the mood for the romantic night ahead.
For Valentine’s Day, the hotel’s beach restaurant, BBQ Al Qasr, was my absolute favourite. With its cozy cabanas, I’m reminded of my unforgettable proposal in a vineyard in Israel just south of Tel Aviv. The romantic dinner makes you feel like you’re getting married all over again.
‘Setting Hearts on Fire’ is their Valentines special and what better place to enjoy the romantic atmosphere as we dine, overlooking the serene waters of the bay with a specially curated five-course St. Valentine’s barbeque menu.
For starters, they offer an indulgent dish of salmon and caviar featuring the unforgettable richness and complexity of Oscietra, the caviar of royalty, paired with smoked salmon and buttery egg espuma.
The setting is magnificent, the sound of the waves lapping on the shore is the perfect natural ambient backdrop for the evening. Since we had a picnic earlier in the day, we skipped ahead to the main dishes — deliciously juicy lamb chops, followed by turbot filet served with violette artichokes and exotic Piment d’Espelette in a flavorful brown butter sauce. We made sure to leave room for the famed dessert of Je T’Aime Ma Cherry, a decadent dessert with Madagascar’s Manjari chocolate, roasted cherry, and thyme. It was the perfect sweet finish.
For the month of February, the hotel has a special offer making every day a day of love. ‘Romance At The Palace’ offers guests a unique stay filled with special treats including a premium French bubbly at turndown, an Al Fresco dinner at BBQ Al Qasr, an indulgent couples’ spa experience, and a romantic sunset abra cruise around the bay.
We loved the two-hour Royal Couples Hammam experience at the Moroccan-themed spa. Spending time together at the beautifully decorated spa suite, with side-by-side scrub treatments, and sipping Moroccan tea in the private jacuzzi was just what we needed to fully unwind.
And the grand finale… We ended our day with an unforgettable sunset cruise It was the perfect way to really soak up the majesty of Emirates Palace from the water, along with the beautiful Qasr Al Watan, two awe-inspiring pieces of architecture side by side. Just when I thought this place couldn’t be any more magical.
There is no doubt that Emirates Palace is something special. While walking its corridors, the same corridors walked by so many heads of state and members of royal families from around the world, it is impossible not to feel a sense of awe and wonderment.
Romance At The Palace experience starts at Dh5690.
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