Abu Dhabi burst on to the travel scene this week with the opening of the Emirates Palace Hotel – a monument to excess and opulence. John Kampfner checks in
There I am minding my own business, marvelling at the architecture, when who do I bump into but Boris Becker? In fact, you can’t really mind your own business here, because there are too many people minding it for you.
I have just arrived at the Emirates Palace Hotel, much more palace than hotel, and one of the most jaw-dropping places to stay on the planet. This is a monument to excess and opulence in a region where if you’ve got billions you flaunt them. One man who has done this more than most is Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi who has transformed the emirate from a few huts in the desert in the early 1970s into today’s booming city-state. But it still has a long way to go to catch up neighbouring Dubai … which is where the Palace comes in.