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Mandarin Oriental to take over Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi

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Whilst it won’t be bookable on points, regular holidaymakers to the Middle East will be keen to know that Mandarin Oriental is taking over management of the iconic Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi from 1st January.

Emirates Palace opened in 2005 and was, at the time, revolutionary in terms of quality for the region.  It was given a prime position and huge sums of money were thrown at the construction.  Giving it to Kempinski to manage always seemed like an odd decision.

(Something similar has happened in Qatar recently.  When I was there this year, I stayed at Kempinski Marsa Malaz on The Pearl.  The Pearl is Qatar’s smaller version of Dubai’s The Palm, and Marsa Malaz is – by a long way – the best beach resort in Doha.  And yet, for some odd reason, Kempinski was brought in to manage it.)

Mandarin Oriental to manage Emirates Palace hotel from Kempinski

With Mandarin Oriental in charge, Emirates Palace will become a genuine top-end option again.  Don’t rush to book, however.  The hotel is embarking on a two year renovation in January – although it will remain open – which means it will be 2022 before it is fully reflecting Mandarin Oriental’s vision.

As usual, if you are looking to book a Mandarin Oriental property then you should get a quote for our luxury hotel booking partner Emyr Thomas.  Mandarin Oriental bookings via Emyr will come with:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Breakfast for two daily for duration of the stay
  • $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit (a small number of hotels offer a different amenity instead of this)
  • Early check-in / late check-out, subject to availability 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

You can contact him via the form on this page of Head for Points.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (134)

  • Liam says:

    OT— I’m flying LAX-LHR-ARN in February on BA—WT+ for the LAX-LHR leg and Y from LHR to ARN. I wanted to upgrade the LAX-LHR leg using Avios and was quoted 6,250 to do so by an agent on the phone yesterday. However, after a lengthy period of working it out and talking to someone else, he came back to me and said that upgrading that leg would result in taxes for the whole LAX-ARN journey repricing, so I’d be required to pay $374 in tax (in USD because I booked via Amex USA).

    I’m obviously not going to upgrade that leg for such a hefty fee (although I might possibly consider upgrading the whole journey if there’s availability). Is there any way around this at all?

    • Peter K says:

      ~£285 + 6250 avios to upgrade from WT+ to CW seems a decent deal to me on a long flight like that, even one way. You’ll be glad you did.

      • Liam says:

        The 6,250 Avios is just to upgrade LHR-ARN, not the LAX-LHR part.

        • Liam says:

          Which I now realise I wrote incorrectly in my original post. Sorry!

          • Peter K says:

            In that case it is a crazy price. As it’s a short journey of only 2:30hrs approx I’d stick with economy. You’d be better off paying for an exit row seat.

    • BJ says:

      IIRC the upgrade from WTP to CW is 39,000, not around 6,000.

  • NickAnon says:

    Im flying China Southern on 15th Jan, is it likely (or possible at all) that I’ll be able to credit those flights to BAEC?

    • Rhys says:

      The joint venture is effective from 2nd Jan so you might be able to, although it depends if they can get their IT systems to correctly cross-pollinate…

    • Rob says:

      Outside chance, need to see what happens on 2nd January which is the official kick off date.

  • Russ says:

    ‘….and Marsa Malaz is – by a long way – the best beach resort in Doha’

    *waves small flag for Sheraton Grand Doha*

  • Martha says:

    I recently made a transfer to a foreign account with Azimo. I used my Virgin Card and received a cash advance fee. Is there any way to avoid this? Are debit cards free?

    • Jonathan says:

      Using a debit card shouldn’t generate fees from your bank if the currency you exchange from is GBP. I also got stung by Virgin on Azimo (their cash advance fee is 5%!). I had thought I might get away with it as I used Curve and Virgin is usually one of the better Curve/Revolut options.

    • Kai says:

      Use the back in time feature to revert the charge and then call virgin to ask for a refund

  • Anon says:

    Bab Al Qasr very good for the price in Abu Dhabi (near to Palace), good for the gram as well if you care about that.

  • TripRep says:

    SC reminds me of Jez Corbyn in that tie and spouting his ideals…

    Try catching a connecting flight first before a long haul flight and then driving for 2hours on arrival. That’s the real benefit of a lie flat bed.

  • AndyK says:

    Totally OT.
    Has anyone managed to use Esso offer for fuel?

    • Craig says:

      Worked for me, was the petrol station on the list of participating ones?

      • AndyK says:

        Yes, it was. No email and charge came through as Tesco PFS.
        Wonder if I should wait or raise with Amex straight away.

        • SteveD says:

          I had the same – was suspicious when ‘Tesco PFS’ came through on statement.

          Credit arrived after about 5 days though.

    • Peter K says:

      Twice successfully so far. I did check the list of participating stations first though.

    • Jill (Kinkell) says:

      Yes..but it took over 2 weeks for the email to come through from amex.

  • Shoestring says:

    BA 2020 Sale now on! So the prices in Europe tell me, anyway. Go to – navigate to Europe, UK & Ireland – and you can see the low, low prices. Not just in the depths of winter, either – great prices for the summer months included. Eg on our route to the place in the sun – under £80 rtn HBO in June, July, August, September

    • Rob says:

      Meant to be launching tomorrow but the prices always go in early. We’ve not been sent any pricing info in advance.

      • Shoestring says:

        Just checking out some tier point runs for you guys and you can do (say) Catania for £235 return (Business, 160 TPs) eg June when it’s a pretty nice place to spend the weekend 🙂

        ie Business is in the Sale as well AFAICS

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          £196 LHR – HEL

          • Shoestring says:

            getting close to £1/ point 🙂

            if you took off some money with Avios (ie the first small one they offer which is best value), then you’d get even closer

          • Shoestring says:

            £30 off with 3,000 Avios! so that makes it something like a £6 saving (3000 Avios @0.8p)

            £190/ 160TPs = £1.1875 per TP

            AND you get to use the 4 lounges in T3!

            anybody not yet convinced? 🙂

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            Use 3000 AVIOS for £30 off (£166) & get back over 3K AVIOS 😛

          • Shoestring says:

            then I believe we have hit Nirvana – £1/ point 🙂

    • Anna says:

      I’m guessing this is from London airports where there’s lots of competition. Our MAN-AGP flights are pricing up at £331 pp! Fortunately I have 2 booked with avios and 2 on a BA holiday package, saving us a fair bit of cash.