The annual Abu Dhabi Film Festival’s Moët & Chandon party is a natural fit into the golden opulence of the Emirates Palace Hotel.
Always a must in my party calendar (well, if they invite me), it is hard to resist the lure of the glinting champagne flute as the event gets into full swing in the beachside garden of the hotel.
Last year the event was at the Fairmont Hotel (along with the festival itself) while the Emirates Palace had a little cosmetic work done, and while it was a lovely party as always, the marriage between champagne and the Palace seems a relationship made in heaven.
And if Moët is listening, I’m more than willing to continue my survey at film festival champagne-fuelled events around the world! I missed the Moët party at the Dubai Film Festival last year I’m ashamed to admit.
The nice thing about the Moët & Chandon bash is that is delivered with a certain class. The champagne was chilled and tasty, the asparagus risotto delicious and the delicate desserts delightful. Plus there were fire-eaters, a dancer sprayed silver and a woman dancing in an oversized birdcage.
I’m not entirely sure why some people wanted to have their photograph taken alongside an oversized picture of a bottle of champagne, but there you go…I’m sure it turned up on Twitter somewhere.
But while the Moët party was certainly a classy affair - and with a strict invite list it keeps things modest but classy - it all rather pales when you head back into the Emirates Palace hotel and its cavernous golden corridors, gleaming hallways, splendid domed foyer and sheer sense of confident opulence.
To be honest it is rather nice to be in a hotel that is so massive that it hosts a film festival along with thousands of guests with dignified ease, to the degree there are times (and if you get off on the wrong floor of a lift or wander into the wrong wing like I did a few times) you would barely be aware it was going on.
Gold and marble are the key aspects to the hotel. Much has been written about the gold ingot vending machine in the foyer, but love it or loathe it there is no denying the sheer visual impact of the building, which was designed by architect John Elliott, and which opened in 2005.
Forget the 1.3km of white sandy beach, the private marina and the two helipads…the Emirates Palace hotel is all about scale. It is 1km from wing to wing (100 hectares total area); there are 102 elevators (I’ve only used two) and 1002 chandeliers, and some 5kg of pure edible gold is used per year for decoration on desserts.
Sadly that self same edible gold on some very nice strawberrys at a Swedish reception was the nearest I’ve come to getting my hands on the real thing…