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Palace, island or luxury hotel: Where is King Juan Carlos I staying in the UAE?

The Spanish Royal House confirmed this Monday that King Emeritus Juan Carlos I has been in the United Arab Emirates since August 3, an announcement that clears doubts about his whereabouts, but which raises questions about where exactly he is in a rich place, with palaces. , islands and luxury hotels.

Divided into seven emirates and with six royal families (the Al Qassimi rule Sharjah and Ras Jaimah), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) faces the Persian Gulf where it has countless islands and islets, many dedicated to oil exploration and others such as recreation place.

Here the Government and the press, all linked in one way or another with power, are silent about the presence of Juan Carlos I. The impossibility of reporting from anywhere without a permit makes practically zero the possibility that the monarch can be traced .

Emirates has artificial islands of paradise created in the Persian Gulf, lavish condominiums with selective membership, royal palaces, reserved villas and hyper-luxury hotels, the most important of which is the Emirates Palace.

More importantly, Juan Carlos has the friendship of the prime minister, Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Maktoum, the ruler of the emirate of Dubai. The scandal after his wife, Princess Haya Bint al Hussain, denounced him for kidnapping and torture in a London court made the front pages of newspapers around the world a few months ago.

More discreet is the life of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and de facto of the country, the powerful Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, the Emirati crown prince popularly known as MBZ, with whom Juan Carlos has countless photographs in the number of events in which they have coincided for his passion for luxury cars.


One of the names that have come up as a possible destination for Juan Carlos I is the Emirates Palace. EFE visited this great hotel erected to represent the Arab splendor, a labyrinth full of details, luxuries and winks with which to portray the opulence of this country which oil has made one of the richest in the world, but could not verify the presence of the emeritus.

The hotel stands at the end of a seawall in western Abu Dhabi. From there you can see the Presidential Palace on one side and the silhouette of the city’s buildings behind. It is the perfect place to hide a king.

There some say they do not know, others assure that the emeritus monarch is not there and there are those who are clear about it. “He is probably on an island belonging to one of his friends, but not here,” a hotel employee told EFE, who for security reasons cannot be named.

Owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi, the hotel has been operating since January under the operation of the Hong Kong hotel company Mandarin Oriental, a corporation specialized in hyper-luxury hotel establishments, which took over from another chain specialized in this segment, the Swiss Kempinski.

The Emirates Palace opened in 2005 and officially cost $ 3 billion. It is filled with gold and marble; from the restaurant cutlery to the always shiny and polished corridor ceilings are accented with gold metal. Everything is ostentation.

The palace faces the sea and has a private beach on the Persian Gulf that runs from end to end of the hotel. The interiors are luxurious yet modern and designed to make any guest feel like royalty among female employees in embroidered robes with prints that employees display on their vests.

It has two wings: east and west with five floors each. In the center is the eight-story main palace, the last of which is obviously reserved as a presidential area. There they lodge leaders, presidents and members of the royalty.


According to the hotel staff, when there is a VIP guest the presence of bodyguards is remarkable, but these days there are no signs of security agents, although that does not mean that those in charge of protection are inside.

Distinguished guests do not enter through the same door as the rest, there is a special access through which only authorized vehicles enter and the rooms are reached from a reserved system of corridors. An access that these days can be seen in one of the tours that the hotel gives for its most curious guests.

When a VIP guest is staying at the Emirates Palace, the hotel staff does not see them, as they leave the food and any other request in a specific place in the corridor and from there it will be the butlers on the floor who will deliver utensils, food, drink or any other request to the room.

“They have their own staff, we don’t see them, even if there is a king we won’t know,” says another member of the hotel staff.