Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi Adds Underwater Sculpture Garden, Because It Can

Maybe it’s not true, but it certainly feels like the seven principalities that comprise the United Arab Emirates are just about the wealthiest places on the planet. All the news that reaches me seems to involve them building the tallest building, the most high-tech office park, or the biggest indoor ski resort. The latest gee-whiz accomplishment comes our way from Abu Dhabi, where the Emirates Palace Hotel just built an underwater sculpture park, so its guests could have something cool to look at while they snorkel besides stupid old fish. Check out some of the different figures they dropped into the ocean for your amusement. 

There’s the beautiful mermaid (at top), whose aquiline nose seems pointed toward the object of her affection. 

Underwater Elephant Abu Dhabi

There’s this elephant, who doesn’t seem to know exactly what he’s doing there. 

Abu Dhabi Underwater Horse

This horse and rider seem focused on some important mission. 

Underwater Giraffes

While this quartet of giraffes seems alternately interested in grazing for seaweed and getting a breath of air, which is always just out of reach. 

[Emirates Palace official site; More by Victor Ozols; Follow me on Twitter]

Hotel Spa Treatments Go for the Gold, Silver & Bronze

Every hotel spa we’ve ever been to promises the gold standard in treatment, but a few hotels are taking their devotion to precious metals seriously, working them into their spa treatments for that extra layer of luxury per treatment.

The latest comes from Terme di Saturnia in Tuscany, a spa and golf-centric resort that’s a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. The treatment begins with a ginger, chamomile, and silk protein scrub, followed by a caffeine gel treatment infused with flakes of 24-carat gold, meant to draw out impurities. It’s then massaged thoroughly into your skin, and layer of gold dust and ground ginger is applied, and then locked in with moisturizer. It’s also available as a facial, since gold is said to help stop the formation of wrinkles.

That put us in mind of some other treatments as delightful for their indulgent nature as for their result. Fans of silver are generally out of luck at spas (despite its reputation for healing properties, it seems to be too downmarket to feature), but you can satisfy your urge for a cooler metal with the Platinum Rare Facial at the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park (they also offer it at the Beverly Hills Hotel) which uses La Prairie’s Platinum line of products to restore the balance of moisture in your skin and protect cells from damage. Two La Prairie experts will minister to you over the course of 90 minutes, and as generations of the Swiss line’s devotees will tell you, they know what they’re about when it comes to skin.

If you’re looking for a cut above even gold, the Diamond Journey at the Anantara Spa at the Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi is a fitting indulgence in one of the most over the top properties we’ve ever visited. It’s a long and involved process, but we’ll skip straight to the good stuff: the crushed-diamond and mud exfoliating scrub (not as painful as it potentially sounds, we promise), the hot oil massage, the hot stone treatment, and the diamond facial, which uses facial massage and lymphatic drainage to brighten skin.

Of course, if you’d rather not spend your vacation locked inside a spa facility, however luxe, we’d suggest the W Scottsdale’s version of service that will still leave you feeling like you made it onto the winner’s stand. As a part of their Whatever/Whenever concierge service, they’ve introduced a Tanning Concierge to help you take advantage of the local light, by offering expert tips, applications of the best sunscreens and after-sun products, and in-room spray tanning and skin consultations. There’s nothing like a good bronze to give you an excuse to indulge in some spa treatments, after all.