It’s May and across the UAE, and indeed the world, people are preparing for Ramadan, one of the most important times in the Islamic year. Despite the enormous cultural significance Ramadan holds, and the beautiful community atmosphere it creates, many people are unsure what Ramadan actually means. So this month we thought we’d take a look at this special time and how it affects life across the Middle East and beyond.
The holy month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, the central concepts of the Muslim faith. Starting at dawn on the first day, Muslims abstain from eating or drinking anything whatsoever - even a sip of water, until sunset, to remind them to be kind to the poor and those in need by sharing
and experiencing their hardships.
Muslims will wake before sunrise and eat a meal known as ‘Suhoor’ to prepare for the day ahead. They will then be called to prayer five times across the day, beginning with Azan Al Fajr at sunrise, and ending with Azan Al Maghred at sunset which announces the end of the days fasting. After this they will enjoy a meal called Iftar, often held in a tent outside like a sunset buffet - a chance to feast together with family and friends and visit the people they love.
The Holy month is a time when the otherwise frenetic pace of the city takes a slow, deep breath. Ramadan in Dubai you will see a whole new side to the city, learn about the local culture, try authentic Emirati cuisine and experience traditional festivities. Ramadan asks non-Muslims visiting to respect those who are fasting by dressing modestly, avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public. However, most restaurants remain open, serving behind screens until sundown. It is business as usual, please do bear in mind that most businesses do work less hours to accommodate more family time and time for prayer.
Set on an idyllic beach surrounded by turquoise waters, Abu Dhabi’s Jumeirah Saadiyat Island Resort has now opened and has already been awarded the coveted Pearl Certificate for sustainable design.
As well as 293 sea-facing rooms, suites and villas, all with either a private balcony or patio, this island haven also offers a range of waterfront restaurants and bars, including Mare Mare, a fresh and airy venue serving classic Italian seafood, Levantine inspired eatery Tean, freshly roasted coffee at Majlis Saadiyat, and the relaxed Lounge – perfect for sundowners.
If you somehow need further relaxation, there’s also a spa with fifteen treatment rooms, sauna, hydrotherapy, hammam and Arabic rasul, as well as daily beachfront yoga. For special events meanwhile, there are 600 square metres of multi-purpose space to choose from inside, or if you prefer, the beautifully landscaped garden that surround it - all just five minutes from some of Abu Dhabi’s top attractions.
Dubai’s new Coca Cola Arena – the largest multi-purpose, air-conditioned event space in the Middle East is now complete and due to open its doors in June.
Located in the City Walk leisure area of the city and spanning an incredible half a million square feet, the arena can comfortably seat up to 17,000 guests beneath a futuristic roof that weighs an incredible 4000 tons – equal to seven, fully loaded A380’s.
Designed to host everything from concerts to major sporting matches, as well as large corporate events and experiences, the Coca Cola Arena offers hospitality suites with private balconies and a fully modular interior that can be adapted to practically any group, theme or challenge.
First up for the venue will be a concert by Maroon 5 and a performance by Emmy award-winning comedy superstar Russell Peters. For more details on hosting an event at the Arena, speak to one of the AA MICE team.
Taking team building to terrifying new heights, Dubai’s latest challenge, Outbreak – Escape the Virus, has now opened, pitching participants against the threat of world destruction.
Set during a deadly global outbreak, players must enter a secure laboratory where they’ll face the daunting task of creating a vaccine by decrypting the codes and information left behind by a previous elite team who tragically succumbed to the virus before completing it.
Equal parts tense and exciting, with a little terror thrown in for good measure, Outbreak - Escape the Virus draws on each individual’s strengths and problem solving abilities but ultimately requires the collective brainpower, collaboration and creative thinking of the entire team to succeed.
The clock is ticking.
Expo 2020 – As Seen from the Sky
After 60 million work hours, the Expo 2020 complex is fast taking shape outside Dubai, and the latest shots of this astonishing achievement have finally been released taken from the best place possible – the air.
Combining drone footage with CGI of the end result in order to capture the sheer magnitude of the endeavour, this latest video shows the city-like project coming to life, as it prepares to welcome the 25 million visitors, from 180 countries, who are predicted to attend the largest business and innovation event in history.
As well as national areas for the 153 counties attending so far, the drone footage also offers a glimpse of the thematic pavilions, each representing a different and vital concept in the world today: Mobility, an inspirational journey through mankind’s progress from ancient explorers to pioneers of artificial intelligence, Opportunity - made from organic materials and delving into how an individual’s choices can affect the world around them, and Sustainability, an exploration of how we can positively affect the world of tomorrow.
This month Arabian Adventures MICE welcomed more than 150 guests from all across the world to one of its most ancient cultures – The Sultanate of Oman. Arranged on behalf of a famous, luxury car brand, we’ve been sworn to secrecy as to their identity, but they have allowed us to share a few details from their event - one that saw them gain a taste of why Oman has been beguiling travelers for thousands of years.
After flying into Muscat’s new, $1.8 billion international airport, this large and diverse group checked into the beautiful Shangri-La surrounded by the inviting waters of Jissah Bay. From there it was off for a spot of dolphin watching on the aptly named Secret Beach, before dinner at Mumtaz Mahal - a restaurant that overlooks the Qurm Nature Reserve and serves authentic Mughlai food, an extraordinary cuisine that remained a well-guarded secret of the region’s royalty for centuries.
The next morning the group headed out to explore one of Oman’s famous Wadi’s – a cool and shaded canyon scattered with freshwater pools to swim in. Then, after the short drive back to Muscat, the entire group attended an awards ceremony at the hotels Amphitheatre, before sitting down to a gala dinner at the lovely Turtle Beach Resort beside the beautiful Gulf of Oman.
Qasr Al Watan is an incredible, new and unique landmark in the United Arab Emirates. A Palace brimming with knowledge, offering the world a first-of-its-kind insight into the Arab heritage and the governing principles that shaped the history of the United Arab Emirates and its vision to the future.
Qasr Al Watan is now open for tours, the Palace offers you a unique opportunity to marvel at majestic hallways that is sure to leave you with a meaningful experience, explore exhibitions that celebrate the region’s rich Arabic heritage and learn more about the rulers and governing institutions that shaped our great nation. You will also gain a deeper appreciation of the innovations that will drive the country’s future.
Set on lovely Saadiyat Island, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is the largest museum in the Arabian Peninsula and the first to carry the prestigious Louvre name outside France. As well as the astonishing collection of cultural exhibits and masterpieces on loan from both its namesake and a dozen other top French museums, there’s now yet another reason to visit – its newly opened, rooftop restaurant and terrace.
Appropriately named the Art Lounge, this beautiful outdoor venue offers panoramic views across the city skyline and the turquoise waters that surround it, as well as the museum’s astonishing domed roof – an engineering marvel inspired by Abu Dhabi’s palm trees and built from 400,000 individual pieces weighing more than 7500 tons and containing 4500 lights.
As well as the huge list of drinks and cocktails, Art Lounge also offers delicious tapas style dishes made from fresh, local ingredients, and is available exclusively for groups and special events looking for an inspiring backdrop and an unforgettable rooftop venue by day or night.
The world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa has just unveiled its latest dining venue – the world’s highest restaurant.
Located on the 154th floor – 30 floors higher than the previous winner, and a staggering 575 metres above the city streets, The Lounge has previously only been available to VIP’s, however this sky-high location is now open throughout the day, with food provided by the acclaimed team behind the Armani Hotel, Including a sensational high tea (no pun intended). Best of all, it also offers one of the globe’s ultimate selfie locations - its very own outdoor terrace.
In the evening, meanwhile, The Lounge transforms into the perfect location from which to view the magical lights of Dubai and the changing colours of the Arabian Gulf.