The temperature is dropping to a cool and comfortable 25°C during the day in the legendary Green mountains of Oman – making it the perfect time to explore this incredible landscape from the world’s highest five-star hotel – the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort.
Recently described by the BBC as one of the most amazing hotels in the world, this palatial jewel of the Sultanate of Oman sits 2,000 metres above sea level on the very edge of a breath-taking canyon, yet is just two hours away from the nation’s capital, Muscat.
Made from local stone to maximise its harmony with the surroundings, this intimate space has just 82 rooms, each with a balcony that offers uninterrupted views, as well as 33 poolside villas, a spa, a ballroom able to hold 120 guests, a dramatic banquet terrace, a wonderful kids club and restaurants serving delicious Omani cuisine as well as Italian, Asian, all combined with one of the best positioned cocktail bars imaginable.
For those looking for a truly memorable location meanwhile, Diana’s viewpoint was created to honour the visit in 1986 by Diana Princess of Wales and allows you to host a special dinner on the very spot where one of her most iconic photographs was taken.
As for adventures, there are hiking and mountain biking trails and guided walks, many to otherwise inaccessible villages - even a via ferrata climbing wall. Alternatively, you could relax with some sunrise yoga or just enjoy some much-needed downtime in the gorgeous infinity pool.
A world-class venue with 45,000 sqm of flexible space dedicated for the MICE industry. The DEC opens for business on 20 October 2020.
Offering Expo 2020 participants, partners, government entities, industry associations and event organisers access to a global stage for the six-month duration of Expo 2020, building on the already thriving exhibition and conferences sector in the UAE.
The DEC is a world-class venue spread across two campuses, housing several multi-purpose halls, suites and meeting rooms, and customisable to all event needs, including large indoor concerts.
There’s been a huge surge of new venues and exciting projects opening in the UAE over last twelve months - from new hotels and entertainment, to the first testing of the Dubai Sky pods, the worlds most advanced travel system, which will soon transport 8,400 people an hour across the city’s famous landmarks at speeds of 150 kph.
With no sign of this trend slowing down, here are just some of the most hotly anticipated projects due to launch over the coming year.
Museum of the Future
Shaped like a silver eye, the Museum of the Future is currently under construction right next to the iconic Emirates Towers in downtown Dubai. When finished it will be one of the world’s most advanced buildings, packed with inventions, innovation, cutting-edge technology and exciting glimpses of the world to come.
Connecting two huge towers in the very heart of Dubai, the Sky Walk will allow visitors to cross between spires 200 metres above the ground for a unique and pulse-increasing view of the city skyline.
The Emirates answer to Hollywood’s hall of fame, this scenic pedestrian walkway will eventually feature 10,000 iconic names from the worlds of film sport and entertainment – four times more than LA. The first 400 recipients meanwhile will be chosen by the general public, with Usain Bolt, Jackie Chan, Beyoncé Knowles, Priyanka Chopra, Christian Ronaldo and Will Smith amongst the first to be confirmed.
Inspired by the golden age of cinema, the Paramount Hotel, Dubai, is set to open on the 1st December.
Avoiding kitsch and cliché in favour of old school glamour and sophistication, this chic 730 room hotel is a modern take on an age of style and elegance, where a sense of drama waits around every turn, including a gorgeous marble, spiral staircase that looks as if Fred Astaire could come dancing down it at any second.
Corridors, meanwhile, feature subtle hints of gold as well as rare black and white images that offer intimate glimpses of famous names and past productions, whilst the 92 suites are divided into five categories – The Godfather, Silver Screen, Carole Lombard, Gatsby and The Producers, which even comes with a private screening room and hammam.
As well as a luxurious spa, there’s also a range of eating options to choose from, including a café and bakery, a chocolate lab that creates suitably cinematic treats, poolside food trucks, a grill inspired by Californian coastal living and The Stage, an all-day dining eatery that features live cooking stations and tasty international cuisine. As final highlights, there’s also a private cinema and a speakeasy bar inspired by Prohibition America that requires a password to enter.
As the world’s only forum dedicated to high-end events, the InVoyage Luxury Collection is the essential place to keep up with what’s happening in the industry, and what better place to host this year’s meet-up than beautiful Monaco.
Bringing together a global community of senior leaders together from events agencies, luxury travel brands and high-end corporations for three days of MICE industry networking, inspiration and innovation.
Representing the best the world has to offer, people from all across the globe, including our very own Justine Thomas Butler, head of Meetings, Incentives and Events, who was flying the flag for the Middle East and Arabian Adventures MICE.
It’s only right that the world’s most advanced city should have the world’s most advanced event hosts - enter the first four Roaming Robotic Promotion Staff, affectionately known as Promobots.
Ideal for technology-based special events or those looking for a unique point of difference, these advanced event hosts can autonomously move around any space, reacting in real-time to those around them and even seek out specific guests thanks to their state of the art facial recognition system. When spoken to meanwhile, they can hold a conversation, keep eye contact and even react to touch.
Even better, they can also self-light in a choice of vibrant colours, take payment securely, and even act as a mobile camera that prints out paper images directly for guests.
Following on from some of the largest incentives ever staged in the UAE, September saw the MICE team host two back-to-back events for household names.
Created for one of the world’s largest restaurant chains, the first saw 840 managers from across Australia fly into Dubai for a seven-day series of events, team building and relaxation. On the menu (sorry, couldn’t resist) for this large and lively group was a dune drive and camel ride across a classic Bedouin landscape, a welcome dinner at the iconic Atlantis the Palm, snorkelling on the Arabian Gulf and of course a healthy amount of beach time. This was topped off with VIP tickets to La Perle – an unforgettable live show that features dancers, acrobats and a ship rising through the waves in a 1,300 seat, purpose-built theatre filled with 2.5 million litres of water.
Hot on its heals came a special event for a well-known accounting and consulting giant. Headquartered at the lovely JW Marriott Marquis, this five-day conference saw 850 guests from across the globe explore the city at their own pace in a private fleet of hop-on, hop-off sightseeing buses. This was followed by exclusive dinners at Sky Bubble, with its 360-degree views over the Dubai skyline and the Zero Gravity beach bar and restaurant, home to a forty-metre infinity pool and a long stretch of exclusive sand.
In July we introduced our latest international reps - Jonas Sehested and United Spirit Nordic for Scandinavia, and Liz Berry from Liz Berry Consultancy for South Africa, each tasked with spreading the word about the beautiful UAE. This month we asked them to share their thoughts on the region, what makes it special and how this can be applied to special events.
Here’s what they told us.
How long have you been working in the events industry? For more than 15 years now.
What makes the UAE special? Anything is possible. It’s exotic yet modern, glamorous yet ancient - it literally has something for everyone. Plus it’s quickly becoming the standout playground of the world.
How does that apply to events and incentives? Every client has different wishes, but above all they want it to be unique. They’re also always looking for ways to make things bigger, higher, faster and more interesting. The UAE makes that possible.
Why do you love the events industry? It challenges my creativity and I have to constantly adapt to new demands and expectations. I love it.
Anything fun about you? Hobbies? Pets? Adventures? I play the drums and also travelled around the world with my family a few years ago.
How long have you been working in the events industry? For more than 20 years. Before that, I worked in marketing and also opened both the Singapore and Australian Tourism Boards.
What makes the UAE special? It’s cutting edge, in pretty much everything really, and when it comes to innovation you want to be able to offer a market leader.
How does that apply to events and incentives? Take technology; add in a rich, cultural heritage and the beautiful scenery, and you have the makings of a wonderful, exotic experience.
Why do you love the events industry? No day is ever the same. It’s always interesting; with fun people from a diverse range of backgrounds and you get to be creative, different and memorable.
Anything fun about you? Hobbies? Pets? Adventures. Travelling is in my blood. I love visiting new places and meeting wonderful people and getting them to share their stories. Plus I’m a big wildlife advocate and conservationist and have even adopted quite a few baby elephants in Kenya whose mothers have been killed by poachers. I also have two pet Schnauzers who are spoilt rotten and rule our household.
Already home to some of the best urban viewpoints in the world, Dubai is set to unveil a new contender for best vista with the arrival of the Palm Jumeirah’s, View from the Palm.
Located on the 52nd floor of the Palm Tower, next to the soon-to-open Nakheel Mall, this 240-metre-high viewing deck offers spectacular views of the entire metropolis and the Arabian Gulf, and even getting there comes with a sense of theatre.
Visitors first enter through an interactive museum and gallery that explores the convention shattering creation of the Palm islands, which saw 320 miles of coast reclaimed from the sea, before boarding a super-fast elevator to the main event with a floor-to-ceiling digital sea, sand and sky experience.
The observation deck will be open for both day and night viewings and also features a VIP lounge and a private area for special events.
Dubai’s mountainous Hatta region has been trending on social media recently thanks to its astonishing combination of intense natural beauty and outdoor activities.
Located in the beautiful Hajar Mountains, Hatta has long been a popular getaway for Emiratis, and thanks to efforts to preserve its unique scenery and culture, remains essentially untouched - a rugged landscape of date trees, baked-stone villages, hidden oases and cooling spring-water pools, all protected by an ancient fort and picturesque defensive towers.
One of Hatta’s biggest draw cards, however, has to be the range of outdoor activities on offer, including a near-endless list of hiking and mountain biking routes, as well as the nearby lake at Hatta dam – home to some of the best kayaking and paddleboarding in the region - and the perfect spot to cool off and relax.
Perfectly located between old and new Dubai, Zabeel House, The Greens has now opened in Dubai’s popular Al Thanya district.
Inspired by funky New York loft living, yet filled with distinctly Middle Eastern touches, this latest addition to Jumeriah’s upscale yet casual Zabeel House group has 210 rooms and suites, each making maximum use of natural light and materials, as well as organic products and smart pad controls that help you set up your room exactly as you like it.
Elsewhere, you’ll find four smart meeting spaces that feature the latest technology suitable for groups of five to eight people, an adorable kids area, a fully equipped gym, energising treatment rooms and a Pop Art inspired outdoor pool area with private cabanas.
When it comes to food, meanwhile, there are two very different restaurants on offer; all-day dining with no compromises on quality at Social Company, and pan-Asian flavours with poolside views and a secluded shisha terrace at Lah Lah, both of which make extensive use of local herbs grown on site.
For those looking to explore this lovely neighbourhood, the hotel also provides complimentary bikes on which to enjoy the namesake parks and lakes, or the surrounding shops, restaurants - even an outdoor cinema.
With Expo 2020, the largest business and innovation event ever staged, fast approaching, our sister company Emirates Airlines have now unveiled the full design for their pavilion.
Bringing together the three themes of the Expo – Mobility, Opportunity and Sustainability, the 3,300 square metre pavilion explores the future of aviation - from cutting edge new materials, to engine technologies that reduce carbon emissions, and futuristic interiors that make previous luxuries available to all, as well as an interactive station that lets visitors design their own aircraft.
Predicted to welcome 56,000 visitors each month, the exterior of the Emirates Pavilion features 26 slanted fins and 800 metres of LED lights, whilst the building itself incorporates the latest green technologies and building techniques, including discreetly integrated solar panels, responsive shading and a beautiful use of natural light that reduces its overall energy consumption.
Created to make the UAE one of the most travel friendly nations in the world, testing has begun on the Dubai Sky Pods, with the city’s leader, Sheikh Mohammed, inspecting the prototypes.
Set to connect 21 stations and the city’s famous tourist and cultural landmarks in quiet, air conditioned comfort, the Sky Pod Project will eventually transport 8,400 people per hour at speeds of 150 kph, with the aim of representing 25% of all travel across the Emirate.
Best of all, the entire project has been designed to minimise the impact on the environment, using five times less power than an electric car and 100 times less land to operate than any existing public transport system.
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.