Set on the banks of the beautiful Dubai Creek, the Vida Creek Harbour hotel is set to open its doors this month, creating a new, social venue in one of the city’s loveliest areas.
Part of a growing lifestyle brand, the Vida Creek Harbour has been designed as a waterfront hub for exploring the city, with 275 deluxe and marina view rooms, including ultra-spacious corner and executive suites and a cool, vintage look.
When it comes to food, the hotel offers all-day dining alongside afternoon tea in the bright and airy Stage 2 lobby lounge, and irresistible French cuisine, based on classic Parisian cookery at La Salle. There’s also 177 square metres of gym and studio space, a spa, an outdoor pool with wonderful views of the downtown skyline, and of course direct access onto the romantic, 4.5km creek boardwalk - an unmissable spot for an evening stroll.
Meetings and events meanwhile have been considered from the very beginning, with 5 ultra-flexible spaces that make the most of both the natural light and the hotel’s epic views over the nearby marina.
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.
Since opening late last year, Caesar’s Palace, Dubai – the first allowed to use that legendary name outside of Las Vegas - has made a big name for itself thanks to a combination of unbelievable views, luxurious surroundings and a heavy-hitting line up of restaurants. This now includes the latest from super chef Gordon Ramsey - Hells Kitchen.
Located on the man-made, Bluewaters Island, which itself cost an estimated $5 billion to create, this hospitality icon has now revealed its latest addition – the unique and intimate Rotunda entertainment and event space.
Set beneath a huge domed roof and inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, this 360-degree viewing space holds up to 537 guests, with some of the biggest names in comedy, magic and music booked to appear.
Added to this are the resort’s 178 room luxury hotel, signature spa, three swimming pools, an enormous events and conference area and 450 metres of private beach.
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.
Following on from properties in midtown Manhattan, Delhi and London, luxury hospitality group Hyatt are set to unveil their latest Andaz boutique hotel - this time on the most famous man-made island in the world, the Palm Jumeirah.
This 15 storey, two-tower hotel - the first Andaz in the UAE - features 217 rooms, 34 suites, 116 luxury, designer residences, and, in a new approach, no front desk, and no queues. Instead an Andaz Host will greet guests on arrival and take them straight to their room, which is itself based on the sights, scents and textures of old and new Dubai.
The new Andaz, Dubai also offers landscaped gardens, the tranquil Ora spa, four restaurants each bursting with local and international flavours, an adult only pool on the 14th floor complete with private cabanas, and of course a long stretch of perfect, sandy beach.
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.
Originally built as a watchtower, standing alone in the desert to guard the approaches to the city, the Qasr Al Hosn, or the White Fort as it’s often known, has had a fascinating history, serving since 1761 as the seat of the nation’s government, then the much-loved home of its ruling family, and most recently the national archive.
Now considered the heart of bustling Abu Dhabi, The White Fort has recently been transformed into a living memorial to the Emirates’ rich culture and history. However, this unique, interactive museum, doesn’t just delve into the nation’s ancient past, but also allows visitors to get to know the people who lived there, thanks to interactive exhibits that tell the story of how Abu Dhabi transformed from a tiny fishing village into one of the most advanced cities on earth.
As well as a priceless collection of ancient artefacts, the Qasr Al Hosn also houses two permanent attractions - The House of Artisans and the Cultural foundation. In the House of Artisans visitors take an evocative journey through the region’s legendary handicrafts and experience the Bait Al Gahwa, an intimate look (and tasting) of traditionally prepared and presented Arabic Coffee. In the Cultural Foundation, meanwhile, guests can enjoy the constantly revolving and evolving art exhibition, have a meal on the rooftop dining area, host a private event in the 900 guest auditorium or the 380 guest outdoor event space, or just enjoy the high ceilinged main room filled with golden sunlight.
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.