Dubai Tourism recently launched the Dubai Pass — an all-inclusive, year-round, pre-paid card giving visitors cash-free access to 33 key events and venues across Dubai. The aim is to provide a streamlined way for travellers to experience Dubai, save money and make the most of their stay.
IMAGE: Artist rendering of the new Shangri-La Hotel located in Bahrain Marina and set to open in 2022
Bahrain Marina Development Company (BMDC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Social Insurance Organisation, has appointed Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts as the hotel management company for the luxury hotel and waterfront villas located in ‘Bahrain Marina’, an iconic waterfront complex currently under development in the capital of Manama.
Shangri-La will manage a 250-room luxury hotel, 150 one- to three-bedroom suites, eight beach chalets and 21 waterfront villas, set to open in 2022. Shangri-La Hotel, Bahrain will offer extensive recreational and meeting facilities, including five restaurants, a rooftop lounge, private beach, two outdoor pools, health club and spa, Kid’s Club and 1,038-square metre ballroom.
“Bahrain Marina is designed to be a compelling and multi-activity coastal destination. Shangri-La will complement our efforts to create the city’s finest and most luxurious lifestyle destination,” said BMDC’s Chief Executive Officer Yazan K Haddad.
The 310,000-square-metre ‘Bahrain Marina’ stretches along a pristine coastline in the heart of the city. The development will be positioned as the Kingdom’s premier lifestyle and leisure destination. In addition to the hotel, the multi-use complex will feature residences, a yacht club, shopping district, family entertainment centre and waterfront dining, retail and recreational spaces.
Shangri-La currently operates six properties in the GCC, with hotels and resorts located in Qatar, Sultanate of Oman and United Arab Emirates. The group’s first hotel in Saudia Arabia, Shangri-La Hotel, Jeddah, will open next year.
Historical cruise enthusiasts may be interested to learn that the former Cunard cruise liner, the Queen Elizabeth 2, will reopen this week as a 13-deck luxury hotel, dining, entertainment and events destination that will be permanently docked at Dubai’s Mina Rashid.
The project is the culmination of work by PCFC Hotels, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dubai government’s Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation. The group has painstakingly restored the interiors to the ship’s original 1960s style.
The ship was built in Clydebank, Scotland. It was launched and christened on 20 September, 1967 by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II. Her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City commenced on 2 May, 1969 and took 4 days, 16 hours and 35 minutes. Over her lifetime, the ship completed more than 1,400 voyages over its 40-years on the seas and had among its guests several members of the British Royal Family as well as Nelson Mandela.
The project has taken many years to come to completion, after another Dubai-based firm purchased the ship in 2007 but ran into financial troubles during the Global Financial Crisis.
The QE2 hotel will feature 224 rooms and suites across 13 categories. A majority of rooms and suites feature original portholes that will overlook either the Arabian Gulf or Dubai’s skyline. The top suites are a pair of Royal Suites, the Queen Elizabeth Suite and the Queen Mary Suite that can be booked by invitation only.
Onboard eating and entertainment options include a family-friendly Pavilion; The Golden Lion (resembling an English pub); and a Grand Lounge to play host to onboard entertainment.
Part of the relaunch will also include a spa, pool deck, an interactive museum about the ship’s history, 25 conference rooms and a shopping arcade. Some of these facilities will be completed later in 2018, with only selected rooms and 5 of 13 restaurants scheduled to be complete by the April 2018 opening.
Basic rooms start at AED 649 (about A$227). Open from 18 April.
Did you know?
The preceding Cunard ship to the Queen Elizabeth 2, The Queen Mary, is permanently docked at Long Beach in Los Angeles and is also now a floating hotel. It first set sail in 1936 and had played host to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, as well as regular guest Sir Winston Churchill who plotted several WWII strategies from onboard The Queen Mary. It last sailed in 1967 to Long Beach, where it has remained ever since.
Named the fourth most Instagrammed hotel in the world, Atlantis, The Palm has gone one step further with the launch of its first five episode food and beverage reality web series, ‘Kitchen Secrets by Atlantis, The Palm’, in partnership with San Pellegrino.
The web series takes viewers behind the scenes to reveal kitchen secrets behind some of the most reputed restaurants in Dubai, and explores the lengths to which the iconic destination resort will go to in order to create the ultimate dining experience for its guests.
The first season will introduce viewers to the artisanal skills of the resort’s top chefs. Each episode will see a well-known influencer follow an Atlantis Chef de Cuisine, and the first episode discovers the secrets behind Gordon Ramsay’s signature Beef Wellington, with Kaya Scott (Editor of Sassy Mama Dubai) and Cesar Bartolini (Bread Street Kitchen & Bar’s Chef de Cuisine).
The series will also be available to watch on in-room TVs for guests staying in the resort.
Bon Voyage is offering a luxury Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, deal for families (2 adults and 2 children) including four nights’ accommodation in an Ocean Deluxe Room and two meals a day for $1,899 when booked by 7pm AEST this Friday 25 August, 2017.
The company says the deal represents 57% off the standard price of $4,505. Inclusions cover daily breakfast and dinner, complimentary cocktails, Ultimate Snorkel sessions, unlimited access to Aquaventure Waterpark & Aquarium, 50% off lunches at a selection of 11 restaurants on site and more.
Sofitel has announced the largest Sofitel property in the Middle East – with the anticipated opening of Sofitel Dubai Wafi in early 2019.
Developed with partner MKM Commercial Holdings LLC, the new luxury hotel will bring the brand’s portfolio in the Middle East to 14 hotels.
Sofitel Dubai Wafi will feature 501 luxury guestrooms, including 86 suites, ranging in size from 55 square meters to 625 sqm, in addition to 97 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom serviced residences to be operated on an extended-stay basis. The property will offer a number of dining concepts including an Asian specialty restaurant, gastro pub, a unique destination restaurant, bar and lounge on 43rd and 44th Floors, a French lobby café, an all-day restaurant, spa and gym, outdoor pools, private cabanas and kids club.
Thailand’s largest hotel operator, Centara Hotels & Resorts, has ventured into the Middle East with the opening of the first of three properties for the region – the 4 star 152-room Centara Muscat Hotel.
Centara is planning additional openings in Doha, Qatar later this year and Deira Island off of Dubai in the UAE in 2020.
The Centara Muscat Hotel is located in the Omani capital’s Ghala Heights business district, close to the convention centre, Royal Opera House, and the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, approximately 15 minutes from both the airport and the city’s historical district.
The contemporary property features three restaurants, a spa, and a rooftop pool and terrace with views out over the Gulf of Oman. Its premium lounge, banquet and meeting facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi, plus proximity to Muscat’s shopping and historical sites, are designed to serve both business and leisure travellers.
Atlantis, The Palm
This grand luxury five-star hotel on The Palm, spanning a massive 46ha with 17ha of water park alone, features exciting marine and entertainment attractions for the whole family as well as a collection of award-winning restaurants.
Deal: Book a stay at Atlantis this summer from only AED 895* (AUD $330.00) per room and enjoy complimentary access to Dubai’s best voted water park, Aquaventure, as well as The Lost Chambers Aquarium – home to 65,000 marine animals. Each room can accommodate 2 adults and 2 children (up to the age of 11), and this offer allows guests to save even more for a stay of five nights or more.
Offer valid on stays until 30 September 2017 on advance purchase stays between 4 June and 24 June 2017.
DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai
This spacious 110-suite hotel boasts a fitness centre, 42moutdoor infinity pool and wellness centre. Only minutes away from Dubai Marina and Dubai Marina Mall, the hotel’s location is ideal for relaxing, socialising, swimming and taking advantage of nearby skydiving and shopping facilities.
Deal: As part of the Hilton Summer Sale, enjoy a 20% discount on the best available rates at DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai, with an additional 5% discount for Hilton Honours members.
Offer valid on stays until 4 September 2017.
JA Resorts & Hotels
JA Hotels and Resorts operate a number of luxury resorts across Dubai, providing heartfelt hospitality and a diverse range of unique experiences for travellers looking for a relaxing getaway.
Deal: At all participating hotels – JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel, JA Hatta Fort Hotel, JA Palm Tree Court and JA Ocean View Hotel – guests can enjoy up to 30% off on all rooms and suites, access to the private beach and swimming pools, a 20% discount on spa treatments, and 15% off all food and beverages.
Offer valid on stays until 30 September 2017 for stays of three nights or more booked online by 31 August 2017. Rates exclude 10% Municipality fee, 10% service charge and tourism fee of AED 20 (AUD $7.50) on stays on a per room per night basis. Offer subject to availability. Use promotion code: JA-SUM17.
Hoteliers since 1897, Kempinski brings the finest traditions of its 5 star European heritage to its two luxury properties in Dubai.
Deal: Book two nights or more to enjoy 15% off on your stay, inclusive of daily breakfast for two adults, complimentary dining for two children under the age of 16 years when accompanied by parents, as well as early check-in and late check-out.
Offer valid on stays until 30 September 2017. First night prepaid, non-refundable, deposit is required at the time of booking.
Viceroy Palm Jumeirah
Set against a backdrop of far-reaching views of the sea, sand and Dubai Marina skyline, the Viceroy combines grand playful spaces with a subtle and chic sense of sophistication, radiating a unique spirit and glamour.
Deal: 15% off guestroom rate, a 20% discount on meals at BLVD On One, 50% off first spa treatment and 25% off any additional treatments, along with a 3pm late check-out and a complimentary room upgrade.
Offer valid on stays until 30 September 2017. Rate is subject to 10% municipal fee, 10% service charge, and a AED 20 (AUD $7.50) per room per night tourism fee. Stay must be cancelled 72 hours prior to arrival to avoid cancellation fees. Discount applies to room only. Late check-out and room upgrades subject to availability upon check-in.
Visitors can also take advantage of discounts at these Dubai attractions:
Dubai Parks and Resorts
Visit Dubai Parks and Resorts and enjoy the sizzling summer at MOTIONGATE™ Dubai, Bollywood Parks™ Dubai, LEGOLAND® Dubai and LEGOLAND® Water Park – offering thrilling rides and attractions in an indoor, air-conditioned atmosphere and a splash in the water to keep you cool under the sun.
Offer valid until 31 August 2017, with prices for entry to one park start at AED85 (AUD $31.50). Add only AED40 (AUD $15.00) to the Summer Admission rates for unlimited food and drinks throughout the day at nearly all quick serve or family restaurants at Dubai Parks and Resorts. Further details here.
Embark on a quintessentially Dubai Desert Safari with Platinum Heritage this summer, which offers bonus additions to the experience.
Learn more about the Holy Month of Ramadan in June and indulge in a delicious Iftar meal at the end of the safari, followed by stargazing with a resident astronomer.
In July, try out traditional Emirati cuisine such as Lamb Ouzi or learn about the relatively unknown desert truffle; or discover the unique wildlife and flora at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve on a desert night walk in August.
Prices start at AED 495 (AUD $182.00).
Economy and Premium passengers flying via Doha on Qatar Airways can enjoy a free stopover in the city throughout the northern summer, and experience authentic Arabian hospitality, through Doha city tours, desert safari adventures or a dinner cruise aboard a traditional dhow. The offer is a joint initiative of the airline and Qatar Tourism Authority.
Transiting passengers can make the most of their journey, taking in the sights of Doha with a completely free night courtesy of Qatar Airways and QTA, or stay a little longer with a second night’s stay for a modest $50 booking fee.
Passengers can choose from hotels such as The Four Seasons, Marriott Marquis, Radisson Blu and Oryx Rotana.
To be eligible, passengers simply need to book their flight here then select ‘multi-city’ and choose their hotel once they receive their flight confirmation. The online transit visa application is also free and is eligible for those in transit between five and 96 hours.
The airline’s incentive has been launched by Qatar Airways’ newly created destination management company, Discover Qatar, and is just one of many new initiatives that will be announced over the coming months to generate awareness of, and visits to, Qatar. It was designed to kick off the newly launched campaign ‘+Qatar’ from Qatar Tourism Authority, and is aimed at supporting the growing demand for tourism in Qatar.
Image Credit:Qatar Tourism Authority
Agents can secure a discounted stopover for clients passing through the UAE, with TravelCube offering exclusive rates and discounts of up to 45% on properties across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, along with 24-hour check-in at 45 hotels.
The discounts and exclusive rates are available until 31 March 2017 on selected rooms at 43 properties in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, including:
- Kingsgate, Abu Dhabi (three stars) – 20% discount
- Sheraton Khalidiya, Abu Dhabi (four stars) – 25% discount
- Grand Milennium Al Wahda, Abu Dhabi (five-stars) – 20% discount
- Ibis Deira City Centre, Dubai (two stars) – 15% discount
- Ramada Plaza (Jumeirah Beach), Dubai (four stars) – 40% discount
- JW Marriott Marquis, Dubai (five stars) – 45% discount
TravelCube is also offering Australian travellers 24-hour check-in at key properties across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Kuala Lumpur.
The company is also promoting a range of one day-sightseeing options, including a tours of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
The stopover promotion is valid for any new bookings made before 31 March 2017 for stays between April and September 2017.
Anantara has opened the doors on the highest five-star resort in the Middle East – the group’s first hotel in Oman – with the launch of Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort. A two hour drive from Muscat International Airport, and four and a half hours from Dubai International Airport, the resort is situated 2,000m above sea level on a great canyon edge in the Al Hajar mountains.