Ghaya Grand Hotel Launches Festive Season Offer

The season of love, reunion and festivity is in full swing. Feel the true spirit of Christmas and New Year at Ghaya Grand Hotel Dubai, with a variety of delightful options to make your celebrations with family and friends extra special. Enjoy the season’s most delicious treats in dazzling settings surrounded by the best dishes on display. Those celebrating at home can take advantage of the hotel’s superb ‘Tom Turkey Promotion’, for less time spent on cooking and more time to entertain the guests!

The perfect festive selection at Ghaya Grand Hotel, in multiple restaurant options, has a cuisine to suit every taste, so come, join and celebrate this season with your family and friends!

24th December, 2018 (MONDAY)
Christmas Eve at Red Diamond – 6pm to 11pm
– Lavish International Buffet Dinner, including a live cooking station, starters and desserts
– AED 150 per person inclusive of beverages
– AED 75 per child ( aged between 6 – 12 years)

25th December, 2018 (TUESDAY)
Christmas Day Brunch at FUSION – 12:30 pm to 4 pm
–  Lavish Buffet Brunch with live cooking stations, including Seafood, Chinese, Italian, Sushi and Indian, starters and desserts
– AED 165 per person inclusive of beverages
– AED 75 per child (aged between 6 -12 years)

31st December, 2017 (MONDAY)
– NYE Gala Dinner at Red Diamond & Fusion -7 pm until 12 midnight
– Extravagant brunch held exclusively in Red Diamond and Fusion restaurants, offering guests a wide selection of dishes to choose from both restaurants, with a central desserts counter, offering enticing cakes and desserts
– Buffet dinner with live cooking stations, including Chinese, Italian, Sushi and Indian
– AED 299 per person inclusive of beverages
– AED 145 per child (aged between 6 -12 years)

Turkey Take Away
From 7th December 2018 until 7th January 2019
7kg Turkey –serving 5 to 6 person for AED 320, with trimmings and sauces AED 420
9kg  Turkey – serving 8 to 10 person for AED 440, with trimmings and sauces AED 540
**Orders to be placed 72 hours in advance**

7th January, 2018 (MONDAY)
Orthodox Christmas Red Diamond – 6pm – 11pm
– Lavish International Buffet Dinner, including a live cooking station, starters and desserts
– AED 125 per person inclusive of beverages
– AED 60 per child ( aged between 6 – 12 years)

REFERENCE: Ghaya Grand Hotel neighborhood districts
Jebel Ali District (Mena Jebel Ali, Jebel Ali 1-3, Jebel Ali Industrial 1-2, Me-aisem 1-2, Dubai Investment Park 1-2, International Media Production Zone)
Madinat Al Maktoum District (Madinat Al Mataar)
Dubai Land District (Al Hebiah 1-5, Al Yufrah 1-2, Al Yalayis 1-5, Umm Nahad 1-4, Wadi Al Safa 2, Wadi Al Safa 4-7, Dubai Sports City, Dubai Motor City)
Hadaeq Mohammad Bin Rashid District (Al Thaniya 1-5, Al Quoz 1-4, Al Barsha 1-3, Al Quoz Industrial 1-4, Al Merkadh, Al Barsha South 1-5, Hadaeq Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid, Nad Al Sheba 1, Sadi Al Safa 3, Jumeirah Village Circle)

Authentic Italian Experiences Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

By Shereen Shabnam

 

Set in the Eternal City on the grounds of a 15 acre park, Rome, the spectacular Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Resort offers guests a home overlooking the best parts of the Vatican City. I spent a few days exploring the majestic hotel and its spa recently and left rested and relaxed for my next adventure.

Being a lover of art, I have been sponsoring the art perspective event every two months held in a five star hotel in Dubai over the year and hence, very familiar with the trend of merging the art world with the hospitality world but seeing the seeing the scale of art at Rome Cavalieri left me mesmerised. The hotel is home to over 1,200 beautiful artworks from well-known artists like Andy Warhol, Giovanni Battista and period pieces of artefacts, tapestries and furniture.

 Recently, the hotel introduced a series of complimentary luxury experiences for guests who book to stay a number of days in one of the hotel’s suites this year. They can take part in a series of inimitable local activities focusing on art, culture and cuisine, with each experience offered to vary depending on the suite chosen and time of year.

Whether it’s learning to make authentic Italian sandals with an authentic, family-run Italian shoemaker, private tours of the Vatican Gardens, the Pope’s summer Residence or the gardens of Castel Gandolfo or culinary journeys in the city, Rome Cavalieri’s Suite Experiences promise a memorable stay.

Food lovers will enjoy a private culinary tour and two-way transfer to Mercato Trionfale in the Prati neighbourhood, a market frequented by locals. The tour features six venues with over 20 different food and wine tastings. Here, guests can sample local culinary delights including truffles and 30 year aged balsamic vinegar, artisanal gelateria from Fatamorgana, homemade pasta with D.O.C.G. Vermentino wine at an award-winning restaurant, caviar and foie gras topped pizzas at Pizzarium, Rome’s number one pizzeria. It also includes a visit to Paciotti, the number one gourmet food shop in Rome, offering over 200 types of cheeses and 100 types of meats.

 Guests staying in the top suites can enjoy the private use of a professional photographer to accompany them on their day around the Eternal City. Guests will receive a professional photoshoot in both Rome and the hotel, with a Mercedes at their disposal throughout the day. To cherish those memories, guests will receive an elegantly presented box with a USB drive and photo print outs, which will be directly delivered to them after their stay.

My favourite experience naturally would be staying in the Vista and Corner Suites and enjoy a luxury picnic in the hotel’s verdant parkland, accompanied with a butler as well as a private yoga session in the park and an 80-minute massage.

The spa experience in Rome Cavalieri was an amazing escape to a tranquil oasis with Roman baths, fitness centre and reputed products to indulge in. I opted for massage and once I saw the La Prairie products, I wished I had booked a facial too but had to catch my flight back to Dubai.

Overall, the Rome Cavalieri was a surreal experience. The building was designed by one of the most important architects of the period, Ugo Luccichenti, assisted by E. Pifferi and A. Ressa, with contribution from two superstar architects of the ‘60’s, Franco Albini and Pierluigi Nervi.

Ever since its opening in 1963, the hotel is known for the highest level of comfort attracting famous personalities and fifty years on, the Rome Cavalieri continues to move with the times, exceeding the expectations of the most demanding international travelers and living up to its name as an icon in the world of luxury hospitality. I certainly felt extremely special throughout my stay and would love to return with family one day to relive the experience and of course to make their spa my second home for at least a week.

 

 

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Pearl of the Adriatic – Dubrovnik, Croatia

By Shereen Shabnam

Dubrovnik in Croatia is a city for all seasons and one of the world’s most prominent tourist destinations. Surrounded by unique medieval ramparts, Dubrovnik attracts visitors for its rich history, mild climate, traditional hospitality and its many festivals, open-air events and architectural treasures.

I explored Dubrovnik, a UNESCO registered protected world heritage site during the evening and in the day taking in the charm of bustling streets, art and different cultural events.

Walking along the promenade during the day meant coming across various art and artefacts on sale as well as live music performances. The open air performances add character to the different areas of the old town classical and jazz music and brings rhythm and charm into an already dazzling atmosphere.

While wandering through the markets, we toured the filming location of the ‘Game of Thrones’ television series and enjoyed some retail therapy of the related merchandise for fans back in the UAE.

The best part of Dubrovnik was exploring the old city, which had interesting markets, art galleries and city walls with fortresses offering beautiful views of the city, the open sea and the Island of Lokrum.

For panoramic views of Dubrovnik, visitors can take the cable car and set out on a scenic adventure that includes breathtaking views of the old town and enjoy the sunset. Make time to head to the Island of Lokrum and Elaphiti Islands or visit the Trsteno Arboretum, which is a protected monument of nature.

Dubrovnik is a great destination for adventure sports or active tourists who enjoy horse riding, hiking, cycling or sailing. A jeep safari or a canoe tour is also an interesting way to explore the area.

Dubrovnik was a gastronomic delight with an abundance of fresh and delectable food, often seasoned with olive oil. Try the naturally grown vegetables like courgettes, cabbage, aubergines tomatoes as well as seafood prepared in a simple way.

I had a full day exploring the old town and came across a Salvador Dali exhibition, which was an unexpected delight. Visitors who enjoy experience centres will enjoy The Cultural History Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Archeological Museum exhibition at Fortress Revelin, the Dubrovnik Natural Science Museum and the Dubrovnik State Archives.

The natural scenery in the area and panoramic views of the coast on the way to the old town in Dubrovnik were definitely some of the most memorable moments in Croatia.  I am already planning my next venture into the land of fortresses and medieval architecture.

Turkish Airlines recently added Dubrovnik, Croatia to its expanding network with three weekly flights for visitors intending to explore this beautiful city.

 

Exploring Taiwan – The Land of Breathtaking Beauty

By Shereen Shabnam

With rich cultural diversity and traditions as varied as it’s beautiful natural landscape alongside tall towers and a thriving business environment, Taiwan is full of surprises for visitors.

My visit began with a tour of the Taipei 101, architecturallycreated guided with Feng Shui principles as a symbol of the evolution of technology and Asian tradition with traditional design elements, works of art and modern treatments. It comes with Indoor Observation decks plus a premium multi-level shopping mall adjoining the tower with hundreds of stores, restaurants and clubs.

The journey continued with visits to Chiayi, Alishan, Sun Moon Lake and beyond wandering through cultural attractions, lakes, hillside stations, tropical forests and sampling a wide variety of cuisine including ample choice of halal delicacies.

Taiwan offers the gamut of different cuisines and I enjoyed the Chinese, Indian, Moroccan, Japanese dishes alongside the traditional local specialties like Tainan milkfish and desert dumplings in restaurants and night markets in between sight seeing and shopping.

A visit to Taiwanese temples is a must for people watching as they gather to worship, enjoy local festivities nearby and to peruse the local art house often found in each city.

Highlight of the visit was the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated each year on the 15th day of the first lunar month to mark the grand finale of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

This first full moon day of the New Year symbolizes the coming of the spring. People usually celebrate this festival by enjoying family dinner together, eating Yuanxiao (glutinous rice dumpling), carrying paper lanterns, and solving the riddles on the lanterns.

At the Taiwan Lantern Festival in Chiayi, I found the grand celebration with music, dance, light shows, 4D visual effects and the grand lanterns all around me magical. My Taiwanese friends said they sometimes write their wishes on the sky lanterns because it is believed as the lantern fly into the sky; it is a way to pass on your wishes to gods above.

A visit to the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum was a delightin Chiayi County. The museum is set on 70 hectares of land next to a large scenic lake with gardens. It has an unmatched collection of e artifacts and priceless treasures from distant places.

Another attractionlocated in Qigu District, Tainan is the Qigu Salt Mountain set close to Qigu Lagoon, the largest inland lake in Taiwan, which is rich in ecological resources and the habitat for winter migratory birds-black-faced spoonbills. There are a number of recreational activities like go-karting, antique machines exhibition and the Doo-doo trains making it an interesting Tainan tourist spot for visitors of all ages.

Other enjoyable excursions included exploring the Sicao Mangrove Preserve and the Taijiang National Parkwith ecological and cultural landscape alongside culture and history. The Alishan National Scenic Area was also memorable.

Another breath taking experience was of course Taiwan’s largest Lake, the Sun Moon Lakelocated in the mountains of Nantou. I took a late afternoon boat tour and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. The area around the lake is home to tribes and scenic views. Leaving Taiwan was not easy especially from the Sun Moon Lake.

From the UAE, getting to Taiwan was fairly easy on Emirates Airlines, which flies to direct to Taipei daily. The city is a great starting point to get to the other popular tourist spots.

Hotels and OTAs need to work together to maximise revenues, say experts

colliers-alternative-accommodation-driving-growth-for-destinations-or-disruption-discussion.jpg

  • Dynamic commissioning and nano pricing will maximise revenue for hotels and OTAs
  • Alternative accommodation such as Airbnb should not be viewed as a threat or disruptor to the market

Hotels and Online Travel Agents (OTAs) need to work together to find a collaborative approach that maximises revenues, builds brand confidence and rewards consumer loyalty, according to a panel of experts speaking at Arabian Travel Market (ATM).

According to a report published on Monday 23rdApril, by Colliers International on ATM’s Global Stage, rate parity agreements have led to a turbulent relationship between hotels and OTAs in recent years.

The findings of the report entitled ‘Alternative Accommodation – Driving Growth for Destinations or Disruption’ were discussed by a panel of experts from Wego, AccorHotels, Expedia Group and Colliers International.

The essence of rate parity is to have the same rate for the same product across all distribution channels. However, rate undercutting has created issues between hotels and OTAs and as a result, significantly reduced consumer confidence in brands.

Filippo Sona, Director, Head of Hotels MENA, Colliers International, said: “Consumers are comparative shoppers, so when they see that the rate on a hotel website is higher than an OTA for the same product, this creates a negative sentiment about the brand in their minds. As the undercut rate percentage by OTAs increases, there is a drop in the booking conversion on the hotel’s website.

“Today’s consumers have a more sophisticated mindset and level of needs, and as a result, rate parity is hindering the ability of OTAs to make more money and hotel companies to offer higher average room rates. If we removed the rate parity mechanism, we would be able to more effectively fulfil the needs of OTAs and hotels, while providing a more personalised product to consumers.”

With continuous technological advancements in the online travel market such as metasearch engines, blockchain and augmented analytics, new strategies need to be devised to win back consumer confidence and increase their brand loyalty.

Paula De Keijer, Senior Director of Market Management Middle East, Africa, Greece & Turkey, Expedia Group, said: “With the consumer in mind, blockchain technology provides services such as secured payment, identification and security, simplified loyalty programmes and baggage tracking.

“As we look to the future, augmented analytics will provide consumers with the power to make more informed choices. Considering the vast amount of data that hotels and OTAs accumulate, this technology is the perfect tool to understand consumer behaviour, preferences and booking patterns. Combining algorithms, artificial intelligence and machine learning will lead to providing better recommendations to customers and matching them to the properties best suited to their needs.”

Hotels and OTAs have their own competitive advantages and limitations. While hotels have the micro information, OTAs have the purchasing and booking habits of consumers.

In the evolving landscape, it is crucial that hotels understand direct bookings do not matter like they did in the past. Instead, establishing a collaborative approach, with the help of technological advances, that maximises revenues should be the focus.

Sona, said: “The first emerging tool will be dynamic commissioning. This will enable hotels to set a hurdle rate for OTAs, in turn incentivising OTAs to sell above that rate to earn a higher commission. Based on our research, we suggest for every $10 above the hurdle rate OTAs earn an extra 5%, with the maximum amount of possible commission capped at 35%.

“The second approach is nano pricing which provides consumers with the power of choice and added confidence in brands. Today, hotel room prices are based on three factors: room view, room type and number of occupants. However, nano pricing is calculated by combining base price (room inclusive of limited amenities) with the cost of any requested extras (for example upgraded toiletries).”

In recent years, competition in the market has further increased with the rise of alternative accommodation such as Airbnb. The success of this type of accommodation stems from their ability to create a more local and personal experience for consumers.

Flavio Leoni, Vice President of Sales, Distribution, Loyalty & Marketing, AccorHotels Middle East & Egypt, said: “Alternative accommodation should not be viewed by hotels and OTAs as a threat or disruptor.

“It is just another tool that provides additional choice to the consumer and also presents hotels and OTAs with the option to explore new ideas and expand their brands.

“If we break down the needs of both business and leisure travellers, as well as individual and family travel, it is possible for alternative accommodation to exist peacefully in the market alongside more traditional forms of accommodation.”

For more information on Arabian Travel Market 2018, please visit the website at www.arabiantravelmarket.wtm.com

Barbecue Delights Announces New Location at IBN Battuta Mall

Dubai’s fastest growing South Asian restaurant chain is proud to announce the opening of its newest restaurant branch inside IBN Battuta mall – China Court. The new branch joins six other outlets spread across the city.

According to Mr. Misbah Ahmad, Chairman of Barbecue Delights, the current expansion of the restaurant chain is part of the brand’s plans to have more branches not only in Dubai but to serve this traditional Sub continental cuisine across the UAE and GCC as a whole.

“Barbecue Delights prides itself in offering one of the most popular menus, which gives our guests a taste of home, or simply a taste of Pakistani, North Indian, and Afghani flavors,” notes Mr. Misbah.

The menu at the new Ibn Battuta Mall branch includes a traditional appetizing array of signature grilled meat and seafood, Curry and Rice Dishes steakhouse specialties, Afghani and Middle Eastern dishes, vegetarian dishes and desserts. Also on offer is a collection of Kebabs, which arrive fresh off the skewer accompanied by a generous portion of Pulao or Biryani. Dishes such as ‘Reshmi Kebab’, ‘Afghani Tikka’, ‘Mutton Ribs’, ‘Mutton Karahi’ and ‘Fish Tikka’ are in plenty, are just a few of the favorites among our fans.

The vegetarian menu options include healthy and nutritious Palak Paneer, tangy and spicy Khattay Baingan and Aloo Zeera, (sauteed potatoes with cumin seeds) among others. And when it comes to desserts, there’s a wide variety of sweet treats including Gulab Jamun, Jalebis, Shahi Tukrey, Custard, and many others. If you’ve already been there, you know the variety of dishes waiting for you.

As an opening treat, the IBN Battuta branch is offering a 20% discount on all meals, which will be valid until February 28th, 2018.

Other Barbecue Delights outlets include:

  • Emaar Boulevard, next to Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa – Tel: 04 4343 443, Mobile: 056 3423292
  • JBR The Walk – Next to Sofitel Hotel – Tel: 04 4230632, Mobile: 050 190 5892/93
  • Lamcy Square Opposite Lamcy Plaza – Tel: 04 3359868/69, Mobile: 055 9187819
  • Dragon Mart 2 – Tel: 04 340 9885 / 056 485 6130
  • Dubai Park & Resorts, Jebel Ali Village – Tel: 042884632  
  • Motor City, Uptown MotorCity – Tel: 042432915, Mobile: 0566256632

 

RAS AL KHAIMAH TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY PARTNERS WITH AIRBNB TO PROMOTE RESPONSIBLE HOME SHARING

Left- Hadi Mousa GM of Airbnb, Right- Haitham Mattar RAK TDA  CEO.jpg

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and Airbnb have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote responsible home sharing, boost tourism and diversify the tourism offer in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
The announcement was made today by Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive Officer of RAKTDA and Hadi Moussa, Airbnb’s General Manager for the Middle East and Africa, at a press conference in Ras Al Khaimah.

This agreement follows the recent adoption of a new Directive which makes clear that people in the Emirate are allowed to share their space as long as they respect basic safety rules and register via a simple online process.

 

As part of the MoU, Airbnb and Ras Al Khaimah will:

  • Promote the new rules and responsible home sharing by creating a Responsible Hosting Page informing hosts of the rules and linking to official information and sending regular email reminders to hosts;
  • Exchange insights and learnings about travel trends on Airbnb in order to raise awareness about the positive impacts of the Airbnb Community and boost tourism.

Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive Officer of RAKTDA, said; “The MoU that we’ve signed with Airbnb marks a massive milestone towards diversifying the tourism scene in Ras Al Khaimah. We aim to welcome one million visitors by end of 2018 and 2.9 million by 2025, and therefore the demand for more rooms is essential to accommodate those visitors. We are confident that our partnership with a leading international hospitality pioneer such as Airbnb will help take Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism offering to the next level. In addition, this project will strengthen our ability to increase the choice of options for our guests and cater to a more diverse traveler portfolio, particularly in light of growing demand towards the sharing economy.”
On the new Directive legitimising home sharing, Haitham added: “As part of RAKTDA’s responsibility, we will ensure that hosts adhere to the quality standards of safety, insurance, health and amenities needed to enhance the visitors experience.”
Hadi Moussa, General Manager Airbnb Middle East and Africa said “Ras Al Khaimah is a wonderful place to visit and I’m excited that our growing host community will support the Emirate in attracting more travellers to the region and help the diversification of tourism. Airbnb has so far partnered with over 350 governments around the world and we are committed to being good partners to the Emirate and support the responsible growth of innovative forms of tourism.”

The new Directive and agreement between RAKTDA and Airbnb will ensure that more residents of Ras al Khaimah will be able enjoy the benefits of tourism and more guests will be able to discover all the Emirate has to offer.