Issue 19 - April 2014

bookletia

ISSUE 19

April 2014

Discover Hot

New Desert Pursuits!

Leisure Trio Debut

Sport Gets Mega In Al Ain

Mangroves Get The Team Effect


9

Issue 19April 2014

5 Team Building With A Difference

5

14

9 Two New Ayla Hotels For Al Ain

12 Sir Bani Yas Gets Wild

14 Connectivity Boost From Etihad

24

16 State-Of-The-Art Stadium For Al Ain

20 Leisure Destinations Trio Debut

29

24 Cover Story: Show-Stoppers From

Qasr Al Sarab

29 Red Bull Air Race Flies Back

12

20

32 We Turn Up Our F&B Heat

Editorial Team

Barbara Saunders Editor • May Mohr Deputy Editor

Saeed Jumoh Photo Editor

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Please contact us with any feedback, news updates or article ideas via email partners@tcaabudhabi.ae

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Distribution

6,000 copies of Seyaha are distributed throughout the UAE and internationally through TCA Abu Dhabi’s international offices.

Seyaha is also available in Etihad business class lounges in London, Frankfurt and Abu Dhabi.

Seyaha is also distributed to UAE embassies.

Copyright Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.

32


TOUR OPERATORS

Dear industry partners,


The destination

has also come in

for some worthy

accolades this

year.”

This edition of Seyaha is packed with news of destinations within our destination, upcoming

hotels and more visitor activities.

I’m pleased to report that our Access Abu Dhabi trade engagement programme running in

partnership with our national airline, Etihad Airways, is proving successful and that we are now

expanding it to five more markets – meaning it will touch 10 markets across four continents in all.

Proposals are now coming in from China, France, Italy, Brazil and the USA.

In the year since we launched Access Abu Dhabi, the programme has progressed 38 destination

co-marketing initiatives, 10 destination familiarisation trips for travel agents and completed

successful partner engagement missions in our initial target markets. We have seen strong results,

particularly from Germany and the UK, with a significant increase in the length of guest stay

emerging through packages sold by its travel and tour operator partners. The team is now looking at

tailoring a version to address the specific needs of the GCC market and we’ll bring you news of this

soon.

The destination has also come in for some worthy accolades this year. Sir Bani Yas Island has

been named by the UK’s The Guardian newspaper as one of the Top 40 destinations for 2014 while

Lonely Planet has ranked the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara as among the world’s most

extraordinary hotels. And plaudits also go to The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, which,

within a single month, was declared the ‘Best New Business Hotel in the World’ by the USA’s

Business Traveler magazine and then listed among the Top New 50 hotels in the World by Condé

Nast Traveller Russia. My congratulations to all involved.

The year looks promising for us all.

Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi

Director General

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority

Editor’s

Message


So the message

then is, play to our

strengths.”

Dear colleagues,

Who would have thought that Sir Mick Jagger would be the one to pass on to all of us some sound

tourism promotion advice? I’m not sure the iconic rocker knew he was doing that when he told the

packed crowds at the Abu Dhabi opener of The Rolling Stones ‘14 On Fire’ tour that he and his band

mates had opted to tour Abu Dhabi’s Falcon Hospital during their stay in the UAE capital – but that’s

what he did. Indirectly he told us to play to our unique strengths. Perhaps they opted for the tour

knowing that none of the other destinations could offer anything like it. So the message then is, play

to our strengths.

And that’s just what the recent formation of an industry development committee (IDC) specifically

for our heritage heartland of Al Ain promises to do in its endeavours to bring refreshed tourism

impetus to the Oasis City.

The coming together of private and public sector stakeholders is focusing hearts and minds on

what is a mutually beneficial outcome – that of building the destination’s proposition, enhancing its

promotion and positioning with a focus on families, sporting and adventure activities, heritage and

education attractions.

Improved access to Al Ain – home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites – is also high on

the agenda. The committee has been working to identify the challenges facing the destination and to

brainstorm solutions and there’s a palpable determination to jointly make things happen.

It’s all great news for Al Ain, which coincidently was named among the 100 Places To Visit Before

Your Die in the first book of its type. We’ll keep you up-to-date with all the IDC’s outcomes and developments

and hope they’ll encourage you all to take a keen look at this wonderful city – which has

considerable strengths for us all to play to!

Thank you Sir Mick.

Barbara Saunders

Go! Team Kayak!

Sea Hawk Water Sports, the company which offers daily kayaking tours through

Abu Dhabi’s Eastern mangroves, has moved into the team building arena with a

range of exciting waterborne product.

U

p for grabs are races through the

mangrove channels and tug-of-war in

kayaks. Yet perhaps the most intriguing

team builder is water-ball – a game where

players are in kayaks, but not allowed to

paddle, have to catch a ball from a fellow

player and pass it on within 10 seconds. A ‘goal’ is

scored, only when a team member manages to strike

the guide’s kayak with the ball.

“It’s tremendous for building team spirit and is

great fun at the same time,” said Ghassan Al Hashemi,

General Manager, Sea Hawk Water Sports, who

operates the tours from the pier at Eastern Mangroves

Hotel & Spa by Anantara.

Team building, which begins with a 15 minute safety

instruction session, can be for groups of 60 with 50

people in double kayaks and 10 in singles. Charges for

groups of up to 20 are AED110 (US $30) per person.

Sea Hawk operates daily guided tours through

the Eastern mangroves, departing from the Eastern

Mangroves Resort & Spa by Anantara at 7am, 11am and

3pm and covering 5.5 kilometres.

“Kayaking through the mangrove channels is easier

Sea Hawk brings

team building

to the Eastern

mangroves.

4

5


TOUR OPERATORS

than kayaking at sea and we check sea conditions

early each morning to decide whether the tours can

go ahead,” explained Ghassan. “Each tour begins with

safety instruction and includes a stop for refreshments

of water and fruit salad – so the tours usually take

about two hours in all.”

Kayakers can opt for single or double kayaks and

one guide is provided for every eight guests. Charges

are AED150 (US $41) for kayakers above 12 years of age

and AED130 (US $35) for those below 12 years.

Sea Hawk also rents out kayaks to those who can

prove they have previous experience of the sport. Rental

charges are AED100 (US $27) for a single kayak for

three hours and AED150 (US $41) for a double kayak.

“The trips through the mangroves are a superb way

Quick, Shelter!

There’s Too Many

Cooks In The Desert

to get in touch with our nature,” explained 44-yearold

Ghassan who’s a trained geoscientist who took

up kayaking as a hobby and turned it into a business.

“We see birds, particularly of the heron species and

Egyptian goose, dolphins and fish and sometimes get

a rate glimpse of a fox. It’s quiet and calm and a super

way to keep fit and toned, and spend quality family

time.”

sea-hawk.ae

Escape the meeting room and head

to the emirate’s Al Khatem desert

for adventurous team building, with

two, exciting Arabian Nights Village

activities: ‘Quick Shelter’ and ‘Desert

Chef’.

The village - one of the emirate’s leading residential

desert products, and the only one with ‘glamping’

accommodation, with air-conditioned tents adorned

with traditional sadu weave work - which offers lots of

desert activities for the whole family, including camelrides,

desert quad-biking, 4x4 dune bashing, sandboarding

and traditional henna skin decorations, has

expanded its product offering with a couple of teambuilding

activities for corporate guests.

Their ‘Quick Shelter’ activity challenges teams to

erect tents in the desert sand in the shortest period of

time. All within the confines of the Village and with the

necessary components provided.

“It’s a light introduction to desert survival skills and

touches on traditional Emirati life, as the participants

learn how to quickly make shade from the hot desert

sun,” said Randa Darwich, Group Sales Manager,

Arabian Nights Village.

The activity suits groups of as many as 30 persons,

with a maximum of five groups of six people each, and

is priced at AED 450 (USD 125) per person including

desert activities, lunch and transportation to-and-from

the Village.

‘Desert Chef’, on the other hand, challenges more

gastronomically adventurous teams to make the most

delicious culinary creations, using basic ingredients

such as fresh vegetables and breads. Lessons are to be

learnt about team-work when there’s ‘too many cooks

in the kitchen’, and the Village’s own Head Chef judges

the dishes based on taste and presentation.

Groups of as many as 40 persons can participate in

this activity, in a maximum of four teams of 10 persons

each, and is priced at AED 450 (US$ 125) per person

including desert activities, lunch and transportation

to-and-from their accommodation.

“The uptake since we launched the activities last

October has been fantastic!” said Randa. “The activities

are popular with both Emiratis and expatriates, and

we’ve already hosted teams from as diverse fields as

local Abu Dhabi energy companies to multi-national

entertainment groups in Dubai.

“A typical full-day programme starts with team

building exercises in the early afternoon followed

by lunch. The participants can then choose from

our traditional and desert adventure activities. As

the sun sets on the horizon, dinner is served under

the stars with accompanying Arabian style evening

entertainment including a traditional Oud player.”

Half-day team building programmes start in the

afternoon with traditional and desert adventure

activities, followed by team-building and dinner.

The team building activities all take place outdoors

in the Village’s authentic traditional Arabian

atmosphere.

“We see the participants enjoying coming together,

and solving problems hands-on, as a team. It’s a

chance for them to do something out of the ordinary,

and outside of their normal environment. They’re

used to trainings conducted in meeting rooms – but

here they’re outside, in fresh air with beautiful desert

landscape around.

“They get to know each other in new ways, and have

to communicate with each other in ways they may

not be used to – so it’s definitely a great environment

to allow them to step out of their comfort zone for a

little while in a safe and supportive setting,” explained

Randa. “And from the feedback we’ve received, this

definitely proves beneficial in improving team work and

spirit.”

A new adventure challenge will soon be added to the

team building activities: a desert treasure hunt in the

dunes surrounding the village. “Exercises will provide

Arabian Nights Village

clues guiding the teams safely back to the village. This

will be slightly more physically challenging, and the

teams will learn more desert survival skills and the

secrets to Bedouin life,” explained Randa.

Arabian Nights Village is just over an hour’s drive

from Abu Dhabi, with beautiful views of the expansive

desert and the odd camel herds grazing on desert

vegetation along the way. Return transportation is

provided from Khalifa Park in luxurious buses or SUVs,

depending on group size.

Arabiannightsvillage.com

6

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TOUR OPERATORS

HOTELS

Phoenix Rising

The boutique German cruise operator Phoenix Reisen is to have a two ship

presence in Abu Dhabi for the October-April 2014/2015 season.

T

he company’s MS Albatros will join its

Amadea in the emirate following the recent

maiden arrival of Phoenix Reisen vessels

into the UAE capital.

“This greatly underpins our cruise

industry ambitions which are now being

advanced via a highly pro-active local stakeholder

campaign and a wider regional co-operative initiative

to ensure the region is rightly positioned as a credible

and appealing winter cruise destination,” explained

Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director, Tourism,

TCA Abu Dhabi.

“We are nurturing a growing number of relationships

with independent cruise tour operators and smaller

cruise charter operations, as well as furthering our

existing healthy relationships with the world’s leading

cruise lines.”

Carrying fewer than 1,500 mostly German guests,

passengers on board the luxury vessels can choose

from five full and half-day Abu Dhabi shore excursions

when they arrive next season. Many of the excursions

will play to the emirate’s cultural strengths, according

to Agata Eibel, cruise manager for shore-based tour

operator Rida International Tours.

“We have developed a range of excursions that

contrast Abu Dhabi’s modern metropolis with the

emirate’s cultural past, and have found that tours to Al

Ain’s World Heritage attractions and the Sheikh Zayed

Grand Mosque are proving just as popular as high tea

at Emirates Palace or our thrill-seeker’s tours of desert

dunes or the exhilarating Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.”

Established for over 40 years, Phoenix Reisen is a

German-based travel agency that has operated a cruise

ship fleet since 1988.

In a bid to woo more operators to the UAE capital,

TCA Abu Dhabi – in partnership with Abu Dhabi Ports

Company – is planning a permanent cruise terminal

facility at Mina Zayed, and the region’s first desert

island beach stop-over for cruise liners off the coast

of Abu Dhabi’s Al Gharbia (Western Region). Both are

scheduled to open for the 2015/16 season.

phoenixreisen.com

ridaint.ae

Ayla Plans Two

New Openings

The four-star

Bawadi Ayla

hotel.

8

Ayla Hotels and Resorts is gearing up to open two new signature, alcohol-free

properties in Al Ain.

First up is the four-star Bawadi Ayla, which is

coming up next to the city’s popular Bawadi Mall. The

hotel will have over 90 rooms and suites furnished in

traditional Arabian style but with a modern twist and is

due to open in Q2.

“With the hotel being surrounded by a traditional

souq, the old camel market and Jebel Hafeet heights,

yet have all the facilities of one of the city’s busiest

shopping destinations, it’s perfect for a shopping break

with a touch of culture and relaxation,” said Mohamed

Soussan, the group’s General Manager.

The hotel is only 10 minutes from Al Ain centre,

close to the Oman border and less than half an hour

from Al Ain Airport. Abu Dhabi is only a 90 minute

drive away and Dubai is just a 50 minute drive away.

Al Bawadi Ayla’s rooms come in Standard, Deluxe or

Suite options with smoking and non-smoking versions

available and all the latest in-room facilities, including

a kitchenette in the suites.

Food and beverage options include the all-daydining

Bawadi Restaurant open for breakfast, lunch

and dinner and the Tamra Café/Lobby Lounge – an

upmarket tea lounge with a traditional Arabian touch.

The hotel will have 345 square metres of meeting

space to accommodate up to 100 guests, a roof-top,

open-air swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, massage treatment

rooms and a ‘Pulse’ health club.

In Q3, Ayla will open the five-star Grand Ayla Hotel

in the centre of Al Ain within walking distance of Al Ain

Mall.

“This property will have it all,” said Soussan

“spacious, comfortable rooms, fully equipped and

serviced apartments, fine dining choices, a rejuvenating

spa and business meetings facilities.”

Grand Ayla will have fully furnished and serviced

one bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom

apartments, five f&b outlets, a state-of-the-art health

club and spa centre, a rooftop swimming pool and hitech

meeting facilities.

Dining options will include the stylish Al Falaj

Restaurant serving authentic Emirati cuisine with a

modern twist, the Tamra Café/Lobby Lounge and the 5

Continents International Buffet room.

As with Bawadi Ayla, this property will also have

345 square metres of conference and events space

for up to 100 guests. Recreation facilities include the

Spa Centre and ‘Pulse’ Health Club complete with an

outdoor swimming pool with wet facilities, kids’ pool,

massage rooms, Jacuzzi, steam and sauna and a gym.

aylahotels.com

9


HOTELS

Mabrook!

Congratulations to The Ritz-Carlton Abu

Dhabi, Grand Canal, which recently celebrated

its first anniversary with highly coveted

accolades from two leading travel publications.

The five-star luxury resort received the ‘Best

New Business Hotel in the World’ honour by

Business Traveler magazine in its 25th edition

of Best in Business Travel Awards and is listed

among the Top New 50 hotels in the World by

Condé Nast Traveller Russia.

Set within landscaped gardens with its own

private beach, the resort has 447 luxurious

guest rooms and suites, 85 private one and

two-bedroom villas, 10 restaurants and lounges,

a state-of-the-art health club and one of the

region’s largest outdoor swimming pools.

Ritzcarlton.com/AbuDhabi

Shifting Sands

Sands Hotel, one of downtown Abu Dhabi city’s

most well-known landmarks, has just entered phase II

of its full-scale renovation.

All guest rooms are now being renovated at the

4-star hotel, which is managed by Danat

Hotels & Resorts with work due for

completion by the end of the year.

The hotel’s first renovation phase,

completed last year saw an overhaul of

all public areas, lobby, elevators, the allday

dining restaurant La Piazza and the

Harvesters Pub, followed by Chequers bar

and restaurant, in addition to its Night Core

Tipar bar.

“The renovations are on-track and

include the installation of the latest

technology. The room layouts are

contemporary to produce elegant,

comfortable guest rooms and deliver a

fresh, upgraded feel. We’ve worked hard

not to lose the identity which our loyal

customers have come to regard as home,”

said Khaled Khedr, the hotel’s Director of

Sales & Marketing.

For business meetings and other special events,

Sands Hotel has 140 square metres of event space

including banquet facilities. The hotel’s Al Bateen

Hall can seat 80 guests and is equipped with the latest

audiovisual technologies, while there are adaptable

smaller rooms for board meetings or events for groups

of 20 to 40.

Danat Hotels & Resorts’ vision for Sands Hotel is to

be a modern 4-star hotel that offers 5-star services and

facilities at convenient prices.

Danathotels.com

10 11

Khaled Khedr


LEISURE TOURISM

Sunsets Get Wild

on Sir Bani Yas

The Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara on Sir Bani Yas Island is offering

guests another truly unique product – the Sunset Wildlife Experience which

includes a rustic BBQ.

The three-and-a-half hour experience begins with

an escorted 4x4 Sunset Drive through the Arabian

Wildlife Park where guests can spot, and learn, from an

experienced guide, about the free roaming animals and

herds before heading off for the social BBQ.

The experience begins at 4.30pm with the Wildlife

Park Drive, stopping at a viewing point an hour later

to take in the magnificent island sunset. With the

sun down, guests then head off for a Wadi (dried up

river bed) area to be met by the chef who serves up an

expansive BBQ in a unique setting before returning to

their hotel at around 8pm.

Booking is required one day in advance and the

experience requires a minimum of six guests and can

handle up to 30 at one time. Prices are AED825(US

$225) per adult and AED400 (US $109) per child and

are subject to 10% service charge and 6% tourism fee.

Desertislands.com

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

Introducing ‘Romance At The Towers’

12

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers has launched a package

specifically for couples with featured highlights

including private settings, gourmet delicacies and

spectacular views of Abu Dhabi’s night skyline, the

Corniche and Arabian Gulf.

‘Romance at the Towers’ is a bespoke, aspirational

package designed to deliver an evening full of romantic

magic and theatre, a special Scott’s Terrace dinner and

accommodation, exclusively for couples. It includes

a six course set menu paired with the finest vintages

on the hotel’s Scott’s Terrace which offers sweeping

seascapes, special flower arrangements and a harpist or

violinist providing entertainment. The package includes

a couple’s spa treatment, a stay in a Club Suite and an

exclusive beach setting for morning breakfast served

by a private butler. ‘Romance at the Towers’ costs

AED30,000 (US $8,167) plus 10% service charge and 6%

tourism fee.

Jumeirah.com

Holiday Hotspot!

Sir Bani Yas Island has been selected

among the world’s Top 40 Holiday Hotspots

for 2014 in The Guardian, one of the UK’s

leading newspapers, making it the only Gulf

destination to be featured on the list.

13


AVIATION

New Routes

&

Service Boost

Royal Jet: the

ultimate luxury.

New Royal Jet Base

Royal Jet, the Abu Dhabi-based luxury flight services company, will complete

the first phase of its new home at Al Bateen Executive Airport, the region’s only

dedicated executive airport, in the last quarter of 2015.

T

14

Touching Down From

Medina

Etihad Airways, the UAE’s national airline, has

launched a new service from Medina making it the

airline’s fourth Saudi destination following Dammam,

Riyadh and Jeddah.

Flights have a weekly capacity of 1,904 seats,

including 16 Pearl Business Class and 120 Coral

Economy Class seats.

Etihad now operates 50 weekly flights from Saudi

Arabia.

More Airlift From India

Following the launch of services from Jaipur in April,

Etihad will, this June, increase its daily service from

Kochi to double-daily, upscale to double-daily from

Bangalore and Chennai from July and from Hyderabad

October. The airline now flies from 10 Indian

destinations to Abu Dhabi International.

Double Daily Dublin

Starting from July 15, Etihad will also step up its

service from Dublin from 10 weekly to double daily. The

new frequency from the Irish capital raises the airline’s

weekly seat capacity to 8,988 and is operated by a

Boeing 777-300 ER.

From Russia With Love

Etihad Airways will increase its service from Moscow

from daily to double daily from June 1 and to triple

daily from October 1 this year.

Following a codeshare agreement with S7 Airlines,

Etihad’s flight schedule will also see a connectivity

boost from the Russian cities of Kazan, Krasnodar,

Saint Petersburg and Samara.

Etihad.com

he new base will accommodate

aircraft and maintenance facilities,

Medevac operations and Royal Jet’s

administration headquarters. The project

will complement the airline’s fixed-base

operator premises at Abu Dhabi International

and is part of a gradual transition of its principal

operating base to the city-central Al Bateen

Executive Airport.

The first phase will see Royal Jet build a 4,500

square metre hangar and a 5,000 square metre

facility which will include offices, workshops,

spares storage and a training centre.

“This new base is a reflection of the consistent

and continuous upward growth that the private

jet industry has experienced in the last few years.”

said Shane O’Hare, Royal Jet’s President and CEO.

Royaljetgroup.com

Airberlin Doubles Up

Airberlin, which is 29 per cent-owned by

Etihad Airways, will introduce a second daily

flight from Berlin to Abu Dhabi International from

October 26th.

The German carrier and the UAE’s national

airline have also expanded their codeshare

agreement to India allowing passengers travelling

from six Indian destinations to stopover in Abu

Dhabi on their way to/from Berlin.

Airberlin’s Berlin-Abu Dhabi route is the only

direct flight from Germany’s capital city to the

UAE.

Airberlin.com

15


FEATURE

A Destination With

A Heart Of Sport

Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, the mixed-use project with a state-of-the-art football

stadium at its cornerstone, has been unveiled in the oasis city of Al Ain and is set

to become a leading tourism, leisure and sports destination.

In addition to the recently-completed 500,000

square metre stadium, the project will include a

residential community with 700 units surrounded by

green spaces, two office buildings of 20,000 square

metres, sports facilities, family entertainment zones,

over 50 restaurants, cafes and shops and a four-star

hotel due to open in 2016.

The development has been planned to promote a

healthy lifestyle in all its areas and will include a public

courtyard, stylish promenades interlinked by pedestrian

walkways, a family sports and entertainment space for

all ages, sports activity zones, a healthy living quarter

and a dedicated pool and gymnasium - the biggest of its

kind in Abu Dhabi emirate.

Cars are not allowed in the Plaza and the space

around the stadium is designed with cycling, jogging

and walking tracks.

A collection of restaurants and cafés will be adjacent

to the hotel and will be connected to other areas in the

development via a pedestrian path.

The Stadium

Home to Al Ain Football Club, the 25,000-seat,

45,000sqm, 50 metre high Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium

has 10 private corporate and three luxury suites with a

capacity to seat up to 700 people and a dedicated area

for VIPs.

Design of the exterior façade is inspired by a palm

tree trunk while the outer shell is made with 600

individually mounted fabric panels with independently

controlled LED lights allowing creative colour displays.

The stadium has 3,000 premium seats, one of the

world’s highest ratios, and all spectators can enjoy an

unprecedented viewing experience close to the action

on the three-tiered seats at a close-up auxiliary area.

The venue’s roof is engineered to provide spectator

shading.

The car park holds over 3,000 vehicles and 25 buses.

The stadium in numbers:

• 50 seats for people with special needs

• 40 square-metre giant stadium screen

• 60 media seats

• 4 changing rooms

• 500 staff members

Meeting and Event Facilities

While the stadium is a sports venue, it will double

as an ultra-modern meeting and events facility for

the corporate and entertainment segments. The

stadium has 10 suites that can be easily converted into

meeting rooms, four 60 square metre lounges able to

accommodate 100-150 conference guests and indoor

and outdoor exhibition areas.

The stadium itself is equipped with 100 speakers

offering state-of-the-art acoustics which makes it ideal

for concerts, cultural events, performances and special

ceremonies.

Hbzstadium.ae

On the cards

Plans are underway to launch guided visits of

the stadium. Lasting up to 30 minutes, the tour

will take visitors behind-the-scenes covering the

players’ changing rooms, the exclusive Chairman’s

box and the stadium’s memorabilia shop.

Stay at the Stadium

Adding more convenience to the action, the project

will have a four-star hotel Aloft Al Ain.

To be completed in 2016, the 172 room property will

have two presidential suites featuring high ceilings,

oversized windows, an ultra-comfortable platform bed

and large walk-in showers.

It will be the second Aloft hotel in the UAE -

following Aloft Abu Dhabi’s 2009 launch in the UAE

capital- and the first Starwood hotel to open in Al Ain.

Designed to accommodate business and leisure

travellers seeking a trendy modern hotel experience,

Aloft Al Ain will bring an urban-influenced concept

with a social guest experience.

Aloft Al Ain will also feature the brand’s signature

XYZ lounge, a public space where guests can read the

paper, work, play a game of pool or enjoy refreshments

with friends.

Guests can re-energise at the The Re:charge fitness

centre while the unique Re:fuel by Aloft will introduce

a convenient 24 hours deli option, with a choice of

sweet, savoury meals, healthy snacks and drinks. The

hotel will also have an all-day dining restaurant, a cigar

lounge and two meeting spaces equipped with the

latest generation of audio-visual technology.

alofthotels.com

16 17


INDUSTRY BUZZ

UBER Convenient

UBER, the San Francisco–based technology

company with a presence in over 80 cities globally, has

launched its operations in Abu Dhabi. The applicationbased

service allows smart phone users to

book private luxury car pick-ups at the tap

of a button and in a cash-free transaction.

Users can download the free UBER app

on any Apple or Android-powered smart

phone, enter their name, email, mobile

number and credit card details to start

using the service.

Upon requesting the car, UBER will

allow users to see on the screen a map

with the driver’s estimated time of arrival,

details for easier identification and realtime

location tracking. Once the drop-off

is completed, the trip cost will be deducted

from the passengers’ registered account

and they will be emailed a detailed receipt

of their journey.

UBER is offering Seyaha readers up to

To benefit from the offer, follow these easy steps:

1. Go to uber.com/app on your smart phone to download the app and sign-up.

2. Enter the promo code “SEYAHA2014” and get a free first ride up to AED80.

3. Select your pick-up location in the Uber app and your private driver will arrive

within minutes.

AED.80 off their first Abu Dhabi ride. To benefit from

the offer, follow these easy steps.

*Offer is valid only for users in Abu Dhabi

uber.com/cities/abu-dhabi

EU Travellers Welcome

Travel to Abu Dhabi for all EU citizens has now

become easier! The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs has

now exempted citizens of Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia,

Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia,

Malta, Cyprus, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria from

requiring a pre-entry visa.

All EU passport holders will now receive visas on

arrival in the UAE.

Mofa.gov.ae

Opening

Soon

Yas Mall, Yas Island’s upcoming mega retail

destination, is set to open this year to coincide

with the F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi

Grand Prix on November 23.

Spanning 235,000 square metres, the mall –

the biggest in Abu Dhabi - will have 400 stores

and a 20 screen cinema.

Yasmall.ae

18 19


RETAIL

Recently Abu Dhabi’s dining and shopping scene has seen an increasing

number of world-class offerings emerge in ‘boutique clusters’ around the

capital city with diverse wellness, dining and retail products spread beyond

conventional mall and hotel venues.

Cases in point are The Eastern Mangroves Promenade, a serene urban

getaway, the luxury setting of The Collection - Saadiyat Island’s first dedicated

retail and f&b destination - and The Venetian Village, which brings an eclectic

mix of traditional and stylish dining concepts to the emirate.

Leisurely Promenade

THE newly-launched Eastern Mangroves

Promenade is the emirate’s latest dining

and retail destination with 11 restaurants

overlooking the Arabian Gulf and a serene

mangrove forest, as well as wellness, beauty

and leisure components.

Complementing the adjacent five-star Eastern

Mangroves Hotel and Spa by Anantara and apartments

and serviced suites by Jannah, the Promenade’s

design is inspired by a souk-type avenue, with an

open colonnade providing shaded outdoor pedestrian

walkways.

“The Eastern Mangroves Promenade is peaceful,

sophisticated and picturesque – the perfect place to

unwind, relax and enjoy uninterrupted views over

the stunning mangroves. It’s also the first open air

retail and leisure destination of its kind in Abu Dhabi

set in close proximity to the city centre,” said Angus

Woodhead, Director of Retail Development at Tourism

Development & Investment Company, the project’s

developer.

Covering more than 3,500 square metres, the

destination’s outlet portfolio currently includes Flooka

seafood restaurant; Café Blanc, a modern Lebanese

café; Carluccio’s, the famous Italian restaurant by

Chef Antonio Carluccio; Peppermill Indian restaurant;

The Nail Spa beauty salon; Marquee hair salon and

Waitrose supermarket. Soon-to-open outlets include

Johnny Rockets burger outlet, Starbucks coffee shop

and Boa Steakhouse, the trendy US restaurant and

lounge.

There’s parking for 370 vehicles and a valet parking

service. Visitors who arrive in style by boat can dock at

the Promenade’s 30-berth marina, which is managed

by Belevari Marine, and can accommodate house boats

and yachts ranging from eight to 33 metres in length.

easternmangrovespromenade.ae

20 21


RETAIL

Venetian Village

The Collection

Exclusive Collection

Over on Saadiyat Island, The Collection is a new

luxury retail and dining destination adjoining The

St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort making it an upscale

urban getaway at one of Abu Dhabi’s most prestigious

addresses.

With the picturesque Saadiyat Beach as its

backdrop, The Collection’s architecture is inspired by

Mediterranean villages, with their terraces, courtyards

and piazzas and has a 6,000 square metres of leasable

space. It’s the island’s first retail complex with 26 highend

shops and f&b outlets.

There are boutiques for gifts, watches, jewelry,

perfume, home accessories and eyewear from

brands including Al Manara International Jewellery,

Rivoli Arcade luxury gifts, Heritage Touch for home

accessories, Exquisite Antiques Gallery, Yas, The Royal

Name of Perfumes, Yateem Opticians, Beyond the

Beach resort wear store, Jeeves Begravia drycleaners,

Starblu resort wear, Health First pharmacy and

Spinney’s Marketplace.

Restaurant options include the famous Los Angeles

celebrity hotspot Koi Restaurant & Lounge, AVASA: The

Indian Kitchen fine dining outlet, Caramel Restaurant &

Lounge, Shakespeare and Co café and restaurant, Abd

El Wahab Lebanese restaurant and Baskin Robbins ice

cream.

Other standout propositions include the DNA Health

– Medicine & Wellness Centre and the Salwa Zeidan

Gallery contemporary art space famous for its selection

of some of the region’s most prominent artists.

And there’s more to come:

The Collection will have its own nightlife destination

once the trendy boutique nightclub ‘People by Crystal’

opens later this year. Amro Ladies Salon, Aziz Salon

for men and Heritage for Henna salon will make sure

visitors look their best, while Tejori Gems will bring its

prominent diamond and gemstone jewellery designs to

the island.

The Collection is adjacent to The Residences at

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, a collection of 32

exclusive villas and 259 apartments and its shopping

precinct is connected to the resort’s luxurious hotel,

which features 377 rooms, fine-dining restaurants, a

beach club, and the Iridium Spa.

thecollection.ae

Venetian Life

At the heart of the Venetian Village at The Ritz-

Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal is AL-FANAR

restaurant and café, which brings Emirati flavours to

this new waterfront leisure destination.

Themed to provide fine dining in a nostalgic

ambiance of the Emirates in days gone by, the outlet

serves up authentic Emirati cuisine with fresh salads,

fish, seafood and meats.

Complete with barasti outdoor booths, mud brick

rooms and a mini souk, AL-FANAR, brings the past

bang into the present in its themed representation of an

old UAE neighbourhood.

The brainchild of Hashem Al Marzouqi, a

mechanical engineer-turned heritage theme designer,

AL-FANAR seats 320 for lunch and dinner and is set to

become a focal point of the Venetian Village.

Spanning across 20,000 square metres, the Italianthemed

village is set to open a diverse mix of dining

outlets in 2014 including Olives, serving Mediterranean

A traditional Emirati

welcome at Al Fanar.

cuisine by celebrity Chef Todd English; Inakaya, the

Japanese Robata fire-side grilling restaurant, Barfly the

famous restaurant and lounge concept by Raymond

Visan and Brasserie Flo, the world-famous French

brasserie founded by Chef Jean-Paul Bucher in Paris in

1968.

The Venetian Village is also home to The Ritz-

Carlton’s spa spanning 2,000 square metres of luxury

wellness and beauty therapies.

Adnh.com

The Galleria’s multi-lingual team.

No Language Barriers

At The Galleria

The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi’s newest

luxury retail precinct, has upped its customer service

credentials by appointing an internationally trained and

accredited team of Ambassadors to assist discerning

glamour seekers and gourmands as they shop and dine in

the capital’s new urban hub.

The Ambassadors, who can interact in over six

languages including Arabic, English, French, Russian,

Tagalog and Mandarin, can help customers find their

favourite designer store, recommend a restaurant from The

Galleria’s numerous contemporary F&B options, advise on

transport links, and much, much more.

The Ambassador team can be found on The Galleria’s

second floor, where customers can also pick up maps and

guides in English and Arabic.

Thegalleria.ae

22 23


COVER FEATURE

More Mirage

Adventures...

The award-winning Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by

Anantara, which lies amidst the towering dunes of the

Liwa Desert at the entrance to the famed Empty Quarter

(Rub Al Khali), now has more guest adventure activities

to make your clients’ stay truly memorable.

24

25


COVER FEATURE

QASR AL SARAB – the Mirage Palace - recently

became the only Middle East hotel to offer guests

the unique ‘Fat Biking in the Desert’ experience.

With a fleet of 10 fat bikes – bicycles which

have 4.8 inch width tyres which can be deflated

to tackle the enormous dunes which surround the

resort – guests aged 14 and over can now cycle

the awe-inspiring dunes of the Empty Quarter –

the world’s largest uninterrupted sand mass.

“Fat bikes actually came into being in the

1870s in Alaska when they were used as a means

of transport as their thick tyres could tackle the

snow,” explained Amer Braik, Anantara’s Area

Director of Environmental and Cultural Activities

Fat biking

Abu Dhabi.

“Fat biking on the dunes outside Qasr Al Sarab

is a great workout for anyone. In a session of

one and a half to two hours, guests can travel

between 7 to 10 kilometres amid some of the most

stunning scenery in Arabia. The tour is in the

company of a trained guide who can point out to

the bikers some of the intricacies of this desert –

such as animal tracks and indigenous fauna and

flora – enhancing this unique activity in a special

place to spend time and experience.”

Fat biking sessions at Qasr Al Sarab cost

AED175 (US $48)++per person.

26

Horse riding in

the sand dunes

Proving particularly popular at the hotel is

the twice-daily falconry and saluki show when

four falcons go through their paces ‘swooping’

for tempting prey and the saluki couple ‘Reesha’

(which means feather) and Raddad (which means

Defender) race for bait. Reesha, it seems, is the

faster of foot.

“The female of the Saluki species is faster,”

explained Amer. “The oldest breed of dog, Salukis

historically travelled throughout the Middle East

and Silk Route with caravans and nomadic tribes.

Known for their hunting prowess and being able

to achieve speeds of up to 75 kilometres an hour,

Salukis were integral to the survival of the local

Bedouin. Our falcon and saluki show is a form of

edutainment about traditional desert hunting.”

The falcon and saluki show is AED320 (US

$87)++ per person.

The falcon and

saluki show

27


COVER FEATURE

EVENTS & EXHIBITION

28

Also new at the resort is horse riding in the

desert – with accompanied tours of around

an hour – leaving from the resort’s stables on

beautiful ‘retired’ endurance horses and Arabian

thoroughbreds.

The tours, at 7am, 9am,2pm or 4pm, cover the

undulating small dunes and desert plain in the

basin outside the resort and give riders, whether

experienced or just starting out, the chance to

take in the breathtaking scenery while exercising.

Costs for horse riding are AED395 (US $108) ++

per person.

And get ready to put the wind in your clients’

hair with Desert Land Sailing in the expansive

Liwa Desert - the gentle Arabian winds are perfect

for this adventurous activity. Guests can choose

to sail as a group or race against each other

across the desert. The activity runs daily at 2pm –

prevailing winds permitting. It costs AED280 (US

$76)++ per adult for one hour with anyone from

eight to 65 years qualifying. Safety helmets are

provided.

These latest desert activities join Qasr al

Sarab’s long-established offering of desert walks,

tours to the nearby Liwa Oasis, dawn yoga amid

the dunes, camel trekking, desert drives and

archery.

anantara.com

Red Bull Air Race

To Stop Again!

The Red Bull Air Race World

Championship, which earlier this year

opened its season in Abu Dhabi city

for a seventh time, will return to UAE

capital skies for the 2015 and 2016

seasons.

“Abu Dhabi’s selection as a fixture in the two coming

seasons underlines the UAE capital’s position as one

of the world’s premier sports locations and reflects the

success of previous races held in the emirate,” said Erich

Wolf, CEO of Red Bull Air Race GmbH.

The race is a welcome addition to Abu Dhabi’s ever

growing events calendar which now spans the cultural,

sporting, heritage, arts and entertainment scenes.

It brings heightened impetus to a very active Q1 for

the emirate and delivers a remarkable opportunity

to showcase the beauty and accessibility of the UAE

capital’s magnificent Corniche.

The Red Bull Air Race World Championship, the

world’s fastest motorsports series, features 12 of

the world’s best race pilots in a pure motor-sport

competition that combines speed, precision and skill.

Pilots navigate a low-level aerial track made up of airfilled

pylons 25 metres high at speeds of up to 370 km/h

in what is the most thrilling motor sports competition

in the sky.

Redbullairrace.com

29


EVENTS & EXHIBITION

EVENTS & EXHIBITION

ADIHEX

ADIHEX a cultural event with activities for all.

ADIHEX

Save The Date!

Gourmet Abu Dhabi

ADIHEX

The Abu Dhabi International Hunting and

Equestrian Exhibition returns in its 12th edition this

year from 10-13 September at the Abu Dhabi National

Exhibition Centre.

Open daily from 11am-10pm, the show is one of the

region’s best places to experience Abu Dhabi’s cultural

heritage. Your clients will be able to watch Ayala dance

performances, have their pictures taken with falcons

and salukis, have henna designs applied and learn

about traditional Emirati weaving methods.

Adihex.net

A Fair Share of Art

For art enthusiasts, Abu Dhabi Art returns to the

Saadiyat Cultural District from 5-8 November 2014,

with fascinating displays of modern and contemporary

art pieces from the world’s best galleries.

Abudhabiart.ae

Start Your Engines!

The Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand

Prix returns in its sixth edition to Abu Dhabi’s Yas

Marina Circuit on November 23 this year with four days

of adrenaline-filled celebrations.

Yasmarinacircuit.ae

Foodie Fare

Gourmet Abu Dhabi, the emirate’s annual fine

dining festival, will return in its seventh edition

from February 3-18, 2015 with a star-studded cast of

Michelin-star chefs and special guests.

On the menu are culinary master classes, industry

insights from hospitality experts and gourmet dinners

hosted by a range of the UAE capital’s top hospitality

establishments.

Gourmetabudhabi.ae

30

31


F&B

“The venue’s atmosphere is refined yet homely

and approachable; it’s a place where diners can enjoy

a refined meal with partners, friends, family and

colleagues.

“All our restaurants are home-grown and company

owned which gives us full control of quality standards

and consistency,” added Tomazos, whose company

includes The Meat Co, TRIBES, Eatgreek Kouzina and

Ribs and Rumps restaurants under its portfolio.

Sustaining quality is of the utmost importance

to Tomazos who’s currently planning to take the

successful Bentley Bistro concept to the UK.

“The Abu Dhabi restaurant is our flagship outlet and

we are planning to open this concept in London as well

as to bring one of our brands Eatgreek to Abu Dhabi, it

serves authentic casual Greek food with a twist.”

Bentley Bistro is open daily for breakfast, lunch and

dinner from 9am-2am. Breakfast is served from opening

time till noon.

bentleybistro.com

Johnny Tomazos, CEO of

Foodfund International

Bistro Dining

An Abu Dhabi home-grown, all-day-dining outlet is the among the latest f&b

offerings to take root at Al Maryah Island’s luxury The Galleria Mall. The fully

licensed Bentley Bistro & Bar brings a touch of French-inspired cuisine to the

luxury shop-and-dine destination.

Seyaha sat down with Johnny Tomazos, CEO of

Foodfund International, which is behind Bentley Bistro,

to get the full story.

“We developed this concept for the Abu Dhabi

market and we knew we wanted a

place set in a prestigious location

and The Galleria fits perfectly,”

said Tomazos, the South African

restaurateur of Greek origins

who’s maintaining his father’s

entrepreneurial legacy in the

restaurant business.

“We created a place where the

ambiance evolves throughout the

day from breakfast to lunch and eases

into the evening to become more

dynamic at night when our full-time

resident DJ spins live tunes.

“It’s like visiting a new place

depending on what time of day you

step inside.”

This mood evolution relies

on music choice and lighting

techniques and is also reflected in the

restaurant’s menu where breakfast

options are plentiful and daily lunch specials are handwritten

on a wide blackboard on top of the kitchen’s

glass facade.

Bentley’s menu is rich and varied and the cuisine is

European with a distinctive French touch; specialties

include Bouillabaise seafood stew, duck confit, lamb

shank pie, Mediterranean razor clams with Sicilian

sauce and steak.

“Our Head Chef is the skilled and very passionate

Marwan Albouhamidi, a finalist on the second season

of the Arabian ‘Top Chef’ TV show; he makes sure our

food is creatively prepared with freshly sourced produce

of the highest quality,” explained Tomazos.

The restaurant has indoor and outdoor dining areas

which can accommodate 200 guests and an indoor

bar space for 80 people. The design uses curved style

seating to give the wide rectangular space a more

intimate feel.

Adding to the venue’s charm is rustic wooden

flooring which Tomazos had shipped in from a school in

Westminster in the UK.

“The school wanted to change its design and the

wood was in a good condition so we said why not? It

adds to the character of the restaurant which blends old

design with new using an eclectic array of elements.

Executive Chef Gavin Gleeson

Bonjour Chef

Chef Gavin Gleeson has joined the Monte-Carlo

Beach Club, Saadiyat as Executive Chef. The Irish man,

who worked at two Michelin starred restaurants in

London and Dublin and was Executive Chef at Marco

Pierre White’s Wheelers in Dubai, will oversee the

club’s fine dining restaurant, Le Deck as well as Sea

Lounge and Bubbles Bar.

With Gleeson at the helm, Le Deck has introduced

a new business lunch menu featuring dishes including

chicken parfait with onion marmalade and toasted

brioche, saffron risotto, and Tagliatelle Ragu alla

Bolognese.

Chef Gavin is planning to include locally grown

organic produce to Le Deck’s menu and will set up the

beach club’s own organic garden.

Montecarlobeachclub.ae

Epicurean Escapes

This bespoke product from Jumeirah at Etihad

Towers is a novel way for guests to experience the best

of the hotel’s award-winning restaurants within a single

meal.

The evening begins with aperitifs on Scott’s terrace

above the Arabian Gulf and continues with dining

experiences at its Li Beirut, Tori No Su and Brasserie

Angelique restaurants taking in the cuisine of the

Levant, Japan and France respectively, before heading

to the inspirational fine dining restaurant ‘Quest’ for

dessert. The evening rounds off at the popular Ray’s

Bar for digestifs. Epicurean Escapes costs AED850 (US

$231) per person or AED1,250 (US $340) per couple

with all prices subject to 10% service charge and 6%

tourism fee.

Jumeirah.com

Guests will

taste culinary

creations from

Li Beirut (top)

and Quest (left).

32 33


BUSINESS TOURISM

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC)

What A Convene-ient Destination!

Intelligent pricing and exciting venues are increasingly raising Abu Dhabi’s

credentials as a leading business tourism destination.

The emirate’s competitive room rates, growing hotel

stock and diverse meetings and incentives offering

are attracting major associations and business event

organisers.

With Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau bidding for, and

securing, international and regional business events,

the emirate is working towards being listed among the

International Congress and Convention Association’s

(ICCA) annual rankings of the busiest association

meetings cities.

Abu Dhabi is eyeing a Top 50 slot in the rankings by

2018 – having last year been named among the top 100

busiest global meetings destinations.

Secured business will so far see the following events

take place in Abu Dhabi:

2015

March: World Congress Health or Tobacco, from 17-

21 March with 3000 people expected in Abu Dhabi.

April/May: Asia Pacific Cardiology and the World

Congress of Echocardiography and Allied Techniques,

from 29 April-2 May with 3000 people expected.

April: Ecocity World Summit will be held at the Abu

Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 9-11 April with

2000 people expected.

October: WAZA 70th Conference of World

Association of Zoos and Aquariums will be held in Al

Ain and 500 people are expected.

2016

Gastro 2016 - 2000 people. The event promises

to be the Arab World’s largest ever Gastroenterology

& Hepatology Meeting and will be jointly held with

the Emirates Gastroenterology & Hepatology Annual

Meeting.

2017

WorldSkills 2017 –A first for the Arabian Gulf, the

event will be held at ADNEC and bring around 7000

people.

Watch this space for more exciting announcements

in upcoming issues.

abudhabi-cb.ae

Food For Thought

The 12th GLOBALG.A.P. SUMMIT will debut in

the Middle East at Abu Dhabi’s five-star Jumeirah

at Etihad Towers hotel from October 27-29, 2014.

The conference will see 500 industry leaders

and delegates tackle key issues related to food

safety, sustainability, social responsibility,

harmonisation of standards and future challenges

facing food production, supply and service

industries.

Summit2014.org

34

35


Where You Can Find Your

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority Partners

Here’s where you’ll find the contact details of our local and international offices. Please remember

that Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority’s normal business hours in the UAE are from 8am to

4pm, Sunday to Thursday.

Abu Dhabi

PO Box 94000

Abu Dhabi UAE

tel: +971 2 444 0444

fax: +971 2 444 0400

email: info@tcaabudhabi.ae

Australia

Level 15, 338 Pitt Street

Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

tel: +61 2 82685533

fax: +61 2 9268 0243

email: australia@tcaabudhabi.ae

China

18th Floor, Unit 18-08, East Tower

of Twin Towers, No. B12

Jianguomenwai Avenue

Chaoyang District, Beijing

China, 100600

tel: +86 10 85326366

email: china@tcaabudhabi.ae

France

16 Rue Ballu

75 009 Paris, France

tel: + 33 1 5325 0352

fax: +33 1 5325 1112

email: france@tcaabudhabi.ae

Germany

Goethestrasse 27

60313 Frankfurt, Germany

tel: +49 69 299 253 920

fax: +49 69 299 253 920

email: germany@tcaabudhabi.ae

Our Toll free number in the UAE

800 555

International toll free number is

+971 2 666 4442

Al Ain

Ali Bin Abi Taleb Street

PO Box 59333, Al Ain, UAE

tel: +971 3 764 2000

fax: +971 3 764 456

email: info@tcaabudhabi.ae

India

M-2, Mezzanine Floor

Kanchenjunga Building

18, Barakhamba Road

New Delhi – 110001, India

tel: +91 11 23737348

fax: +91 11 23350270

email: india@tcaabudhabi.ae

Italy

Via Pietrasanta 14

20141 Milan, Italy

tel: +39 02 573 78315

fax: +39 02 57378572

email: italy@tcaabudhabi.ae

Russia

29, Serebryanicheskaya Emb.

8th Floor, Business Center

Silver City 109028, Moscow, Russia

tel: +7 495 937 5950

fax: +7 495 937 5951

email: russia@tcaabudhabi.ae

Saudi Arabia

Boungainvillea Center, Malik Road

PO Box 116117

Jeddah, 21391

tel: +966 56767 9941

email: ksa-office@tcaabudhabi.ae

UK & Ireland

No 1. Knightsbridge

London SW1X 7LY, UK

tel: +44 207 201 6400

fax: +44 207 210 6426

email: UK@tcaabudhabi.ae

USA

725 Fifth Avenue

22nd Floor

New York, NY 10022

tel: +1 212 338 0101

email: usa@tcaabudhabi.ae

Keep up-to-date with the destination at

www.visitabudhabi.ae

Or follow ‘Visit Abu Dhabi’ on

36

tcaabudhabi.ae

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