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Weddings & Honeymoons

insider

Your ultimate guide to the best hotel venues for the big day and trending honeymoon hotspots

2018


Welcome EDITORIAL Editorial Director John Thatcher Managing Editor Faye Bartle Contributing Editor Michelle Wranik-Hicks ART Art Director Kerri Bennett Designer Jamie Pudsey COMMERCIAL Managing Director Victoria Thatcher Group Commercial Director David Wade Commercial Director Rawan Chehab Senior Advertising Manager Mia Cachero PRODUCTION Production Manager Muthu Kumar Cover image Getty Images

Palace Downtown

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our wedding is meant to be one of the most memorable moments of your life, but it can also be among the most stress-inducing experiences couples can endure. You needn’t burst your postengagement bubble of bliss just yet, however, as leading hotels and resorts in the UAE and beyond are in the business of making wedded dreams come true. Inside this guide you’ll find our pick of the finest hotels at which to stage a memorable ceremony. Plus, our travel insider Rob Arrow has rounded up a selection of trending honeymoon destinations that will ensure you embark on your journey as newlyweds in style.

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1 Welcome


Contents Weddings

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Every bride and groom has a vision for their big day, and it’s just as well these luxurious hotels and resorts are in the business of surpassing expectations. From beach bliss to urban glamour, get set to have the wedding of your dreams...

Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai

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Dubai city and beach weddings with Jumeirah

The St. Regis Dubai

The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City

W Dubai – Al Habtoor City

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JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

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Palace Downtown

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The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

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Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa

The Meydan Hotel

Shanti Maurice Resort & Spa

Honeymoons

A spotlight on the hottest destinations, from culture-packed cities to ever-popular Maldivian paradise islands


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Weddings

where to say “I Do” Barefoot on the sand or glittering skyline views? It’s a day you’ll remember forever so choosing the right venue is vital

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BEach Bliss & urBan glamour Sandals or heels? No matter the vision for your wedding, there's a Dubai hotel to suit ciTY

Jumeirah Emirates Towers

Overlooking the city skyline, this iconic hotel is a hotspot for foodies and the style set. As such, it is a fashionable, five-star setting for an urban wedding.

THE CEREMONY With its exclusive entrance and Dubai’s architectural landmarks soaring above, The Terrace is ideal for saying your “I dos”. With space for up to 850 guests, it can even host a chic post-ceremony cocktail party or reception. THE RECEPTION The Godolphin Ballroom has it all, with capacity for 1,000 people, a dancefloor and stage and LCD projectors with screens, it’s easy to imagine your guests gathered together and the party in full swing. The hotel’s dedicated wedding planner will work with you to create a memorable, personalised culinary experience, and with several awardwinning restaurants, such as the The Rib Room, Hakkasan and Al Nafoorah, it’s bound to be world-class. THE SUITE Boasting lofty views, the contemporary Club Junior Suites, set on levels 42 to 48, are luxuriously appointed with everything discerning grooms and brides-to-be could possibly need, and with the added bonus of complimentary breakfast and evening canapés served in the Club Lounge. Ladies in the bridal party will adore the exclusive Chopard Ladies Floor, serviced by female butlers, and with Chopard beauty amenities housed in special cosmetics refrigerators. 6 Weddings

Jumeirah Creekside Hotel

Jumeirah creekside hotel

Refined luxury, creek views and easy access to Dubai International Airport, this hotel’s urban sophistication is sure to appeal to modern couples. THE CEREMONY Exchange vows poolside before heading up to Cu-ba’s rooftop for celebratory sunset cocktails. THE RECEPTION Visualising a red-carpet arrival for guests and a feast beneath beautiful chandeliers? The Day & Night Ballroom, complete with Arabesque carpets, is an elegant venue located on the lower lobby level that's able to seat 500, and has an adjacent bridal preparation suite. On winter evenings, the verdant lawn of the Secret Gardens is an enchanting setting for up to 1,000 guests with personalised menus served from the hotel’s restaurants.

THE SUITE The views of the skyline in the distance are an inspiring panorama from the One Bedroom Suite, an inviting home away from home for the bride and groom with a spacious bathroom, walk-in wardrobes and walls hung with eclectic artwork from the hotel’s Middle Eastern contemporary art collection.

The Godolphin Ballroom, Jumeirah Emirates Towers


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THE RECEPTION Whether it’s an extravagant Indian party, or an Arabic wedding with dedicated celebrations for ladies and gentlemen, large-scale weddings are a breeze at the 1,880-square-metre Joharah Ballroom, or the fortress-like Madinat Arena that's built across a large lagoon and is able to accommodate 4,500 guests. And there are many more location besides, from gardens illuminated by fairy lights to bespoke beachside set-ups.

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

Arguably the world’s most iconic hotel, the sail-shaped silhouette along Dubai’s coastline is instantly recognisable, and, needless to say, it's a dream venue for a wedding that’s lavish, unforgettable and truly extraordinary. THE CEREMONY Up the glamour and arrive by helicopter or Rolls-Royce for vows on The Terrace; the hotel’s private 10,000-square-metre outdoor area, which stretches 100 metres into the Arabian Sea, and can host up to 800 guests.

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

THE RECEPTION The circular Al Falak Ballroom, complete with the world’s largest Swarovski chandelier, resembles an 18 th century Viennese opera house. It's ideal for making a dramatic entrance.

“It's Dubai's most photogenic destination"

THE SUITE With floor-to-ceiling windows and a mesmerising 180-degree vista of the city and the sea, the dual-storey Panoramic One-Bedroom Suite is fit for a prince and princess with a Jacuzzi, a five-head rain shower and full-size Hermés amenities among the pampering features.

Madinat Jumeirah Resort

Meandering lagoons, an inviting two-kilometre stretch of beach and architecture resembling an Arabian citadel, Madinat Jumeirah is one of Dubai’s most photogenic destinations, with no less than three hotels to choose from: Al Qasr, resembling a sheikh’s summer residence; the modern Jumeirah Al Naseem; and the charming Jumeirah Mina A'Salam, which has a boutique hotel feel. THE CEREMONY Arriving by traditional abra, the radiant bride can alight at a landscaped garden and terrace for an intimate ceremony, or join her groom-to-be for vows beneath a magical floral archway on the sands.

THE SUITE Newlyweds can toast each other with bubbles, an ocean breeze and Burj Al Arab Jumeirah views from their own private terrace in Jumeirah Al Naseem’s Ocean Terrace Suite.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

This iconic property, with its wave-like design, has all the ingredients for a stand-out wedding ceremony.

Madinat Jumeirah Sunset Garden, Jumeirah Beach Hotel

THE CEREMONY Close to Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah, each of the outdoor venues offer a stunning sense of place. We rate the Sunset Garden, which fits up to 150. Alternatively, at the Events Arena, up to 1,500 friends and family members can be seated to watch you tie the knot. RECEPTION Take the party indoors to the spacious Qamar and Shams lobbies for predinner drinks before heading into the elegant Safinah Ballroom that can host a seated function for up to 900 guests. THE SUITE Splash out on a Beit Al Bahar Two Bedroom Royal Villa and enjoy the private terrace, plunge pool and butler service around-the-clock. jumeirah.com 7 Weddings


The St. Regis Dubai

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ou could hardly conjure up more Gilded Age glamour than this magnificent hotel, which honours the Astor family legacy in Dubai’s most happening destination, Al Habtoor City. With a Beaux-Arts façade, a portecochère staffed by impeccable doormen, gilded balustrades and grand ballrooms, it’s a fairy tale setting for a bride no matter which way you look at it. THE CEREMONY Say "I do" in the Versailles inspired gardens with a helipad for VIPs (or even the bride) to make a grand entrance. THE RECEPTION Every inch of this classically elegant hotel evokes the glamour of a bygone era – a theme that can be pulled off with aplomb in the 800-square-metre Astor Ballroom, with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, a soaring 10-metre-high ceiling, a built-in stage and an adjoining outdoor terrace. THE SERVICE St. Regis’s century-old butler service caters to every room category, meaning all wedding guests who are staying there benefit from unpacking and garment pressing services, and priority booking at the hotel’s numerous restaurants and for appointments at Iridium Spa. THE SUITE The Bentley Suite, an homage to the marque's craftsmanship, or The Caroline Astor Suite, named for the family matriarch? Choosing the bridal suite could be a challenge but the 358-squaremetre Royal Suite, with a majlis, eightseater dining room and private spa room is a fine choice for newlyweds. WE LOVE The hotel has its own fleet of Bentleys, making those inevitable, last-minute wedding dashes around town a pleasure. stregisdubai.com

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“Every inch of this classically elegant hotel evokes the glamour of a bygone era”


The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City

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he largest Westin in the region sits grandly on the banks of Dubai Water Canal, its opulent interiors a blend of modern and art deco influences. With an expansive garden and pool area, a glittering ballroom and a gorgeous spa, it’s the ideal choice for an urban wedding with a side of wellness. THE CEREMONY Such striking art deco design calls for vows beneath a feathered, floral archway, with a Champagne tower and Charleston dancing to follow. THE RECEPTION If you’re picturing a lavish, Cinderellastyle banquet for your big day, or if you simply can’t cull the guest list, the 1,425-square-metre Al Joud Ballroom is the clear choice. With plush carpet, mirrored walls and chandeliers,

it has ample room for up to 850 people, direct access to a private bridal suite, a glamorous pre-function hall and even a separate guest entrance, which adds to the exclusivity. THE SERVICE Weddings tend to spike the cortisol so the hotel's wellness philosophy is perfect for brides-to-be, who can calm their nerves before the big day with the Westin Sleep Well Menu, fused with sleep-inducing superfoods. Special mention must go to the Westin Heavenly Bath and the Heavenly Beds, sure to help guests making a long journey banish their jet lag. THE SUITE Stunning views and plenty of light are the hallmarks of the Heavenly Suite, a 425-square-metre haven on the 40 th floor. With two bedrooms, there’s also

a dining room for 10 with a majlis, great for hosting an intimate gathering with nibbles and cocktails, and even a pool table to entertain the groom and the groomsmen while the ladies get ready in the ballroom’s bridal suite. WE LOVE The 2,000-square-metre Heavenly Spa by Westin is lauded for expert treatments with 20 rooms and spacious wet areas ideal for decadent prewedding preparations or post-nuptial celebratory pampering. Think side-byside massages, a duo hammam, or even a private yoga class for the bridesmaids. Better still, newlyweds booking their wedding at the hotel are treated to a complimentary massage, lifetime membership to the spa, and a massage every year on their anniversary date. westindubaialhabtoorcity.com 9 Weddings


W Dubai - Al Habtoor City

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omething borrowed, something blue, how about something out-ofthe-ordinary? Weddings don’t have to be prim and proper, and extroverted couples aiming for a less traditional vibe (not to mention a rocking reception) will find it at W Dubai – Al Habtoor City. The wild child of the city's hotel trio has a playful, modern setting that’s anything but conventional – just like you two. THE CEREMONY Such an avant-garde setting calls for something spectacular. Perhaps a theatrical "I do", inspired by La Perle, the Franco Dragone masterpiece performed in the complex? At W Dubai – Al Habtoor City, tradition is shown the door. THE RECEPTION The retro-futuristic Great Room is the ultimate playground for you and your pals, and with 725 square metres of

space and an in-built sound system, good times are guaranteed with ample room for dining and dancing. Naturally, the room is fitted with state-of-theart audio-visual equipment to make your first shimmy as husband and wife all the more unforgettable.

at W Lounge, with dazzling views over the Dubai Water Canal or at one of the gorgeous suites, to a post-wedding day soirée at WET Deck, where you can spend the day in a poolside cabana with cocktails, chilled towels and popsicles on rotation.

THE SERVICE Whether the bride-to-be needs a replacement lip-gloss sent to the room, or the groom needs a limo to pick up the best man, W’s signature Whatever/Whenever service aims to fulfill all requests from the banal to the outlandish. A bathtub filled with gold flakes? Flying in your favourite DJ from London? It’s a\ll possible. As is a wedding that includes animals; the hotel is pet-friendly and furry friends are welcome.

wdubaialhabtoorcity.com

WE LOVE The all-under-one-roof experience, from bachelor and bachelorette parties

“The playful, modern set ting is anything but conventional" 10 Weddings


The Art of Celebration Discover the exquisite style and personalized service of a St. Regis Wedding. From extraordinary Gilded Age gatherings to modern alfresco festivities in the Versailles-inspired gardens, every moment is a cherished memory. Whether you are planning a grand gala or an intimate event, The St. Regis Dubai will surpass your expectations with seamless ease.

Š2018 Marriott International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, St. Regis and their logos are the trademarks of Marriott International, Inc., or its affiliates.

The St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor City, PO Box 124405 Dubai - United Arab Emirates t. +971 4 4355555 stregisdubai.com

Stay exquisite at more than 40 St. Regis hotels and resorts worldwide. @stregishotels


JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

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edding highs are guaranteed at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, which holds the lofty title of the world’s tallest five-star hotel, and houses 8,000-square-metres of event space. Ideal for those with larger families, you can stop panicking over your colossal guest list as the hotel can easily cater to parties of more than 1,000 in sumptuous style. And with a total of 1,608 rooms, it offers the rare opportunity for all guests to stay at the same hotel. THE CEREMONY There are few moments as pictureperfect as a bride and groom exchanging vows on a pool terrace with the Burj Khalifa as the backdrop. THE RECEPTION Ramp up the glamour by booking the opulent Dubai Ballroom. With six-metrehigh ceilings, glittering chandeliers, a private entrance and a preparation suite for the bride-to-be, it’s little wonder this extravagant space has hosted many a high-profile betrothal. Lighting and an

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enormous LED display add to the wow factor. However you envisage styling your big day, the hotel’s partnership with Ali Bakhtiar Designs promises a couture feel that’s as distinctive as your romance. THE SERVICE With Marriott Certified Wedding Planners on hand, you’re assured personalisation and exacting attention to detail from start to finish, and with 14 restaurants and bars on site (including Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar, the Michelin-starred Indian chef) it’s safe to assume your wedding menu will be second to none, whether you desire a halal feast or a refined kaiseki experience. Another highlight is Saray Spa's dreamy ‘Wedding Bliss’ package that plies the happy couple with revitalising, relaxing spa treatments and handmade chocolates to boot. THE SUITE You’ll feel on top of the world (quite literally) after your big day staying in the hotel’s dual-level Penthouse Suite. Set

on the 70th floor with subtle Arabic décor and luxurious amenities, it’s so large, the hotel can even arrange a lavish breakfast or brunch for you and 10 of your closest friends to celebrate your first day as husband and wife. WE LOVE The extraordinary creations by cake artist in residence Gelly Kalouta, adored by royals and A-list celebrities. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com


Your Wedding Celebration Re-Imagined Dubai is home to a landmark hotel in the heart of the city where wedding dreams come to life amidst 5-star luxury, flawless service and redefined taste. With luxurious accommodation, awe-inspiring venues, intuitive service and culinary expertise, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai will take your wedding celebration to new heights. Find out more about the hotel’s distinctive venues and bespoke wedding packages and contact the certified wedding planners at +971 4 414 2000 or email jwmarquis.dubai@marriott.com

JW Marriott® Marquis® Hotel Dubai jwmarriott.com/DXBJW Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE | T +971 4 414 0000 | jwmarrottmarquisdubailife.com


Palace Downtown

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ou’ve met your prince charming, now it’s time to marry him in a palace. The five-star centrepiece of The Old Town Island in Downtown Dubai is a glamorous setting for the fairy tale wedding of your dreams. THE CEREMONY With a backdrop of Burj Khalifa and the mesmerising dancing fountain on Burj Lake, the panoramic Viewing Deck is just the place for an 'only in Dubai' ceremony that can be followed by a joyous Champagne toast with space for up to 200 friends and family. THE RECEPTION Have your heart set on an al fresco setting? There are few places more enchanting than The Pool Area, with illuminated palm trees and Arabian tents creating a magical atmosphere for up to 500 guests. For a once in a lifetime experience, the grandeur of the Royale Ballroom also impresses; comfortably accommodating receptions and banquets for up to 300 guests, it has a large pre-function area, an outdoor 14 Weddings

balcony overlooking The Old Town and, better still, has doors situated near the hotel’s entrance, allowing for a dramatic arrival in a classic car or even a horsedrawn chariot. THE SERVICE From the initial planning stages right through to the finish, expert wedding planners ensure a customised, stressfree experience, from designing the perfect menu and table décor to florist consultations. Along with a luxurious night’s stay, there are six wedding packages with a variety of inclusions from a beautiful wedding cake designed by talented pastry chefs and complimentary valet service to make all guests feel special, and spa treatments for the bride-to-be. THE SUITE Elegantly appointed with subtle Arabian décor, the Palace Fountain Rooms offer much-needed ambiance for preparations, and free entertainment too, in the form of front-row seats to the spectacular The Dubai Fountain show from the balcony.

WE LOVE The hotel can fit a clear acrylic cover over the pool, transforming it into an illuminated surface for guests to walk on, and creating an unforgettable setting for your first dance as bride and groom. palacehotels.com


A LIFETIME COMMITMENT DESERVES LIFELONG MEMORIES

Palace Downtown is an award-winning setting for elegant weddings that come alive against the shimmering backdrop of Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain. With an intimacy that lends to its romantic air, whether outside or within its enthralling Arabesque architecture, it is perfect for an expression of vows, and the celebration thereafter with friends and family. To discover how we can make your wedding day the most memorable and special it can be, call us on +971 4 428 7888 or visit palacehotels.com @PalaceDowntown #PalaceDowntown


The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

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triking that all-important balance between grandeur and intimacy, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi is the capital's ultimate luxury wedding venue – all gilded staircases and panoramic sea views paired with impeccable, discreet service. THE CEREMONY Exchange vows overlooking the Arabian Gulf on the beachfront lawns, which can host up to 300, and allows guests to duck back to the hotel via an air-conditioned marble tunnel. THE RECEPTION Dreaming of a grandiose, fairytalestyle wedding? The Al Mudhaif Ballroom, with its six-metre-high ceilings hung with Bohemian-crystal chandeliers, is everything you've imagined. Accessed via the lobby with two additional private entrances, the 1,311-square-metre ballroom can comfortably accommodate 700 for 16 Weddings

“A dedicated female wedding butler will put ladies at ease” seated banquets and up to 1,000 for receptions, or be divided into three rooms for more intimate celebrations. The adjacent Al Mudhaif Suite is a tranquil retreat for the couple to catch a few moments' peace before their big entrance as man and wife. THE SERVICE The outstanding staff will pull out all the stops to make the entire experience seem effortless, with a complimentary five-tier wedding cake and a one-night stay in a suite with honeymoon amenities and butler service among the inclusions.

Speaking of butlers, a dedicated female wedding butler will put ladies at ease, while newlyweds can travel in style with Bentley transfers to the airport. Planning a summer soirée? St. Regis's summertime wedding offering includes a complimentary pre-wedding gathering for up to 15 guests with afternoon tea and a signature suite for a two-hour photoshoot. THE SUITE With jaw-dropping Gulf views, the 49thfloor Al Hosen Suite is ideal for extended stays with a master suite, study, majlis, dining room, and even a private spa. WE LOVE Spoil the girls with Remède Spa's ‘Wedding Party Wellness’, a threehour package dedicated to the bride and her bridesmaids with customised treatments followed by a light lunch. stregisabudhabi.com


Abu Dhabi’s Finest Urban Resort An Exquisite Honeymoon To Remember The St. Regis Abu Dhabi soars to new heights of splendour and service beyond expectation. Located at the vibrant heart of Abu Dhabi with a 200 metre stretch of pristine beach, overlooking the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf which is home to the Nation Riviera Beach Club at the finest address in the city. Our Honeymoon package includes; early check-in, complimentary upgrade to next room category (subject to availability), in-room honeymoon amenities, daily buffet breakfast, USD 50 Spa Credit per stay and late checkout until 4:00 pm. Discover more at stregisabudhabi.com/honeymoon

Š2018 Marriott International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, St. Regis and their logos are the trademarks of Marriott International, Inc., or its affiliates.

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates t. +971 2 694 4444 stregisabudhabi.com

Stay exquisite at more than 40 St. Regis hotels and resorts worldwide. @stregishotels


Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai

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f the numerous desert resorts in the country, the spectacular Al Maha is one of the most exquisite, and the only one set within the protected area known as the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. The rippling, golden dunes and protected wildlife roaming about will create a wedding your guests will talk about for years to come – not to mention out-ofthis-world photographs. THE CEREMONY Standing amid the dunes as you whisper your vows to one another will be a moment you’ll treasure forever. THE RECEPTION The desert is already an impressive blank canvas but, along with the Arabian sands, the resort can host celebrations of up to 120 guests in the Al Majlis Boardroom, including pre-

wedding drinks and canapés, or postceremony celebrations and banquets. Whatever your whims or desired accoutrements for the day might be, the savvy team at Al Maha can conjure up anything you can think of, from fabulous floral arrangements, linens and hair stylists, to musicians and vintage cars. THE SERVICE Make the most of the beautiful destination by immersing yourselves and your guests in all things Arabia. International visitors will be in awe of falconry displays, dune strolls and camel treks, while Timeless Spa offers immaculate beauty and grooming rituals using a decadent range by Sodashi. The Arabian Oud Renewal Therapy is a fabulous choice for the bridal couple – designed to deeply calm and invoke a sense of strength, peace, focus and clarity.

“S tanding amid the dunes will be a moment you’ll treasure forever” 18 Weddings

THE SUITE Brimming with artisan-woven rugs, hand-carved furniture and antiques, you’ll feel like Arabian royalty staying in the Presidential Suite, which is so large you could even feasibly host your wedding on the private deck, which can seat up to 60 guests. With quarters for staff and a private courtyard garden, there’s ample space for bridal party preparations or a post-wedding cocktail party, but nobody would blame you if you opt to keep the palatial residence all to yourselves. WE LOVE The resort has its own herd of thoroughbred Arabian horses and camels – readily available to add the wow-factor and make the atmosphere even more magically authentic. al-maha.com


CREATE YOUR OWN DREAMS Whatever the size of your wedding, our team promises an imaginative and inspiring celebration for your special day by providing you with a host of possible venue options. Whether at one of our restaurants, in our large pillar less ballroom accommodating up to 500 guests or outdoors on our lawns, poolside or at the beach, your day will be a day to remember. Outdoor catering options allow for uniquely curated weddings for up to 1000 people with customized menus and themes.

LeMeridienAlAqa lemeridien_alaqah LeMeridienAlAqah


Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa

“It ’s impossible not to be caught up in the desert magic”

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f you’ve always imagined a desert wedding, Bab Al Shams is like an Arabian Nights fantasy plucked from your imagination, with a quiet beauty that manages to cast a spell over even the most cynical, long-term resident. With traditional stonework, wind towers, peaceful courtyards with trickling pools and waterways, and serene dunes on either side, it’s an evocative setting in which to host your special occasion. THE CEREMONY Exchange vows in an intimate blessing ceremony among the ochre-coloured dunes bedecked with carpets, or by a tranquil courtyard pool with Arabian architecture as the backdrop. THE RECEPTION Opt for a minimalistic desert set-up to let the beauty of the natural landscape speak for itself, with a firework display

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adding to the open-air energy. Smaller parties can choose the Masala Rooftop Lounge for stunning views over the resort, while those with more than 250 guests can even take over the legendary al fresco Al Hadheerah restaurant, where open fire pits and decorative carpets create an Arabesque atmosphere beneath a starlit sky. THE SERVICE It’s impossible not to be caught up in the desert magic while staying at Bab Al Shams and although it’s tranquil during the day, it feels festive after dusk, particularly at Al Hadheerah where diners are treated to a live band, tanoura and belly dance performances. Lingering for a honeymoon or arriving early to make the most of Satori Spa is also highly recommended. Whether you're planning to wear an off-the-shoulder couture creation or a modest gown, all

brides will feel like Scheherazade once they emerge from the three-hour Blissful Desert Rose Experience which, along with a facial, polishes, massages and soothes the skin from tip to toe with rose-infused oils, promising a satinsmooth complexion for the big day. THE SUITE Scattered with rare, handcrafted Arabian furnishings, stone walls and carved archways, the Junior Suite is a fitting retreat for the happy couple, with a plush majlis and terrace area replete with twinkling lanterns for romantic evenings in. WE LOVE There is nothing like a private desert photoshoot to create spectacular shots for the wedding photo album. babalshams.com


The Meydan Hotel

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ome to the richest horse race in the world, the Dubai World Cup, this modern hotel is accustomed to hosting grand and glamorous parties for the global social set, assuring you of a spectacular – and utterly unique – destination wedding. THE CEREMONY The rooftop infinity pool, with its vertiginous panorama over the racecourse and the Dubai skyline, is a dramatic backdrop to your big moment. THE RECEPTION All eyes will be on the radiant bride when she enters the grand Meydan Ballroom, which can comfortably seat 250 with limitless potential for wedding décor, from intricate ice carvings to flower-laden table settings. With LED projectors, a stage and dancefloor, it promises an unforgettable party. There’s even a spacious terrace for guests to enjoy, where they can snap candid moments well into the evening.

THE SERVICE The influx of high-profile personalities during racing season means the hotel staff know a thing or two about making guests feel special. If it’s racing season (from November to March), your guests will be over the moon about the view from their rooms overlooking all the action on the racecourse. The hotel’s proximity to The Dubai Mall and Dubai International Airport means wedding transfers and last-minute needs are a cinch, while seven restaurants and lounges make dining in a pleasure. PRIME fine dining steakhouse in particular is ideal for a bonding meal for the groomsmen. WE LOVE Stuck for unique ways to entertain the bridal party? Along with spa days and night golf on the fully floodlit 9-hole The Track, the hotel can arrange a private, behind-the-scenes stables tour. themeydanhotel.com 21 Weddings


Shanti Maurice Resort & Spa

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itting prettily along a pristine horseshoe-shaped, coral-sand cove, with the surrounding Indian Ocean and sugar-cane fields seemingly plucked from a postcard, prepare to have your heart completely captured by Shanti Maurice. With private pool villas and fragrant gardens bursting with frangipani, bougainvillea and mango trees, it’s your wedding and honeymoon all wrapped up in one tropical island paradise package. THE CEREMONY Nuptials take place in a wedding pavilion at the end of the jetty jutting out to sea or beside the resort’s ancient Badamier tree with the dramatic backdrop of lush mountains.

THE RECEPTION After exchanging vows, couples can celebrate with a romantic, three- or five-course dinner set up in the private gazebo on the beach. Fireworks or a private beach bonfire will add an extra special quality to the occasion, as will fusing some local Mauritian culture into the mix, such as a traditional Sega dance performance. THE SERVICE The complimentary ‘Shanti Romance’ 22 Weddings

package includes garment pressing, a one-tier wedding cake, sparkling grape breakfast and three-course dinner for the bride and groom at Stars Restaurant. The bride and groomto-be can also opt for the enhanced ‘Shanti Island Paradise’ package, which includes photography, bridal hair and make-up, spa treatments and a Champagne breakfast. The resort can even take care of the soundtrack, with live musicians including a violinist and guitarist serenading your special moment. A dedicated wedding concierge ensures a seamless experience, and can arrange everything from post-ceremony cocktails on the beach to a butler-drawn aromatherapy bubble bath at your villa.

THE SUITE Exotic yet sophisticated, and offering dreamy seclusion for lovebirds, the Luxury Double Suite Pool Villa is a honeymoon fantasy realised with a private temperature-controlled swimming pool with Jacuzzi beds that face the ocean (the beach is mere footsteps away), an oversized bathtub, rain shower and outdoor shower. WE LOVE For a living reminder of your treasured moment, Shanti Maurice can arrange a personalised tree-planting ceremony or you can attach your personal ‘wish tags’ to a 100-year-old tree. shantimaurice.com


Weddings & Honeymoons Insider x The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

Magic is in the air

Your love is beautiful and rare, so why not celebrate it in an exquisite setting at The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort?

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icture it. You and your true love standing together on a whitesand beach, feeling a gentle breeze on your skin, with the glistening Indian Ocean as the backdrop as you exchange vows. Of all the places to start your life journey together, few are as beautiful as The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort. Set on a nine-hectare island in the exclusive Dhaalu atoll, the island’s flawless beaches, thick palm groves and captivating architecture have to be seen to be believed, and is the perfect setting for celebrating your love. Whether you choose to keep it to yourselves or share the intimate experience in front of friends and family is up to you, but one thing is certain: the Wedding Package will create a memory you’ll cherish forever. Priced at just US$5,000 (excluding taxes), the experience begins with a 24 Weddings

ceremony set up in an idyllic location, with The St. Regis’s expert staff taking care of every aesthetic detail, from the bride-to-be’s hair and make-up to the décor and fresh flowers – even the bouquet and boutonnière for the groom. After saying, “I do”, it’s time for a wedding toast in New York Gilded Age style, with The St. Regis’ legendary Champagne sabering ritual – a glamorous way to celebrate your first moments together as husband and wife. As the sunset transforms the sky with pastel hues, a decorated wedding buggy will whisk you away for a twohour photoshoot with a professional photographer, ensuring everything is captured beautifully at ‘magic hour’. Afterwards, you will be led to another exquisite location for a spectacular three-course dinner set up on the sand. With the scent of flowers perfuming the air and stars glistening above, boduberu

musicians will regale you, Maldivian style, during the romantic feast. No matter which room you choose (perhaps an Overwater St. Regis Suite with stunning views over the Maldives lagoon or, for more space and direct beach access, a Two-Bedroom Beach Suite with Pool?) there’s more romance in store back at your suite. Staff can arrange an in-room floral bath and wedding décor, along with a framed ceremonial certificate to take home. Then there’s the pampering, with a 150-minute Royal Citrus Signature Ritual for two at Iridium Spa to exfoliate, soothe and renew the happy couple from head to toe. You’ve been dreaming about this moment your entire life, so make it an experience to remember at The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort. stregismaldives.com


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From here to eternity Desperately seeking honeymoon inspiration? From mini moons and fly-and-flop island escapes to romantic city breaks, dnata travel's head of product Rob Arrow shares the hottest destinations on the romance radar

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“Relax after the big day at one of the region’s stunning luxury hideaways"

Mini moons If you’re short on time or simply want to stay local, there’s simply no better way to minimise travel stress than with a mini moon, relaxing after the big day at one of the region’s stunning luxury hideaways, such as The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach. With just 32 pool villas, a water’s edge spa and the intimate, chilled Shore House restaurant, you can relax and unwind, and feel like you’re a million miles away without even getting on a plane. Too timepressed for the Maldives? There’s a similar aesthetic at Zaya Nurai Island in Abu Dhabi where you can embark

on an adventure time just 10 minutes by speedboat from Saadiyat Island. If you’re searching for something utterly romantic aside from islands and beaches, Alila Jabal Akhdar, perched high on a mountain plateau in Oman offers scene-stealing views and the chance to relax and enjoy each other’s company in absolute solitude. A city break entrée Combining a city break with a relaxing retreat can work very well for a honeymoon and Southeast Asia is a fantastic place to do it. Start with a fun trip to a shopping hotspot such as Hong Kong, staying in a luxurious

Clockwise from above: Alila Jabal Akhdar; The Peninsula Hong Kong; The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach

harbourside hotel. At the new Rosewood Hong Kong, opening this winter, or at the stunning, refurbished The Peninsula Hong Kong, you are just minutes from some of the city’s most wonderful designer shopping. Take a trip on the Hydrofoil to Macao, or go on a cultural tour to Victoria Peak. When it’s time to relax, there’s no better place to do it than the magical island of Bali. With an array of secluded resorts, you can mix and match between beach and mountains. Bulgari Resort Bali is perfect for the honeymooning couple with its own private beach (complete with elevator) and villas with stunning infinity pools. 27 Honeymoons


“When it ’s time to relax, there’s no bet ter place to do it than the magical island of Bali”

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In Ubud, you can enjoy a natural rainforest experience at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, home to a stunning spa and some of the best cuisine on the island.

Clockwise from top: Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan; Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island; The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort; Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island Overleaf: Cape Weligama

Fly and flop in paradise Living in the GCC is certainly an advantage for honeymooners travelling to island getaways for a relaxing, 'do nothing' retreat, with idyllic Indian Ocean hotspots within easy reach, such as the recently opened Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island. Just a short flight from Mahé, you'll be whisked away to total seclusion in a private villa, although having a picnic in one of the private coves, with treats from the pantry, will tempt you out. For something a little more chilled, you can’t beat a honeymoon at The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort which, in my opinion, is the best new opening in the archipelago. This smaller island takes Maldivian resort life to the next level, from the mouthwatering cuisine to the expansive views from the spa – you will come back filled with amazing memories. 29 Honeymoons


Unconventional European romance To add an extra dash of romance to your honeymoon, there’s nothing quite like Europe where historic cities have it in spades. Of course there is the charm of Paris and the timeless appeal of Barcelona – both grand cities – but why not stroll the quaint cobbled streets of Lisbon, walk hand in hand alongside the canals of Amsterdam, sip a coffee in an open square in Vienna while listening to classical music or having dinner overlooking the Acropolis in Athens? 30 Honeymoons

Credit: Sebastian Posingis

Immersed in nature For something a little more adventurous but no less luxurious, Resplendent Ceylon boutique hotels in Sri Lanka offers dreamy getaways that highlight the natural beauty of the island. It is the sole Sri Lankan member of Relais & Châteaux, with three amazing, locally inspired retreats to choose from: Ceylon Tea Trails – five colonial era tea planters’ bungalows perched in the Ceylon tea region; Cape Weligama on the Indian Ocean coast near Galle; and Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Yala, a palatial tented camp adjacent to Yala National Park. They will take care of everything, allowing you to take a tour or two in between doing very little indeed.


“For something more adventurous, Sri Lanka is a dreamy getaway”

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Above: The view towards Los Angeles Below: Great Ocean Road, Australia

"Imagine embarking on a West Coast USA trip"

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The road trip of a lifetime A travel trend to consider if you have more time is an extended road trip. Imagine embarking on a West Coast USA trip starting in San Francisco, winding down to Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, the Sonoma or Napa region, ending up in San Diego. Or, you could take yourselves further inland and head for the vast expanse of the Nevada Desert, finishing on a high in Las Vegas. If you wish to travel the opposite way and head down under, then Australia is another great honeymoon destination. A road trip taking in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and heading along the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide offers a blend of urban life, the chance to see kangaroos and koalas in their natural habitat, and even allows you to experience the edges of the great Australian Outback. While in the region, you could easily venture a few hours by plane across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand, hire a car and spend a good few weeks enjoying the fresh country air of Middle Earth, the unique landscape around Rotorua, or the far south of the Otago Peninsula, home to a unique breed of penguins.


BAB AL SHAMS DESERT RESORT & SPA

WHERE WEDDING DREAMS TURN INTO DREAM WEDDINGS Plan your happily ever after surrounded by desert landscapes, majestic sunsets and a choice of grand venues for the big occasion. babalshams.com

For bookings please contact: bas.events@meydanhotels.com +971 4 809 6498 /babalshamshotel

/babalshamshotel

/babalshamshotel


WHETHER INDOOR OR OUTDOOR

THE MEYDAN HOTEL HELPS CRAFT EXCEPTIONAL WEDDING MEMORIES

With an experienced team of exceptional caterers combined with the ďŹ ve-star service The Meydan Hotel is recognised for, make your wedding event one to remember.

themeydanhotel.com

For bookings please contact: tmh.events@meydanhotels.com +971 4 381 3333 /meydanhotel

/meydanhotel

/themeydanhotel_dxb

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Weddings & Honeymoons - Annual Supplement - 2018  

Weddings & Honeymoons - Annual Supplement - 2018  

Profile for hotmedia