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Online Version: www.travel-arabia.com

February 2009, Volume 5, Issue 2

Outside Arabia

Discover the French Riviera Living Arabia

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha Sharjah Art Museum

e: Featur Good

h of a In Searc offee Cup of C


editor’s note

O

f all the many celebrations around the world, Valentine’s Day is one of the most celebrated, next to Christmas Day. Valentine’s Day is a special day dedicated to reconnect and rekindle your love to your special someone. I’m glad Valentine’s Day is set at the beginning of the year so it means starting a new year with positive outlook at life and love. With all the ongoing crisis affecting every nation, I guess Valentine’s Day will at least help people forget all their worries even for a day or two because their attention will be focused to that special someone. I’m sure a lot of couples this month will think of what to give their loved ones and think of ways on how to spend the day so it will be as memorable and romantic as ever. Our February issue focuses on Valentine’s Day. We are featuring several properties where you can spend the day to give you and your partner an opportunity to relax and reconnect. Most of the properties are located in the UAE so you don’t need to travel far to enjoy a romantic evening or a romantic weekend since Valentine’s Day falls on Saturday this year. The fine hotels and resorts have created special packages to enjoy romance on and around Valentine’s Day. But if you want to indulge and spend another memorable occasion with your loved one, there are several destinations that we are also featuring. These destinations have the perfect setting for romance. We are also featuring two art museums this issue. One is the recently opened Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar and the Sharjah Art

Museum. The Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar is described as a museum for the world because it will bring the world to Doha and will also connect Doha to the world. The Sharjah Art Museum on the other hand contains legacy of arts, heritage and culture. The museum has both temporary and permanent exhibitions. Most of the collections displayed at the permanent collections are Orientalist paintings which are personal collections of HH Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah and Member of the Supreme Council. Another feature this issue is coffee. I am not really a coffee drinker. I only drink coffee in the morning, not a cupful, just a sip or two to wake me up and start my day. But since I came to Dubai and been introduced to different coffee flavours I have come to love coffee especially during this cold weather. Of all the coffee drinks or blends that I have introduced too (thanks to my sister who loved coffee) I have enjoyed drinking Café Latte and Cappucino. The scent of the coffee, the frothiness and the creaminess make it a perfect drink. And one of the best things about coffee is that you can get it from a variety of coffee shops here in Dubai. Coffee shops here are a place to relax as well as do other stuff like business meetings or if you have your laptop you can start sending emails or surf the net. Coffee is definitely a favourite drink this season, next to tea, I supposed as the cool winter breeze embraces us in the morning and shortly after sunset. So whichever store pleases you for that good cup of Joe, happy sipping and happy reading.

Flor B. Pamintuan


CONTENTS february 2009 34

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22 Escape to the Most Romantic Haven You don’t need to travel far to enjoy Valentine’s Day. The UAE and the Gulf region are filled with indulgent getaways that can provide the ambience that you need.

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34 The Perfect Cup of Coffee in the UAE There are many coffee shops that offer great tasting blends of coffee and meal items. These coffee shops with their friendly environment are sometimes venue for business meeting.

38 Gourmet Abu Dhabi

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48

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A 10-day culinary journey called Gourmet Abu Dhabi, featuring a Michelin-star-studded cast of master chefs, celebrities and special guests will be staged in the emirate of Abu Dhabi from 5 to 14 February.

42 Museum of Islamic Art – Qatar The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha is dedicated to being the foremost museum of Islamic art in the world, and as well a centre of education and information in the field of the arts of the Islamic world.

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48 Sharjah Art Museum The mission of the Sharjah Art Museum is to enrich the cultural life for the Sharjah community and its regional, national and international visitors through its art collections, programmes and facilities.

50 The French Riviera The French Riviera, a central location in the heart of Europe, between sea and mountains, offers an exceptional sunny destination all year long both for leisure and business.

58 Grand Vision for Grand Millennium Dubai Robert Zogbi, General Manager of Grand Millennium Dubai talks about the grandeur and modernism of the property. An authority in the hospitality industry, Zogbi faces any challenge this 2009 will bring.

About the Cover: Romance fills the air this romantic month of February. Celebrate Valentine’s Day in style with your special someone.

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64 A Land of Dream and Love Orphan Coplu’s work is a mirror, reflecting feelings, beliefs, thoughts, fears and experiences.


www.travel-arabia.com Publisher KALIMAT GROUP INTERNATIONAL FZ-LLC Travel Arabia Head Office Office G4, Building No.1 Phase One, P.O.Box 502408 Dubai Media City, UAE Tel +971 4 391 0410/1/2/3 Fax +971 4 391 6619 E-mail editor@travel-arabia.com

your letters Nice cover I just want to congratulate your team for a nice January cover. The mood is really inviting and will make you head to the slopes and display your skiing skills. Though we don’t have snow-capped mountains here in Dubai, reading your January issue especially the winter getaway articles will help us prepare for next winter vacation. There are plenty of places to go and enjoy winter.

General Manager Hekmat el Zein

Mira George Barsha

Editor Flor B. Pamintuan editor@travel-arabia.com Staff Writers Jay Cunanan Canlas Jojo Dass Contributors Habeeb Salloum Chuck Wightman Photographers Maher El Zein Designer Altaf Hussein df Assistant Designer Noufal

Ras Al Khaimah I read your article about Ras al Khaimah and having recently visited the emirate to enjoy the sceneries and calmness of the place, I couldn’t help but agree with your writer. Ras al Khaimah is another emirate that is currently booming and you don’t need to visit Jordan to capture the same scene – mountains and the sea. The development projects here are huge so this is one place that we need to watch out for in the coming years. Alma Martines Sharjah

Sales & Marketing Manager Syed Muhammad Arif arif@kalimatgroup.com Sales & Marketing Executive Crisna De Guzman Distributor Jashanmal National Co. LLC Travel Arabia Lebanon Office Riad el solh 11072070 P.O.Box 11-1197 Beirut, Lebanon Tel +961 3 435 780 Fax +961 7 762 104

Travel Arabia disclaimer All text and layout remains the copyright of Kalimat Group International FZ LLC, unless stated otherwise. Travel Arabia is fully independent, and its views are not those of any company mentioned herein. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. © 2007 Kalimat Group International

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Qatar Airways While the rest of the world are cutting down their budgets, laying off people or shifting on a different marketing strategy to cope up with the ongoing financial crisis, Qatar Airways continue to conquer the world by adding more destinations to its route. I read that it is promoting a new Houston route and had a glittering party to celebrate the launch of its flight. Qatar is indeed a rich country. Amal K. Dubai

DSF 2009 I always visit Dubai during the Dubai Shopping Festival. Every year, I am one of the hordes of people who flock to the malls and avail of the huge discounts offered by shops, be it shoes, jewellery, clothing, furniture, electronic gadgets, and a whole lot more. On the first day of the festival, the malls are packed and the parking is really full so I always go even before the shops open. I just want to express my observation about this year’s festival. I was at one of Dubai’s prestigious malls and the scene is not the same as last year. There were shoppers but not the same numbers as last year. Some are only browsing. This crisis has really affected a lot of people. Ana Maria Fernandez Visitor

Travel Arabia would like to receive your comments and suggestions. Write to editor@travel-arabia.com


February Events 26

ZENA ASSI “Public Space” Art Sawa 26th Jan to 10th May

Zena Assi is the current name on art buyers and collectors lips with her inimitable style proving to be extremely popular amongst Dubai’s art lovers. Assi chooses to completely fill her canvasses with interwoven lines set against bold fields of colour abstractions. It is this unique style that has proven popular amongst the region’s art lovers, not only in her solo exhibition in Beirut, but also as a resident artist at Dubai’s Art Sawa where she has been regularly featured during the gallery’s collective exhibitions. Her latest exhibition is available to view at the Art Sawa Gallery in Al Quoz from the 26th January until the 10th May. For more information on Art Sawa, please call – 04 3215351.

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Arts Antiques Design, Dubai Madinat Area, Madina Jumeirah 18th to 22nd of February Exhibiting categories at the fair include top quality Arab and Islamic Art, Orientalist paintings and Contemporary Art, world class antiques including 18th century furniture and 17th century jewellery, rare silver works, bronze and metal sculptures among several other styles of art.

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The Woman in Black 28th Janary – 6th February Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah One of the world’s most successful plays, still running in London’s West End after a record breaking 20 years is coming to Dubai for a two week run. This fantastic thrilling production, based on Susan Hills’ bestselling original novel features two accomplished West End actors in the roles of ‘The Actor’ and ‘Arthur Kipps’ in a haunting staging directed by John Payton. For more information, please contact Madinat Theatre Box Office Tel: +971 4 366 6549 or www. madinattheatre.com; www. seewomaninblack.com 20 I Travel Arabia I February 2009

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Covent Garden Market Dubai The Walk, Dubai’s unique beachfront outdoor shopping avenue, announced the launch of Covent Garden Market Dubai, a weekly Friday-Saturday market, closely modeled on the lines of European street and open air seafront markets. The weekly Covent Garden Market Dubai will be open every Friday-Saturday weekend from 10.00am– 8.00pm until April 2009 at Jumeirah Beach Residence in the Rimal Sector. The market offers a vibrant and creative setting in which to relax, have a coffee or a meal and spend time with friends at the weekend – all akin to The Walk experience.

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World Pearl Forum 17th February to 18th February Atlantis Hotel, Palm

Jumeirah The first-ever World Pearl Forum is to be held under the patronage of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The event, which is organised by the Dubai Pearl Exchange and sponsored by Dubai World highlights the importance of reviving the global pearl trade, and will focus on revitalising Dubai’s historic status as a pearl trading hub. The World Pearl Forum will see participation from more than 200 leading pearl specialists from across the world including senior representatives from pearl producers, national pearl bodies, certification specialists and jewellery trade experts. The forum will address several fundamental issues providing participants with the opportunity to debate the latest challenges in the global pearl sector.


COVER STORY

Romantic Haven Escape to the Most

Al Maha Resort & Spa

Valentine’s is a perfect time to indulge in a romantic getaway. Two to four days away gives couples an opportunity to relax and reconnect. Fine hotels and resorts create special packages to enjoy romance on and around Valentine’s Day.

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ou don’t need to travel far to enjoy a romantic setting. The UAE and the Gulf region are filled with indulgent getaways that can provide the ambience that you need. But if you want to splurge and go to a place of your lover’s dreams, a couple of places are recommended for you to visit and enjoy that special holiday.

AL MAHA DESERT RESORT & SPA – Dubai Just 45 minutes’ drive from Dubai International Airport, but a world away from this fast-growing city, Al Maha

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Desert Resort & Spa is a secluded sanctuary that offers the widest variety of flora and natural landscapes. The design of Al Maha - (Arabic for the Arabian Oryx desert antelope) - was based on a blend of South Africa’s super-luxury lodges, the small exclusive island hideaways of Malaysia and Thailand and the legendary local Arab hospitality. It combines the best of nature with the very best in man-made creature comforts. The aim is to offer guests an escape, an experience of a unique and romantic environment, a lifestyle of complete luxury and the ability to get

away from it all. The resort does not accept day visitors, and above all else, preserves guests’ privacy and individual choice. This keeps many customers coming back time and time again, with at least 30 per cent of guests being repeat visitors. In planning the original reserve, man-made structures were confined to just two per cent of the resort’s total area, and included 42 luxurious suites, each with its own temperaturecontrolled pool. Al Maha’s Timeless Spa, with a gymnasium, meets the ever-rising


www.swwiss-belhotel.com


Le Meridien Al Aqah

expectations of the world’s most discerning travellers. The world-class spa, set discreetly in a palm oasis, is integrated into the main swimming pool area, complete with bar and meal services. It includes two double and two single massage rooms overlooking private gardens and dunes, and offers complete body massage treatments specially designed to enhance the relaxation and tranquility of their setting. For more information, log on to www-al-maha.com.

DESERT ISLANDS RESORT Desert Islands Resorts & Spa

& SPA – Abu Dhabi Set on the verdant island haven of Sir Bani Yas, just off the coast of Abu Dhabi, housing the once-private Royal Nature Reserve of His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Desert Islands Resort & Spa, managed by the award-winning Thai hospitality group Anantara, offers intrepid travellers an unforgettable island escape in the glittering waters of the Arabian Gulf. Long known as a unique sanctuary of natural beauty, the island of Sir Bani Yas is unlike any other destination in the Arabian Gulf. Indigenous Arabian

wildlife from the Arabian National Park roam next to turquoise island waters. At the Desert Islands Resort & Spa, experience a unique brand of service inspired by the local traditions of hospitality and culture. With 64 luxuriously appointed rooms, suites, spacious one-bedroom villas and truly luxurious two-bedroom Royal Villas which come equipped with the best standards of luxury services including a 24/7 butler. Desert Islands Resort & Spa invites you to live out your own Arabian nights in a destination that is anything but ordinary. Here, wake-up to the alluring melodies of a thousand bird songs and the spectacular view of the distant sea and surrounding natural reserves; while your enclave slowly gets drenched in the warmth of the island’s natural sunlight. Desert Islands Resort and Spa guests can experience a variety of adventure and nature-based activities. Adventurers looking to experience Sir Bani Yas Island can book through the Desert Islands Resort and Spa on +971 (0) 2 801 5400 or online at www. desertislands.com.

LE MERIDIEN AL AQAH BEACH RESORT – Fujairah Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort

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Danat Resort

even more personalized service, there are also six luxury waterfront villas situated on the beach where you can enjoy total solitude. For the ultimate pampering, dedicated therapists are on hand to give guests a beachside massage with exotic soothing oils to relax you completely. To welcome couples for this occasion, there is a special ‘Valentines Romantic Package’, inclusive of room and breakfast, plus a Valentines Dinner in the Baynoona Ballroom on 13th February or Zaitoun on the 14th February for Dhs. 1,500 ++ . For more information telephone 02 801 2222

rests on a stretch of unspoilt, golden beach; nestled between the Hajar Mountains and the Indian Ocean. Here, privacy and relaxation are paramount. Discover endless ways to inspire the mind and restore the spirit. Fujairah benefits from the Emirate’s year-round sunshine, giving endless opportunity to head out and uncover the secrets of its mountain range, heritage treasures, diving or snorkelling sites. If you’d like to explore further afield, the hotel is within easy reach of Dubai. Every one of the Resort’s 218 rooms offers floor-to-ceiling windows inviting spectacular sea views beyond the pool, beach and gardens. This Valentine’s, experience royal treatment at Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort. Enjoy a red rose welcome and arrive in style to your specially decorated room. Indulge into an in room spa bath to relax your senses and get ready for the evening. A romantic setting will be waiting for you at the beach side, a unique private dining experience is our promise. Wake up lazy the next morning and enjoy a refreshing continental breakfast in room with bubbly. For reservations, call + 971 9 244 9000 or email reservations@ lemeridien-alaqah.com.

DANAT RESORT JEBEL DHANNA – Abu Dhabi The gentle lapping of azure waves, a

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stunning private beach, panoramic sunsets, and total seclusion, means there are very few romantic destinations worldwide that even come close to the privacy, relaxation and stunning location offered by Danat Resort Jebel Dhanna. Every one of the five-star, luxury lifestyle hotel’s rooms face out onto the glittering blue waters of the Arabian Gulf, providing the ultimate romantic getaway. Privacy and peace are part of the resort’s philosophy, but for those who desire a little extra time alone - and an Khatt Springs

KHATT SPRINGS HOTEL & SPA – Ras Al Khaimah An Oasis of Wellness in the heart of the Arabian countryside, this luxurious resort hotel is located at the foot of the majestic Hajjar mountains, a mere 45 minutes by car from Dubai International Airport and only 20 minutes drive from the beautiful white washed beaches of Ras Al Khaimah and the city. The hotel overlooks a beautiful valley filled with date palms and farmlands, and the warm natural waters that flow from the Khatt mountain spring used in the Spa making it a haven to rejuvenate your mind and body, creating a retreat of natural serenity. The Spa and beauty centre is intimately designed and set over 2,000 sq m with a separate Ladies and Men Spa, offering guests a heaven of peace and inviting you to relax and enjoy the therapeutic powers of natural spring water. Khatt Springs Hotel & Spa has 130 spacious rooms and suites that are luxuriously appointed with traditional Arabian design features and all the modern amenities you would expect from a five star hotel. Invite your loved one to escape the daily routine and enjoy a romantic stay in this eternal place of lovers. Take pleasure in a candle light dinner under


the moonlit night. The next morning, you will receive a breakfast in bed served with fresh flower and then stroll across nature trails, admire the valley of Dates Palm Tree and take pleasure in the perfect blend of excitement and natural beauty or relax, revive and rejuvenate your mind and spirit through the healing bounties of massage treatment.For reservations, contact +971 7 2448777 or log on to www.khatthotel.com

Six Senses Hideaway

SIX SENSES HIDEAWAY ZIGHY BAY - Oman Located on a headland on the northern Musandam Peninsula in the Sultanate of Oman, Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay is set between dramatic mountains to the rear and a broad sandy beach in front. The first property operated by Six Senses Resorts & Spas in the Middle East, the site of the Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay is a secluded fishing village, with 82 uniquely designed villas and a private marina – located between the mountains and the beach. Every villa has its own private swimming pool. Guests have the choice of three arrival experiences: A scenic 15-minute speed boat trip; a winding drive down from the hill top overlooking the bay; or travel as a companion passenger with the Six Senses Hideaway’s professional paraglider. Dining here is always an experience. You can dine on the Sand (a dining experience of luxurious simplicity along with a private Chef ’s Table), on the Edge (a stunning dining experience perched high atop the mountains overlooking Zighy Bay), or the Bites (located by the Angsana Velavaru

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marina), or at the comfort of your own Villa (enjoy a private barbecue dinner beneath the stars on your private pool deck). Six Senses Hideaway Zigy Bay offers a package for two which includes 4 nights, daily breakfast, 1 paragliding for two, 1 spa treatment for two “Wonders of Oman” (detox bath and body scrub), 1 balanced spa lunch from selected menu for two, 1 Arabic cooking class per stay, 1 sunrise yoga until May 2009. For more information on the resort, please visit www. sixsenses.com/Six-Senses-HideawayZighy-Bay/index.php.

ANGSANA VELAVARU Maldives Located in the virtually untouched South Nilandhe Atoll, some 146km from Malé, Angsana Velavaru encompasses the true Maldivian island

experience. Since it opened in 2007, Angsana Velavaru has been feted for its turquoise lagoon and spacious pool villas, being one of the few resorts in the secluded southern reaches of the Maldives. The island resort is a scenic 40-minute seaplane journey from Malé International Airport, providing a fresh perspective of the pearl-like atolls and remarkable coral formations that have made Maldives the world’s premier beach destination. Every moment spent at Angsana Velavaru is an opportunity to discover this unexplored part of the Maldives archipelago, away from the maddening crowd. Those looking for seclusion will find lazy afternoons being lulled to bliss to the sound of ocean waves at the award-winning Angsana Spa. With 12 spa treatment rooms, including nine spa pavilions with outdoor showers, Angsana Velavaru Spa’s blend of treatments are based on the use of natural ingredients such as native flowers and fruits. The 60,000-square metre island features 79 spacious villas with direct beach frontage that cater for couples, families and friends. To celebrate its first anniversary, Angsana Velavaru is offering guests one-for-one priority till 28 February 2009. For reservations, guests may


banyantree.com. For villa with packages please contact +973 17 84 5000 or email: reservations-bahrain@ banyantree.com.

THE RITZ CARLTON, BAHRAIN HOTEL & SPA – Bahrain

Banyan Tree Desert Spa & Resort

contact Angsana Velavaru at +960 676 0028 or email reservations-velavaru@ angsana.com

BANYAN TREE DESERT SPA AND RESORT – Al Areen, Kingdom of Bahrain The Banyan Tree Desert Spa and Resort, Al Areen, in the Kingdom of Bahrain, takes the stage as one of the world’s most exclusive all-villa luxury spa resorts and one of Arabia’s most prestigious travel addresses. Banyan Tree Al Areen boasts a total of 78-luxuriously appointed villas, 56 one-bedroom Desert Pool Villas, and 22 two-bedroom Royal Pool Villas each featuring private open-air swimming and jet pools, over-sized infinity bath tubs and sprawling master bedrooms. In addition to having the region’s largest spa and hydrotherapy areas, three

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international restaurants, a complete body wellness centre, the resort features Banyan Tree’s award-winning Gallery showcasing crafts, gifts and beauty products that appeal to today’s travelers with a conscience. Pamper your Valentine with 180 minutes of pure delight and indulge in the sensuous and rejuvenating Natural Elegance Experience which includes a 60-minute massage followed by a facial of your choice – as well as a soothing 30-minute foot bath, pure bliss. As February is the month of love, all couples booking the Natural Elegance package will also receive a complimentary 60-minute Hydrotherapy Session as well as a special gift from our Banyan Tree Gallery. For additional information and spa reservations, please call (+973) 17845081 or email: spa-alareen@

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa features 245 rooms and suites, each with unparalleled views of the city or sea, and 23 villas. The Sports Club & Spa offers an extensive menu of treatments and facilities such as an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, four tennis courts and a magnificent Turkish bath. The villas at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa exude a relaxed elegance throughout. Low lying, surrounded by azure waters, each has a distinctive identity and allure. Within this exclusive beach resort in Manama, guest can escape the ordinary world and enter a world where idyllic stretches of sand slope gently into warm waters of magnificent turquoise blue. From January 1 to February 28, 2009, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa offers a special villa package for BD 650 per night. This Valentine’s, The Ritz Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa offers an exquisite spa experience for two, the treatment begins with a complete body brushing to soften,


smooth and energize the skin. For more information contact The RitzCarlton toll free reservations at 1 (800) 241-3333, or visit www.ritzcarlton. com.

MOEVENPICK HOTEL & RESORT BEIRUT Lebanon Mövenpick Hotel & Resort Beirut invites you to pamper yourself for a “Romantic Indulgence”. The hotel itself is an invitation to indulge. Set in the heart of cosmopolitan Beirut, its prime position on a secluded bay on the Mediterranean Sea gives it magical views across the coastline. It is the only city centre hotel featuring resort facilities. The Mövenpick Hotel & Resort Beirut lends itself well to first-class leisure throughout its fine restaurants and renowned spa facilities. Prime accommodation and personal service

are part of the package. Bring back the scent and taste of new love this February with Mövenpick Hotel & Resort Beirut’s “Romantic Indulgence” package. One package…and all the ingredients of relaxation and romance will be revived. Beginning with a one hour Choco Duo massage, a decadent dark chocolate body wrap for two in the Essential Spa & Health Club “couple suite”. Once completely rejuvenated, retreat to your private romantic escape, a deluxe sea view room. There, wake up to a sumptuous in-room American Breakfast for two facing the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a special and unique way to celebrate with your loved one. Quote special “Romantic Indulgence” when you book. Call the reservation department at 00961 1 869 666 or e-mail hotel.beirut@ moevenpick.com.


alentine’s

ay

V D Getaway Ideas You don’t need lots of cash, or even need to take time off, to enjoy a quick getaway to reconnect with your significant other. There are plenty of ways to just get away from it all and find some couples-only romance. Check out local hotels Most of the local hotels offer Valentine’s Day or romance package, and you don’t even need the expense or timeconsuming nuisance of leaving town. Simply getting a romantic room, even for one night, to gaze into one another’s eyes can feel like a great getaway. Look for packages that include chocolatecovered strawberries and Champagne, or perhaps a fine gourmet meal. Bed and breakfasts are also a great and cozy choice for couples.

Dine out in a nice restaurant You don’t need a lavish setting, just a nice and cosy restaurant where you both can enjoy your meal in a very romantic way. But make sure you don’t compromise with the quality of food because this is a day that you should truly enjoy with a style.

Embrace the weather With Valentine’s Day falling in one of the coldest months of the year, that shouldn’t stop romance. Find a nearby luxury spa to warm your bodies and your spirits.

Choose an alternative Why don’t you try something different on Valentine’s Day like

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sailing? Fresh clean water, beautiful view and the whole idea of romancing in the ship will give an added excitement to your date. How about the idea of having vacation on an island?

Getaway at home Turn your home (or your sweetheart’s home) into a getaway destination. Something as simple as a candlelit dinner made at home with some fine wine, followed by an indulgent dessert, can make home feel romantic and exotic. Pair that with some rose petals sprinkled about, or an amazing floral centerpiece, or some romantic music and the stage is set for a Valentine’s Day getaway without going anywhere. If you have children, drop them off with a babysitter and you’ll

surely feel like being at home is a romantic getaway.

Leave your worries behind And please if you guys want to truly enjoy yourself then don’t carry your cell phones and please don’t take your worries along. Avoid talking about the global crisis, the kids’ school or the business meetings. Enjoy the moment and talk only about your love for each other.


SPECIAL FEATURE

In Search of a

Perfect

Cup of Coffee Our daily morning routine may include a number of activities but one thing you will probably never skip is that morning cup of coffee. A good number of people begin their day with a cup of their favorite coffee. Whether it’s a freshly brewed cup from their home or a take-away cup from one of their favorite coffee shops, coffee is always there to start off their day.

I

n the UAE, there are many coffee shops that offer great tasting blends of coffee and meal items. These coffee shops with their friendly environment are sometimes venue for business meeting, brainstorming or just warming up during the cool winter weather.

Costa. We Make It Better When you walk into a Costa store you’ll notice it’s different to other coffee shops. First of all, there’s the warm and welcoming atmosphere. Then the great range of authentic coffee drinks. Next the Ferrari of coffee machines. And finally, the most passionate and well trained baristas around. It’s this unique combination that makes Costa stand out from the others, and they’re incredibly proud of it.

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Hand-making a cup of coffee is an art. It takes time and skill to perfect. That’s why every single barista, in every single Costa store is professionally trained in the art of coffee by experts. It’s a little thing, but it makes a big difference, because it means you’ll get a perfect cup of Costa coffee every time. Mocha Italia is the name Sergio and Bruno Costa gave to their own special blend of coffee beans 37 years ago. It’s a unique blend as it manages to combine the sweetness, bitterness and body needed to make the perfect cup of coffee. As for the blend itself, that’s a closely guarded secret, but you can enjoy a cup of its distinctive flavour and a warm Italian welcome at any of Costa coffee shops. Costa is now owned by Whitbread PLC, a member of the FTSE 100 and the UK’s leading hospitality company. When they bought the Costa Coffee business, there were just 41 shops. It had taken the Costa family 17 years to get to that point, but Whitbread soon realised the full potential of the business. The first international store opened in Dubai in 1999. The international estate is set to grow at a phenomenal rate over the next few years…from 175 stores at the start of the 2007-8 financial year to over 1,500 by 2011. Costa has full control of its supply chain from bean to cup. The company produces all the coffee used in its establishments at its own roastery in Lambeth, London (not far from the Houses of Parliament) under the watchful eye of two Italian-accredited Master Roasters. There are some things in life that

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should never be rushed, coffee being one of them. That’s why Costa only ever slow-roast their coffee beans - to bring out a fuller flavour and stronger aroma. It’s a traditional process that takes a little longer, but it’s well worth the wait. As well as offering the finest coffee, Costa has a wide range of alternatives including hot chocolate, teas and infusions, iced coffees and frescato.

Starbucks Coffee. More than a cup of coffee! When you think of a great coffeehouse, you think of finely roasted beans hand-selected from the world’s best coffee growing countries. You think of exotic flavours that combine delicious taste and mouthwatering texture. You think of delicious hot, iced and blended beverages pairing perfectly with freshly baked pastries. You think of Starbucks. The Starbucks Experience is more than a cup of coffee. You get more than a simple coffee when you visit a Starbucks store - you get great people, first-rate music, a comfortable and upbeat meeting place, and sound advice on brewing excellent coffee at home. It is also the conversation and environment that surround a customer’s experience. In part, that means creating a comfortable oasis away from the demands of work and home. Coffee and tea are at the heart of Starbucks history. Their passion is to excite and inspire customers to enjoy the finest quality coffee, tea, food and merchandise products available. Starbucks offers coffee lovers a handpicked selection of dozens of varietals and blends of the finest arabica beans. Coffee buyers personally travel to the coffee-growing regions of Central America, Africa and Asia Pacific to select the finest beans. Starbucks is committed to surprising and delighting its customers and therefore our beverages change over the course of the year to develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time. That’s why our beverages are mostly offered on a seasonal basis.

Starbucks Coffee Company is the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world, with more than 8,500 retail locations in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim. There are currently 76 stores in the UAE with more than 50 stores in Dubai alone, and a growing number of stores in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Al Ain, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah. We always look for opening locations in new and vibrant communities. Our recent openings last year include five stores in Jumeirah Beach Residence, in addition to five stores on Sheikh Zayed road. It is our aim to open closer to our customers wherever they are to provide them with their favourite coffee or beverage. We see a significant growth opportunity in the UAE in particular and we will continue to invest in this market.

Second Cup. Make Second Cup Your Second Home Second Cup is Canada’s leading coffee retailer, offering a vast range of hot and cold coffee-related beverages, baked goods, coffee beans and coffee-related gift items. A great cup of coffee takes time, care and effort. From the sourcing to the serving it involves hundreds of individuals dedicated to producing the best coffee possible. Second Cup’s commitment to producing the world’s best coffees sets it apart and enables it to provide customers with a truly memorable coffee experience. Second Cup’s focus is Coffee. Second Cup stresses the highest quality bean selection, excellent customer service and coffee knowledge, carefully controlled roasting and coffee distribution, and a single minded obsession with freshness. Hot Espresso Creations, espresso based beverages include several rich espressos, smooth lattes and perfectlyfrothed cappuccinos. Over 12 types of beans are available to brew for customers. An assortment of exclusive tastes, blends, flavors and decaffeinated types, at various roast levels to accommodate the most


meticulous of palettes. BinHendi Enterprises, the Middle East master-franchisee for Canadianbased SECOND CUP® specialty coffee retailer, opened its first café on Sheikh Zayed Road in March 2003. Since then, new branches have sprung up around Dubai and other ME countries with cafes at various locations.

Seattle’s Best Coffee. It’s a Whole Different Cup Seattle’s Best Coffee was founded in 1970 and retains a strong link to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest coffee culture, serving as the company’s home region for more than 38 years. Seattle’s Best Coffee’s signature roasting technique delivers a rich and balanced Uncommonly Smooth™ taste. The company roasts only the finest high-quality Arabica beans, specifically selected to create a broad product portfolio, including blends, single origin, organic and flavored coffee offerings that help to satisfy the varietyseeking nature of coffee consumers. Seattle’s Best Coffee offers more than 30 whole bean and ground coffees, including flavored, organic and Fair Trade Certified coffees, espresso beverages, mochas, Seattle’s Best Coffee’s signature hand-crafted JavaKula blended beverage line and select merchandise. Since the opening of Sweattle’s Best Coffee in Abu Dhabi, July 2001, Cravia has successfully launched 13 more outlets with plans for further expansion. The amazing response to SBC in the UAE is a tribute to our commitment and marketing efforts, chiefly the highly successful program of promoting SBC products across all of our Cinnabon outlets. Be it a combined outlet or an independent cafe, Cravia constantly makes the most of the environment dedicated to SBC, without compromising on the SBC franchise ideals.

first store in 2001, and now operates 13 stores in the UAE, including outlets at Ibn Battuta, Mall of Emirates, Markaz Jumairah, Dubai Marina, La Plage and the International Exhibition Centre in Dubai, Al Jimi Mall in Al Ain, the Sahara Centre in Sharjah, as well as the Etisalat Head Office in Abu Dhabi. A new store will soon join the portfolio at The Dubai Mall. Founded in 1963, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® is an international roaster and retailer of specialty coffee and tea stores. Their customers pride themselves on knowing every nuance of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®. From its beautiful oak and leaded glass to the clever chalkboard messages, each store is distinctively designed. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf know that each customer is as unique as each of their team members and that’s just the way they like it. The stores are ideal social gathering places because The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® experience is always cozy, warm and inviting. So, whichever brand of coffee you eventually decide to buy - we wish you Happy Sipping!

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf opened its

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AROUND TOWN

Gourmet Abu Dhabi

Gourmet Abu Dhabi marries culture and cuisine reflecting both the city’s advanced modernisation and its rich Middle Eastern heritage. The epicurean festival is crafted for discerning individuals who seek gourmet enjoyment in perfect grandeur. This gourmet event will feature only the finest cuisines, best vintages and most unique dining experiences found in this emerging global capital.

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10-day culinary journey called Gourmet Abu Dhabi, featuring a Michelin-starstudded cast of master chefs, celebrities and special guests will be staged in the emirate of Abu Dhabi from 5 to 14 February. The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) launched the first gourmet event aimed at reinforcing the UAE capital’s growing reputation as a vibrant destination by leveraging its gastronomic strengths. “This is another great addition to Abu Dhabi’s expanding portfolio of international events and one which will enrich the lives of both our valued visitors and the emirate’s residential community, both national and expatriate,” said His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman, ADTA. Gourmet Abu Dhabi will bring

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some of the world’s top culinary maestros and celebrities to the UAE capital. These include: Annie Féolde, the Frenchwoman who has become a byword for the cuisine of her adopted Italy and the first woman in the Mediterranean Republic to be awarded three Michelin stars. Other culinary dignitaries expected are: Heinz Beck, arguably Italy’s most famous chef and the name associated

with Rome’s elegant La Pergola restaurant; Atul Kochhar, the first Indian to be awarded Michelin stars and the man behind London’s awardwinning Benares Restaurant; Alain Soliveres, the two-Michelin star French chef behind the celebrated Parisien restaurant Taillevent; Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex of the gastronomic Lyonnais legend Auberge de L’lle; Italy’s two-star Michelin legend Marco Sacco, co-founder of the Stelle del Piedmonte chefs’ lobby which promotes authentic Italian cuisine; Sam Leong, Singapore’s genius of modern Chinese cooking and Ian Wright, host of Discovery Channel’s Globe Trekker report. They will headline a festival of epicurean delights and education across 13 premier venues in Abu Dhabi city. These are: the European fusion Etoiles, contemporary seafood


Gourmet Abu Dhabi will assist in positioning the emirate as a leading premium lifestyle destination

Sayad, Mediterranean Mezzaluna and Arabian Diwan L’Auberge restaurants of Emirates Palace; the French Bord Eau, Asian Shang Palace and Modern Arab Pearls & Caviar restaurants of the Shangri-la Qaryat Al Beri; the Rodeo Grill steakhouse, seafood Finz and Indian Indigo restaurants of the Beach Rotana Hotel, the French Al Fanar restaurant of Le Royal Meridien; the Italian Boccaccio restaurant of the Abu Dhabi InterContinental Hotel and the Armed Forces Officers Club. Gourmet Abu Dhabi will feature: culinary master classes; a ‘Gastronomic Discovery of the Middle East,’ which will promote the region’s rich, distinctive culinary culture; gourmet safaris; a media fiesta; gala dinner; Royal lunch; a gourmet golf event as well as a strong professional education programme. “Gourmet Abu Dhabi will assist in positioning the emirate as a leading premium lifestyle destination. It will also significantly enhance our overall cultural outreach programme by showcasing international, regional and Emirati cuisines and culinary talents,” said His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, ADTA. Expected to generate keen interest among consumers and trade professionals alike, Gourmet Abu Dhabi will be a vibrant platform for local and international culinary experts to exchange skills and share industry knowledge. “It is important that the educational aspect of the event is used to elevate Middle Eastern cuisine to a gourmet level and for the local community to

celebrate their own culinary heritage and engage in sharing it with a wider audience,” explained Peter Knipp, a member of the Gourmet Abu Dhabi organising committee. “The programme will include a Middle Eastern themed gourmet safari which we are sure will be something the culinary community on international, regional and local levels, will relish.” “Gourmet Abu Dhabi will marry culture and cuisine perfectly by showcasing the city’s advanced modernisation set against its rich heritage. This epicurean festival is crafted for discerning individuals who seek gourmet enjoyment in pure grandeur and therefore presents Abu Dhabi with a prime opportunity to enter the international culinary arena.” Gourmet Abu Dhabi will also feature

the inaugural ‘Abu Dhabi Gourmet Stars Awards’ which will recognise and reward the best of the UAE capital’s and the Arabian Gulf’s hospitality scene and incentivise sector professionals towards ever higher standards. The awards will cover eight categories covering the full spectrum from kitchen management to

service delivery. “With the widening of Abu Dhabi’s accommodation offering comes enhanced opportunities for culinary discoveries. I believe all involved – whether professionals looking to hone their skills, travellers seeking culinary and cultural adventures, or residents wanting to engage in an expanding communitybased events programme, will greatly benefit from this exciting international event”, said Nasser Al Reyami, Director Tourism Standards, ADTA. “ADTA also hopes the Abu Dhabi Gourmet Stars Awards will serve to the emirate’s food and beverage industry to continually strive for the highest standards of excellence for the enjoyment of visitors and residents.” Leading industry leaders will be in the capital during Gourmet Abu Dhabi for a series of industry-specific programmes, including dedicated sessions on culinary, pastry and hospitality, all aimed at stimulating thought and debate among UAE and Arabian Gulf food and beverage professionals, amateur chefs and hospitality students. The educational programme will feature a two-day Hospitality Summit – a conference with vertical sessions focussing on sector specific issues including restaurant interior design and Arabic hospitality and a panel discussion led by master chefs. The summit will also feature a full-day seminar and workshop devoted solely to chocolate culinary art. “Gourmet Abu Dhabi will be a celebration of the best the food and beverage industry can offer, a dynamic educational forum, and one of the UAE capital’s biggest social events of the year.”

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New Souq in

Al Bastakiya D Don’t miss the new street market every Saturday at Al Bastakiya

iscover the heritage and richness of the old Dubai, while you follow your shopper’s instinct as you browse through a selection of fashion, accessories, crafts, handmade and lifestyle products at Souq Al Bastakiya, a weekly street market located in the streets of the historical Al Bastakiya. The street market takes place every Saturday from 10 am to sunset and offers a unique shopping experience and a strong cultural program in Dubai’s oldest district. “We want to transform Al Bastakiya into an art and cultural destination. We will make this an art place by having studio, workshops and art galleries. We want to bring life to the place by bringing live events and attract people to Al Bastakiya,” said Mustafa Al Hashimi, Project Director. Al Bastakiya dates back to the 1980s. It is one of the oldest residential areas in the city of Dubai. The locality lies along Dubai Creek and includes narrow lanes and wind towers, as well as the Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest existing building in Dubai. In its prime, the locality supported 108 housing units, most of which were separated by narrow, winding lanes. Traditionally a stronghold of rich residents, the demographic of

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the locality changed when people moved to other areas of Dubai. A project aimed at restoring the area’s old buildings and lanes was initiated by the Dubai Municipality in 1996, where a number of buildings were renovated. Now, around 55 buildings were restored and renovated to serve as galleries, restaurants, shops and other cultural spots. One of the houses is called the Events House where people can do their private function or for those

We want to transform Al Bastakiya into an art and cultural destination. We will make this an art place by having studio, workshops and art galleries

who want to have a different, unique and authentic event. Another house called Coins House displays coins of the past, including currency during the beginning of the Islamic Era, the PreIslam Arab monetary system up to the present day monetary system. Other houses have been transformed into galleries and according to Al Hashimi, at least two

boutique hotels and a local restaurant will come up in Al Bastakiya including three more galleries, in addition to the existing five. There are also restaurants offering the elements of Arabic culture and its traditional cuisine. Al Bastakiya offers a charming glimpse of how Dubai once looked. In the past, Dubai was famous for a mass of wind towers that lined the Creek either side. These wind towers were not just decorative. They were the only means of cooling houses in the days before the main electricity. This traditional form of air-conditioning, constructed to funnel cool air into the house, was an architectural feature of buildings in southern Iran. The souq is also a launch pad for new emerging talents. UAE vendors will be highly represented in the market with henna stands, an Arabic inspired coffee with live performances and Emirati cuisine will allow people to experience the richness of the region’s culture. With dedicated children’s area, free valet parking and performances during the day, the Souq transforms Al Bastakiya into a new hub for shoppers and culture-minded people.

The traditional Arabic courtyard Café, managed by ‘Labneh w Zaatar’ and weekly music program and art workshops also provide a strong community experience to the visitors. Musical programmes organized by Dubai Lime, as well as a 30-minute performance by Dubai Drums featuring more than 30 drummers, will be a regular fixture every Saturday, inviting visitors to try their hand at playing the instrument. The constant resonance of live music performance at the premises will serve as an inspiration for visitors to enjoy more of the venue’s authentic ambience. The souq will allow visitors to escape from the cloned mall lifestyle and discover “hidden gems” in an original platform located in the heart of old Dubai.

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LIVING ARABIA

Museum of Islamic Art

A Museum for the World The vision of High Highness The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, is to mould the State of Qatar into a capital of culture. Under the umbrella of Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), the Museum of Islamic Art is the flagship project of His Highness’ vision.

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he Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar, is a museum for the world. It will bring the world to Doha, but will also connect Doha to the world. The Museum of Islamic Art is dedicated to being the foremost museum of Islamic art in the world, and as well a centre of education and information in the field of the arts of the Islamic world.

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Awaiting visitors inside the 382,000 sq ft. Museum of Islamic Art, on the Doha Corniche is a treasured collection of over 800 priceless exhibits that represent the full scope of Islamic art, many on public display for the first time. Covering 1,400 years of Islamic creativity in all forms, the collection showcases books, manuscripts,

ceramics, metal, glass, ivory, textiles, wood and precious stones from three continents as visitor’s journey through time and across regions, inspired by the finest Islamic artistic heritage from as far as Spain and India. The Museum of Islamic Art is the flagship project of the Qatar Museums Authority, which under the leadership of its Chairperson, Her Excellency


Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, is transforming the State of Qatar into the cultural capital of the Middle East and an international centre for the arts. “In future years, the new museum will evolve into a place of learning and a platform for dialogue. It will bring together people of all ages, people living in the local community and visitors from around the world for enjoyment, stimulation and greater understanding of our cultures through the appreciation of art,” commented HE Sheikha Al Mayassa.

The Collections Illustrating the diversity and creativity of Muslim culture, the Museum’s permanent display will showcase more than 800 works representing the full scope of Islamic art, including manuscripts, ceramics, metal, glass, ivory, textiles, wood and precious stones. Objects in the collection represent cultures on three continents, a huge geographical area reaching as far west as Córdoba and as far east as Samarqand, and encompasses works from Spain,

North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, India and Central Asia. The collection is exhibited on two floors of galleries that encircle the atrium of the Museum. Visitors journey through time and across regions, as the galleries are dedicated to stylistic or historical themes. Aside from the two floors of permanent exhibition galleries, there is a temporary exhibition gallery, two

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outdoor courtyards with centerpiece water features, a 197-seat auditorium, prayer halls for men and women, a library, a gift shop and a book shop.

The Language of Islamic Art The first of these floors highlights the visual elements that are found universally in the arts of the Islamic world. Gallery 1 holds a selection of highlights of the Qatar collection. The objects range geographically over 7000 kilometres from Spain to India and span nearly a thousand years in time. Gallery 2 focuses on calligraphy as an art and is represented in a diverse range of media, including Qurans and manuscripts, ceramics, tiraz and coins. Calligraphy was held in very high regard, and its practice shaped some of the most fundamental of Islam art. Gallery 3 presents an array of objects showing the use of calligraphy as decoration and tools associated with writing across the Islamic world. Objects date as early as the 6th century and as late as the 20th century. In Galleries 4 and 5, figural decoration is presented in a wide selection of objects, showing their use as both symbolic and allegoric decoration, and as part of a rich decorative scheme. A number of basic patterns are used in Islamic art. A selection of objects in Gallery 6 show patterns which remained a constant presence throughout the centuries, such as geometric and floral motifs. A selection of objects in Gallery 7 shows various applications of the arabesque, one of the most defining elements of pattern in Islamic art.

At an early stage in Islamic art, experimentation in vegetal patters led to the arabesque, a design derived from palmettes and half-palmettes connected by interweaving design. The gallery reflects how the design became increasingly stylized, multiplied and abstracted over time. Science in Art shows how scientists of the Muslim world made significant contributions to the fields of astronomy, mathematics, engineering and medicine. Gallery 8 and 9 presents examples of important scientific manuscripts. It also includes a wide range of precision instruments, created as tools for the pursuit of knowledge and scientific thought. The care taken in their production attests to the importance Islam placed on science and learning.

The Journey of Islamic Art The second of the Museum’s permanent collection floors offers a chronological exploration of Islamic art. These galleries feature

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works illustrating a wide diversity of styles, yet a unified aesthetic can be seen through the centuries. Gallery 10 features a fine selection of Mamluk mosque lamps and metalwork, often characterized by the use of monumental inscriptions and blazons which reflect an awareness of hierarchy and status. Also in the gallery is a selection of carpets and ceramics and Mamluk Quran’s, remarkable for elegant calligraphy, illumination and fine leather bindings. Gallery 11 holds examples of lustre and underglaze-painted ceramics, glass decorated with enamel and gliding, woodwork, jewellery and brass vessels, some inlaid with silver. Together, the objects in the gallery demonstrate the refinement of the dynasty’s lifestyle. The Mongol Genghis Khan created the largest Asian empire ever known. His grandson Hulagu established the Il-khanid dynasty (1256-1353) in Iran and Western Asia. Many objects in Gallery 12 show the influence of China in motifs such as the lotus flower, phoenix and dragon, reflecting


the long distance trade in luxury materials active during this period. The gallery includes a strong selection of ceramics from Kashan, particularly lustre painted objects and wall tiles. The early Islamic period saw the establishment of a unified empire under the Umayyads and Abbasids and then its gradual fragmentation as independent dynasties took control in different areas. Gallery 13/14 features examples from a range of early dynasties

including the Samanids in the East, the Fatimids in Egypt and a branch of the Umayyads in Spain. Timur (1336-1405), known in Europe as Tamerlane conquered Central Asia, Iran, Iraq and parts of India and southern Russia. Timurids are known for their patronage of art. Their architecture is characterized by huge size and the extensive use of spectacular tile-work. The display in Gallery 15 reveals examples of Timurid art ranging from their rich architectural decoration, ceramics, manuscripts, jewellery and metalwork. In the early 16th century, the Safavid Dynasty headed a new cultural transformation in Iran. Art, architecture, poetry and philosophy all experienced a renaissance. The fine examples of Safavid art on display in Gallery 16 reflect this active royal patronage. The Mughal Empire, founded by the last Timurid prince Babur in 1526 covered most of the Indian subcontinent including presentday Pakistan and Afghanistan. The arts of the Mughals reflect the wide religious and cultural diversity of its population and an increasing presence of Europeans seeking trade and political influence. Objects on display in Gallery 17 reflect the Mughal passion for gem stones and jewellery, as well as some fine examples of manuscript illustration.

Inaugural Exhibition On view December 1, 2008 through February 22, 2009, Beyond Boundaries: Islamic Art Across Cultures brings together leading cultural institutions

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from around the world, all of which have loaned artworks that reflect the theme of cultural diversity in the heritage of the Muslim world. These special loans are juxtaposed with highlights from the Museum of Islamic Art’s collection. Organized into thematic sections titled “Islam and World Religions,” “Islam and the Transmission of Design,” and “Islam and the Transmission of Knowledge,” Beyond Boundaries showcases important works that evince a cross-cultural aesthetic or shared ideas. Among the highlights on view in Beyond Boundaries is a page from the Mughal emperor Akbar’s translation of the Ramayana (India, c. 1594), an epic tale that is a central element of the Hindu canon. Also featured are Egyptian, Spanish and Turkish scientific and mathematical manuscripts, dating from the 11th, 13th and 15th centuries. A special highlight is the virtual transcription by Italian research centre Leonardo3 of The Book of Secrets about the Results of Thoughts by al-Murd, a rare manuscript copied in Spain featuring ancient Arabic technologies. The Museum of Islamic Art is open Saturday through Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. There is no charge for admission to the Museum, or to the first Temporary Exhibition. A charge will be made for future Temporary Exhibitions. For more information, call +974 422 4444 or visit the website: www. mia.org.qa


Privacy Taken To A New Level With Talay Thai House

In Thai “Rak Talay” means “to love the sea” so if you’re a lover of Thai food with a twist on seafood, this is definitely the dining house for you. Start with refreshing beverages on the sand few steps away from your exclusive dining experience in your private Thai house overlooking the sea. Talay restaurant is situated in Le Méridien Village in Abu Dhabi, and is introducing privacy dining at a new level. Rak Talay is a private dining space for two people. Special privacy is known for Thai spas, it has now been introduced into dining, whereby the private house has been themed for you and your special partner. The Thai Chef will create a menu for your taste buds, all is required is to let the friendly and attentive crew at Talay know what your mood for food is like and they will fulfill your request with a friendly smile. The Ocean View is clearly visible in this space, as windows have been designed into the Rak Talay, with slim bamboo curtains to transfer your mood to your recent vacation. Themed by the Creative and Arts Manager at Le Méridien Abu Dhabi. Just in time for Valentine’s Day this could be a great opportunity to take advantage of this special day’s pack of love. Your own private hut right on the sea is setting the mood for you to a great romantic dinner. Talay hours are from 12:30 – 3:30 pm and evenings from 7:00 – 11:30 pm. For more information and for reservations please call 02 644 6666.

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Sharjah Art Museum:

rich legacy of arts, heritage and culture A

The mission of the Sharjah Art Museum is to enrich the cultural life for the Sharjah community and its regional, national and international visitors through its art collections, programmes and facilities.

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alk into a world of artistic excellence and expression. Explore the history of the region through the Orientalist painters of the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as gallery after gallery of stunning landscapes, cityscapes and portraits painted in oil, watercolours and acrylics, created by both local and internationally renowned artists. Enter three floors of galleries dedicated to modern creative expression. Focusing on exhibitions and collections of over 300 works of art, you will see graphic displays exhibiting an amazing array of styles and interpretations created by artists from the Arab world, in a variety of media. This is the Sharjah Art Museum. Opened in April 1997, this is the largest art museum in the Gulf with both temporary exhibitions and permanent collections by renowned artists. Under the leadership and patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah and Member of the Supreme Council, Sharjah has preserved its natural and cultural heritage across the Emirate in the form of historic buildings, museums and nature reserves. The Sharjah Museums Department oversees the Sharjah Art Museum and links the current and future museums of Sharjah. The Sharjah Museums cover the arts, Islamic culture and

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history, heritage and history of Sharjah and the region, archaeology, science, children’s learning and natural history. Majority of the collections in the permanent exhibition are Orientalists collection which were collected by HH Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi and generously gifted to form the permanent collection in the Sharjah Art Museum.

The collections present orientalist views of the countries of Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Morocco and other Islamic lands as they were depicted by European artists and travellers in the

18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. All of the artists are world famous like David Roberts, which the museum is home to a comprehensive collection of over 200 of his lithographs, yet they were chosen because they illustrate aspects of the traditional way of life in these countries before the upheavals of the 20th century. “His Highness is very interested in everything related to education. He is always in touch with what’s new in the world because he wants Sharjah to be known as an education and cultural capital,” starts Zekryat Matouk, Curator of Sharjah Art Museum. “The Sharjah Art Museum like all the museums established in Sharjah is here to educate the public. It is a place where you can learn in an informal environment and therefore enjoy the experience,” adds Manal Ataya, Director General, Sharjah Museums Department. “Art in every civilization since the beginning of time can be used to relay messages which could be social or political etc. Art is a very important medium for expression. Any community or society has a need to create and express. When you are looking at Sharjah and the UAE in general, you can use art to express different things and its meaning and value can be different for each person.” Although there exists several


museums in Sharjah, what makes Sharjah Art Museum different is the way its messages are relayed to its audience through different exhibitions. Throughout the year the museum holds special exhibitions in calligraphy, photography, sculpture, visual arts or children’s exhibition. “We plan for our temporary exhibitions two years in advance because we are receiving hundreds of proposals from here and abroad and we need to include them in our plan so we can manage our time according to our space. If the proposal is about Ramadan, we should consider displaying it during the Ramadan festival. We also have our annual exhibition for the Society of Emirates as well as the Sharjah Biennial exhibition which we are hosting this year,” explains Matouk. The exhibits for the temporary exhibition are decided based on the idea and the message that it will give to the community and the visitors. “If for example a new group with a new idea has never been here before we always want to have the first opportunity to show this kind of art. It’s not about names or a big name of an artist. We want people to learn from it and not get bored with the same art again and again,” says Matouk. “We need to ensure that what is being displayed in the museum is relevant to the community. That it would make sense and will have an outcome that should be a positive one. Whether it will make people think in a different way, inspire them or create something new and that’s what we are trying to do. So when we looked at proposals, we are looking for what

Sharjah needs right now. This community, either gets energized, challenged or moved in a certain way about something,” adds Ataya. Matouk said that the response of the community and guests to exhibitions is overwhelming especially when there are new exhibitions. “The museum is a good place to spend your time because it shows the beauty of the world through the creative eyes of other people. It shows other people’s talent, how they express their feelings through drawings, sculpture, photographs. It’s an experience to share with people because art itself is life,” adds Matouk. This month, the Sharjah Art Museum is hosting an exhibition titled Lure of the East. British Orientalise Painting, which will bring together for the first time in the Middle East an exhibition of Orientalist artist of international standard. Opening on the 18th of February and will run till 30th of April, the exhibition will display paintings made by British artists from the 17th to the early 20th century. There will be over 85 masterpieces from collections around the world and the subject matter is the diverse people and places of what the British called the

Orient, an area that roughly corresponds to present day Turkey, Syria, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. The Lure of the East is organized by Tate Britain in partnership with the Yale Center for British Art, the British Council, the Pera Museum and the Sharjah Art Museum. The Lure of the East. British Orientalist painting is a touring exhibition that before coming to the United Arab Emirates has been displayed in Yale Center for British Art in the United States of America; Tate Britain in the United Kingdom and Pera Museum in Turkey. For more information call 06 568 8222.

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OUTSIDE ARABIA

THE FRENCH RIVIERA

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ituated in the far southeastern corner of France bordering Italy, the French Riviera covers the dĂŠpartement of the AlpesMaritimes, and includes the Principality of Monaco. Between the sea and mountains, the French Riviera is a land of contrasts where mountaintops (snowcapped in winter) are visible from the sea. Enjoying an outstanding 300 days of sunshine per year, the Riviera offers visitors a wealth of treasures waiting to be discovered including 120 km

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of coastline and 40 km of sand or pebble beaches, a generous mountain environment with the Mercantour National Park and peaks reaching altitudes of more than 3000 m, in addition to 120 hilltop villages with a decidedly Mediterranean flavour. Boasting an artistic heritage which is one of the richest in France with more than 100 museums and monuments, the Riviera has been the home and source of inspiration for many artists.

This combination of art and regional character has resulted in the Riviera being chosen as the venue for numerous international cultural events including music, lyrical art, theatre, painting, cinema festivals. In total, almost 4000 events are held along the Riviera each year.

Cannes Cannes is a sleek, sunny and celebritystudded city with a curving crescent of beaches, designer shops and art


The French Riviera, a central location in the heart of Europe, between sea and mountains, offers an exceptional sunny destination all year long both for leisure and business. Diverse backgrounds, striking contrasts, abundant natural and cultural heritage are the charms that the French Riviera has to offer. deco architecture. Well known for the Cannes Film Festival that takes place each May, Cannes is also a very popular tourist destination in Europe. It offers visitors great weather, many interesting tourist attractions, museums and some beautiful Mediterranean beaches. With many activities and entertainment on offer both in winter and summer, you can choose from a regenerating winter trip and live some unique experiences with le Club (www.

cannes-theclub.com) or an elated summer with an exciting agenda of entertainment, international events, beaches, leisure and exciting nightlife (www.euphories.com). Cannes also welcomes major International Trade Shows including the Midem (18-22 January), the Mipim (9-13 March) and the MipTV (30-03 April). With 40 000m2 available for conferences, exhibitions and galas; 7500 rooms; 248 evening venues and 50 incentive activities, Cannes proves to be an ideal business destination.

Nice At the heart of an amazing natural site amongst the most visited in the world, Nice, the capital of the French Riviera, is a popular destination for the diversity it offers. Thanks to a natural environment of remarkable richness, every season is perfect for a memorable stay. Between the sea and the mountains, Nice cultivates an irresistible and authentic charm offering numerous activities and visits. Its international airport, only a few minutes from the town centre; its

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famous Baie des Anges; its lively town centre; its pedestrian and shopping areas; its “carré d’or ” of the biggest French brands offering special VIP treatment; its old city with typical narrow lanes; its coloured markets and small handicraft shops; its rich architectural and cultural heritage; its sun-drenched gastronomy and good tables; its places of entertainment such as the casinos, operas, theatres, piano-bars, discotheques… all make Nice a rare and exceptional destination! The uniqueness of Nice lies in the wealth of the treasures it has to offer its visitors. Whether you are looking for relaxation, passion, action, discovery, emotions or sensations: Nice has it all and is a destination to be discovered as a couple, a family or simply amongst friends!

Monaco

Monaco is a Constitutional Monarchy and Principality with Prince Albert II as head of state, is a member of the United Nations and the Council of Europe. Monaco has a tourist business that attracts as many as 1.5 million visitors a year and is famous for its beaches, casinos and gardens, its athletic and cultural events...all qualities which make it the ideal destination for a romantic vacation or an unforgettable conference.

GETTING THERE: With five non-stop Emirates flights from Dubai every week, getting to the French Riviera is now more convenient. The flights started operating on December 1st 2008 and fly on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Nice Cote D’Azur Airport is the second busiest airport in France, boasting a capacity of 12.5 million passengers with two passenger terminals, one business aviation terminal, one freight terminal and one helicopter station. In 2007, the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport handled 10.4 millions passengers travelling with over 50 different Airlines to over 100 scheduled destinations. 58% of the traffic was international. For further information, log on French Riviera Tourist Board website at www.guideriviera.com

The history of modern Monaco rests on three main evolutions. To start, at the end of the 19th century, Prince Charles III of Monaco has the most beautiful casino and most luxurious hotels of Europe built and he launches an unrivalled program of cultural entertainment. Then, just after the 2nd World War, Prince Rainier III (who marries Grace Kelly, future Princess of Monaco) transforms the Principality, entirely dependant of tourism and the casino, into a financial, real estate and economic centre. Today, the Principality hosts over 5000 companies and tourism though still important only represents 15% of GNB. Finally in current times, Prince Albert II is propelling the Principality into the 21st century by supporting very modern values such as the fight against global warming, the preservation of nature, humanitarian aid, sport, arts and culture. Furthermore he also favours scientific research and the development of modern finance. So Monaco is much more than just

“One day, beauty, wishing to be eternal, sought a place where it would never be shunned. It discovered the French Riviera, where it decided to settle and where it has remained ever since“ Louis NUCÉRA,, French writer(1929-2000)

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the clichés that are often attributed to the Principality. However Monaco is proud of those clichés, especially the Grand Prix of Formula 1!

Isola 200 and Auron Isola 2000 and Auron are 2 beautiful ski resorts which open their doors onto the National Park of Mercantour. Within easy access from the Nice International Airport, just 90 minutes away, they provide snow lovers with a long skiing season that starts beginning December all the way through to the end of April. Isola 2000, the 100% snow and sun resort, welcomes lovers of fresh powder, ski champions, snowboarding junkies and chalet fans. It’s a treat for all adrenaline junkies, boasting a half pipe, Snow Park, obstacles, boarder cross, and more... Pedestrians can take the Pélevos cable car to an altitude of 2 320m and enjoy a panoramic view of the resort. Isola 2000 offers many comfortable choices of accommodation, including a new 4* Residence “Les Terrasses d’Isola” with spa, swimming-pool, and massage centre. Auron is a small, intimate village nestled in the heart of a top quality ski resort where pleasure and skill meet and extend over 135km of slopes in 4 different areas of the park. Situated at an altitude of 1600m, Auron Resort lies at the entrance to the National Park of Mercantour, and has been providing visitors with a coveted combination of comfort and tradition since 1937. Nice, Auron and Isola 2000 are candidates to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.


5 BEST REASONS To Choose French Riviera

Easy To Get There The French Riviera is strategically located between the Italian Riviera, the Alps, and Provence. Getting there from all major European capitals and the rest of the world is easy thanks to its international airport. The Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport is France’s first biggest after Paris. With more than 10 million passengers in 2007, it represents a strategic link to thirty countries including twenty European capitals. Led by Air France and EasyJet, 51 airlines account for 1280 weekly flights and up to 600 flights per day, including more than thirty to Paris alone. The Nice Côte d’Azur airport is the only French airport, besides Paris, to offer transatlantic routes and direct flights to New York. Finally, the French Riviera can be reached by fast and direct highway networks (A8, Paris, Lyon, and Barcelona). Rail connections with all major national and international destinations: high-speed and express trains (TGV, Corail trains) connect the French Riviera to all French regions and all major European cities.

A Dream Destination One of the most attractive destinations in the world, France’s leading tourist destination for the number of international visitors after Paris. The French Riviera is irresistible in so many ways: welcoming, business, climate, quality of life… The French Riviera is an exceptional place whose history and heritage are rivaled only by the beauty of its landscapes. People work in a unique natural setting, between the Mediterranean Sea and Alpine summits, in a heavenly climate blessed with 300 days of sunshine per year. The French Riviera’s illustrious past has forged its strong Mediterranean identity. Its architecture, its luminous streets and enchanting accent, its sundrenched cuisine are all a part of the French Riviera’s unmistakingly southern culture. The French Riviera is known and recognized for its “art de vivre” and its

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gastronomy with 33 restaurants having received a star by the Michelin Guide (1 three-star, 10 two-star, 22 one-star in 2007).

Unrivalled Tourist Attractions Sports, cultural events, or artistic activities, the possibilities are unlimited and the discoveries have no bounds. You’re on the French Riviera. Sports throughout the year: 21 golf courses and 15 ski resorts. An unbelievable architectural and artistic heritage, with culture everywhere: 130 museums, two operas, theaters, art galleries, and more! The French Riviera has no shortage of resources. Architecture and cultural heritage discoveries, visits to gardens, Greek and Roman archaeological sites, meet artists and craftsmen, dance, music, opera and more! The French Riviera is a shopper’s paradise with every luxury brands from around the world.

Events on The French Riviera Cannes Film Festival, Carnaval de Nice, Monaco Grand Prix... The Côte d’Azur also hosts 3,900 events each year! Every day is a celebration and the year is punctuated by a great variety of events that mark the life of every town and village, from the coast deep into the hinterland.

How can you choose from so many remarkable events? Quite simply, according to your interests and wishes.

A Cosmopolitan Metropolis The only French region with residents from over 163 countries. The French Riviera and its visitors enjoy an unheard of multicultural environment, synonymous with a warm welcome and openness. Traditionally a land of welcome, the French Riviera is a melting pot for all cultures. The presence of foreign companies has helped foster this invaluable multicultural backdrop. This mix of cultures and languages has become a way of life on the French Riviera. 12% of the population is of foreign origin, mainly Anglophone, or one out of every eight residents. English is “de rigueur” and the mixture of languages is not uncommon. Services provided in foreign languages by banks or real estate agencies, newspapers and radios and of course schools and universities are not lacking, contributing to the region’s climate of openness and exchange. As a result, the local population is patient and understanding when it comes to communication. People here are comfortable with this melting pot of cultures and languages and have an unreserved sense of welcoming foreigners.


ATTRACTION

Radisson SAS

Tala Bay Resort in Aqaba, Jordan

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his newly built attractive resort, owned by Shatea Al-Kamar for Tourism Investment Co. Limited, and located on the shores of the Aqaba Gulf in the southern part of Jordan, contains 336 comfortable rooms, consisting of standard, deluxe, superior, Tala Bay rooms as well as junior and executive suites. All the rooms have their own balconies and are decorated with modern brown wooden furniture and with a general beige colour scheme throughout the interiors. The overall layout of the resort is designed to make it resemble a modern village with its light

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The Rezidor Hotel Group, one of the fastest growing hotel companies in the world opened the doors of its property in Jordan – the Radisson SAS Bay Resort, Aqaba. yellow exteriors colours, plenty of green areas with lush palm trees as well as numerous arches and pathways. The property features a great variety of attractive food and beverage outlets that will surely please everyone’s taste buds including the all day dining Aziab with an international flavoured cuisine and a live cooking station; Heatwave, an outdoor modern restaurant serving

Mediterranean dishes; the indoor Kenzi lounge; the in-pool Dugout Bar and the open air Baywatch outlet providing self service snacks and a variety of cold drinks. There is also the Sunset Deck serving grilled food and offering guests traditional Shisha. Aside from unwinding at the beach and swimming in the Red Sea, guests can also plunge into any of


Radisson SAS Aziab Restaurant

Tala Bay Bedroom

Tala Bay Executive Suite

the hotels’ five heated pools. Kids will be more than happy too as they have their own pool, playground area as well as the Nemo Kids club. For those wanting to keep fit and healthy while on holiday there is an outdoor fitness centre in addition to the many water sports facilities including jet skis, water skiing, windsurfing and parasailing. Aqaba is also renowned for its superb diving and snorkeling possibilities; a great variety of corals and rich marine life is just waiting to be explored. For business travelers the Radisson

SAS Tala Bay Resort has two meeting rooms offering all the latest high tech facilities. Meeting attendees as well as registered guests also have access to free internet. In case guests wish to combine a relaxing beach holiday with a bit of history and culture, Aqaba also serves as an excellent base to discover the rest of fascinating Jordan. Only a day trip away one finds for example the ancient city of Petra, classified as a UNESCO world heritage site and full of archaeological treasures, or the stunning desert valley of Wadi Rum.

“I am delighted to open the doors of our new Radisson SAS in Jordan, next to the beautiful Red Sea, the best diving spot in the region. This fantastic resort is now ready to welcome guests from all ages to come and stay in any of our relaxing rooms or suites and enjoy the many recreational facilities we have on offer. Our great professional team of staff will also do their absolute best to meet the expectations of our valued guests by implementing our “Yes I Can!” service philosophy throughout their stay at Radisson SAS Bay Resort, Aqaba”, comments Mr. Philippe Pellaud, the hotel’s General Manager.

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FACE TO FACE

Grand vision for

Grand Millennium Dubai

“When you think of Grand Millennium you think of two words grandeur and modernism”

Robert Zogbi walks into the room in a dashing manner. His looks can be likened to Hollywood’s Robert de Niro who exudes charm, dignity, and attention. Talking to him is like reading a book filled with philosophy, wisdom and vision. He is an authority in the hospitality industry, having worked here for 25 years and yet each year is always a challenge to him. “I have a principle that nothing is impossible. The word impossible does not exist in my book or my dictionary. I am always challenged where everybody else has failed. This gives me an opportunity to test my passion, my desire and my capabilities so when I’m successful, the reward is double,” starts Robert Zogbi, General Manager, Grand Millennium Dubai. Zogbi started managing Grand Millennium Dubai in August 2008, months after the property officially opened to the public. “It was a rocky start,” he said because people in the UAE are not aware of the brand so this is the challenge that he needs to face. The challenge of promoting the brand and tell residents and visitors that the Grand Millennium brand is not your ordinary five-star property. The Grand Millennium Dubai is one of the first four Grand Millennium hotels in the world reflecting the new luxurious brand of the Millennium Copthorne

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group. The Grand Millennium Dubai is the first property in the Middle East reflecting distinctive designs, innovative technology, multiple dining venues with authentic and wide-ranging international cuisines and exceptional comfort in all rooms and suites. “When you think of Grand Millennium you think of two words - grandeur and modernism. Grand Millennium is a beautiful property and one of the most gorgeous properties I have ever worked in for the past 25 years. I’ve worked in many countries with many properties and dealing with high quality and world class organizations, but when I saw Grand Millennium it is a pure symbol of elegance, quality and beauty.” But when the property opened last year, it didn’t make quite an impression to the community. So when Zogbi came in, he analyzed the situation and realized two factors that have contributed to this – location and the brand awareness. The ongoing construction boom surrounding the property has affected access to Grand Millennium Dubai and the Grand Millennium brand itself is new to the Middle East market and people didn’t really know about its presence here.

And yet, Zogbi is proud that his team has managed to reach their target for 2008. “We have not reached the financial target but we have reached our target of positioning the property into the market.” “From the beginning we took the approach of promoting the property through personal interaction with the customers. This is one way of developing long term relationships. Our staff has the right demeanor and we do not say ‘no’ to our guests. When a guest comes in, we will stretch to the maximum in order to fulfill and also exceed their expectations. We were able to inject dynamism into our management team and to our service level so we were very successful at that.” Zogbi said he could have started with the property at the beginning because “I think there are lots of things that we could have done from the start of the year. I’m glad I came then rather than now but I certainly have hoped that I came earlier.” Despite the ongoing global financial crisis, Zogbi and his team have developed a plan for 2009 with full energy, enthusiasm and trust. “We did not choose to stop and start looking at reductions or cost cutting in a frantic way. We have looked at a forward mode


of operation taking into consideration that some of the business sectors and some of the market segments will be affected by the crisis.” “We know that the corporate traveller will change their travel habits and practice of business travelling. The leisure traveller will have to think more carefully when they decide to go on a travel. We took all these customer behaviours into consideration and look at addressing these behaviours with a pricing strategy, marketing strategy, and promotions that are in tuned with the challenges that big organizations are facing with or the individual traveller.” This strategy means adding value to the traveller’s money like including more services or things that they were not getting before for free like the internet services and the use of business center services. The Grand Millennium Dubai is also looking at tapping new and emerging markets like Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. “The good thing about the financial crisis effect on Dubai is it made Dubai a more accessible destination for certain markets who was not considering this destination before because of the high prices that Dubai was enjoying. We had seen in December an increase of business levels from Bulgaria, the Greeks, Croatians, Slovenians and these markets were contemplating to come to Dubai but it is now accessible to them.” “Dubai is no longer in an order taker mode. It’s more into a hunting mode for business and I think this is very healthy. Now I believe hotel organizations and management will be put under the test to see who are those who can or capable to adjust their strategic plan in an intelligent way in order for them to go and tap first and quick into these new

markets.” Another important market is the local market. “We are in a location where a number of businesses and residences are going to be establishing here. The Grand Millennium is a perfect brand to be positioned in this area. This is the new Dubai where most of the businesses are relocating. We are looking at all these companies, identifying them and go after then and telling them that we’re here, we are the only and first deluxe property that can offer you the services that you are looking for.” The Grand Millennium is minutes away from the Mall of the Emirates, the Ibn Batuta shopping mall, the Dubai Media City, the Emirates Gold Club and The Montgomerie. “2009 will be a stepping stone into a better and more prosperous business here for the Grand Millennium,” said Zogbi. “The credit crunch is a big challenge for us but we will not just stand there, feel it and get somebody beat us. We will work hard in further developing awareness for the brand and it all looks very positive.” “By nature I like to think in a very positive way and I would like to inject this into the team, so if the door is

closed then we’ll open a window then if a window is closed, we’ll knock the wall and open another door. As I said this is where hotel management companies will prove themselves to be the leading role in terms of adapting through the market changes and having creativity, innovations and marketing strategy. It could be a very trying year but we’re ready for it, we’re not scared of it and we are prepared for it.” “I refer to an old saying and I think about it in difficult times, ‘If fear didn’t existed, what wouldn’t men do’ and that by itself is very invigorating, very motivating and I would like to trickle this down to the ranks so they will always think positively,” ends Zogbi.

GM Fact File: Nationality: Lebanese Family Status: Married What do you enjoy most about your job: Seeing the satisfaction on the face of our customers. I also enjoy sharing what I know with the people whom I worked with and trying to help them to reach their potential. Favorite pastime: Watching old black and white movies because there are certain things you can learn from them. Horoscope: Aquarius

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A busy 2009 for

Millennium Hotel Sharjah

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cting General Manager Sherif Ezzat revealed that plans are being undertaken with the help and support from the authorities and hotel operators in Sharjah to find ways to make 2009 a very productive and promising year.

Attracting Local Market Top of the list is to concentrate on attracting the local market and the surrounding areas within the Gulf. In order to execute this, the property is looking at creating attractive packages that would possibly collaborate with other sectors like the airline industry to develop a package that would include both hotel room and airfare at a very affordable rate. “We are also seeking support from the authorities if they could hold activities that will attract the local market especially for families. Sharjah is a destination for families and we want to organize events that will be attractive to them including traditional and cultural activities,” added Ezzat. Ezzat mentioned that events like the Sharjah-Water Festival that was held in December last year could be an example of local events that would attract a lot of visitors. “People came and enjoyed the festival. They came to watch the races and participate in the activities so I think things like this can move people to come here.”

Participation in Exhibition Aside from the local market, Millennium Hotel Sharjah will pursue its plans of joining different major travel exhibitions to showcase the property to the foreign market. Next month, Millennium Hotel Sharjah will be at ITB Berlin, the word’s leading travel trade show where tour operators, booking engines, destinations, airlines, and hotels up to car rentals will

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Despite the ongoing crisis that is affecting all sectors of the UAE’s economy, the Millennium Hotel Sharjah is optimistic that things will change and the year will be a busy one for the property.


We are participating in some of the major exhibits in conjunction with the Sharjah Tourism Authority. Next to ITB, we will be present at GIBTM and ATM in May

be present. “We are participating in some of the major exhibits in conjunction with the Sharjah Tourism Authority. Next to ITB, we will be present at GIBTM and ATM in May,” he adds.

Enhanced Hotel Service Ezzat confirmed that services will be enhanced at Millennium Hotel Sharjah to give more benefits to their guests. In the coming months, the spa services at the property will be upgraded to offer different state-ofthe-art treatments. The treatments will include Thai massage, Swedish massage and Balinese massage, among others. Expert therapists for these kinds of treatments will ensure that your trip to the Millennium Hotel Sharjah’s spa will be relaxing and rejuvenating.


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ART & ENTERTAINMENT

A Land of

Dream and Love

Orphan Coplu presented his most recent work at Art Attack Gallery in Dubai

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orn in the town of Ushak, Turkey and now based in Vancouver, Canada, Coplu’s impressive journey as an artist started as a young child. His mother, a weaver, taught him about figures, the meanings of patterns and the emotional effectiveness of color. His formative years were periods of optimism for Coplu, although the challenges and changes in the world around him gave him the urge to paint for freedom of expression. Coplu states “My heart could not remain on my studying while my mind was completely occupied with political issues. I was witnessing a huge turmoil in my environment and documenting it through my art.”

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Following his first art exhibition in 1984, Coplu has since become a wellloved and widely collected artist with exhibitions throughout Europe, North America and Japan. His works have been published in numerous magazines, newspapers, books and catalogues around the world. Coplu’s work, “A Land of Dream and Love”, is a mirror, reflects the feelings, beliefs, thoughts, fears and experiences. He uses symbols to express his thoughts and convey his themes. In his paintings cloud symbolizes dreams; heart, symbolizes Love; boat symbolizes adventure and journey. The figures in his paintings are mainly the human beings and relations between themselves and the environment they are part of. His paintings are full of hope and emotions that the human beings hold within their soul and mind but shed away with the society’s strict rules. He believes that the happiness and beauty of human’s life lie in the journey of dreaming and loving each other. He combines three creative elements in the simplest but most effective way to define his themes, so that people from any nationality, race

or age can understand them. These distinguishing elements on his paintings are vibrant and contrasting colors, humor and universal symbols. A Land of Dream and Love by Orphan Coplu was displayed at Art Attack Gallery which strives to introduce vibrant local and International artists enriching the communities’ art diversity and reflect this in the eclectic mix in paintings, sculptures and installation exhibited at the gallery. The Dubai gallery is situated in the Jumeirah area between Al Wasl Road and Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai. For more events, visit their website at www. artattackgallery.net


Memorable Moments

created this

at Atlantis, The Palm Avail to one of the many Valentine’s Day dining options and ensure an unforgettable evening for you and your loved one. Atlantis, The Palm invites enamored couples to come celebrate their love this Valentine’s Day by indulging in one of the resort’s many culinary adventures in the most romantic of settings. Be it indoors overlooking the mesmerizing Ambassador Lagoon or poolside on the resort’s sandy shores overlooking the glittering Dubai skyline, guests have an array of options to choose from to ensure the most memorable of nights. Enjoy beachside dining at Nasimi with a set menu for two with complimentary bottle of sparkling wine for AED600 per couple. Nasimi is the ideal option for young couples looking to enjoy eclectic cuisine whilst taking in the breathtaking views of the blue waters of the Arabian Gulf and The Palm Jumeirah. For the traditionalists, head over to Levantine for a true taste of Arabia as you share authentic Arabic delights with your loved one over a candle lit dinner as romantic tunes by a Lebanese violist player fill the evening.  The Levantine Valentine’s Day offer comes at AED600 per couple including his and hers gifts; mementos of the magical night. True romantics can choose to celebrate their love in the most elegant and romantic of all Atlantis restaurants, Ossiano, offering superb seafood by world-renowned three Michelin starred Chef Santi Santamaria in a stunning setting in the underwater world of Atlantis. An elegant and mysterious space designed with variations of silver and pearl, it is the perfect location for an intimate dining experience, with

unmatched views into the marine habitat filled with live sharks and fish. Set menus on this special occasion will offer a comprehensive experience with welcome drinks upon arrival, to caviar tapas at the bar to full seafood menu for main courses for AED980 per person. Whilst some will choose to dine in intimacy at Ossiano, others might favor something a little more nontraditional and spend their evening celebrating their love in cutting-edge Japanese style at Nobu. Guests can choose to dine a la carte and nibble on Nobu’s signature dishes whilst others can ensure a flawless night by choosing the set menu at AED750 per person.  No one speaks passion and love like the French, so guests can also head over to Rostang, The French Brasserie for a romantic evening a deux with Rostang’s optional set menu at AED380 per person inclusive of a welcome drink. Welcome drinks and an optional set menu is also available at Ronda Locatelli in a warm, inviting, and charming setting at AED380 per person. Alas, for those who will choose to celebrate with friends, optional set menus for groups of 4 are also available at Seafire – the resort’s modern New York City steakhouse at the price of AED680 for two. Don’t leave this momentous night to chance; book early to ensure your special someone knows how much you care.  For reservations or additional information please contact the restaurant reservations team on 04-426-2626 or by emailing: dxbrestres@atlantisthepalm.com.


PROPERTY

Structural work completed at

Emirates Gardens development DAMAC Properties’ Jumeirah Village project completes main structure on site

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uxury lifestyle provider DAMAC Properties Dubai has announced the completion of the main structure of its Emirates Gardens development. Emirates Garden (Phase One) is the company’s first project in Jumeirah Village and comprises three separate buildings each of four storeys. The structure, as well as the MEP and finishes for each of the complexes have now been completed by the Contractor, Intermass, and works have already commenced on plastering, tiling and wiring. In addition, work to install elevators has also begun. Emirates Gardens will eventually offer studio, one and two bedroom apartments amongst a waterside setting with walkways and cycle trails through the surrounding gardens for residents to enjoy. Apartments have been themed in either traditional Arabic or Mediterranean styles and the buildings will also encompass a range of retail units, cafes and restaurants on the

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ground floor. The ideal central location of Jumeirah Village with close links to Media and Internet City and also Jebel Ali Free Zone means it will appeal to a wide range of customers. Commenting on the progress made at Emirates Garden, DAMAC Properties CEO, Peter Riddoch, said: “This will be our first project to be completed in Jumeirah Village so to see the completion of the structures in the first phase is a significant milestone for us.” “We believe that Emirates Gardens will attract a whole range of residents from professionals requiring good connections to some of the most important business hubs in the city to families with young children wanting to make the most of the outdoor lifestyle and great local facilities.” The three buildings in the first phase (named Gardenia, Lavender and Rose) are due for completion in

third quarter of 2009 with the second phase due to follow shortly afterwards. DAMAC Properties has a number of projects under construction at Jumeirah Village including the recently launched Green Park development and also Tuscan Residence, a low rise three building development with five storey towers reminiscent of Tuscany. Facilities for residents at Jumeirah village are also well provided with two locally based international schools, medical facilities, veterinary clinics and country clubs nearby. Mr Riddoch added: “Living in Jumeirah village will really epitomise the best that Dubai has to offer in terms of all round lifestyle. There is something to suit everyone and we expect customers who have already purchased properties from us in this area to be extremely happy and satisfied with their choice.”


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he Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort & Towers invites you and your loved one to experience the most memorable and romantic moments this month of love. Enjoy dinner on the breathtaking Jumeirah Beach, in a truly secluded environment. Dine under the stars with great food meticulously prepared for you by our culinary team. Reserve early so you can choose from the set menu for a more discreet and excellent service. The dinner will include a bottle of champagne and a gift bag for your special someone.

The Grill Room Enjoy a special six-course menu prepared by Chef Santos Montes and his team in the romantic

setting of the Grill Room, Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort & Tower’s traditional steakhouse restaurant. Priced at AED 1000 per couple including a glass of Champagne, this date will surely put a smile on your special one’s face this Valentine’s Day.

The Peacock Restaurant Overlooking the hotel’s lobby and garden, The Peacock Restaurant is another venue to treat your loved one to a romantic evening this Valentine’s Day. Say “I love you” in Chinese by taking that special someone to the Peacock Restaurant with special menus available.

The Moods Bar The mood is definitely romantic at The Moods Bar this Valentine’s Day. Special cocktails will be prepared by our mixoligist to send a little tingle down your spine. Cocktails will come with something special to make your night even romantic and passionate. To enjoy these lovely treat, please call 04 399 5533 for reservations.

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St.Valentines Day at Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort & Towers


TRANQUIL MOMENTS

A Valentine Treat For a Special One… Give your loved ones an exclusive spa experience this Valentine’s for a truly relaxing, rejuvenating and refreshing feeling.

Zen Spa

Zen Spa A truly unique experience that stimulate the senses; whilst the deep penetrating warmth and blended herbs soothe and alleviate the muscle tension, aches and pains at Zen Spa at the Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi. This treatment combines Eastern massage techniques with a light pressure patting, rolling, kneading and gentle yet deeply effective massage. The heat from the herbal compresses carries the herbal essences and essential oils deep into the skin, tissues and organs. This treatment brings out a deep sense of comfort and warmth stimulating the body to detoxify and heal itself. Enjoy this special massage with your partner in one of our tranquility suites. A 60-minute massage is for AED 400 and AED 600 for a 90-minute massage. For more information, call Zen Spa at 02 6979333.

CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La Spoil your loved one this Valentine’s with a relaxing and rejuvenating CHI journey massage at a special rate of dhs 1650++ per

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couple for the month of February. What better way to convey your appreciation during this month of love for a friend or a special someone than a Spa Gift Certificate? To soothe those muscles from a hectic day, CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La, is offering gift certificates in different denominations redeemable for any spa services or spa products. At a loss for a present that is unique and useful? CHI, The Spa at ShangriLa has the perfect solution. With a customized hamper that could include spa treatment and unique spa accessories, it is the ideal solution to convey your love for that special someone. For more information, please call CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La at 02 509 8900.

aromatherapy bath specially prepared with RafflesAmrita touches, in the privacy of your own Couple suite, complete with a Jacuzzi, fresh fruit platter and fresh juices. Immerge from the bath relieved from any tension to enjoy a luxurious side-by-side aromatherapy massage, where all your senses will come alive in a midst of soothing oils and calming hands. The ultimate in private spa luxury. In addition, receive two complimentary glasses of KIR Royal (or non alcoholic equivalent). This Romantic Retreat Delight Package is price at AED 1289 for 2 people for 90 minutes. Take time away to be together. Step into the privacy of your own Couple Spa Suite and surrender to the romantic ambience as you enjoy side-by-side Aromatherapy massages, using our exclusive signature perfumed oils. In addition, receive two complimentary glasses of KIR Royal (or non alcoholic equivalent). This ‘Togetherness’ package is price at AED 889 for 60-minute and AED

Raffles Amrita Spa Enjoy a romantic Raffles experience with your loved one and indulge in the ultimate couple’s treatment. Let the pressure of everyday life melt away as you share a romantic candlelight

CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La


Raffles Amrita Spa

1189 for 9—minute. For appointments and inquiries, please call RafflesAmrita Spa reception at +971 4 314 9869 or email at: spa.dubai@raffles.com

Amara Amara, the luxury day spa at Park Hyatt Dubai, has designed some luxurious treatments tailored specially to suit both men and women as the ideal gift for those looking for that truly special Valentine’s Day treat. These offers are available throughout February and can be enjoyed in the Couples’ suites.

Package 1: “Romance for Two” in the Couples’ Suite – 45 minutes; Dhs550 per person This ritual gives you a touch of the spa experience for which the Amara Spa is renowned, including: Outdoor rain shower in your private Couples’ suite terrace garden; A foot and hand cleansing ritual in the garden; Choose your musical styling from a unique and beautiful menu, played through Bose speakers; A 45-minute luxury body massage with pure rose and santal massage oil; Arabian tea, dates, roasted almonds and apricots served during the ritual; A selection from the Spa cuisine menu, including a glass of champagne and strawberries, served poolside at the Amara Lounge; Full-day use of the 25 m swimming pool with four whirlpool baths, the fragranced steam room and the gymnasium.

Package 2: “The Luxury Spa Ritual for Two” - 2 hours; Dhs950 per person A romantic experience to be shared in the most private Couples’ Suite in Dubai, this includes: Outdoor rain shower in your private Couples’ suite terrace garden; Foot and hand cleansing ritual in the garden; Choose your musical styling from a unique and beautiful menu, played through Bose speakers ; A gentle body scrub that will leave you with beautifully smooth skin, and feeling revived and invigorated; A relaxing and luxurious body massage with pure rose and santal massage oil ; A hydra radiance facial using the exclusive spa brand Ann Semonin to refresh a tired complexion with a mineral masque that boosts circulation to reveal skin clarity Arabian tea, dates, roasted almonds and apricots served during the ritual A selection from the Spa cuisine menu, including a glass of champagne and strawberries, served poolside at the Amara Lounge; Full-day use of the 25 m swimming pool with four whirlpool baths, the fragranced steam room and the gymnasium. For reservations, call 04 602 1234.

The Palace, The Old Town

Hilton Dubai Jumeirah

For couples seeking an exclusive romantic experience for celebrating Valentine’s Day, The Palace proposes all the desired components from limousine pick-up, one night stay in a luxurious Royal Suite inclusive of breakfast, dinner on the private viewing deck with stunning

views on the Burj Dubai, dedicated butler, customized menu designed by our Chef, exclusive in-room massages, and a De Beers Heart Shape Diamond Pendant for the lady. AED 1000 per couple. For more information and bookings, call 04 428 7888.

The Spa at the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Let cupid guide you and your valentine to the The Spa at the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah for an unforgettable couple’s spa day. The two and half hour special package begins with a 50 minute chocolate body scrub and mask ritual. This heavenly chocolate potion casts its spell from the inside out; not only does the scrub nourish and hydrate your skin all-over, but its intoxicating aroma also acts as an aphrodisiac, raising your endorphin levels, the feel-good-hormone, making you feel relaxed and very much in-love. Next, lie side by side in the spa’s special couple’s suite where you and your partner are treated simultaneously by your dedicated therapists to an 80-minute therapeutic full-body massage. Once you float back to earth after 130 minutes of uninterrupted indulgence, your romantic spa day concludes with “alone-time” in a private balcony overlooking breath taking views of the ocean, inclusive of 2 glasses of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. This treatment is available from 12 to 14th of February for Dhs 1550 per couple. To book a treatment, call The Spa directly on (04) 318 2406.

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DINING PROMOTIONS

Dine with Love Celebrate Valentine’s Day this February and impress your loved one with superb cuisine and totally romantic ambience at any of the UAE’s awardwinning restaurants. AL BUSTAN ROTANA HOTEL Choices Spend the romantic evening with delightful cuisine in the best ambience as you feast on lavish international buffet in contemporary surroundings for only AED 220* per person, inclusive of unlimited selected beverages.

menu for only AED 450* per couple, inclusive of unlimited selected beverages. For reservations, call 04 282 0000.

AL DIAR SIJI HOTEL Al Diwan

Invites everyone for an artful, unique, and healthful dining experience as it once again opens the Teppanyaki live cooking station every Sundays, Tuesdays & Thursdays. Relax, enjoy and savor this authentic cuisine as Chef Mico prepares your meals before your eyes through this ancient art of cooking on iron plates.

Benihana Celebrate the special day in unique style and enjoy a truly Japanese dining experience with a five course Teppan set

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Siji Cafe Surprise your loved ones with Valentine Cakes from Siji Café. Available


from 10th to 14th this month are heart-shaped cold cheese cake topped with fresh strawberry, choco moose cake with French chocolate garnish and irresistible tira-misu cake. For reservations and other enquiries call (09) 223 2000.

AL MUROOJ ROTANA DUBAI Latino House A delectable five-course set menu with live tango performance for AED 750* net per couple including two glasses of Champagne.

Black Pearl Duo. From 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm at Dhs 165++ per person.

Waterside

Azur

A five-course set menu created from the blue waters’ delicacies pared with live entertainment by guitarist and singer will infuse the romance in the air for AED 750* net per couple including two glasses of Champagne. For reservations and more information, please call (04) 3211111 or e-mail to fb.almurooj@ rotana.com.

Spend a special evening with your loved one and treat them to a superb five-course romantic candlelit dinner with welcome ‘Emotions’ cocktail and live music from our guitarist, Louis. From 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm at Dhs 250++ per person. For more information and bookings please contact: 02 508 0555.

AL RAHA BEACH HOTEL, ABU DHABI

BEACH ROTANA ABU DHABI

L’attitude Bar

Indigo

Sevilla

A four course set menu including one glass of Champagne at Dhs 230 per person.

Party the night away at the ‘Tribute to Valentines’ party, with house band and DJ from 9:00 pm onwards on February 13th.

Lavish Valentine buffet featuring lobster, shrimps, tenderloin, oysters and many other exotic dishes. After you have feasted on the fine array of delicacies you can dance the night away with live music and entertainment from the

Trader Vic’s An exotic French-Polynesian evening offering a tempting four-course set

menu including one glass of Champagne at Dhs 230 per person. For more information and bookings, please contact 02 6979000.

DANAT RESORT JEBEL DHANNA Zaitoun For some Italian influenced romance this Valentine’s try a special four-course set menu for Dhs. 300++ per person (inclusive of a bottle of Italian wine). From 6:30pm to 10:30pm.

FOUR POINTS by SHERATON BUR DUBAI The Promenade Asian culinary specials line the buffet table at its delicious Friday Brunch buffet. The appetizer section boasts of fresh seafood, selections of cold cuts, soup of the day and a variety of refreshing salads. A mouthwatering array of Asian delights ensures that you are spoilt for choice when it comes to the main courses. No meal is ever complete without desserts. Available from 12pm to 4pm, the brunch buffet is priced at only AED65 net per person (food only). For reservations, call 04 397 7444.

HILTON DUBAI CREEK Verre A recipe for romance: a six-course dinner in Dubai’s revered restaurant leaves your heart racing. The hedonistic menu includes decadent dishes such as ravioli of Scottish lobster and salmon, pave of sea

February 2009 I Travel Arabia I 73


melt your heart with the chef ’s special valentine’s dessert for AED1500 per couple with two glasses of champagne. For further information or reservations, please contact: (04) 318 2520.

JW MARRIOTT DUBAI JW’s Steakhouse A tantalizing three-course menu for two. Start off with a complimentary love potion. For starters, a dozen juicy oysters or fresh salad of seafood followed by one of JW’s signature steaks at your table and end with a mouth-melting delicate Chocolate Trilogy made of chocolate mousse, spicy chocolate syrup and chocolate layer cake. Don’t miss out on this lovely menu for Dhs 650 per couple including two glasses of champagne to toast the evening. Couples can also opt without champagne for Dhs 550.

Cucina

bass and a heavenly Assiette of strawberry to finish for AED 795 per person including a glass of champagne each.

Glasshouse The special four-course menu boasts delights such as the salmon and prawn ravioli, pan fried sole, and ends with a dramatic aphrodisiac; the Assiette of chocolate for two, an irresistible combination of white chocolate mouse, dark chocolate torte and milk chocolate fondant with a peppermint centre for AED Dhs 395 per person including a glass of Kir Royale. For further information or reservations, please contact: 04 212 7551.

HILTON DUBAI JUMEIRAH Wavebreaker We have set up romantic private tents for two on the beach. Lovers can enjoy a private six-course dinner served by a private butler, while being serenaded by a violinist at AED 1400 per couple including two glasses of Champagne. For further information or reservations, please

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contact 04 3991111.

BiCe A four-course dinner specially created for lovers. Savour the evening in culinary decadence with delights such as lobster carpaccio, home-made ricotta and spinach tortelli with white and black truffle sauces. And to finish,

Enjoy a traditional five-course Italian menu for Dhs 455 per couple with a bottle of Ptosecco. For reservations contact 04 6077977/7009/7588 or log on to www.marriottdiningatjw.ae

KEMPINSKI HOTEL MALL OF THE EMIRATES 24Seven This Valentine’s Day, 14th February, 24Seven offers a romantic recipe of


you to sample many choices for Dhs500 per couple (food only).

Traiteur Enjoy a sophisticated five-course mélange of the tastes and flavours of Traiteur for Dhs950 per couple (food only) or Dhs1,500 per couple, including one bottle of champagne. For reservations, please call+971 4 317 2222.

QAMARDEEN HOTEL Esca

pure mouth-watering passion. Guests can indulge in the delectable set-menu especially designed by 24Seven’s talented culinary team. Priced at just AED 695.00 per couple, this enticing offer also includes one glass of wine or champagne per person, plus a special gift.

MILLENNIM HOTEL ABU DHABI An upgraded Valentine’s buffet with a glass of red or white wine and a harpist to keep you mesmerized. Commencing at 19.00 hrs. Dhs. 350/- net per couple.

The ideal location to experience a surreal and cherished Valentine’s dinner for AED 499 per couple (inclusive of two glasses of bubbly and house beverages) or AED 349 per couple (inclusive of two glasses of sparkling date juice).

1897

Sevilos

Lobby Lounge Café

Available from 1st to 28th February, One glass of Louis Roederer Champagne and caviar with accompaniments is priced at AED 850.00. One bottle of Louis Roederer Champagne and caviar with accompaniments is priced at AED 3,250.00. Be sure to drop by 1897 and treat your palette to a foray of pure pleasure. For more information and booking inquires please call restaurant reservations at +971 4 4095999 or send an email to restaurants.malloftheemirates@ kempinski.com.

Treat your loved one for an enthralling evening at Sevilo’s with a four course set menu, a bottle of selected red or white wine and a welcome glass of champagne. Our Italian singer and guitarist Pino will keep you entertained throughout the evening. Open from 19:30 onwards. Dhs. 500/- net per couple.

Enjoy a regular Cheese and Wine evenings that take place on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 9 pm. For AED 99, guests can enjoy unlimited cheese and three glasses of wine. Thereafter they can enjoy more wine for just half the usual price. For bookings and enquiries please contact Cheryl Quijada on 04 428 5923 (during office hours) or email cherylq@ southernsun.ae.

Citrus

Marakesh

Romantic experience with a French accent. A glass of Sparkling wine and a rose for the lady upon arrival. Four course French dinner with your choice of main course for AED 175+.

With a fabulous Moroccan set menu, a bottle of selected red or white wine and a welcome glass of bubbly sets the mood for a romantic evening. What’s more a rhythmic belly dancer swaying to the sensational sounds of the Moroccan band and Arabic Singer. Starting from 20:00 hrs onwards. Dhs. 600/- net per couple. For reservations, call 971 2 626 2700.

Talay

PARK HYATT DUBAI

Spectacular Thai journey at the newly renovated interior or at the terrace overlooking the gulf water. Glass of Sparkling wine and a rose for the lady upon arrival. Thai four course menu with choice of main course for AED 175+. To book your table or for more information please contact Le Méridien at 02 644 666.

The Thai Kitchen

LE MERIDIEN ABU DHABI Le Bistrot

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Dishes at The Thai Kitchen are presented as a shared experience, ideal for Valentine’s Day. This romantic occasion can also be enjoyed on the adjacent outdoor terrace. For Valentine’s Day, The Thai Kitchen will prepare a wide range of mouthwatering food served on small plates that allow

RADISSON SAS HOTEL, DUBAI MEDIA CITY Tamanya Terrace Rooftop Bar Every Saturday, FunKitchen will turn up the heat at Tamanya Terrace. With a live performance from “The Funk Radius”


mood for the romantic evening ahead, offering a modern European cuisine of delicate flavors. Main dining room is AED 800 net per person, including a glass of vintage Ruinart Rose Champagne or book exclusively one of our four private dining rooms on the mezzanine floor for AED 2500 per couple, including a bottle of vintage Ruinart Rose Champagne. For reservations and inquiries, please call +971 4 314 9888 or email dining.dubai@ raffles.com

set menu, roses and chocolates for an unforgettable evening at 300++ per person. Hoi An is open daily for dinner from 7pm to 12mn.

Bord Eau Nothing conveys the language of romance better than the French with roses for the lady and champagne for

RENAISSANCE DUBAI HOTEL Spice Island

with Jawad El Hachem, a sizzling BBQ at AED 75 per head and five Corona beers for only AED 100, end your weekend with style in the company of friends.

Chef’s House Restaurant Yoshoku is a magical blend of Japanese and Western ingredients and cooking methods to create an extraordinary array of delicious dishes that are mouth watering and inexpensive. An example of this exceptional blend is the combination of a traditional western Lamb rack and combined with a Japanese Miso crust to create a flavour that is both unique and scrumptious. Come and see what is causing such a stir from 17th to 28th February. For more information, call Chef ’s House Restaurant at 04 366 9111.

RAFFLES, DUBAI Azur Celebrate this cherished event in the romantic atmosphere of Azur, overlooking the picturesque one-hectare Raffles Botanical Garden. Share a Valentine feast with an array of mouth-watering treats, specially put together by our culinary brigade for AED 275 per person excluding beverages.

Fire & Ice Our tantalizing five-course menu will set the

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Bring your loved one to Spice Island this Valentine’s Day and we will ask Cupid to shoot his arrows of love. Bruce and his team of merry men and women will ensure a romantic and delightful evening for you. Dinner includes a free glass of bubbly, heart-shaped chocolate and a rose for the special lady.

Sails! A romantic four course menu, sparkling wine, chocolate and roses for the special lady. Highlights of the menu include peanut crusted shrimps on mesclun salad, cream of asparagus soup, grilled marinated beef tenderloin, the love cake, dark chocolate and passion fruit cake. For reservations, a 24 hours advance notice is required. Starting From Dhs. 199/- per person. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at www.marriott.com.

SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, ABU DHABI Hoi An Toast with a glass of champagne and celebrate your love with our five-course

the gentleman while feasting on the delectable set menu in the charming ambience of Bord Eau at 550++ per person. Bord Eau is open daily for dinner from 7pm to 12mn. For more information or to make a booking,


Restaurant Reservations on 02 509 8555 or email restaurantreservations.slad@ shangri-la.com

SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, DUBAI Shang Palace It’s a winter wonderland the whole month of February at Shang Palace as it celebrates the fascinating Harbin Ice Festival! Intricate ice carvings greet guests as we recreate the amazing sculptures of Harbin. Indulge in dishes specially prepared by resident Chinese chef Ken reminiscent of this annual festivity.

Dunes Café Everything is grilled to perfection every Tuesday evenings at Dunes as your favourite barbecue items take centrestage in our popular buffet spread. Dinner buffet at AED 150 per person (food only), AED 210 per person (with wine) and AED 250 per person (with alcoholic spirits). For further information and reservations, please call (04) 405 2703.

SHERATON ABU DHABI If you are looking for the perfect spot to romance your loved one, then you have no other choice but the Sheraton Abu Dhabi. Champagne and roses have been ordered. Join us at La Mamma, El Sombrero, Bravo or Il Paradiso where our expert Chefs have prepared tempting set menus for that special Valentines Tête à Tête. In Flavours you will find a fantastic buffet laden with sumptuous dishes ranging from oysters, prawns to chocolate covered strawberries for AED 185 per person and we offer all diners a complimentary glass of bubbly, what could be better. For reservations, please call 02 697 0262.

SHERATON DEIRA HOTEL The Terrace An exotic Valentine’s dinner buffet awaits you at The Terrace for Dhs. 300 net per couple served from 7.30 pm till 11.30pm, including a glass of Sparkling wine and a heart shaped take-away

Strawberry cake. The recently launched theme night ‘Indian Roti and Curry Night’, is available every Friday’s as of 7.30pm till 11pm for Dhs. 79 net per person. Your best bet to be on a Friday while you enjoy the sumptuous Indian culinary journey with either ‘Sweet lassi’ or Jeera Pani’ and wheel through the buffet arcade. Call 04- 2688888 Ext. 8615 for reservation and more details.

SHERATON DUBAI CREEK Creekside Japanese Restaurant Geoduck is one of the most unique seafood delicacies and highly regarded as a prized delicacy in some Asian cuisines. Fondly known as Mirugai in Japanese menu, Creekside offers patrons a rare treat into this delicacy for the month of February. Price is from AED98 per dish. For reservations, call 04 207 1750.

This menu has been being worked on for a great deal of time and the team in Peacock is sure it will please all.

Seabreeze The Seabreeze bar is now open till 3 am daily! You can sit right on the oceans edge while enjoying mouth watering Lebanese cuisine, or just enjoy your favorite Shisha and a drink with friends. For more information, call 971 4 315 3955.

THE PALACE, THE OLD TOWN The Palace proposes another kind of romantic exclusivity by the poolside. Twelve stylish tables will be elegantly placed by the water poolside, offering the most romantic setting with perfect lighting in an array of palm trees. Each

Ashiana Indian Restaurant For the month of February, Chef Gaurav will be displaying his culinary skills on one of India’s finest cuisines, Hyderabadi cuisine. For those who want a taste of the royal menu, head down to Ashiana and a must-try is the Kachee Yakhni Dum Ki Gosht Biryani (tender cuts of mutton slow cooked with basmati in a sealed pot). For reservations, please call 04 207 1733.

SHERATON JUMEIRAH BEACH RESORT & TOWERS The Grill Room A menu that shows Chef Santos Montes passion for using only the best quality ingredients to make a dish people will be talking about for weeks to come. Start with Oysters “grill room style” followed by Lobster Tom Yam Gong and finish with Grilled Lobster just to name one option from this menu that will keep you coming back for more.

The Peacock Restaurant Chef Jun and his team will guide you through a culinary journey as they take you to the Szechwan area of China.

table will be “coupled” to traditional Arabic tents (12) set around the pool, allowing the couples to have their first drink and canapés in the private “Khaima” with low setting and traditional colours, and then move forward to the classic white set up table for a romantic dinner. After-drinks, dessert and Shisha can again be served in the traditional tents perfecting the relaxing night. This package is inclusive of dinner only. AED 1500 per couple inclusive of a bottle of Champagne

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A classic Valentines’ set menu offered in Thiptara, Royal Thai cuisine, dinner only inclusive of a bottle of wine while Asado, Argentine Grill will offer A la carte menu. For more information call +97144287888.

February 2009. The all time favourite Prawn Bucket promotion is held available daily for dinner from 7.30 p.m. to 11.30 p.m. at The Junction restaurant, located next to the Lobby Lounge. Prawn Bucket promotion features three creative cooking styles – Wok Fried, Garlic Grilled and Thai Curry. Priced at only AED99 nett per adult and AED49 nett per child. For reservations, please call The Junction at (04) 214 7272.

THE MONTGOMERIE, DUBAI Nineteen Treat your sweetheart to a delectable five-course gourmet dinner. Executive Sous Chef Peter Frost has created a mouthwatering menu that is perfect for this wonderful evening of romance. The soft ambience, a special serenade by our live musician, a glass of bubbly on arrival and a special gift for the lady, all add magic to the occasion. Please call +971 4 390 5600 to make your reservation.

TOWERS ROTANA Flavours On Two Every Monday Experience the divine taste of India. The night features all-time –favourite kababs, curries and biryanis from the sub-continent and an array of delectable desserts. So drop in and enjoy the true Indian fiesta for only Dhs169* per person.

Teatro Treat your loved one to a romantic evening at Teatro. Enjoy the best of East meets West in a truly contemporary setting. A specially-selected four-course menu will ensure that love is most definitely in the air as you sample some of the finest delights Dubai has to offer. At just AED 700* net per couple, the special Valentine’s Package also includes a decadent bottle of bubbly to really get you in the mood for romance. Please call 043122210 / 04-3122202 for Reservation.

TRADERS HOTEL DUBAI The Junction The popular Prawn Bucket promotion is making a come back from 1 until 28

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HOLIDAY INN DUBAI, AL BARSHA The Royal Buddha Relish in the zeal of our signature Thai chef in preparing authentic dishes with distinct flavours rooted in ancient traditions and enjoy Valentine delights of mouth watering cuisine to be washed down with specially selected wine The Royal Buddha boasts an extensive cocktail, spirit and fine wine menu to leave the discerning connoisseur in a

state of bliss. This Valentine enjoy a set menu fit for a Prince and Princess, including a selected bottle of wine, serenaded with live music for 350AED only for a couple. Book early for a memorable Valentine. For reservations call +971 4 7040801.


Profile for Kalimat Group International

Travel Arabia Feb 09  

February Issue of Travel Arabia by Kalimat Group International

Travel Arabia Feb 09  

February Issue of Travel Arabia by Kalimat Group International

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