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PRICES - KSA SR 15 UAE DHS 15 OMAN RO 1 BAHRAIN BD 1.5 LEBANON LL 10 000 QATAR QR 15 SYRIA SL 150 KUWAIT KD 1.5

March 2007, Volume 3, Issue 3

Exploring

Bulgaria

The country with 9 UNESCO World Heritage sites

Djerba Isle of Forgetfulness Business Travel Making the Most of a Trade Show Fujairah The Next Tourist Destination

Photography: Loam Desert, Iran And Spring Field

February 2007

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had the privilege of visiting two Rotana properties last month – the Burjuman Rotana Suites that opened last February 15 and the Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa that is scheduled to open this month. I was impressed with both properties. I was expecting to see identical properties since both were being managed by the Rotana Hotels but to my surprise, each is totally different from the other. Burjuman Rotana Suites is a revelation. The new property is very trendy and stylish and the suites are huge and very spacious. The junior and the executive suites have complete kitchen facilities, with built-in washer and dryer, a huge living room and bedroom. The hotel will greatly appeal to travelers on business or family vacationers visiting Dubai. Another benefit is that the property has direct access to the prestigious Burjuman Mall so you don’t need to worry about the time if you got carried away shopping for your self, family or friends. Burjuman Rotana Suites is also located near the Dubai World Trade Center and the Dubai International Airport which is very convenient for business travellers. Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa is a typical resort situated along Al Aqah Beach, next to the Le Meridien Hotel. The resort has all the amenities and facilities of a resort for your total enjoyment and relaxation. Here, you can sit on the beach, read a book, sunbathe, or simply enjoy the view. Its location is ideal for a weekend getaway, a week-long vacation, a much-needed rest from a stressing job or simply to relax and enjoy. What’s very unique about this property is the FREE use of water sports to its guests. This is a very practical thing and hats off to the management of FRRS for this idea. This feature gives traveller another reason to enjoy the stay. Speaking of Fujairah, this emirate is really growing. It’s my first time to visit the place and although I didn’t have enough time to explore some of the famous sites I was fascinated by the view especially on the way to Al Aqah Beach. We took a road that is between the Hajr Mountains and the scenery is amazing. The colours of the mountain, the landscapes and the serenity of the place give a total feeling of calmness. On our way back to Dubai, we stopped by the Fujairah city. The city is clean with a few high-rise buildings. You won’t miss the magnificent roundabouts when you are driving around Fujairah – the jugs, the coffee pot and the sprinkler. The roundabouts are a normal sight when you visit the different emirates but to my knowledge there are no identical roundabouts and seeing how they were built really amazes me.

We are featuring Fujairah this issue, considered to be the next destination of the millennium. We are also featuring some of the properties there to give travellers a choice of destination and a guaranteed accommodation when they visit Fujairah. On another note, we are featuring Bulgaria for the Outside Arabia section. This country has so much to offer to visitors because of its natural resources, rich history and culture (Bulgaria has nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites). It is a country with a thriving economy and a booming property market. It is described as a nation with heart and a country with an air of excitement and expectation. Djerba in Tunisia, which travellers have labeled, Isle of Forgetfulness, is featured in the Living Arabia section. This destination is said to hold visitors under its spell Exploring because of its clear-blue sky, The country with 9 shining white UNESCO World Heritage sites houses, clean and Djerba well-kept towns, Isle of Forgetfulness tree-covered Business Travel Making the Most countryside and of a Trade Show warm, yet not too Fujairah The Next Tourist Destination hot climate. PRICES - KSA SR 15 UAE DHS 15 OMAN RO 1 BAHRAIN BD 1.5 LEBANON LL 10 000 QATAR QR 15 SYRIA SL 150 KUWAIT KD 1.5

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Editor’s Note Editor’s Note March 2007, Volume 3, Issue 3

Bulgaria

We are giving you a glimpse of the ����������������������������������������������� Spring/Summer Collection for clothing, footwear and other accessories from some famous designers. February 2007

Spring is the most wonderful time of the year. It is when flowering plants with different colours bloom. The sight of different colours around is a breathtaking site. Springtime is seen as a time of growth, renewal, and of the cycle of life once again starting. It is also used more generally as a start of better times. With a good climate, it is also a better time to explore and discover the many sites here in the UAE. A weekend getaway, a driving trip, an overnight camping, a mountain trek, a sailing trip or just a bicycle ride with your friends, family or loved ones will always bring good and fun memories.

Another interesting place in Fujairah is the Friday Market – a long stretch of stalls selling fruits, vegetables, plants, and carpets of different designs, shapes and size. I didn’t get a chance to stop and fully discover the place but this gives me a good reason to return to this city. Flor B Pamintuan Editor

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Letters Letters

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 General Manager Hekmat el Zein Editor Flor B. Pamintuan editor@travel-arabia.com Staff Writers Anjana Das Habeeb Salloum Contributors Gordon Torbet Eugene Correia Angela T Chuck Wightman Ty Treadwell Photographers Mahesh Kumar Duvvuru Maher El Zein Samir Ahmed Designer Mohammed Usman Siraj Assistant Designer Mohd Noufal Althaf Hussain Sales & Marketing Manager Syed Muhammad Arif arif@kalimatgroup.com 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. © 2006 Kalimat Group International

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Email your comments or suggestions to editor@travel-arabia.com

Online version of Travel Arabia

year and enjoy it with your loved one.

Thank you for sending me the link to Travel Arabia’s online version. I checked out your magazine and it looks very cool. I like the concept of being able to easily flip through the pages. I am sure the online version was posted earlier than the printed copies. This means your clients can easily see their advertisement and the travellers plus your avid readers can review and read the whole issue even before it hits the stand. Travel Arabia is really moving forward and again congratulations to your team.

Anne Therese Valencia Mankhool Area

Nate Hawley Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

Wider Coverage of the Region I would like to commend you for including news from the different properties within the region. This is an easy way to see which new hotels are opening in different destinations giving travellers like me a choice of accommodation. A lot of business travellers usually finds time to relax, be it a little shopping, sight seeing, dining or just trying a couple of water sports activities. Having a lot of options will definitely give us more reason to travel. Keep up the good work. Sherien Ahmed Bahrain

Valentine Food The feature about the Valentine food is very interesting. I haven’t really tried preparing some of the recipes provided in the article but it’s good to know how certain foods are associated with romance and fantasy. I was fascinated reading about the fish associated with aphrodisiac powers. And the fact that there is some scientific basis to it is what makes the article very interesting. Now we are not confide to just having chocolates or candy as gifts for Valentine’s Day. One can prepare the meal anytime of the

Sharjah – Cultural Heart of the UAE I read your article about Sharjah and didn’t realize that it has so much museums focusing on archaeology, art, the state’s legacy, natural history and science. Little did I know that there’s so much to explore in this emirate. Now I know why it is called the “Cultural Capital of the Arabs”. There’s so much to learn from these museums and I will make sure that I visit them on my next trip. When I visit Sharjah I always end up in the city especially at the Central Souk where you can see almost all the things you need. I don’t think any visitor going to this market leave the place empty handed. Thanks for this information. Hussein Al Quasis

DSF 2006-2007 Congratulations to the committee, members, sponsors and everybody behind the success of the last Dubai Shopping Festival. It was a long festival and everybody managed to sustain the thrill even on the last day of the festivities. I think all of the sectors who participated in this year’s event were all very happy with the outcome. There’s no dull moment whenever I visit the malls. I went to Burjuman and the street performers were very good. I went to Zaabeel Park and the atmosphere was lively. The Mall of the Emirates has all the exciting shows. Not to forget is the Global Village. No matter how far Global Village is, visitors and residents trooped to this area to enjoy the rides, play the games and eat with the family. Smiling faces are seen everywhere especially those watching the Aqua Fantasia show and the fireworks display. I enjoyed this year’s festival and can’t wait to see what’s in store next. Latifah Dubai


Inside March 2007

14 Features 14 FUJAIRAH – THE NEXT TOURIST DESTINATION

20 FUJAIRAH ROTANA RESORT & SPA – A TOURIST HAVEN

Fujairah, the fourth largest in area and the youngest of the seven emirates, is renowned for its beautiful golden sandy beaches. A land of deep history, rich nature, and fascinating sights and colours, it the place labeled as the tourist destination of the new millennium.

26 RELAX AND ENJOY AT LE MERIDIEN AL AQAH BEACH RESORT

A perfect place to relax and enjoy, Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa offers a unique experience because of the tropical concept, watersport activities that are free of charge and a secluded location where you can fully enjoy your privacy. Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort nestled between the Hajar Mountains and the Indian Ocean is perfectly placed to enable its guests to make the most of the emirate’s year-round sunshine, with its range of mountain, coastal and heritage attractions, and diving and snorkelling opportunities.

30 MAKING THE MOST OF A TRADE SHOW

It takes more than a handful of business cards and company brochures to make the most of an international conference. From choosing the right airline to fly, to deciding whether to meet an existing client or a potential buyer, here are some of the things you wish you had known earlier.

34 MEBA: GROWTH IN THE BUSINESS AVIATION INDUSTRY

The success of this year’s Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) conference and exhibition signified that the business aviation industry is rapidly growing as seen by the increase in the number of participants plus the unveiling of major regional developments from the key players of the business aviation sector.

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Inside March 2007

Departments 4 LETTERS

38 LIVING ARABIA – Djerba-Tunisia Why this island, which travellers have labelled, ‘Isle of Forgetfulness’, holds visitors under its spell is virtually unexplainable. A great many attribute it to its magic halo - a combination of a clear-blue sky, shining white houses, clean and well-kept towns, tree-covered countryside and warm, yet not too hot climate. Whatever the case, a good number of travellers go into raptures when describing this island - made famous by Ulysses.

46 OUTSIDE ARABIA- Bulgaria

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Bulgaria, situated in Southeast Europe occupies the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. It is a country rich in history and culture. In fact, of the 300 landmarks listed by the UNESCO List of World Heritage, nine are Bulgarian wonders. It’s a country blessed with natural resources, a country with a thriving economy and a booming property market, a nation with a rich historical and cultural heart and a country with an air of excitement and expectation.

54 FASHION & STYLE Take a glimpse of the Spring & Summer Collection 2007 from some of the famous designers. Check out the latest from Marlboro, Ungaro, ShoeMart, Wafi City and Hogan’s.

60 FACE TO FACE Travel Arabia talks to Naeem Darkazally, Area Director of Sales and Marketing for all the Rotana Hotels, Suites and Resorts in Dubai & Northern Emirates, about the new properties opening and the reasons behind their success.

62 PROMOTIONS The hotels in the UAE have prepared something for the month of March. Check which hotel caters to your need and make your reservations.

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70 GREAT TASTES A world class dining experience at Al Fanar If you are in Abu Dhabi and looking for a dining place where you will feel a true insight of tailor-made exquisite cuisine, where tradition blends magically with modern cooking, and where you could see a breathtaking view of the emirate, then head to Al Fanar at Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi.

74 TRANQUIL MOMENTS A true Ayurvedic experience at Softouch Spa

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Whether you’re a stressed working mother, a jet-lagged businessman, a couple or a hotel guest who wants a relaxing massage after a day’s shopping, the Softouch Spa at Kempinski Hotel at the Mall of the Emirates is an excellent retreat to get the relaxation and relief for your stressed back or your tired legs and feet.

78 INDUSTRY NEWS

Regional news from the tourism industry.


Tastef the o

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ai Tao at Kempinski Hotel Ajman takes guests on a culinary journey to the East Guangdong, the southern province of China, is one of the most fertile regions in the world. Here, exotic tropical fruits flourish, and lush fields of vegetables and rice paddies fill the Pearl River Delta. Alongside this abundance of fresh produce is an awesome array of seafood, so it is no wonder the Cantonese cooking is famed around the world for its fresh taste and natural goodness. The secret of Cantonese cooking is that everything is done in moderation, letting the natural tastes of the ingredients shine through. The chef at Kempinski Hotel Ajman’s Hai Tao manages to strike this fine balance with a menu boasting an array of delicate Cantonese dishes as well as some fiery Szechuan favourites stirred into the mix to heat things up. As anyone who has ever dined in a genuine Cantonese restaurant in either Hong Kong or China will tell you, décor wise Hai Tao offers you the real deal. A large antique rickshaw dominates the centre of the restaurant and other oriental touches can be found in the surrounding details. No trip to a Chinese restaurant is complete without Peking Duck. At Hai Tao, you can order either a half duck for starters or a whole duck for mains. Apart from the great taste, the fun of ordering Peking duck is the elaborate carving ceremony that accompanies it, where slithers of the duck combined with Hoi Sin sauce are rolled up in delicate pancakes. Once you’ve finished off your meal with a traditional Cantonese-style dessert (steamed bird’s nest in coconut milk, anyone?), you’ll want to take a stroll through the Kempinski Hotel Ajman’s impressive seaside gardens. This welcoming, laidback beach retreat – a short distance from the buzzing commercial hubs of Sharjah and Dubai – offers guests a unique holiday experience with access to the longest private beach in the Northern Emirates and a rich local culture.


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IN THE UAE I FUJAIRAH

Fujairah

Tourist Destination of the New Millennium

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For the historian, Fujairah is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. The old fort in Fujairah’s historic town which is approximately 300 years old and the many small wind towers still standing in neighbouring villages are proud reminders of the town’s recent past

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ujairah, the fourth largest in area and the youngest of the seven emirates, is renowned for its beautiful golden sandy beaches. It is the only city on the east coast (Dubai and Abu Dhabi are located on the west cost) and a perfect place for a peaceful retreat. A land of deep history, Fujairah is home to the oldest mosque in the UAE at Al Bidiya, including a 300-year old fort overlooking the town. The climate in Fujairah is semi tropical and since it is the only emirate that is totally mountainous, the emirate received a higher average of yearly rainfall. This allows farmers in the region to produce a significant amount of crop every year. The government of Fujairah is ruled by Shaikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, who has been in power since the death of his father in 1974. His government is actively promoting Fujairah as a tourist destination and is capitalizing on the rich heritage and tradition of the state plus the wonderful beaches, mountain chains and archaeological sites. Main cities are Al Fujairah, Dibba, Marbah, Al Bidiya and Masafi. A Land of Deep History For the historian, Fujairah is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. The old fort in Fujairah’s historic town which is approximately 300 years old and the many small wind towers still standing in neighbouring villages are proud reminders of the town’s recent past. However, archaeological actions have shown that man’s presence in the region actually dates back to the Iron Age. In fact, some of the most important archaeological finds in the Arabian Gulf have been made in the area. Situated just two kilometres away from the main town, the Fujairah Fort is a strategically located mud brick structure. A huge castle built in 1670 A.D. which consists of three major buildings and several halls and towers surrounded by the old Fujairah, the fort was fully renovated in the year 2000. Two of the buildings are shaped like a cone linked by a

March 2007

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massive high wall topped by pyramid-like structures which were used in the past as shooting and observation posts. The Al Bidya Mosque dates back 400 years and displays a unique feat of engineering for the time. All four domes are supported by one central pillar and internal decoration combines stone carvings with special shelves to house the Holy Quran. Al Bidaya Mosque is situated about 31 km north of the City of Fujaiah near the coastal road that links the city to the City of Dibba. Al Hayl Castle, 8 km south-west of Fujairah city, is one of the most famous castles in the Emirate of Fujairah. It used to be a headquarters for the ruler and had been used for patrolling, surveillance and to defend the neighbouring areas. The fort is surrounded by a wall with small openings to enable shooters to defend it effectively with minimum loss. Outside the fort and atop a small hill stands the watch tower that overlooks the palace and the village. The ground floor houses a facility that makes date molasses. Built in 1735 near Al Bathna Village 13 km west of Fujairah city, the Al Bathna Fort has guarded the strategic route across the Hajar Mountains through Ham wadi since the 18th century, and was considered among the most important forts and castles in the eastern part of UAE. A Land of Rich Nature Fujairah’s unspoiled natural beauty has all nice faces of rich and beautiful nature: mountains, waterfalls, oases and long beaches and more than 30 large valleys in addition to several smaller ones. It is also the land of water springs, both cold and warm. Among the beauties of this emirate is the Madhab Spring Park, a 50-hectare park and resort for families. It looks like a green carpet with the grass and many kinds of trees and flowers planted. Furthermore, the sulphuric waters of Madhab Spring Park attract a large number of tourists and visitors seeking natural treatment from skin diseases and arthritis. A short dip in its waters is believed to cure a vast number of such diseases. The largest and longest valley springs from Masafi area is the Wadi Ham while Wadi Zikt dam is one of the largest in Fujairah, located in Dhadnah area, 8 km off the coast. Another major tourist attraction for its lovely scenery is Al Wurrayah Spring Waterfalls, located 42 km to the north of Fujairah. The Al Wurrayah Waterfalls is another nature attraction because the beauty of the waterfalls lies in the midst of lovely scenery. Motorists wishing to access the waterfalls can take the road linking Fujairah City to Al Bidiya from which they will turn into an unpaved road into Al Wurrayah Wadi where 4WD vehicle is essential. Some 45 km off the city of Fujairah is Wadi Al Tawian which can be reached through rough mountain routes. There is also Wadi Siji, Wadi Dlm Waterfalls, Masafi Waterfalls and Wadi Al Hail. A Land of Fascinating Sights & Colours The area between the Hilton Hotel and Khor Kalba still hosts the traditional sports of ‘bull butting’ on Friday afternoon. This is one of the ancient heritage sports which are particular to the Emirate of Fujairah. The sport consists of two huge bulls going head-to-head for several rounds. Bulls are brought in from various parts of the Emirate for the event which attracts a large number of spectators, including tourists, local and foreign visitors who enjoy the spectacle and take pictures of memorable moments. Fujairah is also a paradise for water enthusiasts, mostly the scuba divers. The warm crystal waters with its numerous coral reefs and other rich marine life makes it particularly good for diving and fishing. For the more adventurous, off-road driving through desert and boulder strewn wadis provides vistas unrivaled in the country as startling emerald green date groves nestle between the towering Hajar peaks containing some of the oldest rocks in Arabia. March 2007

Things to remember 1) There are no buses and railways do not exist. Newcomers and tourists must take advantage of the local taxi system. There are numerous taxis plying the streets at any given time, day and night. There is no central booking system and the only way to hail a taxi is to stand by the roadside and flag one down. Fares within the city are fixed at AED 4 per journey, which equates to approximately 80 cents (USD) or 50 pence (GBP). 2) Visitors can easily obtain a onemonth temporary license by presenting their valid foreign license, International driving license also acceptable for visitors. 3) Citizens of GCC and Europe nationals can enter UAE and Fujairah without visas. Other nationalities can get a 14 days transit visa or visit visa through a hotel, tour operators, travel agencies and Emirates & Gulf Airlines. 4) Drinking alcohol is allowed in designated hotels and, as of 2000, a few bars. 5) On the weekends, many Fujairah

residents travel to Dubai, to shop, and into the wadis surrounding the Emirate on camping and hiking trips. There is also a weekly invasion of west coast residents trying to get away from the stifling heat of the desert. 4) Watersports are very popular amongst the youth - jetskiing, windsurfing and waterskiing being the top three. 5) An extensive ‘Friday market’ has developed near Masafi, with articles as diverse as vegetables, fruits and garden plants, woolen carpets, toys and items of pottery. Most of the fruit is imported, but some of the vegetables are grown locally. The pottery is based on local designs. Open 7 days a week. For Further Information, Contact: Fujairah Tourism Bureau P.O.Box 829, Fujairah United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 9 2231554 Fax: +971 9 2231006 Email: fujtourb@emirates.net.ae Website: www.fujairahtourism.ae/ 17


Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa

A Tourist Haven

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A perfect place to relax and enjoy, Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa offers a unique experience because of the tropical concept, watersport activities that are free of charge and a secluded location where you can fully enjoy your privacy.

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estled between the Hajar Mountain and the Indian Ocean with lush tropical landscape, the Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa in Al Aqah Beach will open its doors and welcome discerning guests starting this month. A perfect place to relax and enjoy, Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa offers a unique experience because of the tropical concept, watersport activities that are free of charge and a secluded location where you can fully enjoy your privacy. This prime five-star beachfront property is 140 km from Dubai International Airport, and 45 km from Fujairah National Airport. The resort is located on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates, approximately 15 km from Dibba Village, 49 km from Fujairah town and 90 minutes from cosmopolitan Dubai. The colonial design of the 250 guest rooms and suites blends local architecture with a graceful palazzo-style estate, in a setting of spectacular rolling hills, and iridescent sculptured lakes. Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa is a secluded retreat in a magnificent setting, where welcoming faces anticipate every need. The resort reflects a warm, friendly, and relaxed ambience amidst lush gardens, white sand beaches, sparkling pools and cascading waterfalls. Rediscover genuine care, outstanding and unobtrusive service, friendly surroundings and authentic cuisine. The opening of the property gives tourists and residents another reason to stay in Fujairah. The location may be next to another five-star property but according Jean-François Laurent, General Manager of Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa, “this creates awareness for more people. It also does not limit anymore for people to come here because usually people used to call and most of the time the hotels here are full. So now it gives them extra choice.” “There’s a choice of property and they are sure now that they will have accommodation. It also benefits the region because the opening of more property along Al Aqah Beach will open business opportunities.

March 2007

Soon, we will see small souvenir shops and small business flourishing around. We have our different properties but we have a combined effort in promoting UAE,” he added. Accommodation All rooms of this beachfront resort have a private terrace or balcony overlooking the Indian Ocean with a view of beautiful landscapes and pools. Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa is a low-rise building, only four floors with two wings that are all fronting the sea. Room facilities include daily housekeeping service with evening turndown, fully stocked mini bar, personal in-room safe, multilingual and satellite TV channels, music channels, bathrobes, hairdryer, bathroom with rain forest shower, IDD telephone, individual air temperature control, high speed Internet connection, laundry services, shoe shine, complimentary welcome amenities on arrival, complimentary tea & coffee making facility, 24-hours in-room dining and daily newspapers. Dining Set in an oasis of breathtaking beauty, The Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa presents a new dimension to the dining experience. Memorable moments are inspired by the unforgettable setting and a dedicated team of professionals creating exceptional cuisine. Whether you desire authentic Mediterranean, spicy Asian, delicious Middle Eastern or flavoursome vegetarians, the chefs at Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa are committed to creating an unforgettable experience. The property has five food and beverage outlets. Al Falaj which is the lobby café is located in the main lobby in a beautiful setting underneath a skylight, surrounded by palm trees and fountains. Mozaique is an all day dining place and serves international cuisine. The atmosphere offers a combination of cosmopolitan and casual tones combined with timeless elegance and a genuine local flair. Tabu

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is the main bar and Tropicana is the pool bar – a sunken pool bar surrounded by water fountains and soothing gardens. Waves is the beach restaurant, located on the beachside with a panoramic view of the beautifully landscaped gardens and majestic Indian Ocean. It offers a delicious a la carte lunch menu and after the sun sets, it transforms into a perfect setting for a romantic candle light dinner. Children The Kids Club Pool located in the gardens is especially designed for children to ensure their safety and pleasure. Kids’ lunch is served either inside or outside the club chosen from the special kid’s menu, available throughout the resort. The air-conditioned Kids Club walls are beautifully painted with famous Disney characters. Soft carpet covers the floor for comfort and protection and a TV Screen occupies one corner with low tables and chairs. Books, toys, puzzles and colouring materials and games are available for indoor enjoyment. Children’s activities include dancing, tennis, story telling, puzzle time, ball games, water sports, TV hour, sand pictures and sand castle building. Meetings & Incentives Explore the silence of the desert and the breathtaking beauty of the sea bed, live scenes from the mystical tales of Arabia or sail into the blue horizon. Our list of inventive incentives is endless! The Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa’s group and incentive facilities include 4 meeting rooms and acres of ‘al fresco’ banqueting venues. Panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, swaying palms and floral spectre sooth the senses and instill feelings of wellbeing and relaxation. The dedicated multilingual conference team members are skilled practitioners in creating outstanding events and themed gala banquets.

Recreation The resort’s recreational activities include a private beach, outdoor temperature controlled swimming pool including a children’s pool, sauna and steam room, spa treatment rooms, hair and beauty salons, unique Arabian massage tent overlooking the Indian Ocean, a dive centre and boat house, beach volleyball, tennis, squash, fitness center, power walking, stretch & tone and aqua aerobics. Free of charge water sports include water skiing, banana boat; pedalo and snorkelling. Minimal charge for boat trips, parasailing, PADI diving, desert safaris, quad bikes, desert camel rides and starlit Bedouin. “What we want to create here is a real and unique experience to the guest. The guest comes and he has paid his room and again we feel it’s not fair to again charge him for all other activities that should be included in a resort so the watersport activities (motorized and nonmotorized) is free of charge,” according to Jean-François Laurent, General Manager. The ‘pièce de resistance’ is the luxuriating and revitalizing ZenSpa@Rotana, with its cornucopia of treatments to distress, detox, relieve tension, sooth muscles, cure ailments, reawaken wellbeing and harmony, in order to emerge, feeling pampered and rejuvenated. Our chefs have created a light, vitality Spa Menu for the health conscious which is also available throughout the resort. The Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa is the perfect coastal getaway with genuine Arabic hospitality, award-winning cuisine and impeccable five-star service. From the moment of arrival it inspires an ambience of romance, mystery and adventure. “From the moment the guests arrive, from the main gate till the moment the guests leave this is going to be a unique experience. On behalf of the entire Team at the Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa, I can assure you of our commitment to making the stay of our mutual clients a pleasurable and memorable one. I hope to have the opportunity of welcoming you personally in the near future,” said Laurent.

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Hotel JAL Fujairah Resort & Spa

Another choice

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ocated on the scenic East Coast of Fujairah, just 90 minutes drive from Dubai, Hotel JAL Fujairah Resort & Spa is scheduled to open on May 15, 2007, offering a comprehensive array of leisure and business facilities. The resort has 257 well-appointed and cosy rooms and suites. In-room facilities include tea and coffee making facilities, a personal safe deposit box, minibar, satellite flat screen TV, high speed internet connection, two direct dial telephone lines, bathrobes and hairdryer. All rooms have large balconies with a breathtaking view onto the Indian Ocean, the white beach, landscaped gardens and swimming pools. “All the bedrooms, the restaurants or any guest area have beach or seaview. Wherever you book you have seaview. One feature of the resort is that we are close to the beach. Guests can enjoy 500 meters of private beach. And when you’re so close to the sea, it’s refreshing. One refresing thing about the water is when you come out of any city, it’s nice to hear the bird singing, it’s nice to hear the waves,” said Frank Gueuning, General Manager. The leisure facilities at Hotel JAL Fujairah Resort & Spa include a diving centre with an indoor diving pool catering for both beginners and advanced levels. Guests can also work out in the Gymnasium, outfitted with the latest equipment. After all the sporting activity, or meetings in the multi-purpose conference hall, guests can relax and rejuvenate at the luxurious Spa, where the greatest care has been taken in ensuring an unforgettable, personalised spa experience for each individual. For dining options guests can enjoy Al Nokhada that will

March 2007

feature Arabic hospitality and Lebanese cuisine. Icho will be serving Teppanyaki culinary fare in traditional Japanese style surroundings. Marco Polo will offer Asian delicacies from India and Thailand. Breeze is the hotel’s all day dining restaurant, open for breakfast with a buffet and a live cooking station. Moon Beach Lounge and Grand Bleu comprise the hotel’s bars, and the Lobby Lounge will serve light snacks and a variation of the largest selection of teas in the UAE. JAL Hotels Co., Ltd. makes its debut in the Middle Eastern market with the opening of this hotel, and will be the first Japanese hotel operator joining the U.A.E.’s five-star hotel market. “It’s a new venture from JAL in the Middle East and they wanted to come here to bring an element of Japanese culture to the region so in many ways what we will do, whether it be the spa or the food, we’ll have genuine Japanese influence which is very important and very popular,” explained Guening. “Our presence here in Fujairah gives any potential traveller a choice so it’s all for the benefit of any traveller or a tour representative or the agent because there are a variety of accommodations. So it’s really about giving them a choice.” Following the opening of Hotel JAL Fujairah Resort & Spa, the company plans to open two other five-star Nikko Hotels in the region. The opening of 486-room Hotel JAL Tower Dubai, a Nikko Hotels International property, in 2008; and the 350-room Hotel JAL Bahrain Resort & Spa, also a Nikko Hotels International property to open in 2009, will accelerate Nikko Hotels’ expansion in the Middle Eastern market. 25


Relax and enjoy at Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort

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e Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort sits on a 230m stretch of unspoilt golden beach, nestled between the Hajar Mountains and the Indian Ocean, just 90 minutes from Dubai. The Resort is perfectly placed to enable its guests to make the most of the emirate’s year-round sunshine, with its range of mountain, coastal and heritage attractions, and diving and snorkelling opportunities. In addition to its unique location, the Resort’s host of amenities cater for all tastes, whether it’s scuba diving or relaxing with a treatment at the Ayurvedic Centre, playing beach soccer or sipping cocktails at the 20th floor bar overlooking the Indian Ocean. The hotel also provides the highest calibre conferencing & banqueting facilities for businesses looking for that extra-special meeting venue, or perhaps for those who want to reward their hard-working staff with an incentive holiday or team building session. And it doesn’t just cater for grown-ups – there’s a children’s club too, staffed by fully qualified professionals who supply fun-filled activities daily for the under 12s, from treasure hunts to face paints. Parents can leave their children under the watchful eye of the Penguin Club staff and leave to indulge themselves at the hotel’s numerous leisure facilities without any concerns. A wide selection of dining options makes Al Aqah a dream for those with a discerning palate. With 8 outlets, offering everything from Thai to Indian to a sumptuous seafood buffet, the choices are plenty at Al Aqah. Accommodation Every one of the Resort’s 218 rooms offers floor-to-ceiling windows boasting spectacular sea views, and overlooks the pool, beach, gardens and landscaped grounds Room sizes vary from 48 sq m to the 750 sq m Presidential Suite and include: • 42 Deluxe Rooms : 48 sq metre with Sea View • 88 Superior Rooms: 48 sq metre with private balcony and Sea View

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• 42 Family Rooms: 48 sq metre with private balcony and sea View • 35 Royal Club Rooms located on five exclusive floors • 10 Executive Suites – 98 sq meters, offering fantastic views from their private terrace and balcony. • 1 Presidential Suite – 750 square metres of private luxury–three bedrooms, a large living room, lounge, dining room and Jacuzzi. All the rooms are fully equipped with a host of amenities including a satellite TV, computer port, safety box, IDD telephone, walk-in wardrobe and mini bar. The hotel’s guests can also benefit from 24-hour room service to ensure that all their needs are met. Dining There are a wide range of restaurants and bars within the Resort, catering for every mood or occasion, including: Taste restaurant – Inspired by the intricate art of the high-end Thai kitchen, Taste, the hotel’s signature restaurant, offers a veritable culinary adventure. Serving mouth-watering dishes in stylish surroundings with the added advantage of a licensed bar with live music and the opportunity to dine al fresco during the cooler months. Swaad restaurant –an elegant Indian restaurant offering authentic cuisine in a highly traditional ambience. The exotic blend of herbs and spices and the intricate preparatory methods are all intended to let the aromas and flavours sink into the fare and your senses. Views Restaurant – Offering the finest East-meets-West fusion fare this side of the Gulf, Views is set in a vast and atmospheric space, allowing diners to enjoy a far reaching vista of the hotel gardens and sea beyond. Tea and Dates – the airy lobby café serving an assortment of scrumptious pastries and cakes, sandwiches and salads. Baywatch Village – An out door complex with a restaurant offering alfresco dining during the day and sea food speciality dining for the evening, a beach bar, a pool bar and a shisha place. Astros bar – Reach for the stars at Astro’s, Le Meridien’s rooftop bar


located on the 20th floor and providing spectacular views of the majestic Al Hajar mountain range and the Indian Ocean beyond. Leisure activities Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort boasts a variety of leisure facilities from kayaking to yoga. • Beach and water sports including beach volleyball, banana boat rides, Donut rides, water skiing, boat cruises, Fishing Charters, snorkelling trips etc • A professional dive centre with daily dive trips to the country’s best dive sites and also offers a full range of PADI courses. Spa Al Aqah The Resort’s exclusive Spa, with their ancient Egyptian theme, gives guests the opportunity to enjoy an unparalleled array of ‘wellness’ therapies. Treatments range from Elemis Aromapure and Exotics to Thai, Balinese, European and Aromatherapy massages and facials.

On land, the Resort boasts: • A fully equipped health club with gymnasium, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi • The UAE’s largest free-form swimming pool • Three floodlit tennis courts and squash court • A variety of indoor pursuits including a games room and cinema room • Dance aerobics, personal training, body sculpting, and ‘stretch and tone’ at the Wellness Centre. Off-site guests can enjoy: • Traditional dhow cruises along the coast • Mountain biking or hiking in the Hajar Mountains • Mountain, coastal and heritage discovery tours • City excursions for shopping and sight-seeing • ‘Wadi bashing’, a four-wheel drive expedition • Dinner in the desert in a traditional Bedouin tent

Ayurvedic Centre Those looking to rejuvenate their mind, body and soul will benefit from exclusive treatments available in the Ayurvedic Centre, based on ancient, natural regimens that originated in the Southern Indian State of Kerala. Guests can choose from exotic massages or a range of health programmes specifically created for them by our qualified Ayurvedic doctor, who can be consulted for ailments such as sleep disorders, backache and stress. Conference and Banqueting facilities The Resort has been designed with the business traveller in mind. It contains a well-equipped business centre and a secretarial service to ensure that every business meeting, seminar or corporate event is a success. All facilities are equipped with the very latest audio visual equipment and the centre is staffed by multi-lingual professionals, making the hotel the perfect venue for gala dinners, weddings, concerts, product launches, team buildings and meetings. Special packages are available for weddings and themed banquet functions. Penguin Club for Kids The Penguin Club aims to give children the chance to make the most of their holiday too, all under the watchful eyes of qualified child minders. The Club, which has its own secure indoor and outdoor play area and covered splash pool, provides fun and educational programmes of activity for children of all ages. The entertainment includes mini basketball, balloon blasting, sandcastle competitions, supervised water sports and treasure hunts. More sedate activities include paper and painting contests, puzzles and face painting. The Club can also provide baby-sitting facilities in the evening, for parents wanting to leave their children in safe hands while they make the most of one of the many restaurant or nightlife options at the Resort.

March 2007

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C YACHTING PASSION

For further information or to discuss your individual needs in more depth, please contact Charterbay on +971 4 391 4821. Charterbay LLC. P. O. Box 212481, Dubai, UAE. T: +971 391 4821 F: +971 391 1574 e: info@charterbay.it www.charterbay.it

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harterbay is an established provider of integrated yachting with a distinct Italian flair. With operations in Italy, Spain and the UAE, Charterbay has built an outstanding reputation in for professionalism and quality in yacht trading, luxury cruises and marina management. As the exclusive Middle East agent and distributor for Primatist yachts – one of Italy’s oldest and most regarded shipyards, Charterbay advises and guides clients in purchasing the most appropriate yacht according to their individual needs, experience and budget. The Primatist fleet is a breathtaking blend of luxury and comfort coupled with outstanding performance and innovation. The first and only shipyard to work with legendary Italian designers Pininfarina,

responsible for the ambitious designs and futuristic concepts of Ferrari and Maserati, the flagship Primatist G70 Pininfarina has received widespread critical acclaim and set new standards of yachting elegance. The finest Italian hospitality and unrivalled levels of personalised service are hallmarks of Charterbay’s yacht charter division. Experienced Italian captains and their crew continually travel around the Gulf to discover new and exiting charter destinations. Cruises to any destination of any duration can be easily organised and customised according to guest’s individual requirements. Charterbay’s fully licensed and insured fleet of luxurious Primatist yachts ensure guests an unforgettable experience in superlative comfort and style. With unrivalled understanding of the Middle East yachting industry, Charterbay provides comprehensive marina solutions encompassing design, construction and management of fully equipped Mediterranean style marinas. Charterbay’s team of management professionals have extensive expertise gained in Europe and further strengthened by established networks and partnerships across international and domestic markets. Charterbay has secured several high profile marina projects in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the first of which will open in mid 2007.


February 2007

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BUSINESS TRAVEL I TIPS

Making the

most of a

Trade Show

It takes more than a handful of business cards and company brochures to make the most of an international conference. From choosing the right airline to y, to deciding whether to meet an existing client or a potential buyer, here are some of the things you wish you had known earlier, writes Anjana Das.

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I

t is that time of the year when you have to dig up the calendar for the schedule of international trade shows taking place across the globe. For the travel industry that list surely begins in March with the largest event - the ITB hosted by Berlin and ends with the World Travel Mart (London) in November. In between are regional exhibitions like the FITUR which takes place in Madrid during February, the Arabian Travel Mart in Dubai in May, the incentive show EIBTM hosted in Barcelona and for those seeking the Asian market, PATA held each year in a different Asian city. Most executives attend one trade fair or another depending on the region or market of their priority. Many of us are there simply because ‘our competition will be there too’ or at most, see these events as a place for casual networking. But when your boss is expecting a return on investment for the time and money spent on sending you away for a week, then in all likelihood you are expected to bring back results. According to Anil Jayachandran, who worked as marketing consultant for the Bahrain Tourism, trade fairs were excellent opportunities to meet people from different regions of the world when technology was not so advanced as today with emails, webconferencing and so on. “You are still getting a lot of important people and decision makers at one venue, whom otherwise you would have to travel over to meet in their respective countries,” he points out. “So then, it’s your smartness to seek them out and get a meeting”

Photos by Elegant Voyage

Homework A certain level of organization and preparation is needed, beforehand. “You need to know what you want to get out of attending the event,” adds Jayachandran. Secondly, you don’t need to have an

exhibition booth at every trade show. While it does certainly boost your presence if you arranged a belly dance in front of your booth or threw an open-house cocktail hour with seafood canapés, every dime spent will need to be accounted for. Begin promoting much before the event, writing to your partners to say ‘you will be there’ and asking for an appointment. The previous year’s trade show directory with participant’s details can help you identify potential business contacts. Send them all a crisp email with why they should meet you. No mass mails, though. When making appointments keep afternoons open for courtesy calls with old partners. But don’t underestimate this session. Look around and you are likely to see rivals hanging around for an appointment with your business partner! If you have to, whisk him or her off for a coffee and that will take care of those vying for a bite of your cake. People are always running late for appointments and the excuse of ‘getting lost trying to find your booth’ is so cliché, no one buys it anymore. Have your meetings scheduled so that they are all restricted to one pavilion or adjacent halls rather than having to wade across the crowds of business suits in the alley, peer over other people’s heads trying to locate the venue for your next appointment and panicking when you can’t find the booth where the map had indicated it to be. Last minute changes by organizers are common.

March 2007

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LIVING ARABIA PALYMRA many cards as possible and talk to as many people as possible. Rather than carrying around bundles of your brochures to distribute (chances are they will grace the waste bin at the hotel) explain your product or service and let them know you would love to send a copy by post, as soon as you get back. It provides a strong follow-up after the event. I take a short coffee-break occasionally between rounds and use the time to mark the ‘potential’ cards from others, a chore that I would otherwise have to do at the end of a long day, and note down what interested me most about their business. In addition to offering some respite for sore feet you could have that extra time in the evening sitting at a local café, sipping hot chocolate and flipping through the Yellow Pages. One part of the fair exhibition that is often overlooked is the press section unless you need to sweet talk one of the customer service personnel into giving you a free pass for the cocktail reception. It is unbelievable what you see and hear schmoozing around during these gala events. The press center might also be able to arrange a meeting with editors from publications. Developing personal contacts with the media could get you free write-ups on your company in the future, or a free subscription. Approach publications which may already be coming out with special issues during the event and tell them you have an announcement to make. It will help, if you had a press release with a new announcement to make followed by a brief profile of your company. Survival tips It may not be necessary to check for the weather forecast if you were travelling to Dubai in May where rains are unheard of, 2006 being an exception! But I would pack some sleet and snow jacket for March in Berlin. Caught in a thunderstorm with wet boots, I had to barter my dinner allowance for the taxi ride back to the hotel. Good leather shoes with minimal heels and a chic tote bag makes it easy to pull out writing pads as well as stuff all those colourful brochures that you picked up for their innovative ideas. Never ever book your flight on a low cost airline. Delays, fogs and diversions are beyond anyone’s control. I once got on an Alitalia flight (it was the cheapest available ticket) to Berlin and landed past midnight to learn that my luggage hadn’t made it. Having nothing on me except my purse and laptop, my anguish was slowly turning to grief when I realized the check-in time at the hotel was perilously close. I now faced a night on the street. Luckily, the young chap at the hotel desk was quite sympathetic to my distraught story. As dawn was breaking across my frosted glass windows I sat on the bed making my shopping list for the day. Attending the event was the last thing on my mind at that time. Of course, my shopping spree went without a pang of guilt, the luggage having arrived only the day before I was leaving! Many people prefer to stay near the conference venue so that they can walk over, but think of the rest of the evenings spent entertaining people, and being entertained. I would suggest a hotel closer to the city’s businesses from where you could easily visit offices of potential agents. Long hours on the road Running out of your business card is simply unforgivable. Always carry a box extra than you anticipate. Likewise collect as 32

Never ever book your flight on a low cost airline. Delays, fogs and diversions are beyond anyone’s control.

Post-event follow up Trade show specialists will tell you that what happens before and after the event is just as important as what you do during the show. They will also tell you that about 70% of the contacts made at trade shows are never followed up on. So then, start making a list of hottest pursuits to send mails to as soon as you get back. Call them, if they respond positively. More importantly don’t be late with promised proposals. Mention to them that they will hear from you only a week after you get back to office which will give you sufficient time to enable you to make your reports, submit your expense sheet, as well as shake off all that post-tradefair weariness. Finally, sit with your boss to give him or her, a run-down on trends you saw and ideas that you could use, attending the event.


February 2007

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SPECIAL FEATURE I AVIATION

MEBA

Growth in the

Business Aviation Industry 34


T

he success of this year’s Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) conference and exhibition held at Airport Expo Dubai signified that the business aviation industry is rapidly growing as seen by the increase in the number of participants plus the unveiling of major regional developments from the key players of the business aviation sector. From a two-day conference this year, the event will expand to a three day event on its next showing in 2008. The expansion follows exhibitor and visitor feedback from the last event which notched up an impressive US $907 million on-site order book with Wallan Aviation of the UAE receiving a US $75 million order for Cessna aircraft. Other deals included a US $580 million worth of sales for Airbus, a US $250 million deal – the region’s biggest jet agreement from Saudi charter business and Netjets affiliate National Air Services – for 20 Hawker 750 aircraft from Raytheon Aircraft Company and a US $52 million Bombardier confirmation for four Learjet 60XR from Saudi-based businessman Ghassan Tabbah Shalabi as well as buyers from Kuwait and the UAE. The event was hailed by conference delegate, exhibitor and visitor alike as a much-needed initiative in one of the world’s fastest-growing business aviation markets. The final visitor tally totaled 2,401 – with the registration profile including members of ruling families from throughout the Gulf, the highest echelons of corporate business from the wider Middle East and Africa and the heads of family conglomerates within the GCC. VVIP visitors included His Royal Highness Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia and Dr. Vijay Mallya, Chairman and Managing Director of India’s Kingfisher Airlines. Both proffered optimistic forecasts for business aviation in the region. His Highness Sheik Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President, Department of Civil Aviation, Government of Dubai, welcomed the delegates and delivered the key address on Day One of the MEBA conference. “In just over the year, the event has developed, the Middle East now has its own business aviation industry, the region’s business aviation fleet has increased substantially and more aviation infrastructure developers are earmarking dedicated facilities for this important segment,” he said. With this in mind, Sheikh Ahmed called upon the Civil aviation authorities in the GCC to co-operate more to free up the region’s growing business aviation sector. “For the sector to further develop, particularly within the GCC, there needs to be greater co-operation among civil aviation authorities towards open skies policies, which will free up the market, increase competition, generate new opportunities – and deliver greater economic success.” Sheikh Ahmed also warned that regional business aviation growth also brought with it renewed responsibilities for aviation infrastructure suppliers and civil aviation authorities. “The entire region should take up this challenge,” he said. “We have to ensure that the industry has the infrastructure it needs to go forward.” During the conference, Sheikh Ahmed unveiled a model of the Executive Jet Centre at Dubai World Central, the urban community taking shape in Jebel Ali, which has a design handling capacity of more than 100,000 aircraft movements a year.Some of the highlights of the conference are the following: A New Turboprop Business Aircraft Unveiled The Kestrel, a new business aircraft optimised to be the best combination of speed, comfort, operational flexibility and affordability was unveiled at MEBA. The aircraft is a robust single engine JetProp (turboprop) providing flexible travel at speeds in excess of 350 knots (650kmh) for journeys up to 1,500nm (2,800km). It has all the refinements and luxury of a light jet, with a private

March 2007

HH Sheikh Ahmed tours the MEBA static display with Ali Al Naqbi, Founding Chairman, MEBA lavatory as standard and a spacious luggage bay. It is intended that the Kestrel will be marketed in the Gulf region by The Gulf Aircraft Partnership, which has been formed between the Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company (GAMCO) of Abu Dhabi and Farnborough Aircraft Corporation Ltd (FACL) of the UK. Based at GAMCO’s facilities in Abu Dhabi, The Gulf Aircraft Partnership will capitalise on the availability of highly skilled engineers and GAMCO’s state-of-the-art production and maintenance facilities. With direct operating costs falling well under $1 per statute mile, the Kestrel is a valuable and cost effective proposition to charter operators, corporations and governments seeking to increase productivity and flexibility. The aircraft is capable of operating from small, semi-prepared landing strips, a benefit previously unavailable to high speed business aircraft. Passenger safety has been a major consideration in the design of the Kestrel which is powered by the much-respected Pratt & Whitney PT6 jet turbine, the most reliable turboprop engine in the world. The Kestrel made its first flight on 29th July 2006 and The Gulf Aircraft Partnership plans to commence deliveries of certified aircraft in 2009. Saudi Arabia Plans To Set Up Aviation Club Saudi Arabia plans to establish an aviation club with the aim of teaching more Saudi nationals how to fly, revealed HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who will be the club’s Director General. “There are currently 1,700 Saudi nationals training as pilots in Jordan so we can anticipate high demand for an initiative within the Kingdom,” he said. Prince Sultan toured MEBA’s static park and spoke of the increasing demand within Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf for private jet services. 35


The event was hailed by conference delegate, exhibitor and visitor alike as a much-needed initiative in one of the world’s fastest-growing business aviation markets.

“Business aviation has become a need both regionally and internationally because of increased global trade, commerce and tourism activities,” said Prince Sultan. “It is also due to the fact that passengers and clients have recently experienced a dip in the services offered by commercial airline companies, internationally. There have also been some complications in the procedures of booking flights. In addition to that, Saudi businessmen are extremely active and need private jets to be even more effective at what they do. Some Saudi businessmen start their day flying to Kuwait at 0800 hrs in their private jets then fly back to different cities within the country to follow up on their business. Another factor is that KSA is a big country and traveling from the north to the south is much more time efficient in a private aircraft.” Speaking at MEBA, Ali Al Naqbi, Chairman of the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), said that Saudi Arabia is the Gulf’s biggest business aviation market representing 50% of the regional fleet which is now in excess of 300 aircraft. Gulfstream 550 Business Jet Training Launched Emirates-CAE Flight Training (ECFT) has launched the region’s first-ever Gulfstream 550 business jet training programme and welcomed its first customers. Sheikh Ahmed and Jeff Roberts, CAE’s Group President, Innovation, Civil Training & Services, signed an agreement for the Gulfstream 550 full-flight simulator and associated training equipment for the programme. They also signed a five-year exclusive contract with Chris Crum, CEO of Royal Jet of Abu Dhabi, UAE, for its flight crew to train on the 737BBJ and Gulfstream IV/400 full-flight simulators. In announcing the launch of the G550 training programme, Mr. Roberts welcomed its first two customers, G5 Executive, one of CAE’s original G5 customers, represented by its CEO Peter Fried, and 36

Jet Aviation, Europe’s largest charter company, represented by Dave Paddock, SVP Business Development & Corporate Strategy. The companies’ flight crews will start G550 CAE Simfinity®based classroom training and FAA/JAA Level D Gulfstream 550 fullflight simulator training in March. Jeff Roberts said: “The addition of this latest Gulfstream Business Jet programme will allow ECFT to better serve our current base of over 150 customers by providing a “closer to home” training solution to all G550 operators from Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia.” Gulfjet Signs Strategic Alliances GulfJet capped its successful participation in the MEBA exhibition by signing strategic alliances with ADAC-AmbulanceService, the pioneering German firm in the field of air rescue; Cedar Jet Center, the Beirut-based FBO, part of Middle East Airlines Ground HandlingMEAG; and PrivatSea, an exclusive membership club for luxury yachting and associated lifestyle services. GulfJet Managing Director Yousef Al Ghareeb made the announcement following the conclusion of MEBA, and expressed confidence that the alliances will further boost the company’s business in the region. “Our participation in the MEBA 2007 exhibition has yielded positive results for the company. The partnerships we entered into with ADAC-AmbulanceService, Cedar Jet Center, and PrivatSea will consolidate our presence in the region, and enable us to offer more services to our clients with trusted and reliable partners.” ADAC-AmbulanceService has not only developed into one of the most reputable European firms for worldwide medical repatriation, but has also become a major resource centre for health-relevant activities in connection with mobility and medical tourism. The addition of PrivatSea to GulfJet’s alliances will offer clients access to the world’s finest superyachts, cruising in beautiful worldwide destinations from Croatia to Costa Rica. This partnership


Airbus corporate jetliner customers in the Middle East include SAAD Air, which flies an A320 Prestige and which recently took delivery of the first VIP version of the world’s longest aircraft, the A340-600, the Al Kharafi group of Kuwait, National Air Services (NAS) of Saudi Arabia, Qatar Airways and the state of Qatar, among others. Airbus’ Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) Family, comprises the A318 Elite, ACJ and A320 Prestige. It won almost two-thirds of large top-of-the-line corporate jet sales in 2006, and has led this market in each of the past three years. Total Airbus ACJ Family sales stand at around 80, and the aircraft are present in every continent. “Our Airbus ACJ Family is the new standard to which customers aspire, with the widest and most comfortable cabin of any corporate jet, as well as the most modern design,” says Airbus Vice President Executive Aviation Richard Gaona. “We really can offer customers the biggest and the best, from the Airbus ACJ Family all the way up to an A380 Flying Palace.” One of the biggest benefits of the Airbus ACJ Family is that it has the widest cabin of any corporate jet in its class - in fact it delivers twice the cabin-width and three-times the volume of traditional top-of-the-line business jets. This naturally gives customers more flexibility in what they put in their cabin, and how they lay it out. It also makes moving around the cabin easier, allows the attractive ambiance of domed ceilings, and enables good-sized private bedrooms. All of the Airbus ACJ Family share the same modern design, which includes a common cockpit, today’s industry standard in fly-by-wire controls, cost-saving centralised maintenance, fuelsaving aerodynamics that includes wingtip fences, and extensive use of weight-saving carbonfibre structure.

will enable GulfJet clients to experience all the advantages of superyacht ownership without any of the financial or logistical burdens. GulfJet’s sponsorship of the MEBA gave the company a better exposure and “a mileage in the sense of understanding, and educating ourselves further in the aviation industry and all the services that comes with it.” “This is the way we want to expose ourselves, the modern and new fleet, high services, special menu that we are doing now for catering our food. And since the private jet is a charter service on demand we’d like to meet the customer’s need and at the same time provide him exactly what he wants. For example, the magazine and the newspaper that comes on board are the client’s request. The departure and arrival are on his timing.” At GulfJet, a client would truly say that the aircraft is his because the entire GulfJet fleet flies unbranded to give uninterrupted privacy to any client, no matter where in the world. “That is why when we say ‘Welcome to your aircraft’, we really mean it.” With a fleet including the best aircrafts in the market, like the Raytheon Hawker, the region’s first Cessna Citation Sovereign and the long-haul Bombardier Challenger which can fly a distance of 7400km non–stop, GulfJet can fly its passengers continuously for more than 7 hours anywhere in the world. This allows the company to serve its clients array of services such as private jet charter, aircraft management, as well as air ambulatory services. Airbus ACJ Family Builds On Strong Middle East Presence Airbus corporate Jetliners – VIP versions of the company’s popular airliner models – are building a strong presence in a growing Middle East market, as the company showcased an Airbus A320 Prestige at MEBA. March 2007

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38

LIVING ARABIA I TUNISIA


Djerba

Dubai

Tunisia’s Isle Of Forgetfulness By Habeeb Salloum

N

o different from Ulysses, who some authors have described as Djerba’s first tourist, a traveller will find the people of this Tunisian isle friendly and hospitable. From the first day of a visit, the delightful charms of Djerba (also spelled Jerba) will hold most travellers spellbound. Why this island, which travellers have labelled, ‘Isle of Forgetfulness’, holds visitors under its spell is virtually unexplainable. A great many attribute it to its magic halo - a combination of a clear-blue sky, shining white houses, clean and well-kept towns, tree-covered countryside and warm, yet not too hot climate. Whatever the case, a good number of travellers go into raptures when describing this island - made famous by Ulysses. According to Greek mythology, Djerba was the home of the seductive lotus-eaters. In Homer’s Odyssey, Ulysses almost lost his men when the beautiful maidens of the island fed them the lotus flower. The men were so pleasantly intoxicated by the lotus that Ulysses found it almost impossible to make them return to their ships. Yet, even if this story is only a fable, Djerba has, for many centuries, enraptured travellers who have been lucky enough to land on its shores. A veritable floating garden, rising from the sea like a mirage, the island’s spell of forgetfulness which supposedly entrapped visitors in ancient times, has not faded with the passing centuries. It is said that Djerba is a land of dreams, created by nature to enchant the imagination of the human soul. In Djerba’s Phoenician and Roman periods, the island and its principal town were known by the Phoenician name of Meninx whose ruins are to be found near the 6 km (4 mi) re-built Phoenician based Roman causeway, which joins the island to the mainland. After the Muslim conquest, Djerba became the haven for an Islamic sect, known as Kharidjite, which today, in its present form, only exists on this island. During the Middle Ages, the inhabitants withstood the most powerful and ruthless rulers of Mediterranean Europe. From the 12th to the 16th centuries, the people of this Isle of forgetfulness fought almost continuously, usually against the Spaniards, but at times against the united

March 2007

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Covered with trees and flowers, the island is in reality one huge oasis covered with more than 1,000,000 date palms and 700,000 olive trees, some over 3,000 years old.

kings of Christendom. Djerba is a 614 sq km (238 sq mi) flat island situated off the southern coast of Tunisia, not far from the Libyan border. More than 145,000 inhabitants, mostly of Berber origin, live on this isle of mythology. Its 133 km (83 mi) shoreline abounds with sandy-white beaches, gently lapped by the warm-azure waters of the Mediterranean Covered with trees and flowers, the island is in reality one huge oasis covered with more than 1,000,000 date palms and 700,000 olive trees, some over 3,000 years old. In between, small fields of apricots, carobs, figs, grapes, grenadines, lemons, mandarins, oranges and pomegranates cover almost every empty space. Only travellers dreaming of Djerba’s mythology are usually disappointed, nowhere is the fabled lotus fruit to be found. Here and there amid these fields, watered from some 2,700 wells, are the breathtaking white, small villages and isolated homes. The striking white houses, known as menzels, and their architecture, unique to the island, appear like white jewels, sprinkled between the greenery. Their rounded domes and bright snowy colour, embellished by sky-blue wrought iron trimmings, sparkle in the sunlight and give the buildings an appealing charm. Inside, there are clean courtyards filled with trees and flowers. Set amid these fairytale buildings are to be found the some eye-catching 200 small mosques - many of the older ones built as fortresses to ward off invaders. Houmt-Souk, which means market centre, with a population of 45,000, is the capital of the island and one of the most picturesque urban centres in Tunisia. It is a well-kept bright town centred on the souk area, overflowing with handicraft products. Traditional clothing, blankets woven since the time of Hannibal, beautifully wrought gold and silver jewellery; leather goods, straw mats and beautiful pottery saturate the markets. In town, two of the most important usual stopovers for visitors are the Museum of Folklore and Popular Art, displaying traditional costumes and jewellery; and the historic fortress of Borj el-Kebir, a 15th century Arab

40


IF YOU GO

citadel. Interesting to many tourists is the plaque nearby marking the spot where 5,000 skulls of a Spanish defeat were once piled pyramid style Even though overpowered by Houmt-Souk, each of the other tiny towns on the island, is noted for some specialty in its artisan’s handiwork or is a place of historic importance. Ajim, from where a ferry can be taken to the mainland, is a sponge fishing town; El- May has a colourful market; Fatou produces fine hand-woven baskets and rush mats; Guellala has been the centre for the hand manufacture of exquisite ceramics and pottery since the time King Midas; La Ghriba is noted for its synagogue and adjoining monastery whose foundations were laid in 584 B.C.; Mahboubine is famous for its backyard gardens; Midoun is celebrated for its Gougou dancers; and Sedouikech is well-known for its handmade camel muzzles, fishing baskets and straw hats. Enhancing these and other villages, are Djerba’s annual 300 days of sunshine and warm blue waters with their cooling breezes, edged glittering sands, embellished by the many attractive and comfortable modern hotels with the most up-to-date tourist facilities. Without disturbing the calm and peace, 125 of these eye-catching tourist palaces - the largest Dar Djerba with 2,500 beds - built in traditional menzel style, fit neatly into the palmsaturated landscape. Nature and the edifices built by man have merged together to strengthen the island’s magic spell. These attractive and comfortable hotels, hospitable and friendly people with a slow-moving lifestyle, breathtaking countryside, mild winters, cool summers and tantalizing sea, make Djerba one of Tunisia’s most popular tourist spots. Located on Europe’s doorsteps, the island which some call the ‘Little Mediterranean Polynesia’ has since the time of Ulysses been drawing travellers. Today, it hosts some 600,000 annual visitors. With the softness of its sweet-serene air, perfumed with the flowers of the many fruit trees, overshadowed by clear blue sky and ringed by golden sands, this paradise isle entraps even the most sceptical visitor. Our guide had a point when he remarked as we climbed the ferry at Ajim for the mainland, “I always think of Djerba as Tunisia’s isle of forgetfulness.”

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There are good bus connections between Djerba and all the large urban centres in Tunisia. Djerba also, has an airport through which most of the tourists are processed and has good connections to the city of Tunis and some centres in Europe. When driving, to reach the island, cross from the mainland on the causeway or take a ferry Facts About Djerba and Tunisia: • It is best to travel to Djerba in spring or autumn. In summer, the island teems with tourists. • The currency used in Tunisia is the dinar - one US dollar is worth about 1.33 dinar. Tunisia is one of the few countries in the world where hotels give a better exchange rate than the banks. • To tour the island, taxis are metered and very reasonable; buses and shared taxis (louages) connect all towns and villages; tour companies offer excursions; fully insured; tour companies offer excursions; but the best way to relish Djerba’s atmosphere is to hire a bicycle - the island is flat and very easy to navigate. • Hotels on the island are very reasonably priced. However, it is best to book through a tour company. They can offer even better prices. A good hotel to stay in on Djerba is Hotel Melia Djerba Menzel - cost for double room from $111. - $139. Euros. • Try Tunisian food. It’s very tasty. Three of the best dishes

are couscous. Prepared in seemingly hundreds of different ways - from sweet to very hot; briq - a thin pastry which comes with a variety of fillings, but always includes an egg; chakchouka - a ratatouille which is offered in many types; and spaghetti cooked Tunisian style - for me the epitome of Spaghetti dishes. Also, Djerba is noted for its fresh seafood dishes. • There is less crime in Tunisia than in Western Europe or North America, but beware of pick pocketers, especially in crowded trains, buses and souks. • When taking tours, make sure the guide speaks English. If you do not ask, French will be the language spoken. • Tunisia is the most sophisticated, relaxed and tolerant state in North Africa. Women travellers are very safe when travelling alone. For Further Information, Contact: Tunisia National Tourist Office, 1253 Ave. McGill College, Suite 655, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3B 2Y5. Tel: 514/397-1182/0403. Fax: 514/397-1647. E-mail: tunisinfo@qc.aira.com Or in U.S.A. Tunisian Tourism Office, 1515 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.,Washington, DC 20005. Tel: (1 202) 466-2546. Fax : (1 202) 466-2553. E-mail: tourism@tunisiaguide.com


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arabian gallery arabian gallery

Persepolis, Persia (Iran)


Loam Desert, Qeshm

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OUTSIDE ARABIA I BULGARIA

Bulgaria Exploring

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ulgaria, situated in Southeast Europe occupies the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. It is a country rich in history and culture. In fact, of the 300 landmarks listed by the UNESCO List of World Heritage, nine are Bulgarian wonders. The country is surrounded by Greece and Turkey to the south, Republic of Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the west, Romania to the north and the Black Sea to the east. Bulgaria’s history can be traced back to the most ancient times (1st millennium BC). It has struggled to keep its rich cultural heritage alive during a turbulent history marked by the Greeks, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman invasions. Bulgaria credits Russia and her allies for bringing an almost 500-year Ottoman occupation to an end in 1878. Bulgaria came under Soviet influence following World War II. Democracy was restored in 1989, and an exciting period of growth followed. Their application to join the European Union was granted as of January 1, 2007. Making up a highly civilized social formation, the ancient Bulgarians had long been a determining cultural factor in

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the Central Asian territories. They were carriers of extensive knowledge for the time in the sphere of the philosophical understanding of the world, the state administration, and social structure, art of warfare, letters, language and construction. An important product of the ancient Bulgarian knowledge is the cyclical solar calendar, perfect from an astronomical point of view, in which the constellations have the names of animals. UNESCO has recognized the calendar of the ancient Bulgarians as one of the most exact from among the calendars known up to the modern age. Bulgaria is also the birthplace of the Cyrillic alphabet, the second most widely used alphabet in the world. The country is also well-known for its rich folklore, distinctive traditional music, rituals and tales, but the country’s contribution to humanity also continued in the 19th and 20th century, with individuals such as John Atanasoff – born in the USA with Bulgarian origin, regarded as the father of the digital computer. The capital city of Bulgaria is Sofia with approximately 1.1 million inhabitants. Plovdiv, Varna, Veliko, Turnovo are the large cities. The total population of the country is about 8.4 million, divided between 84% Bulgarians, 9% Turkish and 5% Gypsy. The country has nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Of these, two are Thracian tombs (one in Sveshtari and one in Kazanlak), three are monuments of medieval Bulgarian culture (the Boyana Church, the Rila Monastery and the Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo), while the Pirin National Park and the Srebarna Nature Reserve represent the country’s natural beauty, and the ancient city of Nesebar is a unique combination of European cultural interaction, as well as, historically, one of the most important centres of naval trade in the Black Sea. In addition, the Varna Necropolis, a 3200-3000 BC burial site, contains what are believed to be the oldest examples of worked gold in the world.

Monasteries The Bulgarian monasteries, hiding human, warm and living rather than “divine” beauty behind their austere stone facades, still amaze with their magnificent architecture, unfading frescoes and murals, exquisite icons and wood-carvings, made by self-taught architects, builders and painters. The Bulgarian monasteries, during difficult and turbulent times acted as centers of patriotism which helped to preserve national feelings and hopes of the Bulgarians. The most impressive monument from the Bulgarian National Revival period rises amidst the rugged beauty of the Rila Mountain, just 120 km from Sofia. Having survived the times with the self-confidence of the most zealous guard of the Bulgarian spirit and language, it still fascinates presentday visitor with the pure and harmonious line of the buildings’ exquisite colonnades, arches and vaults, spacious rooms richly decorated with murals and fretwork. The monastery’s most treasured historic and artistic monuments include the 14th century Hrelyo Tower, the fivedomed Birth of the Blessed Virgin Church and the original monastery kitchen from the 19th century. The monastery also houses a rich museum collection of valuable old manuscripts and documents, charters and icons, an ethnographic exhibition of fabrics, jewelry, carpets and wrought iron objects, and a library containing more than 16,000 books. Founded during the 10th century, the monastery underwent different stages of construction. Its founder is believed to have been Ivan Rislki [John of Rila], the outstanding Bulgarian hermit and healer, a patron saint of the Bulgarian people. Together with his disciples and followers, he established a community of monks, the core of the Rila Monastery. Rebuilt, deserted, reduced to ashes by Turks and built anew, the monastery has been a witness and the symbol of the rich Bulgarian history. 48


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Cultural Heritage Among the most precious relics unearthed in the Bulgarian lands has been the cultural heritage of the Thracians, who had produced incredible artistic and architectural masterpieces. The Thracian art, passing through a long and complicated path of development from the beginning of the late Bronze Age to the end of Antiquity has left remarkable treasures, temples, sanctuaries and cities. Standing out among them are the Panagyurishte gold treasure, the Rogozen treasure, the Vulchitrun gold treasure, the Borovo silver treasure, the Vratsa treasure, and many others. Valuable and beautiful with their exquisite decorations are the Kralevsko gold treasure, the Letnitsa treasure and the Lukovit treasure. Listed among the favourite sites of cultural tourism in Bulgaria are the Kazanluk tomb and the Sveshtari tomb. Of interest is the Alexandrovo tomb (near the village of Alexandrovo, Haskovo region) with valuable murals, the Mezek Thracian tomb (Haskovo region). Intriguing details of the building technique and artistic methods from Antiquity can also be identified in the remains of the royal Thracian cities of Kabile (in the vicinity of Yambol) and Seuthopolis (under the waters of the Koprinka Dam near Kazanluk), as well as in the Greek Black Sea coast colonies of Odessos (Varna), Apollonia (Sozopol), Messembria (Nessebur), Dionysopolis (Balchik), to mention just a few. The region of the Kazanluk valley (known as the Valley of Roses) became particularly popular in the 1990s, as new tombs were unearthed there, presenting the evolution of the Thracian culture in the 5th-4th century BC. Bulgaria and the world started to speak about the Valley of the Thracian kings. The Madara Horseman rock relief is the most significant Early Medieval item of Bulgarian monumental art and the only one of its kind in the European cultural history (located near the village of Madara, Shoumen region). It has been included in the list of the world heritage under 50

UNESCO protection. Veliko Turnovo has been the living symbol of Bulgarian statehood over the ages. It is one of the most visited towns in Bulgaria. Part of the city territory has been declared a museum reserve. The brilliant capital of the Bulgarian Kingdom during the 12th-14th centuries, Turnovo was among the largest cities in terms of area and population in the Southeast Europe of that time. What has survived to date (partially or wholly restored) takes us again to the time of the regal Turnovgrad city, when magnificent palaces, monasteries, churches, fortifications, bridges and big buildings were erected. Featuring among the cultural monuments that have survived from that period are the murals in some of the Turnovo churches, the icons in the churches in Nessebur and elsewhere. Worthy of special attention are the unique frescoes in the Boyana Church and the Ivanovo rock churches, appreciated for their true value and included in the list of the world cultural heritage under the protection of UNESCO. These indisputable masterpieces of medieval Bulgarian art present to the world the achievements of the Bulgarian creative genius. A great number of the present-day Bulgarian cities naturally combine their centuries-long history and the artistic samples from various ages with the living and noisy presence of contemporary life. Some of them are university centers focusing the lively cultural life of our time, while others are fashionable resorts, offering fine conditions for holidaymaking, convenience and entertainment. And no matter where they are located - in the mountains, in the fields or at the seaside - they are attractive because of their most varied and unexpected opportunities of cultural tourism in the country. Holiday Ideas Bulgaria’s natural landscape is full of surprises - it has endless, sandy beaches along the Black Sea, wild mountain ranges and lush green hills, fertile plains, magnificent gorges, rivers, health spas and natural springs. It is famous for long balmy Summers, dreamy scented rose fields, richly coloured orchards and sundrenched vine-yards. It is also renowned as a Winter Wonderland - with snow-laden mountains and pine forests stretching out as far as the eye can see, glistening like diamonds against an ever-blue sky. Nestling at the heart of Central Europe, Bulgaria is a land of unspoilt natural beauty, where time has been known to stand still. It is a country of great contrasts. Bulgaria is an interesting and intriguing experience for anyone: for those who love the warm southern sea or snow-covered slopes, for those who want to see it’s cultural and historic monuments, who wish to delight in its unique and living folklore, for young people fond of sports, for families with children, for the aged and people who need treatment, for those who dream of carefree holidays. Tempo Holidays & Gulf Reps can take you on a tour of Bulgaria for 7 days/6 nights. You’ll visit all the sites of Sofia, Veliko Turnovo and Plovdov including the National Palace of Culture, Roman remains, the Rila Monastery. There are numerous other tours and holiday packages available for Bulgaria depending on your tastes. Visit their website (www.tempoholidays.ae or www. gulfreps.com) or call +971-4-3415730 ext. 109 for more details on the Bulgarian offers.


IF YOU GO: • Bulgaria boasts an extensive accommodation network ranging from luxury fivestar to unpretentious two-star hotels, small cosy hotels and private rooms, meeting all modern requirements. Reservations can be made through tourist agencies or local accommodation offices. • Throughout Bulgaria you will find catering establishments of different categories serving different foods: renowned luxury restaurants, taverns which serve national cuisine, restaurants serving foreign cuisine, fast food outlets, pizzerias, numerous cafes and pastry shops, entertainment spots, etc. Menus are usually printed in both Bulgarian and English. Restaurants stay open from 11a.m. to midnight, but may work round the clock. • Almost everyone speaks Bulgarian and the similar language of Russian is widely understood. English, German and French are increasingly used in business and tourism. • The Bulgarian Orthodox Church occupies a central position in religious and cultural affairs with followers accounting for 86.6% of the population. A Muslim minority accounts for 13%. • Sofia Airport is 15km from the city centre so be sure to book your arrival transfers before traveling. • Public transportation in big cities is trams, trolleybuses and buses. Official yellow taxis may be hailed in the street or at designated taxi ranks and hotels. They are metered and do not charge extra for luggage. • The climate is temperate with moderating influences from the Black Sea to the east and the Mediterranean to the south. The average

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annual temperature is 10.5 degree Celsius. During summer the temperature ranges from 19-30 degrees Celsius. In winter, the temperatures can drop to -5 degrees Celsius. • The Bulgarian lev is a decimal currency. Most international credit cards are accepted and ATM’s are widespread. • Shopping is cheap especially clothes as a lot of it is not made in Bulgaria but comes from countries such as China. But with lower wages and tariffs in the country, it means products are cheaper. Shops open between 9am and 6pm on weekdays and between 9am and 2pm on Saturdays. Some department stores in larger cities may open until 8-9pm on weekdays and may open on Sundays. • 220V AC, 50Hz; round two-pin plugs are standard. • Holders of a UAE passport will require a visa to enter Bulgaria. No entry visas are required for citizens of the countries with which Bulgaria has a visa-free regime, or of organized tourists who have bought a package tour.No entry visas are required for citizens of the EU and EFTA member states. No visas are required for CIS citizens for a stay of one month, provided they are in the possession of a valid passport, a voucher for pre-paid tourist services or if they pay the sum of 40 USD for each day of their stay in the country. Visas to Bulgaria are issued by the Consulate of Bulgaria based in Villa 18 on Jumeira road. Their contact details are as follows: Tel: 04 344 2419 Email: bulgcons@emirates.net. ae URL: www. bulgarianconsulatedubai.com

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AMBIENCE I SPRING


Spring Field

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FASHION I SPRING & SUMMER ‘07

Marlboro Classics

COAT Long buttoned coat in treated brown canvas with lapels and 2 large flap pockets. SHIRT Sleeveless shirt in brown linen with rivet details and snap-on buttons. PANTS Straight pants ind brown cotton with turquoise fancy buttons. BELT White leather belt with rivets. HAT Straw hat with geometric pattern, embossed leather headband. BOOTS Unique crafted design

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JACKET Three-button jacket in pinstriped beige cotton with three ap pockets. VEST Buttoned vest in pinstriped black cotton wih striped cotton inside lining and back. SHIRT Buttoned shirt in striped cotton two ap pockets,snap-on buttons. JEANS Five -pocket jeans in dark blue denim with stitching

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Hogan Men’s Collection Materials Vegetable tanned cuoios, natural weaves, technical fabrics and metallics Colours Natural and Earthy tones, shades of grey, flashes of colour – red, orange, yellow, ochre, blue. White with metallic inserts.

James Sophisticated mix of traditional elegance ad sporty design for Hogan’s slip on moc in taupe nubuck. Flexible outsole and pedal gripping sole, visible stitching on the vamp enhanced by colour inserts.

Bermuda Open toe strappy sandal or flip flop in soft distressed leather with rubber grip sole. Buckle or colour detail. For warm weather in the city and at the beach! Women’s Collection Contemporary interpretation of urban trends and retro references. Materials Distressed cuoio and glazed leathers metallic details and patent inserts Colours Natural earthy tones – Stucco, oak, onyx Juicy primary colours: red, blue, green Matt effect and plays of light: gold and silver

Campus Tennis chic style for the sporty in white leather with coloured slash in fresh popsicle colours: mint, cherry and blueberry

Tambourine Bag is inspired by the shape of a tambourine! The round bottom resembles the shape of the instrument whilst the metal conchos recall its sounding disks. Bucket shaped, topped by a flap closure personalized with a leather H mounted on a metallic horsheshoe shape base. A different beat strikes the saddle bag version with adjustable shoulder strap and leather laces.

Beach Sandal with nude cushioned insole and gladiator style instep – in leather with ankle wrap. Natural tones, primary colours and metallized effects.

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Ungaro

For the Ungaro spring summer 07 collection, Peter Dundas imagined opening the door to a butterfly garden and watching a myriad of shimmering creatures take flight. This vision of freedom and individuality is interpreted in the collection’s movement, coloured prints and light. The love affair with the dress is a key element. Short silhouettes emphasizing shoulders, hips and waist are a continual source of inspiration. Longer silhouettes add a sense of flight and movement. Signature drapings are reworked in molten shapes to accentuate and enhance the female form. Fabrics are light, airy and shimmering. A symphony of prints is mixed in random patterns inspired by butterfly wings. Some are slightly surreal in their appeal, channeling the likes of Lewis Carroll’s works. Colours are strong and vibrant, mixing fuchsia, turquoise, and Yves Klein blue, orange, yellow, scarab green and platinum. Touches of black and white add a graphic element. The accessories, created in collaboration with UK artist Andrew Logan, are covered in coloured glass, adding shimmer and reflection to the collection. For summer, the Ungaro woman draws few lines between day and night, letting her playful mood and joie de vivre dictate the moment rather than the hour of the day. Available in our Boutiques in Dubai – Burjuman Center, Level 2, Tel. 355 7922 Etoile Boutique – Dubai – Mall of Emirates, Level 1, Tel. 341 4166 58


The Wa

World Cup Collection

During the month of March Wafi City will be offering a variety of fashion events promoting brands that will be showcasing their latest collections of international designers. Dress to impress is the order of the day and the superb selection of race wear from Wafi will offer you the opportunity to chance to succeed! Wafi City has so many unique and eclectic brands for customers to ensure they will look their very best for this year’s Dubai World Cup; which is Dubai’s most glamorous equestrian event, emulating the world renowned Royal Ascot and the Melbourne Cup. The key events will happen on 6th, 14th & 19th March, as Wafi unveils outfits from several of the region’s hottest designers at the ‘Wafi World Cup Collections’. The fashion shows will highlight some of the key looks and trends predicted for the Dubai World Cup. There will also be individual catwalk presentations from our retailers throughout the month. A full schedule will be available at Wafi. Participants of the shows will be a combination of Wafi’s long standing retail partners plus some of the more recently acquired brands to ensure a good scope of styles and budgets. There will be shows from St John; Oasis Fashion; Unrath & Strano; Tiger Lily; Marc Cain; Joop! for Men; Bianca; Jaeger and Marks & Spencer, to name a few. Also on display will be an extensive selection of accessories – luxury handbags and stylish shoes; spectacular jewellery and of course sensational hats. March will see part of the new extension of the Mall open with exciting key labels to expand the varied retail mix such as Mandarina Duck; Brick; Monaco; Penhaligons; Caron and many more. Some of these brands will be included in the shows. Throughout the month of March there will be display of work from ESMOD, the French fashion school, now located in Dubai. The students have already had their first creations on the catwalk to much acclaim and are happy to show them again to display their unconventional styles which may result in a world class designer of the future.

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FACE TO FACE I ROTANA HOTELS

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otana Hotels is today one of the leading hotel management companies within the Middle East. It is a company offering the best of both worlds. The management’s unique understanding of the culture and communities of the Middle East combined with the collective expertise of an executive team in the service industry made it a very successful entity. With several properties opening this year and new projects in the pipeline, Rotana Hotels has confirmed its intention to have a Rotana managed property in all the major cities throughout the Middle East within the next five years. Travel Arabia talks to Naeem Darkazally, Area Director of Sales and Marketing for all the Rotana Hotels, Suites and Resorts in Dubai & Northern Emirates, about the new properties opening and the reasons behind their success.

Rotana Hotels Leading the Hotel Industry

Rotana Hotels expansions come as a natural result of its strong brand presence in the region. Expansions are diversified to meet all market needs, such as the Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa, bringing in a new concept of relaxation, and Burjuman Rotana Suites with its ideal location for quality shoppers.

TA: Rotana Resort keeps expanding in the region and renovations are also being made to existing properties, how do you explain this? ND: Rotana Hotels expansions come as a natural result of its strong brand presence in the region. Expansions are diversified to meet all market needs, such as the Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa, bringing in a new concept of relaxation, and Burjuman Rotana Suites with its ideal location for quality shoppers. Nevertheless, the quality of lifestyle in Dubai as well as hotels and apartments standards, have all remarkably improved in the last few years, and renovations has become a must to keep meeting our costumers’ expectations. Jumeira Rotana has just completed its major renovations, as well as Rihab Rotana Suites. TA: As of this year, how many properties do Rotana Hotels have so far? ND: By end of 2007, Rotana will have 26 hotels operating in the region. TA: Rotana started with 2 properties in 1993 and I believe there will be a total of 42 properties by the end of 2008, this is a tremendous growth and a huge investment and considering a lot of investors are also building their projects particularly in Dubai, how do you plan to promote your properties to get a fair share of the market? ND: Since the beginning, Rotana has always focused on its customer satisfaction, meeting and exceeding expectations; as a network, Rotana has opened a number of representation offices around the world in key cities such as London, Frankfurt, Kuwait and soon in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the unique Rotana Sales & Marketing cluster concept provides an edge in promoting our hotels portfolio, a great advantage vis-à-vis the competitors. TA: How do you set the theme for each property – do you consider their location or mostly, the target market? ND: Each hotel has a unique character, starting with its exterior designs to landscaping and location, and then its interior design and facilities. TA: Do you get ideas or concepts from your guests’ suggestions or comments? ND: All the time. It is the best scenario when a guest tells us his opinion.

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TA: While theme may be different for each Rotana hotels, what common feature does it have for all property – service, amenities, facilities, etc? ND: Service, service, service. TA: What makes Rotana Hotel different from the other hotels in the region or in the UAE? ND: Rotana was born in UAE and carrying the very local spirit and tradition of UAE. This is widely felt when staying at any Rotana Hotels in UAE. TA: Do you think Rotana is more business-friendly or leisure-friendly? ND: We cater to both segments. Rotana Hotels are well diversed in their facilities and offerings in order to accommodate both business and leisure traveler’s needs. TA: Between business and leisure travellers, who do you think is easier to please? ND: Pleasing a customer is always achievable, as long as we have well read his expectations and well trained our staff to meet those expectations. TA: I understand that the Rotana chain is very interested in environmental issues. Can you tell us a bit more about that side of the company? ND: Rotana participates in all Dubai environmental activities heavily and ensures our hotels comply with the requirements. TA: Do you think that if people know that a hotel is environmentally aware then it makes a difference. ND: It should, however the demand and supply factors in Dubai does not allow for this yet. TA: And where do you see Rotana Hotels in the future? ND: Maintain a leading role in the hospitality industry in the Middle East and staying close to our customers at all times. TA: On a separate note, what do you think about the tourism industry in Dubai? ND: Tourism has been a government focus for a number of years in Dubai, a vision that has certainly inspire all of us. It has become a main sector with matured business processes and management calibers. TA: Do you think that the tourism industry will expand as much as the business industry here in Dubai? ND: No doubt, the two are going line by line. The infrastructure now under development has an eagle’s eye vision into the future needs of Dubai. TA: Lastly, can you tell us how long have been in Rotana? When did you start in the hotel industry? ND: I joined Rotana in April 2006 but I started my hotel career since 1981. TA: Do you have an unforgettable experience with a hotel guest that makes you think twice about continuing your hotel management career? What did you do to overcome it? ND: Too many experiences with guests, however, the one incident when a guest decided to suddenly get married and needed all the help to make it happen. We became his family. March 2007

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PROMOTIONS I UAE

Sheraton Khalidiya Hotel Abu Dhabi

Sheraton Abu Dhabi Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival Each March, Macon in Japan becomes a pink cotton-spun paradise of delight as over 275,000 Yoshino cherry trees bloom in all their glory. And the festival lovers are treated to one of the most extravagant displays of springtime colour in the nation as they visit the town referred to by Congressional Records as the “Cherry Blossom Capital of the World” Now at the Sheraton Abu Dhabi, enjoy the ultimate of Cherry Blossom food created just for you by our Flavours Chef James. Olga is there to play you a smooth jazz. Flavours Restaurant Market Style Adventure today in Flavours; walk from

food station to food station, no more buffets but only the freshest ingredients prepared by our chefs before your eyes in any way will please your senses! Our Deli Market bursting with the freshest salads, vegetables, cheeses, fresh baked breads and a vast assortment of deli meats will insure a lighting fast, healthy and delicious business lunch! Indulge in the aromas of sizzling meats, chops and seafood on the grill. Sample some of our Chinese Chef James Wang’s delicious and authentic recipes from the Woks, or order some Sushi made with only the finest seafood available….Oriental favourites are prepared daily by our Chef Fadi, and don’t forget the best dessert Corner in Abu Dhabi! Prices are AED 95 net per Adult and AED 50 net per Child (below 11 years)

Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort Mother’s Day Celebrate Mother’s Day in the warm comforts of the Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort & Towers on the 21st of March. Pamper your mother with the finest Seafood buffet at the Palm Garden restaurant. To make the occasion extra special, we are offering all mothers flowers and a chocolate box on the house. The buffet is priced at Dhs. 155 per person and includes a glass of sparkling wine. Paella Night Flamenco guitarists and exotic Spanish cuisine come together to create a night of unimaginable excitement. Join us for “Paella Night” at the Sea Breeze Bar and bonfire every Friday from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Come and enjoy great Paella, cooked to perfection in front of you, accompanied by all the trimmings 62

and salads and some sinful desserts created especially for you by our pastry chef. This gourmet experience, available for only Dhs 95 will ensure you end the evening with an Olé! Al Hadiqa Restaurant Marhaba! Enjoy a relaxing evening at our Al Hadiqa restaurant that offers you true Arabic hospitality and flair. An array of juicy Arabic mixed grills and Shawarma will leave you craving for more while our selection of Shishas set the mood for a relaxing evening. Make the most of the “Hadiqa Happy Hour” daily from 18:00hrs to 19:00hrs, where all normal house-pouring beverages are offered at a 50% discount. Open from 18:00 to 03:00 hrs. For all reservations, please call 04-315 3218

Feel as comfortable as at home at Downtown! The trendy “Down Town” is an ideal venue for International cuisine. It offers an extensive a la carte menu for lunch and dinner – refreshing salads, tempting main courses, sizzling steaks, fresh collection of “Sushi and Sashimi” @ only Dhs.75++plus mouthwatering desserts. Wireless high speed internet connection is also available. We offer an excellent selection of beverages to accompany your dining experience. For reservation please call: 02/ 666 6220 Ext: 68 Where all served with charming hospitality! Located on the 1st floor of the hotel, La Veranda is an elegant restaurant and has a setting ideal for corporate lunches. The Executive Chef, Anthony Galo has created a varied of a la carte menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition, we also serve lavish buffet spreads. The restaurant proves to be a popular venue with families and Business as well as it serves fabulous themed dinner buffets such as Italian Night (Every Sunday), A menu offering a variety of typical Italian dishes in original way Price: Dhs.99++, Mexican Night (Every Monday), where you feel closer to Mexico with a selection of Nachos, Beef and Chicken Fajitas Price: Dhs.99++, Oriental Night (Every Wednesday),where you enjoy delicious Mezze and traditional grilled specialties Price: Dhs.99++, and Seafood Night (every Thursday),it offers a seasonal seafood from across the globe, savour fresh salmon, crab and live cooking of Cigale Price: Dhs.120++, Friday family brunch with fun activities for kids and extensive buffet from around the world at Dhs.99++. We offer an excellent selection of beverages to accompany your dining experience. For reservation please call: 02/ 666 6220 Ext: 78


Sheraton Dubai Creek Have you sampled a Japanese BBQ? March is a fabulous time to enjoy a barbecue…and what’s even better, you don’t have to get your hands dirty grilling the meat. Just head on to the Creekside Japanese Restaurant where Chef Narit will focus on the Teriyaki method, where unique ingredients such as fresh asparagus or salmon are marinated or basted in a teriyaki sauce and then grilled. Tantalize your taste buds with dishes like Turkey Ham Asparagus Maki Teriyaki (grilled turkey ham wrapped with asparagus on skewers teriyaki) or Ebi To Ika Teriyaki Sauce (shrimp and cuttlefish on skewers with spicy teriyaki sauce). Prices start from AED55 per dish. For reservations, please call 04 207 1750 Risotto Galore! Risotto is a traditional Italian dish made using a variety of rice such as Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy. It originated in North Italy, specifically Eastern Piedmont, Western Lombardy, and Veneto. There is much discussion on how the original Risotto is cooked…however, there is a consensus

Escalope treats at The Terrace This March, you can try the “Escalope treats” at The Terrace, the atrium enclosed venue with its natural daylight and comfortable ambience at Sheraton Deira Hotel for lunch from noon till 3pm, for just Dhs. 35 net per person inclusive of soft drinks. Chef Robin presents his culinary genius on the thin slice cuts of meats, seafood and vegetables. You can pick an ‘Escalope of veal’, Crumbed chicken breast, Pan-fried hammour, Beef escalope, Butterfly prawns deepfried and Escalope of Zucchini or Eggplant for the vegetarians. Each dish is differently accompanied by both a dippy sauce, and variations of breads. Alternately you have the tempting Lunch buffet as an option to try for Dhs. 78 per person. For reservation or more information, please call 04-6068615. Mediterranean Brunch Feel the ‘Mediterranean’ while you enjoy the Friday Brunch at the Terrace restaurant at Sheraton Deira Hotel from 12 noon till 1600 hrs. The lavish Friday Brunch serving Mediterranean specialties offers an array of International hot and cold dishes, soups, veggies, salads, cold cuts, seafood, meats, rice, noodles, sweets, all for Dhs. 115 net per person. Also included within the price are House

March 2007

that the three key ingredients to making a great risotto are the rice, the broth, and more often than not, the cheese. Visit Chef Andrea and his team at the Vivaldi Italian Restaurant this March and find out for yourself. Prices start from AED46 per dish. For reservations, please call 04 207 1717 Go Crayfish! Crayfish, often better known as a crawfish or crawdad, are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are closely related. Very popular in European cuisine, crawfish are an excellent source of protein and their sweet, succulent meat must be picked or sucked out of the tiny shells. In March, The Lobby Café and Chelsea Arms Pub showcases an array of mouth-watering crayfish specialities which include Crayfish Salad with Artichoke, Jumbo Asparagus and Watercress Sauce, Crayfish Bisque with Sun Dried Peach and Fresh Goat Cheese Quenelle and more. Simply a must-try! Prices start from AED30 net per dish. For reservations, please call The Lobby Café at 04 201 1719 and Chelsea Arms Pub at 04 201 1721.

Sheraton Deira beverages - soft drinks, mineral water, red/white house wines. Soft Italian and Spanish pipe music serenades you through the brunch creating an exotic Mediterranean experience while seated at the Terrace restaurant. Furthermore you can eat as much as you like – no limit. Another option is to go for Dhs. 89 net, which accompanies soft beverages. Parents can coolly relax and enjoy their afternoon brunch while children till age of 12

have an exclusive area to play and have fun under the supervision of our professional and friendly staff. Children can join in activities like cartoon movies, color painting, and video games, which are included in the brunch price. Furthermore the children can order their own little brunch - nuggets, lollipops, French fries, mini burgers, and soft drink selections. For reservation or more information, please call 04-2078615.

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Moevenpick Hotel, Bur Dubai Prawns – Delicious whatever you call it – exclusively at La Veranda Low in calories, rich in protein and practically no fat or carbohydrate – this is what makes prawns such a likeable dish. The fact, that we can prepare them in so many ways and never get bored of them, is another advantage. Exquisite in their taste, and deliciously prepared by Chef Rheda and his team at La Veranda, you can enjoy them oven-baked, steamed or pan-fried – each of them in an extraordinary way, with spices, sauces and side dishes. From 7th to 31st of March, plates starting at AED 90.00 For more information please call 04 336 6000 ext. 340 My name is……Bond. – Theme night at Somerset’s March 7th is “the day” for Bond lovers. All of us know his favourite drink, and don’t we get occasionally hung up in discussions on “shaken, not stirred” – or was it “stirred, not shaken”. Fact is, his charisma, his way of introducing himself and his passion for a tasty drink and delicious food. Enjoy a night of mystery and treat yourself to James Bond movies on the Plasma screens, the right drink in your hand, and delicious food, served

to you by our team all dressed up “the Bond way”, to take you away to a night of “Bond…………..James Bond”. For more information please call 04 336 6000 ext. 330 Strawberry Fields Forever at Café Espresso Who doesn’t love them? Red, fruity, tasty. Smiling at you. Teasing you, sitting on the fruit counter. Enjoyable plain, with sugar, dipped in chocolate or on some pastry. - Strawberries. – one of the most likeable berries. Enjoy Strawberry Milkshakes, Strawberry Mille Feuille, StrawberryAvocado Cake and many other fruity, “berry” treats at Café Espresso during the month of March. For more information please call 04 336 6000 ext. 370 Coconut Cool on the Rooftop Terrace Refreshing and cool, you can enjoy Coconut Juice on the Rooftop during March. Relax in the late-afternoon sun, treat yourself to a light snack or simply sip your Coconut juice, whilst letting a day go by. For more information please call 04 336 6000 ext. 307

Dusit Dubai 3:00pm, 7:00pm – 11:30pm

Benjarong The finest taste of Thailand can be experienced at Benjarong Restaurant! Enjoy traditional Thai music and dancing surrounded by the intimate environment created by Thai craftsmen and complemented by the aromatic and spicy dishes from Thailand. Located at the 24th floor, Benjarong is Open: 12noon – 64

The Brunch Bigger and better! The Friday Brunch at Dusit Dubai is revamped with over 120 dishes offering an array of cuisines from around the world with live cooking stations, healthy fresh salads and tempting desserts. Join the fun with family or friends for only Dhs 169 per person, The Brunch at the Dusit Dubai can’t be missed! Open from 12 noon to 3 pm. The Taste of Asia For the authentic taste of Asian cuisine, sample the

best of an Asian buffet at The Californian Restaurant, located on the 24th floor. The evening buffet features Asian flavors from every region with sushi, sashimi, noodles, dumplings, dim sum and much more, complemented by spectacular views of both the old and new Dubai. Try our Asian Buffet at Dhs 149 net per person including house beverages, except Thursdays Seafood Buffet at The Californian Start the weekend in Dubai with a delightful Seafood Buffet in The Californian Restaurant. Enjoy selected seafood cooked in spices accompanied by a wide variety of

salads, vegetables and delectable desserts. At Dhs 169 per person including wines & beers, you’ll agree the seafood buffet gives you truly great value for money. Every Thursday from 7pm-10.30pm. Steam Boat Evening Enjoy the social dining of Steam Boat and choose from a wide selection of vegetables, meat and seafood to cook in the steamboat. At Dhs 149 per person including unlimited house beverage, you’ll agree the steamboat is a guaranteed fun night out. Every Monday from 7pm-10.30pm.


Al Bustan Rotana Rodeo Grill, the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel’s renowned and award-winning restaurant, proudly launches a new Saturday Lunch. A sophisticated and elegant setting that elevates steak house dining to a new level. Famous for the tastiest American bites in town, the prefect venue for an intimate lunch and dinner with friends and colleagues. Rodeo Grill presents a wholesome Saturday Lunch for the food lover, which includes succulent roasted US prime rib of beef from the trolley, served au jus with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and daily vegetables for only Dhs. 195 net per person.

Le Meridien Hotel Abu Dhabi Papagallo Chef LeV, our Italian cuisine specialist launches ‘Secret Code’ for Chicken Promotion at Papagallo during lunch and dinner. Baked spring chicken with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, rosemary and chili for AED 55 per person All Prices are subject to 10% service Charge & 6% Tourism tax How better to show her you care and value her than by treating her to some much needed personal relaxation time where she can be pampered? ‘Mothers Magic Moment’ An hour of bliss, let us take her worries away with this relaxing yet refreshing

treatment. Her choice of a 60 minute massage followed by a Sea Essential Radiance Facial. 90 mins 300AED ‘Mothers Miracle Package’ Indulge her senses and help her feel her absolute best with this luxurious package that will help her diminish the years. She will begin her transformation with either a rejuvenating body wrap or body scrub, followed by a relaxing massage of her choice and finally completed with the ultimate in facial treatments the Sea Prestige Ogenage package. 3 hrs 600AED Use of the Aquamedic pools, sauna and steam room are included.

Venue Description

Prices

Venue Description

Venue Description

Prices

March 2007

St. Patrick’s day (17th March) Captain’s Arms Celebrate the spirit of the Irish on St. Patrick’s day at Captain’s Arms. While you dance enjoy the drinks and snacks and also you may win prizes in the famous Captain’s Arms Shamrock Hunt Individually priced Omani Lobster Promotion Talay No need to go to Oman. Taste the Omani Lobster at Abu Dhabi. Our Thai Chef prepare amazing variety of cooking ways for Omani Lobster such as: Omani lobster in panang curry sauce and sweat basil. AED120. Karaoke Night Gauloises If you’re dreaming to be a singer one day, you may soon find yourself in the pages of Karaoke Singer Magazine. Join and sing your favorite songs with the beautiful atmosphere of Gauloises Karaoke Night every Sunday Ladies: Free entrance and one free drink on arrival Males: Entrance AED 75.

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Courtyard by Marriott Dubai

Pine Grill Enjoy the most delicious international lunch buffet offering fresh and innovative flavours at Pine Grill. Dhs 79 net per person including choice of soft drinks or chilled juices.

Renaissance Hotel Spice Island – Iranian New Year Chelo-Khoresht, Shish Kebab with rice, rice with lamb, meatballs with rice and Kofte are just some of the delicious dishes on offer at this special tribute to one of the most ancient cuisines in the world. Available in three packages: Tee Total

Dhs. 135/-

(The Original Grand Buffet inclusive of soft drinks)

The Original Grand Buffet

Dhs. 169/-

(The Original Grand Buffet inclusive of regular house beverages)

Premium Experience

Dhs. 225/-

(The Original Grand Buffet inclusive of a large selection of premium beverages)

Sails Restaurant - Mediterranean Nights Explore the tastes of the Mediterranean as a part of our Seafood & Reef ‘N Beef theme nights at Sails Restaurant. Our popular seafood buffet is featured every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday night; savour our “Reef ‘N Beef” nights on Mondays and Tuesdays. Available in three packages: Tee Total

Dhs. 145/-

(The Original Grand Buffet inclusive of soft drinks)

The Original Grand Buffet Dhs. 175/(The Original Grand Buffet inclusive of regular house beverages)

Premium Experience

Dhs. 232/-

(The Original Grand Buffet inclusive of a large selection of premium beverages)

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Sails Restaurant - Wine Bazaar Relish your favourite seafood and steaks every theme night of the week accompanied by a selection of wines from our wine bazaar for an additional Dhs. 100/- only. Harry’s Place St. Patrick’s Day - March 17, 2007 Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with us at Harry’s Place, where DJ Rukie will be taking you home with some of your favourite Irish songs! Aquarium Lounge Apples ‘N Pears - March 10 - 23, 2007 Chef Ejaz and his band of merry men have come up with a selection of pies, tarts and cakes; all flavoured with Apples ‘N Pears. AppleChocolate Cake, the classic Apple Crumble Tart, Almond-Pear Tart or the Apple-Blackberry Pie are just some of the goodies on offer. Aquarium Lounge Easter Goodies - March 24 to April 10, 2007 Chocolate Bunnies, Chocolate Eggs, Hot Cross Buns and more are available for Easter this month at the Aquarium Lounge. All at a la carte prices. Hero’s Health Club Thai Massage Promotion Book a Thai Massage during the month of March and get a 15 minutes head massage or a reflexology massage for free. To schedule your appointment, please contact the Hero’s Health Club on Tel.: 04-262 5555

Cucina Take a break from your hectic work day with a relaxing business lunch at Cucina starting with an antipasti buffet and a choice of two or three-course menu. The tempting menu offers carefully selected main courses of fresh pasta or pizza and dessert for the three-course option. Dhs 45 for two-course and Dhs 55 for three-course including small bottle of water. Rendezvous No need to worry about dining out at lunch and absorbing your maximum calories for the day! With our light lunch combination of Soup, Salad and Sandwich at Rendezvous Lounge you won’t be able to resist. Available for dine in or take-away. Dhs 29 per person including house water. Lunch options are available from 12:00 to 15:00 hrs. Family Weekend Brunch Courtyard by Marriott Dubai Green Community’s Family Weekend Brunch is so much more than an ‘all you can eat and drink’ offer. It’s all about dining, socialising and relaxing. Choose your venue from Pine Grill or Cucina and enjoy a selection of starters and desserts from the international buffet and order your main course a la carte style. Have fun every weekend with the whole family, even the kid’s get special children’s entertainment. Family Weekend Brunch every Friday and Saturdays from 12:00 to 15:00 hrs. For reservations call 04 885 2222.


JW Marriott Bamboo Lagoon Bamboo Lagoon rolls out its popular all-you-can-eat-and-drink evening for Dhs 255 including premium beverages throughout the months of March and April. This favourite haven of Far Eastern cuisine will feature live cooking stations demonstrating the art of mixing spices. The Market Place The Market Place sets the Latin mood with a new menu focusing on Latin flavours spiced with an American twist. Throughout March and April, sample delicious flavours cooked according to your liking. To complete the experience, don’t forget to try the revamped Rum selections and get a taste of good life with the live cigar rolling. Premium prices start at Dhs.255 Mays El Reem With an outstanding reputation for its food and ambience, the traditional dining experience in Mays El Reem over the spring season will soon turn you into lifelong Lebanese cuisine devotee. Chef Ahmad and the team create traditional and signature delights from the roots of Lebanon. All along March and April, a set menu has been created using a variety of seasonal ingredients used in the Cold and hot mezza, Main Course and family-style

Radisson Dubai Deira March 2007

dessert all for Dhs.148 including unlimited soft drinks. Enjoy the spring menu everyday for dinner including belly dancing and live entertainment. Cucina Cucina, the Italian kitchen brings you the best of the deep sea throughout March and April. Chef Andrea and his team have created a variety of fish prepared with traditional Italian ingredients to create tantalizing flavours in the new á la carte menu. Select a refreshing white wine from our wine list to accompany your choice and enjoy a light and refreshing meal; perfect to enjoy throughout the warmer days that lie ahead. Champions Enjoy the typical American style menu, while watching your favourite matches from one of the sports bar’s numerous big flat-screen TVs. Throughout March and April, the Champions team has created a concept of beverages flavoured with Vodka and wine. Indulge in the á la carte menu that features typical American bar food along premium beverages and cocktails. For more information and reservations please call 04 6077977/ 04 60770099 or log on to www.marriottdining.ae

The China Club offers Daily Yum Cha! The China Club restaurant, located at the ground floor of the Radisson SAS Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek offers its Yum Cha feast everyday for lunch this month. By popular demand, The China Club extends its weekend traditional Yum Cha lunch menu to an everyday feast from 12 pm till 3:00 pm for only Dhs. 85 per person. Enjoy The China Club’s Master Chef Xu’s (Sunny) tantalizing Yum Cha menu featuring a variety of Dim Sum, Soups, Rice, Noodles, and Desserts. Treat yourself with a traditional Chinese Yum Cha feast every day for an unforgettable lunch from 12 pm to 3 pm only at The China Club restaurant. Don’t miss your chance to Eat All You Can from the finest selection of our Yum Cha menu inclusive of a free flow of Chinese tea and soft beverages, for only Dhs. 85 per person Our A La Carte menu features the largest selection of live seafood of any Chinese restaurant in Dubai, with over

20 different types of fish and a wide range of Dim Sum, vegetarian dishes and many more. You can savour the exquisite Chinese cuisine at The China Club everyday for lunch and dinner. No-Rooz at Shabestan Shabestan, authentic Iranian restaurant located on the 2nd floor of the Radisson SAS Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek celebrates the Iranian New Year from March 21st – 31st 2007 with award-winning cuisine and traditional festivities. What better timing to welcome in the Iranian New Year than on the first day of spring! Come and join the traditional “NoRooz” (Iranian New Year) celebrations starting from New Year’s Day on 21st of March 2007, for lunch and dinner at Shabestan, to experience the best authentic journey ever! For more information or bookings, please call the InfoCentre on 04 - 205 7333/ 7444. 67


Ritz Carlton Dubai

Sushi Master Class in La Baie You’ve tasted the delicious sushi menu in La Baie…now its creators, Chef Randy and Cedric, will teach you how it’s done! It’s not often the opportunity arises to learn something of this venerable skill, but Randy and Cedric are keen to impart some of their considerable knowledge to those who appreciate the intricacies of this delicacy. Every Wednesday from 3pm to 4.30pm students will learn to prepare sushi and sashimi under their watchful care. Successful candidates will receive a diploma, and everyone will get the chance to taste their own creations. The price is Dhs. 700 net per person, and includes the master class, all materials, a three-course menu of the guest’s choosing, and a glass of champagne. For further details, please call La Baie on 04 399-4000. We recommend you book early as each class is limited to 15 students. Sushi deluxe If you’re a fan of sushi, but not keen on the cooking, we just know you’ll love our latest creation in La Baie. Priced at Dhs. 400 net, our Prestige Sushi Plate is something you won’t find anywhere else. Eight novel types of sushi and sashimi include lobster, pearl oyster, truffle, Wagyu beef, tofu and caviar, all with tasty dipping sauces such as miso, spicy chilli and teriyaki. A real palate pleaser indeed! A tribute to Lebanon at Amaseena® Lebanon’s long history, natural beauty and spirit of its people give it a place on the hearts of all who have been there. With its legendary hospitality, fascinating coastline and its delicious food, it is indeed worth a visit. Amaseena® plays tribute to Lebanon during March and April. Every night except Tuesdays, the cuisine of Lebanon is showcased together with Arak and the fine wines of Massaya, with a Lebanese dancer in attendance. The buffet is priced at Dhs. 175 net per person, or Dhs. 399 net per couple, excluding beverages. For reservations and further details, please contact Amaseena® on 04 399-4000. Pumpkin and cinnamon body glow New to The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai Spa this month is the spicy Pumpkin and Cinnamon Body Glow. Your skin will tingle while it’s being exfoliated with the warming body scrub, buffing off any dried and dead skin cells. The scrub is removed with steamed towels and the fresh pumpkin mask is applied. Pumpkin is a natural source of beta carotene and active enzymes, renewing tired skin and dissolving impurities and toxins. While wrapped in a warm cocoon of zingy aromas, you will be treated to a comforting aromatherapy scalp massage. After showering off the remains of the body mask you will enjoy a massage of rich sweet smelling French Sugared Vanilla & honey body cream to hydrate your skin, release tension and leave a long lasting fragrance on the skin. Duration: 90 minutes; Cost Dhs 500.00. For reservations, please call The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai Spa on 04 399-4000.

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Shangrila Hotel Dubai Even the Lobsters are dining at Amwaj This month Chef Matthias and his team have come up with a menu for those lobster connoisseurs out there. Throughout March, Amwaj will be serving a range of lobster specialties. The special menu will include this favourite crustacean in a variety of forms including; Lobster consommé encased with puff pastry and mango-lobster ravioli, Lobsterpolenta praline served with apple-ginger compote and truffle sauce as well as Pan fried Boston lobster medallions with sautéed pak choy and coconut chilli sauce. The lobster promotion will be available daily for lunch from 12h00 to 15h00 and for dinner from 19h00 to 23h30, except for Friday lunch. Closed on Saturdays. Moroccan Salads Moroccan cuisine is considered to be one of the most renowned cuisines in the world with a remarkable diversity of flavours that have been created over many generations. This month Marrakech will be offering a range of traditional Moroccan salads. The salads are priced at AED 55 per salad and the range includes Berber salad made with steamed tomatoes, fried capsicums and garlic dressing as well as Couscous salad made with steamed semolina, green peas and tomatoes. The special salad menu is available for dinner from Monday to Saturday throughout March. All prices are inclusive of 10% Municipality fees and 10% service charge. Hue City Hoi An introduces a special wine pairing dinner menu throughout March with a range of dishes originating from Hue City in central Vietnam. The four course set menu will be accompanied by a selection of perfectly matched wines. The menu includes dishes such as beef noodle soup with chilli sate and coconut braised duck leg with coriander rice and crispy egg. The menu is priced at AED 230 per person and is available daily for dinner from 19h30 to 01h00. All prices are inclusive of 10% Municipality fees and 10% service charge. For further information and reservations, please call (04) 405 2703.


Get hooked by Masala Seafood week Join us at Masala to enjoy a fresh seafood catch from the Arabian Sea & the Bay of Bengal. You will experience lavish dishes that originated from family secret recipes of Indian fishermen that were handed on by word of mouth through the generation This special set menu consists of different fish Kebabs and curries with selected unlimited Indian spirits, grape juices and beverages Price: AED325 Date: From the 19th until the 31st of March 2007. Restaurant close on Sunday Time: 7.00pm until 11.30pm Book now. For reservations, call Toll Free 8002021 or e-mail JBASrestaurants@jumeirah.com Archery – New activity Most of us are familiar with the image of Robin Hood executing the ‘impossible’ by firing an arrow to split the shaft of one already in the target, and archer’s still term the act a “Robin Hood” today. Japanese define archery as a highly meditative martial art whose ultimate goals are Shin (The ultimate reality), Zen (Goodness) and Bi (Beauty). Let our instructors lead you to learn how to use this age-old weapon & enjoy 1 hour session in the Archery field at Bab Al Shams From Sunday until Thursday 04.00pm to 05.00pm Friday & Saturday 11.00am to 12.00pm Rates: For outside guests AED100 per person Booking is required. For more information, please call leisure department on 048326699

Bab Al Shams Satori Body Sensation (Body Wrap and Facial) Feel cleansed inside and out with this powerful treatment which purifies your body leaving your skin smooth and rejuvenated. Firstly, your body is gently wrapped in a hydrating detoxifying mask, and enveloped in a cocoon of heated blankets. Then, while detoxification is taking place naturally, your facial begins. This is a deep, pore cleansing and exfoliating facial using special antioxidant or serum ampoules that are excellent for boosting hydration, tone and elasticity for the skin. After the treatment, a cascading shower rinses the masque and for the finishing touch, a custom blended aromatherapy moisturize leaves your skin radiant When you book this treatment, you will avail a free pass to enjoy our infinity pool Duration -1hr.55min Price-AED 799 Book now. For reservation, please call Satori Spa on 04 8096232, or e-mail JBASspa@jumeirah.com

March 2007

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g

GREAT TASTE I ABU DHABI

World class dining at

Al Fanar Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi

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I After serving your food, they will leave but will keep an eye and watch your body language to indicate that you need anything or if you are done with your meal. This way you will have a very private lunch or dinner - Hoda Beckash

March 2007

f you are in Abu Dhabi and looking for a dining place where you will feel a true insight of tailor-made exquisite cuisine, where tradition blends magically with modern cooking, and where you could see a breathtaking view of the emirate, then head to Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi. Al Fanar, located on the 31st floor of the five-star property, is the perfect venue to enjoy good food and relax because it has the right atmosphere, the ideal setting and the most romantic place in town. Al Fanar which is Arabic for lighthouse is fitting because it’s the one and only revolving fine-dining restaurant in Abu Dhabi. And because it sits on the highest building in the capital, you have a complete view of the emirate, from the Arabian Gulf to the whole city. Al Fanar recently undergone renovation and the new interior depict class and elegance, with sandy colours, from floor to ceiling, coordinated with beige and brown table and chairs. The restaurant is divided into three sections: smoking, non-smoking and the high sofa. You won’t feel crowded even if the place is full because you have your own space, you will not see the guests on the other side of the curve, just those behind and in front of you. The staffs are neat, polite and friendly. Al Fanar prides itself with the fact that their wait staff does not stand behind you and wait until you finish your food. “After serving your food, they will leave but will keep an eye and watch your body language to indicate that you need anything or if you are done with your meal. This way you will have a very private lunch or dinner,” said Hoda Beckash, Public Relations Manager. Al Fanar serves modern European cuisine. “We pride ourselves in preparing only the most genuine and best available products in the market to give our diners a true insight of tailor-made exquisite cuisine, where tradition blends magically with modern cooking,” welcomes Al Fanar. We visited Al Fanar during lunch time and selected from the menu. As I scrolled down, I noticed the Mediterranean, Refinement,

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Friendly and Discovery categories for the food selection for both starters and main course. Chef Martin Vanicek explained that Mediterranean is European cuisine and uses special ingredients. Sample dishes are Vegetarian Goat Cheese Cake, Zucchini and Aubergines, Pine Nut Dressing for a starter and Roasted “Bresse” Chicken Supreme, Artichokes, Creamy Polenta, Sun Dried Tomato-Rosemary Jus for the main course. Refinement is classic French dishes, while Friendly is healthy food or dishes that are friendly to your body and Discovery is the unusual, fusion food, not found on regular menus. I ordered a consommé soup, a frothy soup which tasted really good. The serving is enough for one person’s consumption. The bread basket served with butter is a good compliment. I tried Lobster Salad for a starter. Lobster Salad falls under the Refinement category and is served with white asparagus and mango salsa. I was hoping for a standard big bowl of salad but to my delight, the salad is proportionate with the fresh and crunchy leafy greens perfectly set on top of the food. For my main course, I opted for fish so I was recommended the Herb Grilled Monkfish Tail with Avocado and Papaya, Red Pepper Couscous and Balsamic and Cinnamon Infusion. The dish falls under the Discovery category. Before I tasted the food, I noticed the different colours used to present the dish. The monkfish which is white in colour is surrounded by the greens of avocado and papaya. On the side is the couscous with red bits of pepper.

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My colleague ordered a Pan Fried Barramundi with Surprise Potatoes and Squid-Ink Comfit. The dish which is a chef recommendation is also well-presented with the squid-ink around the fish and the contrasting white cream. “Colour is always part of the food presentation,” prides Beckash. “Our eyes see before we actually taste the food so we already feel full seeing a very colourful. Here, presentation is our top priority and the colours have to match the dish that we are serving. Every dish that comes out of the kitchen and served to our guest is artistically done,” she added. What about the taste? Since we both tried fish, both tasted fresh, not too firm or soggy, not salty or bland. Just perfect to the taste. To complete the meal, Chef Martin recommended Chocolate Moulleux with Black Truffle Ice Cream. This is a rich dessert but I would recommend this to any guest of Al Fanar. The Praline and Cocoa Delice with White Chocolate Foam and Vanilla Caramel Sauce is also yummy and both must be eaten with a coffee of your choice. Al Fanar is now open from 12:30 pm to 11:00 pm. From 12:30 to 3 pm, Al Fanar served lunch; from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm is light food; 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm is the cocktail hour and from 7:30 to 11:00 pm is dinner. Al Fanar also opens on Friday for brunch. The restaurant can accommodate up to 80 guests and food prices are very affordable. For booking or reservations, call +971 2 6950583. My visit to Abu Dhabi always brings an unforgettable experience. Dining at Al Fanar is one of these experiences because the pleasant meal will truly “take you on a culinary passage for a gourmet experience”. – Flor B. Pamintuan


March 2007

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g

TRANQUIL MOMENTS I KEMPINSKI

A true

Ayurvedic treatment at

Softouch Spa

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yurvedic treatment, the authentic therapeutic healing system that originated in India 2,500 years ago is featured at most spas nowadays. With Dubai becoming a spa destination in the Middle East, finding a center that will give you the true experience is definitely amazing! Whether you’re a stressed working mother, a jet-lagged businessman, a couple or a hotel guest who wants a relaxing massage after a day’s shopping, the Softouch Spa at Kempinski Hotel at the Mall of the Emirates is an excellent retreat to get the relaxation and relief for your stressed back or your tired legs and feet. Softouch Spa promises a whole new dimension of Spa – the Spa where “we stop time for your body and mind to serenity…” Softouch Spa specializes in Ayurvedic treatments so the design of the facility reflects the dense elements of earth, water, space, fire and air. The earth is represented by the granite walls and floorings; water is represented by the cascading waterfall, the sound of which is truly relaxing; the space is represented by the high ceiling; and fire with the presence of fire-shaped lamps and floating candles. Leenoe Varghese, the Spa Manager welcomed us and offered us tea while filling up a consultation card which listed several health conditions that would prevent the therapist from giving the treatment. Varghese said that Softouch Spa has an in-house doctor to assist the guest. “There are people who feel they need a massage but don’t know what type of massage so that’s when we come in to recommend, especially if they are facing any physical ailments,” added Varghese. Some of the information you will provide on the consultation card will help the doctor identify your general dasha, or physiological and mental makeup. The idea is that everyone has a blend of vata (air and space, representing, roughly, the nervous system), pitta (fire and water—the enzyme system), and kapha (water and earth, which may represent the digestive system). Because I was complaining of back and shoulder pains, I was recommended an Herbal Soothe Massage and Treatment. This is a massage with warm roasted leaf bags after 40 minutes of basic massage from head to toe with Ayurvedic oils. Herbal Soothe is very good for relieving spasm and stiffness of muscle, lubricating the joints, strengthening the spinal muscles and relieving joint pain, especially backache. Career-oriented women especially those who work 8 hours or more in front of the computer are recommended to have this massage because it enhances peripheral

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blood circulation, cleanses the channels of circulation and detoxify. Detoxification is a key concept at Softouch Spa and it starts with a tea (in spearmint or chamomile flavor) before the treatment. After finishing my tea, Sonia, my therapist guided me to the spa’s treatment room, six of them, two are for couples. Varghese explained that there are areas designated for men and women. The treatment room is large, quiet and tastefully decorated with Indian crafts. I was provided with a towel, slippers and disposable undergarment. There is a changing room which is also the shower room. Ring the bell and the therapist will come in to start the treatment. I was asked to select between barakhadi and almond oil for the treatment. I chose the former. The treatment started with a head massage where warm oil will be poured on your head and the therapist will massage your head for about 10 minutes. Massage oils are nutrient for the skin and strengthen the nerve fibers that are connected to the hair follicles. The head massage will calm your senses and will help you relax and relieve mental fatigue. It helps to create more clarity and regenerate the mind and brain activity for better functioning. The oils used for this massage contain herbs that are calming to the mind, and stimulant to the brain, nerves and sensory organs. Next you will be asked to lie on the massage table, face up. Naked or nearly so, warm oil (like medicated oil) will be poured on your arms, body and legs and will be followed by the massage. Massage oils eliminate friction and disperse heat evenly on the body. The small amount of massage oils remaining on the skin afterwards and after the shower or bath that follows, provides resistance to environmental temperatures and pressures. Sonia started on the first half of my body, giving long, sweeping strokes and precise pressure on the arms and shoulder. I also noticed that she concentrated on my stomach area with a full circular stroke to remove toxins from the body. Foot and hand massage are sure relief. The dim light and the taped Indian music on the background will certainly put you to sleep. I was then asked to turn over and the same procedure was performed on my back, with pressure on the spine and the buttocks area. After the basic massage, a bag containing seven types of dried herbal leaves, garlic, lemon and salt will be dipped in warm oil and will be pounded all over your body. The heat will penetrate your body to relieve you of any pain that you are facing. The final stage of the treatment is a facial massage. Sonia applied almond oil to my face, followed by a massage around the nose, chin and forehead. The smell of the oil was so relaxing and I found the gentle touch of the therapist entirely pleasurable. The facial massage completed the 75 minutes of treatment that leaves you feeling totally relaxed, energized and clear-headed all at the same time. You need to relax for five minutes and then you will be offered a warm shower with herbal soaps and shampoo to remove excess oils from your body. You can also request your therapist to help you scrub off the oil from your back. “Wonderful” is an overused adjective, but nothing else quite fits here. Softouch Spa offers 48 different body treatments, including Swedish Massage, Ayurvedic Anti-Cellulite, Chinese Acupressure Massage, Hot Stone Therapy, Balinese, Oriental Massage, among others. Softouch Spa also offers Head and Face Treatment, Yoga, Beauty Treatments, Express Treatment and several Treatment Packages. The Hebal Soothe Massage and Treatment is priced at AED750 for 75 minutes. You can contact Softouch Spa at +971 4 341 000 for more details. Guests are advised to make reservations for the treatment and arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your treatment to allow yourself time to change and get ready. Softouch Spa is a relatively new facility, but it knows where it’s headed. Softouch Spa will give you just what you wanted – refreshed and rejuvenated body, balanced and well rested mind. 76


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NEWS I MIDDLE EAST

Air Arabia turnover surges to AED 749.16 million, up 82%

Danat Resort Jebel Dhanna becomes a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Danat Resort Jebel Dhanna, the fivestar luxury lifestyle resort located on the UAE’s west coast, has become a member of the prestigious Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, one of only 138 properties around the world to be chosen. The resort, which is 240 kilometers from Abu Dhabi, offers a spectacular view of the glittering Arabian Gulf from every one of its 109 rooms is already renowned for its exclusivity, privacy and relaxing lifestyle experience. The Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide is a global brand of independently owned luxury hotels and resorts whose philosophy is to select only partners who intuitively understand the preferences of their guests, offer extraordinary services and ensure that guests have an unparalleled experience. Manoj Kanwal, general manager of the resort, said he was honoured, but not surprised that the flagship exclusive property of Danat Hotels & Resorts, has been chosen for this important international accolade. He said; “At Danat Resort Jebel Dhanna, we really do offer guests an extraordinary stay in terms of an outstanding personalized

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service, excellent amenities and a plethora of dining options. Our signature restaurant Zaitoun, in its exotic Moroccan setting serves an eclectic menu of exquisite Italian and Arabic food – already Zaitoun has won an impressive list of both local and international awards, an achievement that truly signifies that the resort is deservedly a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide” Mr. Kanwal concluded. Danat Resort Jebel Dhanna also has six private villas situated on 800 meters of stunning private beach, all with an uninterrupted view to the sea beyond. The resorts amenities include a temperature controlled -pool, fitness centre, water sports, steam rooms, a sauna and squash courts, together with an impressive selection of restaurants and cafés from which to choose – which range from casual to the more formal and from stunning interiors to casual al fresco dining by the waterside. As a member of the exclusive Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Danat Resort Jebel Dhanna, certainly fits the profile for inclusion, it is a resounding example of the core values embraced by the group’s members, from the very best amenities to ensuring their guests has an unforgettable experience.

Air Arabia, the Middle East’s first low-cost carrier, posted a turnover of AED 749.16 million in 2006, up 82% compared to AED 411 million in 2005. The net profit in 2006 stood at AED 101 million, up 222% compared to AED 31.3 million in 2005. Passenger average load factor – that is, passengers carried as a proportion of available seats – stood at 81.2%. Commenting on the results, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia, said: “We are pleased to announce Air Arabia’s sterling performance with these financial results for 2006. Apart from the robustness witnessed in revenues and profits, what outshines is the passenger average load factor at 81.2%. This is a manifestation of Air Arabia’s stated mission: ‘Revolutionize air travel in the region through an innovative business approach offering superb value for money and a safe, reliable operation’.” He continued: “We are proud to say that 2006, like all previous years, was a safe year. Our flights were 80% on time, leading to greater customer satisfaction. As an organization, we will be dedicating more resources to training our staff and further enhancing our operational efficiencies. We are committed to our mission to build motivated multi-functional teams.” A total of 1.76 million discerning passenger chose to fly with Air Arabia in 2006. This is an increase of 54% compared to 1.14 million passengers in 2005. The company recently applied to the UAE Ministry of Economy and relevant regulatory authorities for approval to launch an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the first quarter of this year. Air Arabia, which began operations in October 2003, will become the first airline in the Gulf region to go public, subject to approval of its application.


Tebyan’s Europa Greens revealed Tebyan Real Estate Development, one of the region’s fastest growing real estate developers, revealed the first phase of its new Dubai project, Europa Greens – Butterfly Greens. Valued AED 2 Billion, Europa Greens is a European community and living lifestyle, a spectrum of colors with multiple shades and hues, reflected in elegance with nature as its backdrop, embodying the best of the West with a relaxation-enriched lifestyle. Consisting of 40 residential buildings, Europa Greens represents the ideal habitat for all who crave for the heart to reside, giving its inhabitants a serene yet modern experience that every city dweller longs for. Sheikh Adel Al Hussaini, Chairman, Tebyan Real Estate Development stated: “Europa Greens is yet another proof of Tebyan’s determination to project its intense strategic planning and a unique vision, combined to create a new standard for real estate development in Dubai.” Europa Greens is located at Dubai’s International Media Production

Etihad Airways begins flights to Australia Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will begin non-stop flights to Sydney, Australia beginning 26 March, 2007 from Abu Dhabi. The new three times a week service will be flown by a three-class Airbus A340-500 aircraft. Flight frequency will increase to a daily operation from 29 June. Etihad Airways chief executive, James Hogan, said: “I am very optimistic that the new Sydney service will boost the development of

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Zone (IMPZ), at the proximity of Jebel Ali Free Zone and Dubai World Central that encompasses Jebel Ali Airport City, an ideal location offering a unique flavor and cosmopolitan society within a European lifestyle. This perfect combination of butterflies, feathers and floras overlooks the Jumeirah Golf Estates, a themed community in a free hold area. Europa Greens consists of 40 residential building with different heights, ranging from 5 to 18 floors, with the majority being Ground + 5 storey buildings, fully equipped with the finest amenities including a state-ofthe-art gymnasium and a rooftop swimming pool. The buildings comprise studios, one and two bedroom apartments, three bedroom apartment town houses, and pent houses. Europa Greens Phases 2 & 3 will be revealed during 2007, to translate Tebyan’s aggressive growth vision and a mission to deliver clear and unique real estate opportunities.

commerce and tourism between Australia and the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi. “ “As well as direct traffic between these two great cities, we are aiming to attract connecting passengers from throughout the Middle East, and from Europe, who are looking to travel via Abu Dhabi to Sydney for business and holidays.” Etihad’s Sydney route will also provide Australian business and leisure travellers with easy access to the Middle East region, as well as key international cities across Europe with swift connections through Abu Dhabi to a choice of 47 destinations currently served by the airline. The Ambassador of Australia to the UAE, Jeremy Bruer, said: “I am delighted that Etihad has shown a huge vote of confidence in Australia by starting flights to and from Abu Dhabi.

Australian travellers can now enjoy direct access to one of the most important locations in the Middle East on one of the world’s most exciting new airlines. “ Sydney will be Etihad Airways’ fifth destination in the Asia-Pacific region joining Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta. From 26 March, Etihad flight EY450 will initially operate Monday, Wednesday, Friday departing Abu Dhabi International Airport at 10.10am, arriving Sydney International Airport 6.15am the following day. The return service EY451 departs Sydney each Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday at 3.20pm, arriving Abu Dhabi 0.10am. All times are local. The Airbus A340-500 aircraft serving the route will be configured tin three classes of travel; 12 in Diamond, 28 in Pearl and 200 in Coral.

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Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea becomes a member of Great Hotels Of The World – Luxury Spa Collection Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea in Amman, Jordan, is delighted to announce that it has recently been accepted as a member of Great Hotels of the World – Luxury Spa Collection, one of the four niche programmes operated by Great Hotels of the World, the global luxury hotel marketing alliance. Chosen for its exceptional spa facilities, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea will be featured in the 2007/8 issue of Great Hotels of the World - Luxury Spa Collection, available later this year. Headquartered in the UK, Great Hotels of the World represents the world’s greatest hotels and resorts in four niche market sectors: spa, romantic, golf and incentive & business travel. Membership of Great Hotels of the World is by invitation only and is limited to exceptional hotels within the recognised niche lifestyle markets. Glossy, coffee table style directories are published for each of the four markets. Beautifully illustrated with colour photography, each hotel entry spans two pages and features detailed information on the facilities and activities available. An Oasis of Relaxation: Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea On the north-eastern shore of the Dead Sea in Jordan, lies a five-star resort of a special kind, one that offers unique and stunning views; the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea. With its 339 spacious rooms the Resort provides the ideal setting for a relaxing holiday at any time of the year. The Resort, which opened in 1999, is situated at the lowest point on earth, and is easily reached by car from Amman International Airport in only 40 minutes, making it the ideal starting point for day excursions to Jordan’s premier tourist sights. This is truly a unique spot for a perfect holiday, with an exemplary combination of natural tranquillity, yearround filtered sunshine, high atmospheric pressure and ozone-rich air, 80

not to mention the world-famous mineral-rich salt waters of the Dead Sea. The rooms and suites are spread out among comfortable guest bungalows and the main building, each with terrace or balcony overlooking the landscaped gardens or the Dead Sea itself. The grounds of the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea cover more than 70’000 m2, and include an artificial freshwater stream and a number of swimming pools (both indoor and outdoor); the Resort’s culinary offer is just as diverse. In the main building, guests may choose from the buffet and à la carte restaurant “Al Saraya” or enjoy a refreshing drink at the “Al Khayyam Bar”, a popular meeting place. The four village restaurants include the “Valley Café” for Mövenpick ice cream, coffee and light meals, “Luigi’s” for pizza & pasta, “Chopsticks” for Asian specialities and “The Grill” for haute cuisine. A number of other bars round off the amenities on offer. In the evening guests might enjoy live entertainment at the Valley Café or other events in the Roman style amphitheatre under the starry night sky, savouring the perfect end to another perfect day. A unique feature of this particular Mövenpick Resort is the ultramodern ZARA Spa – a haven of soothing tranquillity in which to recharge your energy levels, relax, and enjoy leisure and recreation facilities of the very highest standard The Therapy Centre offers programmes specially designed for patients suffering from skin disorders (psoriasis, vitiligo, acne), asthma, cardio-vascular or joints problems. The two physicians of this centre use the unique natural resources of the Dead Sea: warm and dry climate, year-round ultraviolet filtered sunshine, mineral-loaded seawater, bromine-rich and ozone-rich air, which constitute the best remedy to efficiently reduce the inconvenience of these disorders.


Burjuman Rotana Suites opens Burjuman Rotana suites opened its door on the 15th of February, raising the bar of luxury and sophistication to a completely new level. It offers international and domestic travelers a new luxurious alternative for overnight stays, conferences and other events, including the benefit of direct access to the prestigious Burjuman Shopping Mall. Burjuman Rotana Suites is situated in the most exhilarating neighborhood in Dubai, Bur Dubai and is directly connected to the prestigious Burjuman Mall which is home to a myriad of the world’s most exclusive designer brands. The Hotel is also close to the major business districts, banks, convention centers, dining and nightlife. “It took us great efforts and very hard work to reach to our destination and our way is still very long to fulfill our plans” said Mrad El Khoury, hotel manager. “The stylish hotel’s atmosphere will appeal greatly to travelers on business and family vacationers visiting Dubai with friends and relatives”. The property is just 5 minutes away from

the Dubai World Trade Centre, the Convention Centre and 10 minutes drive from the Dubai International Airport. Jebel Ali Free Zone, Internet City and Media City are a short drive away. The BurJuman Rotana Suite’s 148 guestrooms, including upscale one Bedroom Suites, Duplex Town Houses and a Penthouse offers classically elegant furnishings, luxury bedding and pampering bath amenities. The design inside the rooms is a combination of modern classic architecture and historical artefacts. The hotel’s meeting and banquet rooms are the ideal venues for conferences, private dinner parties and corporate events. Burjuman Rotana Suites offers 7 multifunctional meeting rooms with state-ofthe-art audiovisual equipments. Guests can enjoy their meetings overlooking the city blends. The all dining restaurant “The Gallery” is a relaxed venue that offers the finest

International cuisine in its daily breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets and a la carte menu. Guest can keep fit and relax with the state-of-the-art facilities, a multi-functional fitness centre and temperature controlled swimming pool with kids’ area. “With our unique, stylish, trendy product and ideal location, we will always strive to deliver the best to our customers in order to make Burjuman Rotana Suites their destination of choice” said Mrad El Khoury, hotel manager.

The St. Regis brand makes its debut in the Middle East Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced a 30-year management agreement with Alfardan Group for the management of a new luxury 346room St. Regis hotel in Doha, Qatar which is expected to open on 1 May, 2010. The St. Regis Doha Hotel will be located on the beachfront in the West Bay area of Doha, which is the emerging commercial heart of the city and contains the majority of the new commercial development. The hotel will be comprised of two reflecting towers and 18 bungalows. The two “reflecting” towers, each consisting of 14 floors, will offer 328 ocean front guest rooms including 246 rooms and 82 suites. “We are very excited about this opportunity to expand the St.Regis brand and particularly in the Middle East where the bespoke service is an integral part of the culture of hospitality. The signing of the St.Regis Doha is another sign of Starwood’s commitment to develop all its brands in a fabulous destination like the Middle East,” said Roeland Vos, President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Europe, Africa and Middle East. “This is a very exciting development for all those who value luxury. The St. Regis Doha underscores Alfardan’s strategy towards relentless pursuit in redefining the luxury sector. In addition to being a host city for renowned sporting, intellectual, and cultural events, Doha is a growing destination spurred by sustainable economic development. As a full service ultra premium hotel, the St. Regis Doha will be well

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positioned to provide first class hospitality and amenities in this rapidly developing commercial hub,” said Omar Alfardan, President of Alfardan Group. Guests of the St.Regis Doha will delight in the signature services for which the St. Regis is renowned worldwide, including its renowned St. Regis Butler Service, world-class concierge, exquisite design, and a world-class Spa. The St. Regis Doha will also offer 4,100 square meters of meeting and conference space, business center, shops, parking area, 4 restaurants - all-day dining restaurant, specialty restaurant,

outdoor restaurant, lounge bar and a cigar bar; and for the ultimate in relaxation and recreation, a 1,200 square meters Spa is in plan, offering 8 to 10 treatment rooms. St. Regis Hotels & Resorts includes the most celebrated properties in the world. Founded by John Jacob Astor with the landmark St. Regis Hotel, New York over a century ago, the company will unveil highly anticipated St. Regis properties in Anguilla (2007), Mexico City (2007), Singapore (2007), Atlanta (2008), Bal Harbour, FL (2008) and Deer Valley, UT (2008) that will further enhance the brand’s legacy.

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ME travellers help Singapore reach record visitor figures The Singapore Tourism Board announced the results of Singapore’s tourism performance for the Middle East at a special event in Dubai. Globally, the tourism sector generated an estimated USD 8.3 billion in tourism receipts (TR) in 2006, exceeding the target of USD 7.8 billion and posting a double digit growth of 14.5% over 2005 – a new record for Singapore. For the Middle East, visitor arrivals increased by more than 10,000 – growth of about 16 percent – compared to 2005. In 2006, Singapore received more than 82,000 visitors from the region, breaking previous records. The top five countries in the region in terms of visitor numbers were – in descending order – the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and Qatar. “We are delighted to see record-breaking growth coming from within the Middle East market in terms of visitor arrivals and look forward to welcoming even higher numbers of travellers for the MENA region in 2007,” said SiewKheng Kang, Regional Director, South Asia, Middle East & Africa, Singapore Tourism Board. “Singapore offers a wealth of unique experiences for visitors from the Middle East, providing a diverse range of dining, travel and entertainment options, in addition to a fantastic climate year-round and a welcoming and friendly community,” she added.

All top ten markets for Singapore posted growth, with eight of them achieving record highs for their respective markets. Major markets internationally were Indonesia (1,921,000 visitors), P R China (1,037,000 visitors), Australia (692,000 visitors), India (659,000 visitors) and Malaysia (634,000 visitors), accounting for about 51% of total visitor arrivals. Singapore Tourism Board officials believe that a number of new attractions will continue to attract visitors throughout 2007. Amongst these, Singapore’s largest shopping mall VivoCity is set to welcome fashion-conscious and fun-seeking shoppers from across the region. Offering over one million square feet of space, VivoCity is Singapore’s largest and most diverse retail and lifestyle destination. Also, the much-loved Orchard Road will be unveiling a major upgrade, providing one of Asia’s finest shopping, dining and entertainment spots. For those looking to take a full break, Singapore will shortly be opening Resorts World at Sentosa, a fully integrated resort. “Singapore will be launching a series of dedicated campaigns throughout the year to continue the ongoing growth of visitor numbers from the Middle East. In particular, we have an increased variety of material in Arabic to ensure that visitors will have access to the full range of Singapore experiences,” said Ke-Wei Peh, Area Director for MEA Region, Singapore Tourism Board.

Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts continues growth in Moscow InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced the signing of the InterContinental Moscow, scheduled to open in 2010. The announcement of the InterContinental Moscow immediately follows the January 10th opening of the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City, Calif., and the simultaneous November launch of two of the brand’s flagship hotels – InterContinental London Park Lane and the InterContinental Boston. The InterContinental Moscow is being developed by Rossiyskiy Kredit Bank and will be managed by IHG. The 205-room new-build hotel is located on the site of the former Minsk Hotel at 22 Tverskaya, close to the Kremlin, City Hall and Pushkin Square. “The signing of the InterContinental Moscow to our global portfolio reinforces the brand’s pioneering heritage and renowned international reputation,” said Jenifer Zeigler, Senior Vice President, Global Brand

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Management for the InterContinental Brand. “Russia is a key market for the brand and we are delighted to be working with Rossiyskiy Kredit Bank on this exciting project.” The InterContinental Brand has experienced very positive growth over the last two years and in 2006, opened a total of ten hotels in seven countries, including four resorts. Resort locations included Taba Heights, Egypt; Panama; Murcia, Spain and the $70 million eco-friendly InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa in French Polynesia. The United States saw the largest growth of any country during 2006 with the opening of four new hotels including the new-build flagship InterContinental Boston. The brand will continue its global expansion throughout 2007 including four new openings planned in China -- Chengdu, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Jiuzhaigou; the opening of the InterContinental Dubai Festival City and the

launch of the ANA InterContinental Tokyo. Parent company to the InterContinental Brand, IHG is currently established as the largest international hotel operator in the Russian Federation with four Holiday Inn hotels in Moscow for a total of 1,290 rooms. The company will further grow its distribution in St Petersburg with the openings of the Crowne Plaza St Petersburg in 2009 and the Holiday Inn Ligovsky Prospekt and Holiday Inn Moskovsky, both due to open in 2008. Additionally, the Holiday Inn brand will debut in the city of Samara in 2007 and the Crowne Plaza brand will also debut in Russia in 2007.


Dunes Village residential complex launches at Dubai Investment Park Alserkal Properties and Manazel Real Estate have announced the formal launch of Dunes Village, and appointed The Real Estate Specialists to handle sales at the development. Located at the Dubai Investment Park, Dunes Village is a residential complex comprising 19 mid-rise towers housing 950 apartments, and is targeted towards corporate buyers. Announcing the commencement of sales, and cementing the partnership between the two companies, the two companies said that while the Dunes Village project may well be the latest addition to Dubai’s burgeoning freehold property landscape, it is set to one that stands out in several ways. The most unique aspect of The Dunes is that the developers are targeting corporate buyers instead of individuals and families, encouraging them to offer it to their employees as part of a remuneration package. Ahmed Al Serkal, Chairman of Alserkal Properties emphasised that apartments at Dunes Village were priced competitively and therefore easily affordable even by small and medium sized companies, and further, that the project offered a range of quick and easy financing options. Corporates investing in this project should consider it more than a solid proposition and a piece of property; they should look upon it as an

assurance of peace of mind with excellent returns on their investment, he stated. Mohamed Al Qubaisi, Chairman of Manazel Real Estate elaborated on the features of the project, saying Dunes Village seamlessly blends modern amenities with traditional values to create a serene atmosphere. He said that Dunes Village had been specifically designed with convenience and community values in mind, and will incorporate gardens, parks and trees; playgrounds, gymnasiums and pools; and several recreational facilities. The complex will also boast a 24-hour security centre, a dedicated service centre, and an average of one parking space for each apartment. Located at Dubai Investment Park, Dunes Village covers a total area of over 460,000 square feet, and is being developed at a cost of over Dhs. 300 million. Dunes Village is located close to the Global Village and Dubailand via the Emirates Road, as well as to the rest of Dubai, with access through Sheikh Zayed Road. According to a comprehensive master plan, Dunes Village will be ready for possession within 24 months. More information is available at www.dunesvillageuae.com

Jazeera Airways establishes second hub in Dubai Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways K.S.C, the Middle East’s first and only private scheduled airline, announced the establishment of a second hub in Dubai, making it the only low-fare airline operating out of Dubai International Airport. The airline, which flies a brand new fleet of Airbus A320s powered by new CFM engines and fitted with all-leather seats, launched the new hub with direct flights from Dubai to Bahrain, Kuwait, Mumbai, Kochi, New Delhi, Muscat, and Salalah. Flights from Dubai began on February 8, 2007 with direct flights between Dubai and Bahrain three times a week, while the remaining routes will begin on March 27. Travelers can begin booking their flights immediately through jazeeraairways.com or calling the airline’s call centre. Jazeera Airways Chairman and CEO Marwan Boodai announced the news in a corporate launch held at Dubai Airport’s Exhibition Center. He said: “The commercial aviation sector in the Middle East and especially the Gulf region is picking up speed and Jazeera Airways aims to serve this growing market through establishing multiple hubs in the Arabian Peninsula. “This is the vision that is held in our name “Jazeera” [Arabic for The Arabian Peninsula]. The establishment of Jazeera Airways in Kuwait in late 2005 was our first step towards realizing this vision. The launch of our new Hub in Dubai is a confident second step.” Different Travelers Boodai said: “It is now common for travelers to look for low fares for short haul travel within the Middle East and India. Travelers now value ontime performance and friendly smiles from their cabin crew more than flat beds on their 90 minute flights. This is what we learned during our last 15

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months of operations. We also learned that we were not wrong to insist on having our own brand new fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft, while many airlines in the world prefer leasing to cut their cost further. “Middle East travelers are different in that sense, they are not willing to compromise on quality for the sake of a lower fare; and neither were we, so our commitment to quality did not stop at new aircraft. We made sure to fit all our aircraft with comfortable leather seats, and last year we contracted Lufthansa Technik, one of the leading global aircraft engineering firms, to look after our fleet for the coming years.” Freedom And Independence Boodai said that Jazeera Airways fully supports empowering travelers with tools that enables them to be more in control of their travel plans. “We believe that travelers ultimately want to make their own bookings at their own time without depending on middle men. Our state-of-the-art website delivers that and more. In fact it not only enables travelers to book and pay for their tickets, but also to pick their favorite seat and make changes to their existing bookings. More Destinations From Dubai With the creation of its second hub in Dubai, Jazeera Airways is confident about growing its business further. “We believe that the Dubai International Airport has all the facilities in place for both our business and leisure travelers and that is why we are confident that our new direct flights will prove to be extremely popular with the Dubai community. We will be announcing more non-stop flights to additional destinations through 2007.”

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The Ritz-Carlton, Doha’s ‘recordbreaking’ community effort The Ritz-Carlton, Doha participated in Reach Out To Asia’s charity sporting event, ‘Wheels n Heels’. The event held at the Aspire Zone was attended by a number of celebrities and thousands of locals and residents. Up to 50 staff from the hotel joined the festivities from early morning, some to participate in the race itself, while others set up The Ritz-Carlton tent beside the starting line and assembled the World’s Longest Arabic Energy Bar. “The Ladies and Gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton, Doha were happy

and proud to be participating in this event as we believe that we can make a difference and every contribution creates an impact”, says Thorsten Ries, General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Doha. “We really wanted to create something of great magnitude that would match the importance of such a community effort and so came up with the idea of creating The World’s Longest Arabic Energy Bar. At The Ritz-Carlton, we have built a legacy of extraordinary service and this tradition extends into our global Community Footprints program”. A team of 15 chefs put all their creative and culinary skills to use in their attempt to make the staggering 100-meter long Arabic cereal bar. Huge quantities of the finest ingredients, primarily from the Gulf region, were combined in this record attempt, including 90 kilos of rolled oats, 23 kilos each of chopped dates and pistachio nuts and 66 kilos of honey. After the kick-off race, famous cyclist and five-time Tour de France winner, Eddy Merckx unveiled the record-breaking pastry innovation, in front of a crowd of media, participants and onlookers. Pieces of the energy bar were then offered to the celebrities and visitors at the event. The culinary fun did not stop with the energy bar. In keeping with the “healthy lifestyle” message of the Wheels n Heels event, the chefs also created a nutritious range of fruity smoothies for the event, with blends of strawberry and raspberry, mango and grapefruit, orange, apple and banana and one mystery concoction which was named by the winner of the ‘Name the Smoothie’ competition. Soaring 115 metres above Qatar’s sea and desert landscape, The RitzCarlton, Doha is an impressive symbol of the nation’s emergence as a destination for travellers to The Middle East. The 374 rooms, five-star resort fuses contemporary styling with classic Arabic and European design, creating a hotel with a promise of setting a new benchmark for luxury and sophistication in the region

Sheraton Khalidiya Hotel Abu Dhabi now brings you 5-star excellence and services Sheraton Khalidiya Hotel Abu Dhabi, previously known as Sheraton Suites, has undergone a series of renovations leading it to be one of Abu Dhabi’s most prestigious and exciting five star hotels today. Al Farida Investment, the hotel’s owning company, has invested more than Dhs. 35 million in the project and was divided into different phases starting with the rooms then moving on to the lobby area and later the food outlets and meeting facilities. Guests to the hotel are now greeted with a spectacular new-look at the hotel entrance which leads them into a spacious and welcoming lobby area. All 195 Deluxe rooms have been refurbished elegantly creating an intimate ambience featuring panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf and Abu Dhabi city, in addition to all the other deluxe essentials. Each of the deluxe room and suite has been elegantly refurbished and now features a more Business Ambience. “Our aim was to provide our guests with a choice of 195 deluxe rooms and suites, ideally designed for both business and leisure travelers, featuring the ultimate in comfort and luxury”, explains Gabriel Khoury, General Manager of the Sheraton Khalidiya Hotel Abu Dhabi. On the food and beverage front, the hotel offers 2 delightful restaurants. 84

The trendy “Down Town” is an ideal venue for International cuisine. It offers an extensive a la carte menu for lunch and dinner. Wireless high speed internet connection is also available. Located on the 1st floor of the hotel, La Veranda is an elegant restaurant and has a setting ideal for corporate lunches. The Executive Chef, Anthony Galo has created a varied of a la carte menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Located on the Mezzanine floor and easily accessible from the hotel’s lobby via an elegant staircase, are a choice of 6 fully serviced meeting rooms which can accommodate from 10 to 150 persons. The upgraded Health Club features a fully equipped gymnasium, separate sauna and steam bath for men and women, a temperature controlled rooftop swimming pool and a stunning new leisurely sun deck. “We look forward to continue welcoming our regulars as well as new guests, to what is set to become one of the city’s most exciting properties, at par with international standards. We offer the technology and the services required by today’s discerning business traveller, as well as beautifully designed facilities in the heart of Abu Dhabi for the leisure travelers”, explains Khoury further.


88% Occupancy Rate at Le Meridien Abu Dhabi Le Meridien Abu Dhabi takes off with a great start for 2007. Mr. Jean Pierre Trabut General Manager claimed “A 88% occupancy rate for the month of January and is forecasting an even higher rate for the coming months with the IDEX exhibition in February and GIBTM in March. Le Meridien Abu Dhabi, with 25 years of service excellence, has become a prominent landmark of Abu Dhabi, the capital city of UAE. Located in the heart of the city, with its close proximity to the business district as well as to the many major attractions, and having its own private beach makes it an ideal destination for tourists and business travelers. The resort has a spectacular choice of sports and leisure facilities with a unique selection of 14 restaurants and bars.

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At Eden Spa you will find the widest collection of treatments and massages in the city, famous for its aqua medic pool and turkish hammam. Abu Dhabi has seen a busy start with the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and its 23,000 specters, the most exciting Arabian Gulf Cup seen in over 34 years and with the Abu Dhabi tourism Authority in place the hospitality industry is looking at a promising year with more to come. Le Meridien Abu Dhabi has undergone a spectacular refurbishment of 236 rooms, bringing together a complete new look with a unique selection of decorations, colours and exquisite furnishings. A host of the state-of-the-art facilities are also available such as interactive TV and high-speed Internet, set up in a user-friendly environment. Maharaja, the north Indian restaurant is currently under refurbishment. “The restaurant is going under complete refurbishment with a new look and style” says Mr. Trabut. Opening will be sometime later this year. “We are also expecting the Versailles ballroom to go under refurbishment during the months of summer”. “The UAE is a fast moving demanding market, you either have to jump on and keep up with the pace or you will be left behind” says Mr. Trabut.

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