Win a weekend getaway bonus


Families and couples planning Middle East summer breaks can choose from a variety of great value holiday packages at Inter-Continental hotels and resorts, and several could win a big weekend getaway bonus.

Attractive summer offers have been launched by Inter-Continental hotels in Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and in Qatar where one of the region's newest landmark hotels is giving guests an extra holiday incentive.

Added to the special summer rates on offer for Qatar residents (US$70 net) and business travellers (US$90 net) at the Hotel Inter-Continental Doha, each night's stay means an entry into a competition bringing prizes of weekend breaks in Beirut, London or Paris.

Winners of monthly draws through until August will stay at Inter-Continental hotels, and fly courtesy of Gulf Air.

The hotel's summer rates are valid until end of September, meaning an extended chance for visitors to relax at Qatar's largest beach and pool area, or enjoy a variety of water sports, including visits to private diving grounds.

"More and more people are taking advantage of the fact that the Middle East has some wonderful resorts and leisure destinations for summer breaks, and our special Inter-Continental packages are particularly attractive this year, " said Denis Johnson, vice-president, sales and marketing, Bass Hotels & Resorts, Middle East and Africa.

At the new-look Hotel Inter-Continental Muscat, transformed by a major renovation, but still offering traditional Omani hospitality, summer visitors have two special options.

Guests can stay for RO38 ($99) per night, inclusive of breakfast, seven days a week, while the hotel also offers a special weekend rate from Wednesday to Saturday of RO25, including breakfast, with room upgrades on availability.

Offering visitors the best of both worlds in the UAE capital, from its superb beachside location, just a short distance from the city centre, the Hotel Inter-Continental Abu Dhabi has introduced summer rates from Dh300 ($82) for a deluxe room per night until the end of August.

In Saudi Arabia, Inter-Continental hotels in Madinah, Makkah and Jeddah have also entered into the summer spirit.

The three Inter-Continental properties in Madinah; Dar Al Hijra, Dar Al Iman, and Dar Al Taqwa, have announced summer rates starting at SR180 ($48) per room per night until September 17, with benefits including late check-out, 20 per cent discount on food and beverage, and laundry and valet services.

In the holy city, the Hotel Inter-Continental Makkah offers summer rates starting at SR149 per room per night until August 10, with complimentary transport to and from the Grand Mosque, daily newspaper and fruit basket.

The Jeddah Inter-Continental Hotel is taking part in the city's 2001 Summer Festival which runs until the end of July, with half-price double room rates of SR325.

Meanwhile, Bass is offering travel agents in the Middle East and Africa an incentive to enjoy visits to destinations around the region this summer, and gain first-hand experience that can help boost their holiday sales.

For just $50 per night, a travel agent, accompanied by a friend, can take a summer break at any of the region's Inter-Continental or Crowne Plaza hotels and resorts. The attractive Summer Escapes offer is also available for $40 per night at Holiday Inn properties.

"First-hand knowledge of a destination, of its main attractions, and of the hotels available, can make a travel agent's job much easier when they're asked to help customers select their next holiday," said Johnson.

"We now have 110 Inter-Continental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn properties across the region, and through the Summer Escapes offer, we're inviting travel agents to pick a destination, go there with a friend, and have a great time."

"When they go back to work, and get down to the job of selling holidays again, they'll know a lot more about the destinations they've visited, and that's something that their customers will appreciate."

Travel agents have plenty of options. For instance, Egypt's Red Sea Riviera is among a host of holiday possibilities waiting to be explored this summer, with the Hurghada Inter-Continental Resort and Casino, Holiday Inn hotels in Safaga and Sharm El Sheikh, and a soon-to-open Crowne Plaza Resort, also in Sharm El Sheikh, providing travel agents with a superb choice of water sports and lively night life.

Switching from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, the Crowne Plaza Muscat is a spectacular cliff-top base for relaxing summer breaks, with a top-class health club featuring sauna, steam rooms and a sea view terrace, and the city centre just a five-minutes drive away.

Offering the best of both worlds, the Holiday Inn Downtown Dubai is ideal for visits to the Middle East's shopping capital, while a shuttle bus service provides a rapid link with one of the UAE's best private beaches at the Holiday Inn Resort Sharjah.