In Brief


Christmas package at Ritz-Carlton, Dubai
When it comes to celebrations The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai has more than a little experience in adding that special touch of style to make your festivities a grand success.

Treat your loved ones to a luxury festive wonderland at Christmas this year, at the most intimate boutique resort on the beach. The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai is offering a special Christmas package for two from December 23 to 25, 2005.  Enjoy a night’s stay in a deluxe room for only Dh 1,100++ per room per night, including buffet breakfast for two in Splendido and Christmas afternoon tea for two in Lobby Lounge. What’s more, a maximum of two children under 12 years of age may stay in the parent’s room for an extra Dh100++ per child per night (additional beds at an extra charge). The price includes breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner with their parents. And while at it, the hotel has also gone completely wireless recently.

Top award for Four Points by Sheraton Kuwait
Four Points by Sheraton Kuwait has earned the Brand Compliance Award for the year 2004, which was presented by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. The hotel has been recognised and rewarded for its ability to execute refined and superlative services. Located at the heart of Kuwait city, the hotel comprises 160 rooms furnished to the highest specifications and has been specifically designed to cater to the needs of business and leisure travellers. Four Points by Sheraton Kuwait is committed to providing comfort, value and outstanding service to its guests through keeping with the impeccable standards set by Starwood Hotels and Resorts worldwide.

InterCon provides 1,000 reasons to book online
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is rewarding its Priority Club Rewards members with 1,000 bonus points for booking online at any of IHG’s web sites or at Until December 31, 2005, members of Priority Club Rewards, IHG’s guest loyalty programme, will earn 1,000 bonus points by reserving a room online for a stay at any of the more than 3,500 InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Express by Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites or Candlewood Suites properties worldwide. While guests must book their rooms by December 31, there is no time limit on when they must fulfil their stays. The 1,000 bonus points will be added to members’ accounts shortly after their stay has been completed. Earning extra points is especially attractive now. Priority Club points can be redeemed for a range of great rewards, including free hotel stays, cases of champagne, department store vouchers, special activities such as hot air balloon flights and airline miles with selected airline partners.

Accor to manage upcoming property in Jumeirah Lake
Accor Middle East has signed an agreement with HE Dr Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saif Al Nahyan to manage the new Dh250 million Mercure Grand Hotel and Residence Jumeirah Lake. The spectacular 33-storey tower boasts 357 units including 269 rooms and 88 serviced apartments. The modern five-star property will also have significant leisure facilities, conference and meeting spaces and F&B outlets. Mercure Grand Hotel and Residence Jumeirah Lake will be located in the new upscale Jumeirah Lake residential and business district close to Dubai Marina, Internet City and Media City. Construction on the project is scheduled to begin in March 2006 with a planned completion date of March 2008. The hotel is expected to open to the public in May 2008.

Record occupancy at Al Sondos Suites by Le Meridien
With increased competition throughout all levels of the market, Al Sondos Suites by Le Meridien, one of the main boutique hotels in Dubai, has made the conscious choice to specifically target business travellers from the GCC. The numbers speak for themselves: With 95 per cent occupancy rates expected for December-January as well as overall occupancy hovering around 90 per cent, a nine per cent increase over 2004, the hotel is enjoying the fruits of its marketing and business strategy. Having achieved 100 per cent occupancy rates during Gitex with room rates soaring above Dh1,000, the hotel’s Ramadan rates remained steady at Dh600 per night.

ISO certification for InterCon Le Vendome
InterContinental Le Vendôme, the luxury boutique hotel in Lebanon, has been recertified by ISO 9001:2000 for implementing and maintaining a Quality Management System. It is the first and only hotel to be ISO certified in Lebanon since 1999; this certification given by the International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO) formalises InterContinental Le Vendôme’s continued commitment to offer a high quality service to its guests.

Fairmont Dubai culinary team strikes gold
The Fairmont Dubai culinary team struck gold at the annual Meat & Livestock of Australia (MLA) Black Box Culinary Challenge recently, beating eight other five-star kitchen teams to win the gold. Organised locally by the Emirates Culinary Guild, the MLA Black Box Culinary Challenge is a series of international team-based culinary competitions. A well-established and internationally recognised event it tests all aspects of culinary expertise, as well as production and service skills. Held at the JW Marriott Dubai, the glittering evening showcased the talents of eight teams of chefs all under the age of 32 years, challenging them to create and deliver a four-course menu with only 24 hours notice. With one hour allotted to menu design prior to the final event, the teams could use only the ‘mystery ingredients’ supplied in the ‘Black Box’.

First resort hotel at Port Ghalib opens
The MA Kharafi Group of Kuwait opened the first resort hotel at their multi-billion dollar international destination resort community of Port Ghalib on Egypt’s Coral Coast, of the South Red Sea. James Pringle, senior counsellor for the MA Kharafi Group and chief executive director for the group’s activities at Port Ghalib announced at WTM that the Coral Beach Diving Hotel, a 200-room resort hotel managed by Millennium Resorts and Hotels was officially opened and is receiving strong praise from diving enthusiasts who have noted the hotel’s special focus on their interests, needs and comforts. Accommodation in the Coral Beach Diving Hotel comprises of 115 double/ twin rooms, two disability double/ twin rooms, three suites and two apartments. A new 80-room expansion will open in early 2006. The hotel also features a health club/ gymnasium, swimming pool and a number of F&B outlets in addition to its main restaurant.

Al Murooj becomes GHW member
Al Murooj Rotana Hotel & Suites in Dubai has recently been accepted has a member of Great Hotels of the World (GHW) – Incentive & Business Travel Collection, one of the five niche programmes operated by Great Hotels of the World, the global luxury hotel marketing alliance. Chosen for its superb facilities for business travellers, meetings and incentive groups, Al Murooj Rotana Hotel & Suites will be featured in the winter 2005 issue of Great Hotels of the World – Incentive & Business Travel Collection. The hotel features 253 luxurious rooms and suites, ten global dining venues, a Bodylines Health and Fitness Club with temperature controlled outdoor swimming pool, massage rooms and tennis courts. It has recently unveiled a brand new dining venue: Waterside Seafood Restaurant & Terrace.

Corinthia adopts charity institution
Corinthia Hotels International has adopted the Belgium-based and internationally active Beyond The Moon non-profit association as its ‘Corinthia in the Community Partner’ throughout its 20 hotels in 11 destinations. Through the collection of funds raised by various methods, Beyond the Moon is able to offer nominated children suffering from a life-threatening disease, together with their immediate families, the opportunity to spend valuable quality time in each others company and to enjoy a memorable, completely cost-free and carefree vacation in child-friendly holiday destinations, far away from hospitals and daily treatments.

Mezze to represent Sunway Hotels
The Malaysian-based Hospitality group, Allson International, has appointed The Mezze Group as their general sales agent (GSA) in Middle East to represent one of the group’s hotel brands, Sunway Hotels & Resorts, with immediate effect. Based in Dubai Media City, The Mezze Group has over 35 years international experience in the travel and tourism sector, including 10 years experience overseas at National Tourist Office level.

Le Meridien Al Aqah bags top honours
LE Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort did the UAE proud at London last month, winning top honours in two hotly-contested categories at the prestigious World Travel Awards, which celebrates excellence in the global tourism industry. The East Coast getaway walked away with the Middle East’s Leading Beach Resort trophy and also captured the award for Middle East’s Leading Presidential Suite at a glittering ceremony held at the magnificent Royal Opera House. “Having been nominated alongside some of the finest hotels and resorts in the Middle East, winning not one, but two major World Travel Awards, is truly an honour,” said Patrick Antaki, general manager, Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort.