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Middle East

Middle East

Middle East

Atlantis Palm Jumeirah officially opens – the most lavish opening ceremony ever?

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If you were in Dubai last night, you would be hard pressed to believe there was a global financial currently taking place. Kylie Minogue –  along with the world’s most rich and famous – performed at a £20m party that marked  the opening of the Atlantis Palm Jumeirah. Among the guests were 2,000 celebrities and billionaires who had flown in from around the world for the lavish occasion.   A firework display costing seven times as much as the largest display ever before (at the Beijing Olympics) made for a spectacular finale.

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Middle East

Coldplay to play at Emirates Palace for one night only

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Coldplay, the world’s biggest-selling musical act for 2008 has confirmed that they are heading to the UAE for the first time as part of their current world tour, and will play a spectacular gig at the impressive Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi. The one-off show from the award-winning foursome comes as the final stop on the world tour for their critically acclaimed fourth album, ‘Viva Le Vida’ which has earned the band three Grammys at this year’s Grammy Awards.

Emirates Palace is an experience in itself. A huge and magnificent structure, designed with the greatest attention to detail, this hotel has been constructed directly on the shores of the Gulf on its own 1.3 kilometre stretch of private beach and is a superb, destination for winter sun! It has fast become the cultural hub of the UAE and over the past year the hotel has played host performances from such names as Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, Shakira, Christina Aguilera and Elton John.

Tickets go on sale 15th February 2009 and are available on Time Out Tickets, Ticketing Box Office & Box Office Me. But you’re going to need to be quick – the concert is predicted to sell out of its 15,000 tickets in record time…

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Middle East

$1 million holiday with Emirates Palace

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The Telegraph details a $1 million  ’special offer’ that’s currently being advertised by Emirates Palace.   For this price you get a week  in the luxurious Palace Suite at the hotel, along with first class flights from anywhere in the world.   You’ll also get a butler service, access to a chauffeur-driver Maybach and a choice of twelve restaurants.   But of course there’s more… at $1 million it doesn’t just stop there.

During their break, the guests will spend three separate days travelling on a private jet to different countries in the Middle East to experience exotic treats. The first excursion is to Iran, where guests will get the chance to create their own Persian carpet with the help of a leading local designer. Next comes a day trip to Jordan to visit the Dead Sea and an exclusive local spa.

But perhaps the highlight of the entire holiday is the visit to Bahrain for deep sea pearl diving. The pearls that are found on the day will then be hand designed with jewellery settings, which can be kept at the end of the week.

Now I always thought these kinds of offers were nothing more than a publicity stunt, but the hotel is confirming that they have already accepted two bookings for the package.

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Middle East

Expansion of The Rocco Forte Collection

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The Rocco Forte Collection – which currently has 13 luxury hotels in major cities across Europe –  has revealed that its first property in the Middle East will open in Abu Dhabi this Autumn. It will be followed by a 146-bedroom property opening in Jeddah in 2011, a 90 All-suite Golf, Spa & Villa Resort in Marrakech in 2011 and a 275 bedroom property in Cairo in 2013.

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Middle East

The Cove Rotana Resort, Ras Al Khaimah

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Rotana has announced the opening of its first property in Ras Al Khaimah – The Cove Rotana Resort  -overlooking the Indian Ocean on an idyllic water inlet at Arqoob Beach. This exquisite resort offers authentic Arabian hospitality, an elegant design and more than 600 metres of beach, tranquil azure waters and a multitude of activities.  It  is within easy reach of both Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah airport, perfect for business travellers and weekend trips to escape the bustle of city life.

The Cove Rotana Resort combines intimacy, comfort and exclusivity with the personalised service and attention to detail that are the hallmarks of Rotana. Indulgent amenities such as a well-appointed leisure and fitness centre and an excellent choice of restaurants, bar and lounge, all come together to create a new and irresistible oasis of relaxation. Accommodating for singles, families or a group of friends, the resort houses 202 rooms and suites and 76 single or multi-room villas that offer breathtaking views. Guests will enjoy the design touches that give every room a distinct sense of Arabian luxury.

The resort is all about fun, relaxation and excellent cuisine with recreational facilities and restaurants for every palate. Facilities include a fully-equipped gymnasium, Jacuzzi, steam and sauna rooms and seven massage rooms. Guests can also enjoy numerous watersport activities in addition to two swimming pools and 600 metres of alluring golden sand.

The hotel offers guests a choice of chic food and beverage outlets. Lively Cinnamon, the all-day dining restaurant, is the place to socialise over a casual meal with a circle of friends. Unwind and take in the calming atmosphere of poolside dining at Laguna Bay pool bar, which faces the villa islands and lagoons, Breeze bar and lobby lounge is an ideal please for an afternoon coffee or cocktail, Sunset pool bar has unrivaled views and large cushions to lounge in the shade, Breakers is located on the pristine beach and skilled chefs are bring a Mediterranean flavour to the upscale and Italian-influenced Basilico.

For the business traveller, The Cove Rotana Resort features three fully-equipped and stylish meeting rooms with the latest audio-visual equipment and IT facilities, making the resort ideal for small to mid-sized meetings of up to 150 delegates. A business centre with secretarial support is also available.

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Middle East

The new Park Hyatt Istanbul-Maçka Palas is a grand design!

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Istanbul’s historic Maçka Palas – built in 1922 by the Italian architect Guilio Mongeri and one of the finest buildings in the city – has now become home to Park Hyatt Istanbul-Maçka Palas, following the opening of the hotel on 7th November 2008. Mongeri, who was from Milan, was inspired by the elegant Palazzos in his creation of Maçka Palas, which is located in the fashionable Nişantaşı residential and shopping district.

The hotel combines the traditional architecture of an Art Deco building with innovative interior design, the work of Randy Gerner of Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel in New York City. Gerner’s design intent was to mesh together the rich history of Art Deco buildings and the city with state-of-the-art amenities. Historic Turkish patterns and icons are represented in contemporary scale and composition, while fine architectural details have been painstakingly restored, complementing contemporary finishes and lighting. Classic walnut in varying finishes and anodised bronze runs throughout the hotel.

The newly opened Park Hyatt Istanbul-Maçka Palas does, of course, have all the facilities and features (plus more) that are synonymous with the Park Hyatt brand – though where Park Hyatt hotels are typically small and distinguished properties designed to meet the needs of discerning individual travellers, the grander Park Hyatt Istanbul-Maçka Palas represents a further step in Hyatt’s development in Europe.

Andrea Wren is a freelance journalist and owner of Wren Elite Travel.

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Middle East

Swissôtel offers access to the most exlusive clubs in Berlin, Istanbul and Shanghai

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Swissotel Finest ClubsGuests taking advantage of Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts Finest Clubs Package can now gain admission to top clubs. The first hotels in the international hotel chain to offer this exclusive package are Swissôtel Berlin, Swissôtel The Bosphorus in Istanbul and Swissôtel Grand Shanghai; other hotels are to follow shortly. The package was created especially for guests who enjoy clubbing and who seek entertainment in the pulsing great cities of the world.

The World’s Finest Clubs confers the World’s Finest Clubs Award on the world’s most exclusive clubs and includes them in the Finest Clubs Network. The clubs are distinguished by their unique architecture and stunning interiors, great atmosphere, exclusive admission criteria, and high VIP and entertainment standards for a discerning clientele.

Along with admission to a select club and a welcome drink, the package includes breakfast at all hours of the day or night, champagne or a cocktail at the hotel bar and the Finest Clubs magazine in guest rooms. Table reservations and limousine transfer to and from the club are also available for an additional charge. This offer is available until the end of December 2010.

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Middle East

Mövenpick's Zara Spa at the Dead Sea

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Dead SeaZara Spa at Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea features Oriental-inspired thermariums, tropical rain showers and 24 spacious treatment rooms and suites. It is also known for the diversity of its five pools: a hydro-pool, a large outdoor heated massage pool with 3% salt concentration, various massage jets, whirlpool and geysers, a Kneipp-foot massage pool, an indoor Dead Sea pool with 28% salt concentration and the infinity pool which looks out over the sea.

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Middle East

Armani Hotel Dubai now open

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Armani HotelThe world’s first Armani Hotel, designed by fashion guru Giorgio Armani, is now open for business in Dubai after various delays to the project. The 160 room hotel, which oozes style, is located in the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper. Although this is Dubai’s newest five star hotel, the Armani Hotel will soon have some stiff competition as Gianni Versace plans to open a rival fashion hotel in Dubai later this year. Versace’s hotel is said to boast an artificially cooled beach among other attractions for the aspirational traveller.

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Middle East

New convention centre at Swissôtel Izmir

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Business representatives can now convene in style at the Swissôtel Grand Efes, Izmir on the Turkish Aegean. The elegant hotel, a Leading Hotel of the World, celebrated its opening last year, and now the Grand Efes Convention Centre, within the hotel complex, has also opened for business. The centre is one of the largest and most modern in the region, and, in a very short time, has become the new venue of choice for international and local conventions, conferences and events. Among other things, BMW unveiled its new 7-Series there, and a few weeks ago, the Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held summit talks there.

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