Welcome to the world of luxury MICE travel – Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events – stunning hotels, resorts and spas, cutting-edge convention/meeting and convention
facilities and fascinating experiences in destinations that will truly inspire you and your colleagues. By Robin Bayes.
Whether it’s dining in luxury Bedouin tents in the deserts of the Middle East, staying in a Rajah’s ornate palace in India, cruising in style aboard one of the latest five-star mega-liners to exotic ports or floating in luxury along the waterways of Europe or down the Nile – we will take you there, and beyond, to the world’s leading MICE destinations.
There is nothing like the inspiration of travel to bring out creativity in your high-achieving employees, so why not make your next company meeting a unique experience they will never forget? Oman and the United Arab Emirates are wow-factor destinations: exotic, ancient lands where 3000 years of culture and architecture is set amid vast sweeping deserts, coastlines and jagged mountain ranges.
From the high-tech comfort of your meeting room at the five-star Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa you overlook the stunning azure waters of the Gulf of Oman. Behind you the ancient mountains and deserts of the interior stretch into the horizon. Three beautifully appointed properties, complete with private beaches, world-class facilities, luxurious
spas and the slickest meetings technology in the market are at your disposal, all combining to make your meeting the best ever and one the office talks about for years.
Then there is The Chedi Muscat – traditional, Arabic luxury set at the base of the striking Hajar Mountains, the rugged interior backbone of Oman. The Chedi brand is renowned for its rich minimalist design and The Chedi Muscat is no exception. Think Bose sound systems, crystal clear LCD screens, deep leather chairs, purring air-conditioning, ice-cool drinks – this is the Chedi meeting style.
Renowned also is Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay on the northern Musandam Peninsula where beachfront spa pool villas come complete with their own wine cellar and spa treatment rooms and, if you stay at Private Reserve, a live-in butler is at your beck and call.
In Abu Dhabi, host your meeting at the US$3 billion Emirates Palace. Yes, it is opulent at every turn and yes, you can arrive by helicopter if grand entrances are your style. Meeting facilities, needless to say, are of uncompromising high quality and their technology at the very cutting edge. The property itself is a tunning city landmark.
For those with a yearning for Venetian splendour, take a ride to your next meeting with your colleagues by gondola along the canals of the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri. And, between discussions, ponder the 57 gleaming white domes of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque that sits resplendent in the distance.
Last but not least is the wonderful architectural frenzy that is Dubai. The famed six-star Burj Al Arab scales the dizzy heights of opulence – a curved majestic sail on the ocean’s edge. But this city knows no bounds – you can also hold your meeting under the Palm lagoon at the appropriately named Atlantis where tropical fish in their colourful tens of thousands swim past your sumptuous Neptune or Poseidon suites. Meet in the stylish Atlantis boardroom or the Silk or Spice ballrooms. It is another world – where billions of dollars has created a grandiose underwater fantasy. It is all edgy, state of the art stuff where the flow of oil has poured billions of dollars into infrastructure designed, simply, to transport the normally dull annual general meeting into a new league – elaborate, exciting and memorable.
This is the prize your top employees have strived for; the incentive that will inspire them to greater things. It is five-star knockout hotels mixed with travel experiences which will be etched in their memories for years. Oman, Dubai and Abu Dhabi deliver that in spades.
From the moment your colleagues arrive in style on Emirates, Qatar or Etihad airlines and are chauffeured to their opulent hotels, a journey packed with unforgettable experiences begins. It is all an Aladdin’s Cave of delights; the souqs (markets) laden with gold, diamonds and spices, the billowing Bedouin tents where you can dine under the stars, the wild desert Wadis (oases) and vast sand dunes, coral-laden coastlines, ancient castles and gold-tipped ornate mosques – it is the discovery of another world. There are of course absolute must-sees. Ski Dubai is a monolithic indoor ski park with five ski runs, set in the 40 degree-plus heat of the desert. It is the most unlikely place to be rugged up in ski gear. Bizarre? Yes. Fun? Definitely!
Oman’s imposing Sharqiyah Sands (also known as the Wahiba Sands) is where you can go camel-riding, dune-driving, sand-boarding or just wander through the 200-metre waves of red sand. In the evening dine around a Bedouin campfire and watch the sun sink over the beautiful, pristine desert landscape.
The Souqs (traditional markets), with their bustling alleyways are a shopper’s heaven , offering spices, incense, rugs, handicrafts, silver and gold jewellery, beads of coral and amber and clothes. These are the meeting places, the social epicentres where the locals have come together for generations. The aroma of strong Arabic coffee fi lls the air.
Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi is clad in white marble, its 57 domes can hold over 40,000 worshippers at any one time. It is a majestic, awe-inspiring construction that dominates the landscape. It is also home to the largest chandelier in the world – a staggering 15-metre drop.
At Al Ain Camel Market they have been haggling over the price of camels for centuries. It is the real centre of true Arabian life. The camel is still the lifeblood of the desert.
Jumeriah Palm is best appreciated taking a helicopter ride over this mind-blowing man-made group of islands. It can be seen from space – a symbol of vast oil wealth and man’s engineering ingenuity. Awesome is an understatement.
Conventions and Exhibitions
The convention and exhibition centres in the United Arab Emirates rate among the most sophisticated in the world aimed at being a major income source for the Emirates beyond oil.
The Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) combines superior design with multipurpose functionality; a state-of-the-art venue geared up for nearly any event or meeting. Sheik Rashid hall comprises 7703 sq m of space, 2500 seats, 10 interpretation booths and six large meeting rooms. The adjoining Sheikh Maktoum Hall, 3835 sq m in total, can be divided into four soundproof meeting rooms. It can accommodate 1800 banquet guests.
The Exhibition Halls are an impressive 60,000 sq m of column-free space across nine inter-connected spaces. In addition, the Al Multaqua Ballroom is a neo-Arabian setting for banquets, cocktails and exhibitions. It holds 600 seated and 1150 for cocktails. There are also 30 meeting rooms, all with advanced communication infrastructure.
Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) is claimed to be the most modern exhibition centre in the world. It has 12 halls totalling 55,000 sq m. It also caters strongly to smaller specialist shows. It is designed for flexibility and includes extensive conference and banqueting facilities.
When the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC), now under construction is completed, it will include a 6000-seat convention centre, state of the art video conferencing, a 30,000 sq m exhibition and sports centre, 20 meeting rooms seating 250 delegates each, 10 interpretation booths, four hotels, one five-star, two four-star and one three-star, a shopping mall and business park.
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