United Arab Emirates Travel Guide
Boat hotels: they’re the shiz if our recent experience in Yangon is anything to go by. You know what other boat hotel we were really looking forward to? The QE2, which was meant to undergo a $90m renovation to turn it into a 400 room floating hotel in China.
Except the QE2 is currently languishing in Dubai, as it has done for the past six years, awaiting the renovations. Looks like it isn’t happening – and the Oceanic Group, which owns the boat, is staying silent.
In the meantime, says the Daily Mail, it appears to have morphed into an impromptu BBQ area. The ignominy!
It’s on. In September we told you about Jumeirah’s plans for a new millennial-targeted brand, Venu Hotels. The first Venu, as reported then, is still expected to be on Bluewaters Island in Dubai – and should be confirmed by the end of this year. But according to Travel Daily, Jumeirah is also looking at other sites, with a second Venu in the UAE expected to be announced within the next six months. The article reckons that it’ll likely be in the Dubai Design District.
According to Travel Daily, Jumeirah also has its eye on Abu Dhabi – and, following the UAE expansion, it’ll be planning some European Venus, with London, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Berlin on the cards.
On the heels of themed-restaurant competitor Planet Hollyhood's announcement of its new digs in India, Hard Rock International has revealed plans to build a hotel in Dubai, the Hard Rock Hotel Dubai Marina.
The project will be Hard Rock's first built in the UAE and the Middle East. The entire structure will be a huge 101-floor tower that includes residential units, and the hotel will have 281 rooms and occupy the first 33 floors. Its location in Dubai Marina puts guests within launching distance to Jumeriah Beach, Dubai Media City, the Mall of the Emirates, and other restaurants, shops, and attractions.
No, we're not sure where it'll fit, either
The “luxurious urban resort” will be on Jumeirah Beach and will open in 2017. The 200 rooms and suites will, of course, undoubtedly be stunning, but the category to really get excited about will be the overwater villas, accessed via a private bridge, each with a private infinity pool and “swim platform”, allowing you to jump straight into the Arabian Gulf. Yes please!
It’s not all bad for the relative paupers in the rooms and suites, either – there will be a “variety of infinity edged pools leading down to the beach”. You’ll also have the run of nine restaurants and bars, including one on a pier with its own private dock. What’s more exciting than that? The signature cake shop, that's what.
We can't hardly wait for the November opening of the Miami Beach Edition Hotel but a self-described "hotel enthusiast" is more excited for the Abu Dhabi Edition Hotel, which is slated for 2016.
Admittedly, we haven't heard much about Edition's first Middle Eastern property but our curious reader did some sleuthing and has uncovered its location of in the Al Bateen Harbour complex in Abu Dhabi Marina. He also determined that the hotel will most likely be within a complex called Al Marasy.
There's no mention of a hotel project on the complex's website but our curious reader thinks that the Abu Dhabi Edition could open in one of the nearly finished, but still empty buildings on the waterfront. If that's true, the Abu Dhabi Edition could totally open in 2016. If construction still hasn't started, then we can kiss that date goodbye. Anyone know what's going on with the Edition in Abu Dhabi? Send your sleuthing to us!
Interestingly, Marriott has already sold the Edition Hotels in London, Miami and NYC to the Abu Dhabi government. Marriott will, of course, manage the properties. And as long as each one is run like London Edition, we won't mind.
Hotel Hype / Hotel News / Millennial Hotels / Jumeirah Hotels / Dubai Hotels / Venu Hotels / → All Tags
Oh lawd. Do we have another millennial-friendly hotel brand on our hands?
This morning, Jumeirah announced its plans for a “new contemporary lifestyle brand”. It’ll be called VENU, and the first hotel will be on Bluewaters Island in, fittingly, Dubai.
Here’s why we think it’s millennial-friendly (the first inkling was the logo):
VENU is designed to appeal to the modern traveler whose expectations revolve around their own lifestyle – clean, contemporary, cool and effortless… The essence of the new brand is that of a ‘social catalyst’ – a social place where good things happen, where people feel welcome and at ease, surrounded by a crowd they love, a smooth machine that offers everything they need and nothing they don’t.
Coming to a VENU hotel will be an intuitive experience, built around and anticipating the needs of the modern, savvy traveller.
Travelers [will] be inspired by the energy of the VENU brand… where technology is seamlessly integrated into the hotel experience, where the world comes together – a happening place full of energy and a cosmopolitan crowd.
It is simple and unpretentious, modern and creative, offering a sense that everyone who visits, stays at or works within a VENU space has the freedom to write their own story, create their own narrative, build their own scene.
Hotel Design / Zaha Hadid / ME by Melia Hotels / Dubai Hotels / ME Hotels / Melia Hotels / → All Tags
When we shared some early images of the upcoming ME Dubai back in March, it was hard to wrap our heads around the undulations and contortions that are a staple of Zaha Hadid Architects.
With this new batch of renderings, we continue to look (gasp) in amazement and wonder at the hotel’s visual evolution. If space is still the final frontier, then the ME by Melia, Dubai, opening in 2016, seems like a good prototype for a hotel in space--it is just that way out there. It's also gonna be expensive to build.
Hotel Bathrooms / Hotel Design / Hotel Rants / Abu Dhabi Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Le Royal Meridien Hotels / Jonathan Khoo / → All Tags
This looks like a nice bathroom, right? Granted, the toily is a little close to the shower, and we’d prefer a proper bidet to a hose that someone else might have done who knows what with, but overall it looks good. Props for the separate tub, sexy streak of brown marble and omg-yes-gimme-dat dinnerplate showerhead.
Except the hotel left out one thing. A panel of glass.
This was the tweet that alerted us to the problem recently, from friend of HC and intrepid traveler, Jonathan Khoo.
hey bathroom designers (hotel & otherwise), ALWAYS a bad idea to just have a shower out in the open with no wall, tub, curtain, lip, etc.— Jonathan Khoo (@jonk) August 14, 2014
Yes, as much as we may bitch about peekaboo bathrooms, there is a worse bathroom sin, and that is the bathroom that leaks everywhere.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Dubai Hotels / Hotel Suites / Four Seasons Hotels / → All Tags
Four Seasons Dubai is coasting towards its 1 December opening, and to pique our interest four months off, unleashed some new renderings over the weekend.
We’d already shown you the rooms, which look like your typical luxe hotel digs, though the blingy bathrooms, shown this time round, are a cut above:
All 237 rooms will have sea views, Presidential Suites (there’s more than one?!) have their own gyms and media rooms, and the Royal Suite has a room for one’s butler. There will be two free-form pools in the grounds, and one outside the spa. There will also be an onsite watersports center, and 10 restaurants, one of which is the rooftop Mercury Lounge, pictured above.
So what sets it apart from Dubai’s gazillion other megaluxury hotels? For a start, it’s “intimately scaled” according to the company. For another, it’s relatively short – just five stories in a city of skyscrapers.
Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Four Seasons Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Dubai Hotels / Johannesburg Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / Barbados Hotels / Morocco Hotels / Oman Hotels / → All Tags
And so the expansion of Four Seasons Hotels continues apace: we told you about Moscow (we’re still in shock over the prices), Boston round two, Kyoto being years off but in progress, and now Dubai (above) and Johannesburg are opening at the same time later this year. Having a little wander around the internet, we found reference to other Four Seasons Hotels coming to Puerto Rico, Oman, Barbados, and more as well.
Whether it’s a dose of winter sun in the Middle East, or summer sun and safari in South Africa you’re looking for, reservations are open from December 1 at either property.
In true Dubai-style, the Four Seasons at Jumeirah Beach does things big: 237 rooms starting at over 750 square feet, 10 restaurants and lounges, three swimming pools and spa, and a private beach. The design looks fairly typical Four Seasons, with all rooms having some form of outdoor space. Also big? Nightly rates, with an introductory offer ringing in at 2,204AED, or just over $600.
Luxury hotels are a dime a dozen in Dubai — OK, a million a dozen — and it really is only a matter of time before the world’s top fashion designers want to be part of the action. Bulgari Hotels and Resorts have just thrown their hat into the ring with the announcement of their fifth luxury hotel, Bulgari Hotel Dubai, to be located on Jumeirah Bay Island. The hotel group has not given an official opening date, but has said it will likely be in 2018.
Hotel Weddings / Hotel Helipads / Dubai Hotels / Jumeirah Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Insane Hotel Packages / → All Tags
The Burj Al Arab in Dubai is the world's most luxurious luxury hotel where every hotel room is a two-story suite, every guest has its own butler, and every in-room iPad is plated in gold. And now, weddings at the Jumeirah Group hotel are sky-high. Literally.
The hotel's new Wedding in the Skies experience will allow couples to get married on the helipad of the hotel 212 meters above the Arabian Gulf. The very same helipad where Roger Federer and Andre Agassi played a game of tennis and where Formula One Champion David Coulthard performed donuts in a Red Bull Racing car.
For $55,000, guests will work with not a wedding planner but rather a "Wedding Architect" who will guide them through such pressing wedding day decisions as--should the couple arrive at the hotel by air in an Italian twin engine Augusta 109 or by road in a Rolls Royce Phantom? Which wedding cake from Executive Pastry Chef Johannes Bonin should they choose from? Which spa sessions from the Talise Spa should they indulge in? And perhaps, most importantly, what specially designed wedding scent developed by a leading perfumist should the couple spritz everywhere?
Other perks in the package include, accommodations (of course), private sessions with personal trainers, shopping and styling sessions with personal stylists, dance and etiquette lessons, floral consolations and access to Dubai's best jewelers and top haute couturiers.
Interestingly, there's no mention of photography services so we hope the Wedding Architect can at least recommend someone. And yes, we think you should get BOTH a photographer and a videographer for this big day.
[Photo: Burj Al Arab]