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Danat Al Ain Resort Wins at 2019 MEA Business Excellence Program.

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The lavish and fast-growing Danat al Ain Resort has proven themselves with yet another prestigious award, this time for 2019 MEA Business Excellence Program hosted by MEA Markets magazine.

MEA Business Excellence program 2019 bestowed the resort with the United Arab Emirates Leading Luxury Resort 2019 Award for providing impeccable standard of service in the hospitality industry. The winners are picked based on comprehensive analysis and research that takes place by the MEA Markets in-house team which carefully selects candidates based purely on merit.

Resort General Manager, Khaled Sharabassy said, “We are pleased to accept this honor from 2019 MEA Business Excellence Program, last year has proved to be very successful as a result of continuous commitment and efforts by our team. The dedication of our hardworking employees, the training of our management team and our loyal guests contributed majorly to this honorable accolade.”

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Enjoy the luck of the Irish throughout the shamrockin’ weekend at South Loop’s year-round destination filled with festive menu offerings, green beer, and stunning city views!

Lucky me, I have VU. VU Rooftop Bar, South Loop’s hottest destination located at 133 East Cermak, is celebrating the city’s favorite holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, by offering Chicagoans an assortment of Irish classics with a twist on Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17 from 4:00 p.m. to close. During the fun-filled weekend, patrons will enjoy Irish-inspired shareable plates and unique beer cocktails, in addition to the holiday’s staple – green beer.

VU will kick off the weekend with an assortment of Irish classics with a modern twist. Patrons looking for something tender, and bursting with subtle spice, can indulge in Irish Lamb Sliders with braised lamb, cabbage, and garlic aioli, served on a potato bun. Colcannon, a traditional Irish recipe, will also be offered with red potatoes, braised cabbage, leeks, and crispy bacon lardons. Individuals seeking something slightly sweet can enjoy the Soda Bread Toast served with apple raisin compote and a whiskey whipped cream.

To complement the classic menu offerings, guests will enjoy a selection of beer cocktail offerings, including Michelada Verde with Modelo, Worcestershire sauce, green tabasco, lime, and spiced with a Tajin rim; a Dram Mule with Irish Whiskey, ginger beer, bitters, lime, topped with beer; aBEERol with a fruity and spicy saison beer, Aperol, lemon juice topped with a lemon twist; and Fancy A Few Scoops made with beer, agave nectar, lime zest, lime juice, and a lime wheel garnish.

This South Loop rooftop destination, which opened its doors in October 2018, touts over 13,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor activation areas, including an exclusive karaoke room, along with a boardroom, club bar, and solarium bar. With impressive water and fire fountains on the exterior, along with the iconic skyline as the backdrop, guests are able to revel in rooftop season all year long, while also enjoying an interior that includes a sweeping 40 stool main bar, a stunning video wall and an abstract mural that makes this space truly unlike any other.

The hours of operation for VU are Monday – Thursday 4 p.m. – 12 a.m., Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. – 1 a.m., Sunday 4 p.m.-11:00p.m. Valet parking is available during all hours of operation. For more information about VU, visit or call 312.528.0191.

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Etihad AIRWAYS Engineering joins forces with FaBRICA ARGENTINA DE AVIONES FOR AIRCRAFT Maintenance SERVICES in South America

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Etihad Airways Engineering, the largest commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services provider in the Middle East, has signed a collaboration agreement with Argentina’s main aircraft manufacturer, Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA), to serve MRO customers in South America.

The agreement enables both companies to leverage their strengths and become significant players in the narrow body aircraft maintenance market in South America. As part of the collaboration, Etihad Airways Engineering will support FAdeA in developing the processes and capabilities to maintain and modify aircraft and aircraft components.

Abdul Khaliq Saeed, Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways Engineering, said: “Etihad Airways Engineering has built a strong customer base in Latin America, having carried out heavy maintenance work on a range of aircraft types from Airbus A330 to Boeing 767, 777 and the 787 Dreamliner for customers in Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Colombia.

“We’re pleased to collaborate with FAdeA and share our expertise and extensive capabilities to serve customers in the region”.

Antonio Beltramone, President FAdeA, said: “This is a strategic agreement for FAdeA that allows us to maximise the potential of our highly skilled labour force and facilities to provide sustainability for our company, and conquer new commercial aviation markets.”

The partnership will capitalise on the existing facilities and manpower of FAdeA, coupled with Etihad Airways Engineering’s MRO expertise as well as its strong customer footprint in Latin America. Etihad Airways Engineering will be FAdeA’s preferred partner for Part 21J Engineering and Part 21G Production.

Following the signing of the multi-year agreement, seven Airbus A320 aircraft belonging to LAN Argentina were reconfigured at FAdeA facilities and more projects are planned in the coming months.

Etihad Airways Engineering’s state-of-the-art facility is located in Abu Dhabi, adjacent to Abu Dhabi International Airport. Aircraft hangars at the facility cover approximately 66,000 sq metres, including 10,000 sq metres of aircraft painting facilities and a custom-designed hangar that can accommodate up to three Airbus A380 aircraft simultaneously. The company has successfully completed maintenance projects over the years for airlines across the world.

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Emirates celebrates 20 years of operations in Lahore and Islamabad

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 Emirates has marked 20 years of successful operations in Lahore and Islamabad, two of Pakistan’s most populous cities. The award-winning airline has recorded solid year-on-year growth in Lahore and Islamabad over the years, carrying more than 8.4 million passengers on both routes in the last two decades.

Emirates’ hub, Dubai, has emerged as the most popular destination for passengers traveling from Lahore and Islamabad. Religious travel to Jeddah, Medina and Baghdad was also very frequent over the years while London, New York, Manchester and Birmingham were popular among leisure and business travellers.

Jabr Al-Azeeby, Vice President Pakistan, Emirates Airline said: “We are embarking on a real milestone as we celebrate 20 years of service to Islamabad and Lahore.  Pakistan is a major market for Emirates and we take great pride in the role we play in providing global connectivity both for business and leisure passengers who are travelling from Pakistan to Dubai and beyond. We remain committed to this market and look forward to continue working closely with our industry partners in Pakistan to provide the best possible services to our customers.”

Lahore and Islamabad has also proven to be important cargo destinations for the airline in the region having recorded over 123,962 tonnes of cargo carriage in the last five years. Key exports and imports over the years include fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, meat, machinery and equipment. The airline continues to play an important role in fuelling trade between Pakistan and the UAE, enabling local exporters and businesses to connect to both developed and emerging markets in the airline’s network of key trade and commerce hubs.

Emirates and Pakistan share a special relationship, which goes back 33 years when its first ever flight from Dubai landed in Karachi on 25th October 1985. Since then, this historic partnership has continued blossoming with Emirates currently offering services to five Pakistani cities including Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Sialkot. Following the launch of its operations in 1985 in Karachi, Emirates began service to Peshawar in 1998. In 1999, Emirates became a part of Islamabad and Lahore’s skies before the commencement of its Sialkot service in 2013. Emirates remains fully committed to all five markets in Pakistan including Karachi, Sialkot and Peshawar as they’re all a core and an integral part of the airline’s network.

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Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham JBR welcomes new executive chef

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Mohammed Sitab Alam takes on the role

Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham JBR appoints Mohammed Sitab Alam as its new executive chef. He will be in-charge of the kitchen operations of all the hotel’s dining outlets.

Mohammed Sitab Alam has more than 15 years of culinary experience across different countries including India, Kuwait, Oman, and United Arab Emirates. Before joining the property, he worked as executive chef at Golden Tulip Media Hotel, and City Seasons Dubai. He also served as sous chef at Holiday Inn Barsha, and as junior sous chef at Ritz Carlton DIFC. His other previous affiliations include Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi, Park Inn by Radisson Muscat, and Radisson Blu Dubai Media City. 

Binu Varghese, hotel manager, commented: “We gladly welcome Mohammed to our team. Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham JBR is in a highly competitive location and we are positive that his combined skills, passion for food, and years of experience will boost the hotel’s food and beverage offers.”

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  • As part of its deregulation focus, Dubai Tourism exempts over 2,000 travel and tour agencies from furnishing bank guarantees, injecting a quarter billion dirhams liquidity into Dubai’s tourism economy
  • Move part of efforts to support the government’s economic stimulus programme aimed at lowering cost of doing business and making the emirate more attractive to investors

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has initiated efforts to release approximately AED250 million in bank guarantees that have been furnished by tourism-related service providers, following the waiver of this prerequisite regulatory requirement to start a travel and tour business in the emirate. The new deregulatory measure allows for instant liquidity to be injected into Dubai’s economy, lowering the cost of doing business and supporting further investment in the sector ecosystem.

Strongly aligned with the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai to accelerate Dubai’s economy growth through relative strategic and regulatory initiatives, Dubai Tourism seeks to directly benefit over 2,000 travel and tour operators and agencies in Dubai.

Announcing the new measure, Director-General of Dubai Tourism, H.E. Helal Saeed Almarri, said: “As we head into 2019 with a commitment to significantly boost tourism arrivals in line with our 2022-2025 tourism strategy and vision to make Dubai the world’s most visited destination, relaxing regulations in support of the business community, especially supporting start-ups and SMEs, is fundamental for sustained sector growth. Tourism is a strong contributor to Dubai’s GDP and we intend to ensure that we sustainably enhance our economic value and aid the diversification agenda for the wider UAE.

“As such, this deregulatory measure that has been delivered with the support of the Department of Economic Development (DED), complements many of our other initiatives to provide much-needed impetus to the industry, based on the landmark economic stimulus initiative launched by the visionary leadership of Dubai earlier this year to make it easier to operate and grow a business in Dubai. Releasing of the bank guarantees generates an immediate cash injection of nearly a quarter billion dirhams for travel and tourism-related service providers to invest back into their businesses and truly drive future growth, in addition to being a very positive signal for prospect investors and new ventures to launch tourism projects by taking advantage of the quick and hassle-free processes in place.”

Previously, tourism companies including inbound and outbound tour operators were required to furnish a bank guarantee ranging from AED100,000 to AED600,000, depending on the type of business activity, to Dubai Tourism, as a precondition for DED to grant a trade license. Cancellation of this provision enables Dubai Tourism to refund the bank guarantees to the companies providing much-needed funds to reinvest in their business and grow their services. Similarly, going forward for all new ventures, investors and entrepreneurs will also no longer need to provide such bank guarantees to Dubai Tourism either to open a tourism establishment or to offer specific travel or tour-related services and activities in Dubai.

Dubai Tourism had earlier introduced three proposals to support the government’s economic stimulus programme, namely, to attract more transit passengers to visit Dubai, introduce the time share concept to woo more families to the emirate and to encourage more luxury yachts and boats to visit Dubai.

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From the 28th January to the 28th February, Dubai residents are invited to welcome in the Chinese New Year 2019 at the world-renowned Atlantis, The Palm. Also known as the ‘Spring Festival’, it is the time to reunite with friends and family and bring forth good luck for the year to come. From special menu’s to exciting performances such as  lion dances, Atlantis, The Palm  is the place to be this Chinese New Year.


Guests are invited to celebrate the Chinese New Year at one of Dubai’s hottest and most exclusive Cantonese restaurants; Hakkasan. From 28th January to 24th February, Hakkasan’s team of expert chefs have crafted a special a la carte menu for dinner, giving guests the chance to sample an array of Chinese favourites including peking duck with crispy bean curd and mango, wok-fry lobster with Chinese chives and lily bulb, as well as roasted Jasmine chicken with sticky rice. This specially created Chinese New Year Menu is AED 498 per person including one Liáo Liáo welcome drink, which comprises of ketel one vodka, rosella, oloroso sherry, lemon, kumquat sherbet and plum bitters.  The menu will not be available on 14th February as it will be supplemented for the special Valentine’s Day menu.

Hakkasan will be celebrating Chinese New Year with their wishing tree tradition, inviting guests to write their wishes on red ribbons that will be hung around the dining areas. Themed music will be played throughout each evening, complimenting the vibrant journey; Hakkasan will also host a DJ performing from Tuesday to Saturday. For those looking to enjoy the regular Hakkasan menu, the a la carte menu will also be available to diners.


Saffron is bringing the best contemporary Chinese New Year dinner to the city. Guests can choose from an array of Cantonese, Szechuan, Shandong and Anhui dishes, as well as steamed dim sum and the peking duck station.

The Chinese New Year offering at Saffron will be available every evening from 4th to 10th February, 6pm to 11:00pm. With entertainment including themed Chinese dinner music, and a lion dance at 7:30pm to 7:45pm on the 4th, 5th and 6th February, as well as a stunning fireworks display on 4th February. Guests can dine for AED 265 per person exclusive of beverages, children aged 4 to 11 can dine for AED 137.50 and little ones under the age of three dine for free.


Over the Chinese New Year period, from 4th to 10th February, Kaleidoscope will be offering its international buffet to guests serving dishes from the Mediterranean, North Africa and Arabia, with a focus on the very best of Asian and Chinese cuisine. The buffet will feature dishes such as steamed dory fillets with ginger soya, peppered chicken with pak choi and char siu beef rib, as well as live stations including Asian noodle soup and a dim sum carousel. As well as fantastic entertainment such as a lion dance at 7:25pm  to 7:30pm on the 4th, 5th and 6th February.

Guests can dine for lunch for AED 195 per person from Sunday to Thursday and children aged 4 to 11 for AED 97.50. On the weekend, the offer is available for AED 230 including water and soft drinks, for children ages 4 to 11 AED 115, and little ones under the age of three dine for free.

A few facts you didn’t know about Chinese New Year

  1. The festival date changes every year. This is because it follows the lunar calendar, based on the movement of the moon. In 2019, Chinese New Year falls on February 5th.
  2. It is also called Spring Festival. The festival usually falls after the solar term in the beginning of Spring (Li Chun).
  3. Chinese New Year starts a new animal’s zodiac year. In China, each lunar cycle has 60 years and 12 years is regarded as a small cycle. Each of the 12 years is defined by an animal sign: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
  4. The celebration lasts for 15 days until the Lantern Festival. The peak time of the entire celebration is on Chinese New Year’s Eve and the first day of the lunar new year. The 15th day is called Lantern Festival, marking the end of the celebration.
  5. One sixth of the world’s people celebrate it. It is not only celebrated in Mainland China, but also observed in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and some other Asian countries as well as Chinatowns around the world.
  6. It is the longest public holiday and the whole country is on the move. Most employees have 7-12 days off the work, and students have one month winter vacation. The 2019 Chinese New Year holiday is from February 5th to the 11th.
  7. No matter where they are, people try their best to return home for a family reunion, like westerners attempting to spend Christmas with their families. This makes the world’s largest annual migration, known as the Spring Festival Travel Rush. The total trips made by plane, train, bus and ship can reach nearly 3 billion.
  8. Reunion dinner is a ritual. The reunion dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve is a big feast to commemorate the past year. This is the most important time to be with families.
  9. Then comes the annual largest usage of fireworks on the planet. Fireworksare an indispensable part of the celebration to liven up the air of Spring Festival. All families set off fireworks to celebrate the festival.
  10. “Guo Nian Hao” is one of the most used Chinese New Year greetings. This is like the westerners saying “Merry Christmas” to each other on Christmas Day. It means “Happy New Year”.

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Park Hyatt Dubai Announces the Launch of the Lagoon

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The iconic Park Hyatt Dubai announces the opening of a brand new extension to the property comprising a majestic 100 metre infinity lagoon leading into an impeccable private beach, with uninterrupted views of the Creek and the Dubai skyline. The Lagoon will be unveiled on Sunday, January 6th 2019.

A new distinctive haven of tranquility in Dubai Creek for beachside relaxation, the Lagoon will offer an escape from the bustling city, with glistening waters, pristine sands and picturesque views. The breathtaking architecture and idyllic resort surroundings are set to transport guests to the azure shores of a distant tropical retreat.

Boasting almost 2,000 square metres of immaculate Quartz sand and encircled in lush green landscaping, the Lagoon exudes the essence of a tranquil, hidden gem. Guests are afforded a variety of relaxation settings, from elegant sun lounges to stylish gazebos and private cabanas, where the only view is that of the serene lagoon waters, adjacent Creek and city skyline. A Mediterranean inspired culinary offering will complete this quintessential lagoon experience. A limited number of day-passes will be available, with prices starting from AED 360.

Federico Mantaoni, General Manager at Park Hyatt Dubai comments: “We are excited to announce the property’s newest addition, the Lagoon. The extension to the array of leisure amenities is set to amplify the luxury experience for both guests and residents, as is synonymous with the Park Hyatt brand. The opening of the Lagoon follows the complete renovation of the property’s F&B offerings, which saw the introduction of The Promenade to Dubai’s dining scene.”

Fact Box:

the Lagoon
Location: Park Hyatt Dubai
Opening Times: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm

Contact: +971 4 602 1660 –

Rates: starting from AED 360.

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North Island: The Ultimate Retreat To Kickstart A Healthy 2019

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An escape to North Island, Seychelles, one of the world’s most exclusive islands, is the perfect way to make your physical, mental, and spiritual health a top priority in 2019. Nestled deep in the Indian Ocean, the eco-friendly retreat affords the perfect opportunity to connect with nature – and yourself. The number of people taking health and wellness trips in 2019 is expected to double, with integrated health, nutrition, meditation, and mindfulness becoming more important than ever.

More information on the same is provided in the attached press release. Please feel free to get in touch for any additional information.

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An escape to North Island, Seychelles, one of the world’s most exclusive islands, is the perfect way to make your physical, mental, and spiritual health a top priority in 2019.

Nestled deep in the Indian Ocean, the eco-friendly retreat affords the perfect opportunity to connect with nature – and yourself. 

The number of people taking health and wellness trips in 2019 is expected to double, with integrated health, nutrition, meditation, and mindfulness becoming more important than ever. At magical North Island, you can connect the dots to create a unique and personalized approach to self-care, while completely disconnecting from the frenetic outside world. 

With the pristine, organic environment setting the tone for a holistic holiday for the conscious traveller, at North Island peace and tranquillity pervades. With no time pressures or constraints guests can do whatever they want, whenever they want. Or simply do nothing at all. Relax on the powdery private white beaches, hike to the peak of Spa Hill, takes to the seas with an array of diving, snorkelling and kayaking experiences, or hop onto a bike to discover the island on two wheels – all at your own pace. Salute the sun with morning yoga, and then bid it farewell with a freshly-squeezed thirst-quencher at sunset. 

A focus on wellness is never complete without an emphasis on healthy eating. North Island has long been renowned for its fertility, for the richness of the fishing grounds and for its fruitful organic gardens. With its cuisine deeply connected to the spirit of the island, its food philosophy is rooted in fresh, seasonal, wholesome produce – food that not only tastes fantastic, but which also makes you feel great. 

Round off the day with a blissful spa treatment that will completely unwind you from head to toe, both inside and out. Guaranteed to put a spring in your step, a spa journey at North Island will help you to tackle the New Year with a renewed sense of joie de vivre. 

The epitome of luxury is uninterrupted time that allows us to reconnect with that which is bigger than ourselves. North Island gifts its guests just that in abundance.

Rate in 2019 for the Presidential Villas start at €6,127 per night and €9,644 per night for Villa North Island excluding tax. Children under the age of 17 sharing the second bedroom are free of charge. For young adults aged 17-19 sharing the second bedroom, the rate is €672 per night. 

For more information on North Island visit

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‘Unplug & Unwind’ This Winter In A Tropical Island Paradise At Mandarin Oriental, Canouan

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Mandarin Oriental, Canouan’s new Unplug & Unwind offer invites guests to begin 2019 in a more relaxed and rejuvenated state of body and mind with a visit to Canouan Island’s ‘decompression zone’ of white sand beaches and tranquil ocean breezes.

With the ease of travel on the resort’s private jet, unlimited golf on Canouan’s 18-hole championship course, tennis, water sports, and hypnotically relaxing treatments in The Spa, the Unplug & Unwind package promises to quickly dispel any signs of daily stressors or separation anxiety from digital devices.  Valid 7 January 2019 through 22 April 2019 at a starting rate of USD4,500 plus tax and service charges, Unplug & Unwind is based on double occupancy and includes:

  • Three nights accommodation in an ocean view suite
  • Round-trip Resort Jet transfers between Canouan and St. Vincent, Barbados, St. Lucia or Grenada
  • Two 90-minute Digital Wellness Escape treatments (targeting negative affects/stressors created by digital devices)
  • Unlimited golf (including club rentals)
  • Unlimited tennis (including equipment rental)
  • Unlimited non-motorized water sports
  • Daily breakfast in Lagoon Café or Asianne restaurants

This offer is subject to availability and cannot be combined with other offers.  Additional nights of stay and/or additional guests may be added at prevailing rates. Guests are encouraged to confirm the resort’s jet availability before booking their international flights. For reservations and more information, please visit

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