World’s tallest hotel opens in Dubai

In its bid to constantly outdo itself, Dubai is about to open the world’s tallest hotel, replacing the previous world’s tallest hotel that is situated in…Dubai!

At 1,164 feet tall, the newly opened JW Marriott Marquis has torn the ‘Biggest Bed & Breakfast’ record from the – frankly diminutive – Rose Tower Dubai, which sits at a stunted 1,093 feet tall.

Staff at the Guinness Book of World Records will have had to carry out a hasty rewrite to the tome’s pages concerning excessive hostelries, as the new Marriott’s 72 floors – spread over 355 metres – trample all before them. And not content with building just one elongated edifice, and with an admirable disregard for history, the hotel’s designers opted for a twin-tower format.

Only one tower will be open initially, with the second expected to open by 2014, but even as it pines for its partner the current edifice has enough available space to pack in 804 rooms of various shapes, sizes and expense, 9 restaurants, 5 bars, 2 ballrooms a spa, and a health club. It also has the capacity to host conventions with up to 1,000 delegates.

Marriott International president and CEO, Arne Sorenson, was quoted in the Daily Mail, saying, ‘Dubai is an important destination for Marriott International as one of the world’s most exciting cities offering world-class facilities and infrastructure, central location in the region and future growth potential. Our expanding collection of world-class JW Marriott hotels offers accomplished travellers a one-of-a-kind luxury experience. The investment in this unique and visually stunning hotel is testament to the continued opportunities that lie ahead for the brand and company.’

Travellers with a head for heights will be keen to know that the Emirates Group-owned hotel will have room prices commencing from around GBP215.


Emirates Announces New Service to Warsaw from February

UAE-based airline company, Emirates Airline, has announced that its inaugural service to Poland will be commencing from February 6, 2013.

Emirates has launched its service to Poland with a trade preview of the airline’s main A380 aircraft, with a reproduction of a First Class Private Suite on display.

The airline will be offering a daily service to Warsaw in Poland, from Dubai in the UAE, with a 237-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

Richard Jewsbury, the airline senior vice president of commercial operations for Europe and Russian Federation, said, ‘Warsaw will be the first new route for Emirates in 2013 and our preparations for launch are currently in full swing. With less than a month to go we are ramping up our activities on the ground in Warsaw and around our global network, in order to increase tourism flows in both directions.

Poland continues to see significant economic growth and our new flights, connecting Poland with our destinations in the Far East, Africa, Middle East and Australasia, will play a pivotal role in further boosting the city’s projected fiscal growth’

The airline is also offering Emirates SkyCargo services, which will be carrying 238 tonnes of belly-hold capacity per week, to aid the increasing trade ties with Poland from the other destinations in the airline’s network.

The airline has recently launched a second daily flight to Dubai Airport from Glasgow Airport with a 364-seat Boeing 777 aircraft. The new service commenced from January 1, 2013. The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft replaces the earlier Airbus A340-300 used on the same route. The new aircraft has added around 650 seats every week, as well as an extra 70 tonnes of cargo capacity.

Chinese to scrap QE2

The QE2, once the pride of cruise company Cunard’s fleet, is to be sold to the Chinese for scrap.

The GBP20m scrap deal follows the apparent collapse of a proposal to bring the ship back to the UK from its present mooring in Dubai, with the intention of turning it into a floating 5-star hotel. Investors had intended to moor the ship on the Thames, opposite the O2 Arena, and had presented a proposal to Dubai World, the owner of the vessel since its purchase for GBP64m in 2007.

However, it now appears that a separate deal has been done with a Chinese breaking yard, and the Daily Mail has reported that a twenty-strong Chinese crew is already on board the ship.

The newspaper quoted Roger Murray of QE2 London, saying, ‘We have been told the ship is going to be put into a dry dock before being taken to an unknown destination in the far east. That is a tragedy because it almost certainly means the QE2 is being sold as scrap. Our investors were going to give GBP20 million for the ship itself, plus GBP60 million for renovation and the cost of bringing the ship back to Britain. But the ship could raise as much as GBP20 million as dead weight scrap, and the Chinese cash would be immediate.’

Alaric Errington, a spokesman for Equity in Finance, the organisation that was leading the investment consortium behind the QE2 London bid, said, ‘This is a fantastic opportunity and we put forward a very commanding commercial proposition that was designed to give Dubai a future return. The QE2 is an icon but our proposal also makes business sense. The cost of renovating the QE2 and bringing it back to the UK is no more than acquiring land in central London to build a luxury hotel.’

Selling the vessel for scrap appears to be at odds with the agreement signed in 2007 by Istithmar, part of the state conglomerate, Dubai World, which included a clause that the ship would not be sold on for at least 10 years, but Dubai World believe that ‘a contract modification could be agreed’, according to the report.

The UK hotel project had the potential to create up to 2,000 new jobs.


Where to go for afternoon tea in Dubai

Afternoon tea is a British tradition, but if you’re planning to go to Dubai anytime soon, it’s well worth treating yourself to this classic cake-and-tea combination while you’re there. Why? Well, there’s always a sense of indulgence around afternoon tea, which means it fits well with Dubai’s luxurious hotels and general affluence. Also, it’s delicious – and doe anyone need a better reason than that!
We’ve put together a shortlist of the establishments with the best reputations for afternoon tea below.

The Westin

You’ll find this hotel on Al Sofouh Road, with afternoon tea served in The Atrium lounge. One of the best things about coming here is that the cakes are really beautifully decorated, so you can enjoy the decadent feel that often comes with tucking into afternoon tea.

As well as the usual staples like Breakfast Tea, there are some pretty unusual-sounding teas to try too, like Organic Dragon Well and Flowering Osmathus. So, this is a great place to be adventurous and give something new a go!

The dress code is smart-casual, and the staff are polite and helpful.

Sofitel Jumeirah Beach

You can’t go to Dubai and not visit the famous Jumeirah Beach area, and while you’re there you may as well treat yourself to a little afternoon tea break. You are on holiday, after all!

Afternoon tea here is served in the hotel’s 24-hour bar, Plantation. Designed to resemble a colonial conservatory, this venue has a very sophisticated feel – something that’s reflected in the menu too. Alongside afternoon tea, the bar also serves up French delicacies, and you’ll notice some French flourishes in the former too, such as lobster sandwiches.

Another thing that makes the Sofitel stand out is that its presentation is quite unusual – the afternoon tea is usually served on robust black crockery, reminiscent of Japanese-style teas.

Bateaux Dubai

If you fancy doing something a little bit different, reserving a table for afternoon tea on Bateaux Dubai is a brilliant choice. Instead of just sitting down to a tasty selection of sandwiches, scones and pastries, you’ll also enjoy a 45-minute cruise on a boat that offers 360-degree views. It doesn’t get much better than that!

The food here is fabulous, too, so you needn’t worry that you’re sacrificing the quality of your tea for the fun of cruising. Plus, the staff are very attentive, which is always a bonus.

Park Hyatt Dubai

Another great place for afternoon tea is the Park Hyatt Dubai. The Lounge is a pretty, Arabic-themed venue that has some great and unusual features, like a central indoor garden. So, it’s got a great elegant-but-casual atmosphere.

Afternoon tea is served daily between 14:00 and 18:00 local time, but if you’re celebrating a special occasion, why not treat yourself to a champagne tea? You can get these from 14:00 to 16:00.

One&Only Royal Mirage

The last afternoon tea venue on my shortlist is the One & Only Royal Mirage. If you want to enjoy your tea in lavish surroundings, this establishment’s Samavor Lounge is definitely the place to go – it’s Arabic theme includes incredibly soft sofas and velvet drapes.

Perhaps the best thing about coming here, though, is that the portions are nice and generous, while the food looks virtually too good to eat.

Have you had afternoon tea in Dubai recently? Drop us a line and let us know where you went and, more importantly, how it was!

Emirates Expands Glasgow to Dubai Route Capacity with Boeing 777 Aircraft

UAE-based airline company, Emirates Airline, has announced an upgrade of its services from Dubai to Glasgow Airport in Scotland.

The airline has launched a second daily flight to Dubai from Glasgow with a 364 seat Boeing 777 aircraft. The new service commences from January 1, 2013. The new Boeing 777-300ER replaces the Airbus A340-300 that is currently used on the same route. The new aircraft will add around 650 seats a week, as well as an extra 70 tonnes of cargo.

Laurie Berryman, the airline vice president for the UK, said, ‘As a result of the popularity and success of the second daily flight to Dubai, the upgraded service will be bigger and better. It is not only great news for all our customers in Glasgow, but also for the Scottish economy.

It highlights Emirates’ continued investment and support for the area since we launched the route in 2004, and comes hot on the heels of Emirates being unveiled as an Official Partner of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Official Airline of the Queen’s Baton Relay.

No one can be in any doubt that growth remains a key objective for Emirates here in Scotland. We can now seamlessly connect even more Scottish passengers to our extensive route network, without them having to travel via London or other European airports – and we are doing so in style with our Boeing 777-300ER.’

Amanda McMillan, the managing director of Glasgow Airport, said, ‘Emirates’ twice daily service to Dubai is of huge economic importance to Glasgow and Scotland as a whole, and it is no surprise that the second service has proved extremely popular since its launch earlier this year.

The decision to upgrade the aircraft so soon after the launch is further evidence of this success and it will, once again, increase Emirates’ capacity to and from Glasgow.’

New and Stylish Accommodation on Offer in Dubai

In recent times Dubai, in the UAE, has become a major attraction for visitors from the UK during the holiday seasons.

Dubai is claimed to be home to some of the world’s most stunning hotel architecture, including the Armani, Burj Al Arab and Atlantis the Palm. According to an earlier industry forecast issued by international industry consultant, Business Monitor International (BMI), the number of foreign tourists heading to the UAE in 2012 is expected to reach almost 9 million.

A Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) report has suggested that in the second quarter of 2012, hotel and apartment booking in Dubai has increased to 170,452, from 154,180 during the same period in 2011. The average stay for travellers from the UK has also increased by 5 percent in the second quarter of 2012, from that in same quarter of 2011.

New hotels in Dubai include the Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah, the Palazzo Versace Dubai and W Hotel Dubai.

The 330-room Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah will be opening in 2014, and will be offering a 600 metre private beach, a health spa and a number of outdoor pools. The hotel will also be offering ten restaurants and bars.

The Palazzo Versace Dubai will open in 2014, claiming to offer a luxury lifestyle experience, while W Hotels is opening its new hotel on the Sheik Zayed Road, with 384 guest rooms.

Ian Scott, director of Dubai Tourism for UK and Ireland, said, ‘Dubai is becoming a much more affordable destination and it’s great to see so many families choosing to visit the emirate for the first time.

Dubai has, however, built a reputation as a luxury destination, and due to demand a number of new five star hotels is set to open over the next four years.

It’s great to see such a wide variety of accommodation available in the emirate – from an extensive range of self catering options to family resorts and boutique hotels – there really is something for everyone.’

7 Wonders of Dubai

Dubai is one of the greatest cities in the world- it is named the City of Gold for a reason. Located in the United Arab Emirates, it has recently been rated as the best place to live in the Middle East by Mercer, and it is the fastest growing city in the world.

The hotspot has a wealth of modern shopping malls, exclusive restaurants and bars, and the hotels are renowned for being high quality. There is plenty to do and see whilst on holiday and here are the 7 best wonders of Dubai that are an absolute must-see.

The Wadi Adventure Wave Pool

This is one of the most unique waves in the world and is a brand new surf pool situated in the desert. It is the Middle East’s first man-made artificial wave park in Al Ain and its righteous waves can reach over 3.3 meters high every 90 seconds. If you fancy your own piece of Oasis, surf the desert with perfect waves and warm water.

Watch Sally Fitzgibbons surf The Wadi Adventure Wave Pool here.

Dubai Mall

Dubai is the shopping capital of the Middle East and it is home to the world’s largest shopping mall Dubai Mall. It was created as part of the $20 billion Burj Khalifa complex and it has a whopping 1,200 shops. The phenomenon attracts over 750,000 visitors every week, surpassing landmark leisure destinations from around the world including Times Square and Niagara Falls.

Burj Al Arab

Dubai is the home to the world’s first 7-star hotel. It is the fourth tallest hotel in the world and is connected to the mainland via a bridge as it rests on an artificial island constructed offshore. The accommodation has been designed to mimic the sail of a ship and it cost USD $650 million to construct.

The cost of such an extravagant stay? Room prices vary from $11,000 to $45,000 per night.

Burj Khalifa

This sky scraper is a world-class destination. It is renowned for being the tallest building in the world and it is estimated to cost around $4 billion. It is the magnificent centrepiece of Downtown Dubai standing over 828 metres and more than 160 stories. Not only does it have the tallest service elevator in the world but also the highest outdoor observation deck.

The Palm Islands

These are three man-made, palm shaped islands in Dubai and from above they look absolutely breath-taking. Constructed by a property developer called Nakheel Properties, they are named The Palm Jumeirah, The Palm Jebel Ali and The Palm Deira. On the three islands alone there are over 100 hotels as well as water theme parks, health spas and exclusive beach side bungalows and apartments.


Dubai is home to the world’s biggest amusement park and it is definitely a dream come true for both adults and children. Owned by Tatweer, it features six different theme worlds and is the epitome of an entertainment complex. It cost a massive $64.3 million to build.

(Image used by permission under the Creative Commons Licence)


Taj Mahal replica planned for Dubai

Developers in Dubai have announced plans to build a replica of India’s world famous tourist attraction, the Taj Mahal.

Dubai has proven many times over that if you have enough money you can build anything. It already has the world’s largest shopping mall, the Dubai Mall; the Burj Kahlifa, the worlds tallest building at 829.84m; and the Burj Al Arab, a 60-floor, 5-star hotel with a construction that mimics a sailing ship. Now, developers have revealed plans for a new complex to include a replica of the Taj Mahal.

Of course, this being Dubai, the developers are not content with just replicating the iconic mausoleum. Their version is planned to be nearly four times larger than the original, and to incorporate a 300-room hotel, shops and apartments. The development has an estimated cost of £618m, and will be known as the Taj Arabia.

Developer, Arun Mehra, announced the project as a future wedding venue. Gulf News quoted him as saying, ‘Marriage is a celebration. It needs to be announced and glorified. Currently Dubai is not regarded as a wedding destination. People go to Bali and other exotic places to marry. Now they will come to Taj Arabia.’

Many more of the world’s most famous buildings are also reportedly planned in some form for the Dubailand site, a huge world theme park. The Great Wall of China, the Egyptian pyramids, the UK’s houses of parliament and Paris’s Eiffel Tower are also amongst those in the process of construction.

The original Taj Mahal, in Agra, India, was completed by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1648, and was dedicated to the memory of his favourite wife.

Plan Your Summer Trip for 2013 Now

Planning your summer trip next year, looking at those rain clouds hovering over Britain? Then here are some destinations finding favour with UK travellers for those looking forward to sunnier weather.

Direct Destinations, a UK based travel company, is suggesting that a popular travel destination for British travellers is the US. In 2012, travellers from the UK to the US increased 4% over that in 2011. Popular destinations in the US include California, New York and Florida.

Florida is the most popular US destination for British families with its sunny beaches and famous attractions, including Walt Disney World Resort, and the recently opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando.

Families are also opting for Cyprus, in the Mediterranean, for the sun and sea experience. In 2012 to date, around 100,000 UK residents have visited the island country, with its rich heritage and culture – a mingle of flavours from Europe, Asia and Africa.

A travel price comparison website,, has suggested that Dubai, in the UAE, is also proving to be a popular choice with British families for vacations. In the spring and summer of 2012, UK travellers searching for holidays in Dubai increased by 36% compared to the same period in the preceding year. Another report, by ACI Passenger and Freight Flash Report, said that Dubai International Airport has reported a 13.7% increase in passenger traffic in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Mark Attwell, the managing director of, said, ‘Cities across the Middle East and Asia have grown in popularity this year, from the relatively nearby Dubai and Istanbul to far-flung hotspots like Hong Kong and Beijing. From London, you can fly to Dubai in the same time that it takes to drive to Scotland, making this exciting and family-friendly city more accessible than ever.’

Dubai Bucks Trend to Draw British Travellers

Dubai, in the UAE, is proving a major draw for British tourists as a travel destination. The number of tourists travelling to Dubai has increased in 2012 from 2011, bucking the trend for the general decline in outbound travel.

The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has announced an 11 percent increase in guest numbers from the UK, during the second quarter of 2012, compared to the same period last year.

A DTCM report suggests that in the 2012 second quarter, hotel and apartment bookings in Dubai have increased to 170,452, from 154,180 for the same period in 2011. The average stay of travellers from the UK has also increased by 5 percent in the second quarter of 2012, from that in the same quarter of 2011, with many British travellers choosing to stay in Dubai for around seven nights.

Ian Scott, the director of DTCM for UK and Ireland, said, ‘We are delighted with the UK results for quarter two, and confident that visitor numbers will continue to be positive throughout the year.

Increasingly, families are realising that Dubai can offer them a fun and affordable family holiday with a relatively short flight time of only seven hours.’

Most travellers to Dubai prefer self-catering apartments, and rentals have seen an increase of around 33 percent in the 2012 second quarter, compared to same time last year.

Dubai currently has more new hotel rooms in the process of being developed than any other destination in the Middle East or Africa, with a number of new properties slated to open in 2012.