Autogrill to start cooking in Istanbul and Dubai

Autogrill, a provider of food & beverage and retail services for travellers, has announced that it will launch operations in Dubai and Istanbul through its HMSHost International division.

The company is to offer its range of fine dining at Istanbul and Dubai airports. Once the operations are launched, HMSHost International will have 13 points of sale at Istanbul airport in Turkey. The move is expected to generate overall revenue of more than €100m in the 2012 to 2022 period. The company will also open four points of sale at Dubai airport in the United Arab Emirates. That operation is expected to generate total revenue of around €25m over a period of five years.

The company renewed its F&B/retail concessions contracts at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport in May, for 10 years. That operation is expected to generate sales of at least $1.2bn over its 10-year duration.

In a statement, the company said, ‘In just a few years Turkey was transformed into one of the emerging markets best equipped to compete globally and one of the strongest regions, with an increasingly important role as a link between East and West. GDP is expected to reach an annual average growth rate of around 7 percent in the period 2011-2017. The fastest growing sectors include infrastructure, which will expand the country’s national and international transport capacity.’

HMSHost International recently opened two restaurants at Dubai Airport, and is to open two more by the end of the year.

Autogrill mainly operates in airports, motorway service areas and railway stations, and has a selective presence in high street shopping centres, trade fairs, museums and other cultural facilities. It operates in 35 countries.

Nakheel to build new hotel in Dubai

Dubai-based real-estate developer, Nakheel is to build a hotel in Dubai.

The developer said that the new hotel would be built as an extension to the existing Dragon Mart retail complex, a structure that has been in business for eight years. The 240-room hotel extension will form part of the second phase of the Dragon Mart retail complex.

The proposed extension will feature a 10,000 sq/m supermarket, a nine-screen cinema complex, and a two-storey retail mall with food court and outdoor dining options. The proposed extensions are to be completed by the third quarter of next year.

Ali Rashid Lootah, chairman of Nakheel, said that the company had to double the size of Dragon Mart because of strong business demand.

Lootah said, ‘Dragon Mart is already the world’s biggest trading hub for Chinese products outside mainland China. The Phase 2 expansion will provide many more opportunities for retailers, hoteliers and restaurants to prosper.’

Cosmopolitan Hotel Dubai Opens in UAE

The new Cosmopolitan Hotel has opened in Dubai, UAE recently as the latest entrant on the boutique hotel scene.

The hotel is built on seven floors. It is located in the Al Barsha area of Dubai and has 114 rooms and suites, as well as three food and beverage venues, and a 24-hour fitness centre. It is just a few minutes away from the Mall of the Emirates shopping mall, and is also close to the Sharaf DG metro station.

The property also features the Cosmo Executive Floor, offering supplementary benefits and services, including complimentary in-room breakfast, and complimentary access to the Social Cafe. The hotel is to introduce a new style of dining service that comprises a buffet at each table, to replace the conventional buffet dining option.

UAE-based Nael & Bin Harmal Group is operating the hotel, and it has been constructed with an investment of around $28 million.

Tony Saliba, the managing director of the Nael & Bin Harmal Group, said, ‘We are very pleased and delighted to unveil the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Nael & Bin Harmal Group first property in Dubai. Attention to details was our priority from day one. We have set the highest standards in hospitality providing guests with state of the art technology, unique comfort and hopefully memorable experiences. The response has been so encouraging, that we are now looking at developing additional properties in vibrant Dubai and in other locations within the UAE.

It has been a rewarding journey to work with a first class management team in developing this beautiful jewel. I must thank the local authorities and the team at the DTCM for their guidance, support and encouragement. The property has all what it takes to become one of the leading 4 star properties in the city. It is well located, well designed and very efficient. It will definitely surprise the customers as they will have more to experience.’

The hotel is also partnering with a massage operator in Thailand to operate a 24-hour massage service for its guests, operated by graduates of Wat Po University, and will also operate a 24-hour Pulse fitness centre.

Visit Dubai to Watch Annual Summer Turtle Release

Visitors to Dubai, UAE, this weekend can see an annual summer turtle release programme conducted by Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project.

The event is being held on June 29, 2012, at Madinat Jumeirah beach in Dubai. Jumeirah, a UAE-based luxury hospitality company, is sponsoring the event, which is open to the public.

The event will see around 100 Hawksbill Turtles being released back into their natural habitat by children participating in the event; these turtles were brought to Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office or to the Aquarium team at Burj Al Arab at very sick or injured states, where they have been nurtured to health over many months, and will now be released into their natural environment.

While being nurtured to health, the turtles were examined by veterinarians, and treated with proper medication or surgery. Once they are out of the medical treatment, these turtles are transferred to the Mina A’Salam turtle enclosure, where they flourish, until they are fit to be released into the sea.

The event also will feature the Big Jumeirah Sea Turtle Race, where six satellite tagged sea turtles will be released into the Arabian Gulf, with each tagged turtle sponsored by a Jumeirah property: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Wild Wadi, Jumeirah Living and Burj Al Arab. The winning turtle will be decided by using satellite technology to track their travels.

Children especially are likely to have a fun and entertaining time at the event, which will also offer complimentary entertainment and refreshments to them, and parking will be available for visitors at Mina A Salam.

Four Seasons Announces New Luxury Resort in Dubai

Four Seasons hotel Group, a Canada-based international hotel company, has announced a new hotel in Dubai in the UAE, at the heart of the city’s Jumeirah Beach.

The new luxurious hotel is currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2014. Four Seasons Hotels has entered into collaboration with UAE-based holding company, Bright Start LLC, to develop the new property.

The new Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach will be located on an 11-acre natural waterfront site adjacent to the Arabian Gulf.

Kathleen P. Taylor, the president and chief executive officer for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, said, ‘Being the Middle East’s biggest tourism hub with a highly mature hospitality industry, it was important for us to be in Dubai with a strong product that can serve as one of the company flagships in this region.

As with all markets across the globe in which Four Seasons operates, it was important for us to take the time to find our niche here as well as identify a partner that first and foremost shares our service and business values.

We are confident that we not only have an unparalleled location, but also an excellent development partner, two key factors that will allow us to offer what guests travelling to Dubai on business or pleasure desire and have come to expect from Four Seasons.’

The resort will be offering 237 rooms, including 49 suites, a minimum of three restaurants, and a poolside dining, a 600-square metre ballroom, five meeting rooms with beachfront access, and leisure facilities including a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts and a beach club.

Dubai to Open Hotel with Under Water Rooms

Travellers with the inclination to sleep in a room that is 10 metres under sea level should consider a future visit to Dubai, in the UAE, for a stay at the Water Discus Hotel, which is currently being planned.

The half-submerged hotel will be offering 21 rooms beneath the sea, while a part of it will remain above sea level.

The building will have an external appearance similar to a spaceship, and the designers, Deep Ocean Technology (DOT), are hopeful that the hotel will fulfil the fantasy of many holidaymakers.

The hotel is being developed by Switzerland-based BIG InvestConsult, and their spokesperson said, ‘Today, the advent of new technology made the heart of the ocean a setting not only for diving, but also for luxurious holidays.’

Dubai has always been a pioneer in terms of experimenting with innovative designs, and the new hotel follows in that mindset. The new hotel will be another feather in the cap of Dubai’s legendary construction designs, after the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and the man-made archipelago, Palm Islands.

Constructed in two parts, the structure above the water will be connected to the structure below the water with pillars hosting lifts to transport guests and the hotel’s employees. The underwater segment of the hotel will be offering rooms with clear walls that will provide the guests with glimpses of the sea flora and fauna, while they enjoy the hotel amenities. While the top part of the hotel is designed to withstand tsunamis and earthquakes, the underwater section will be able to float to the surface, in case of emergencies.

Fairmont Hotels and Resorts Offers Hotel Credits to Loyalty Club Members for Stays in Middle East

Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, a Canada-based hotel company, has announced a new offer for its loyalty programme members visiting the Middle East.

The company is offering a $25 hotel credit to all Fairmont President’s Club loyalty programme members that stay at any of its hotels in the Middle East. The hotel credit may be used at any of the onsite restaurants, at properties including the Fairmont Dubai Hotel, Dubai; Fairmont Bab al Bahr, Abu Dhabi; Fairmont Nile City, Cairo; Fairmont Heliopolis and Towers, Cairo; and Makkah Clock Royal Tower, a Fairmont Hotel in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The promotional hotel credits are available on every stay booked at these properties until December 31, 2012, and are for loyalty programme members only.

In Abu Dhabi, the hotel credits may be redeemed at Frankie’s Italian Restaurant and Bar, or the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill at Fairmont Bab al Bahr; in Dubai at the Spectrum on One restaurant in the Fairmont Dubai; and at Baharat, the Lebanese-inspired Al Dar, and the rooftop Al Dira restaurant at the Makkah Clock Royal Tower Hotel in Makkah.

The company is also offering a special offer for Fairmont President’s Club members staying at the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, A Fairmont Hotel in Saudi Arabia. Members will receive two complimentary nights at the hotel, which may be redeemed before February 28, 2013, on completing a stay. This offer is available for members with premier or platinum status.

Fairmont Hotels and Resorts’ portfolio of 60-plus hotels includes The Savoy in London and The Plaza in New York.

Experience the vertical marathon in Dubai

Dubai visitors will be able to take part in a gruelling yet rewarding Vertical Marathon event at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers on April 13th 2012.

This taxing charity run will see up to 200 participants racing each other to the top of the towering 52-floor building, a route that takes in 265 metres and a massive 1,334 stairs.

The 2012 edition marks the tenth anniversary of the marathon, which is organised annually by Talise Fitness to support the humanitarian work conducted by Medecins Sans Frontieres.

More than one million dirhams (£170,400) has been raised by the event to date, thus helping the charitable organisation to provide medical care to more than 60 countries across the world.

Those wishing to participate this year should show up at the tower between 06:30 and 07:30 local time for registration, with the race itself commencing at 08:00.

Registration costs 500 dirhams for adult participants or 350 dirhams for those under 18 or competing as part of a team.

A wide variety of last minute hotels are available at LateRooms.com for amateur athletes, including the Golden Sands Hotel Apartments.