One of seven emirates within the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai is a former trading port that has transformed itself into a bastion of cosmopolitan luxury. Dubai meeting venues and hospitality offerings reflect this luxury. Golfers will be amazed by greens that flash like emeralds in the Dubai's desert climate. Dubai incentive programs are similarly exotic, running the gamut from traditional overnight desert treks to safaris.
Recognized for such unique hotel venues as the Burj Al Arab near the luxurious Palm Jumeirah resort area, Dubai continues to expand its inventory. Recent 4 and 5 Star properties include the 481-room Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel, with about 9,000 square feet of meeting space; and the twin-tower JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai - one tower of which opened in early 2013. On the horizon: A 559-room Conrad Dubai and a 330-room W Dubai Festival City, both expected to open in summer 2013; and many more on the way.
Chief among convention venues, Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre at the Dubai World Trade Centre features more than 1 million square feet of meeting and event space. The center expanded to its present size in 2009, with the debut of the four Sheikh Saeed Halls, which added more than 269,100 square feet. Other Dubai venues include the new Dubai Airport Expo with 355,212 square feet.
The premier shopping and event venue in Dubai is the Mall of the Emirates, which can take days to fully explore. Not only are more than 1,200 retailers to be found, the Mall features the world's largest indoor ski slope. Opened in 2005, the Ski Dubai slopes measure nearly one-quarter mile (400 meters) long and are packed with 6,000 tons of snow. Ski or snowboard excursions with lunch or dinner are easy to arrange for groups, who can dine at the nearby St. Moritz restaurant, evocative of a typical, Swiss mountain ski resort. Other excellent venues include the Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.
For those interested in learning more about Dubai's culture, the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding can arrange visits (including breakfast and lunch programs) to the Jumeirah Mosque or walking tours through one of the oldest districts in Dubai, Bastakiya. They may also visit the Souk Al Bahar, an entertainment district that replicates the stalls, shops and eateries of a traditional Arabian souk (or market).
It is a tenet of Dubai's Arabic heritage to make visitors feel welcome. When meeting and planning events in Dubai, it's important to remember that local etiquette requires clothing to be circumspect; women should avoid short, tight or revealing attire, and hemlines should fall, at minimum, just below the knee. Shoulders and arms should be covered, especially during Ramadan. Also during Ramadan, stores close during the day and reopen in the evening. Alcohol can only be consumed in hotels, restaurants and other licensed facilities; even so, avoid rowdy behavior and loud conversations during the calls to prayer. Always ask permission before taking pictures.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Dubai World Trade Centre
Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre at the Dubai World Trade Centre features more than 1 million square feet of meeting and event space. The center expanded to its present size in 2009, with the debut of the four Sheikh Saeed Halls, which added more than 269,100 square feet. Other facilities include the 10,600-square-meter concourse that runs the width of the center, the 1,038-square meter Al Multaqua Ballroom, the 797-square-meter Bubble Lounge and more.
Dubai International (DXB)
Approximate taxi fare: 18 AED
The World’s Centre for Meetings and Events
Atlantis, The Palm offers unmatched conference, banqueting, entertainment facilities and the largest unique capacity for delegates in Dubai. As the first and flagship resort to open on The Palm Island, Atlantis combines exceptional meetings and conference facilities with outstanding leisure opportunities, worldwide cuisines, and fabulous panoramas of the Arabian Gulf.
In addition to offering one of the biggest meeting spaces in Dubai with capacity for up to 2,500 people in the Atlantis Ballroom, the resort is unique in its ability to sleep up to 600 delegates under the same roof, opening up a new one-stop destination for meeting planners who want to ‘wow‘ their associates into the new decade.
Reflecting Chairman and CEO Sol Kerzner’s vision to transport guests into a dazzling, inspiring world, the resort encompasses a 46 hectare site including 1,539 rooms and suites within The Royal Towers and a comprehensive 5,600m2 Conference Centre. Guests can pump up the adrenalin levels throughout Aquaventure with its myriad of sensational slides, tidal pools and near vertical drops. Be thrilled by shark experiences, educated by dolphin interactions and amazed by a world of exotic marine life. Then pampered and rejuvenated at the world class ShuiQi Spa and Fitness Centre with its water-themed treatments and exotic therapies. Choose to dine at an eclectic mix of world-renowned restaurants, including Nobu, Rostang and Ronda Locatelli. Then sleep soundly in a suite with floor-to-ceiling views into the mesmerising marine world of The Ambassador Lagoon.
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