July Tourism 2013

Desert safaris are one of the most popular activities for holiday makers in Dubai.
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Desert safaris are one of the most popular activities for holiday makers in Dubai. This month, Dubai Update speaks to Adam McEwan, Managing Director of Platinum Heritage tours, about their unique desert safaris and why their tours are top of the Trip Advisor rankings.

What makes a Platinum Heritage excursion unique?
A more accurate question may be what isn’t unique about Platinum Heritage! Our safaris are conducted inside an exclusive area inside the 225 sq.km Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, which contains numerous native flora and fauna. Our camp is built completely of stone and wood in Bedouin style and is located on the private and exclusive grounds of a sprawling desert retreat, owned by Dubai’s Royal Family.

We took on the mission to represent the culture and heritage in an honest, warm and welcoming manner, so our cuisine is Emirati/Arabic style and cooked fresh for our guests. Also, we use modern ultra-luxurious Mercedes G-Wagons for our Platinum Collection and the classic 1950’s Land Rovers for our Heritage Collection.

Tell me about your Heritage Dinner Safari?
This is our evening safari conducted in the classic 1950’s Land Rovers. Our guests will embark on a journey through the desert conservation reserve for an incredibly picturesque sunset, rolling dunes and a chance to spot some native animals. This is followed by a full falconry demonstration where guests will see the world’s best trained falcons fly at breakneck speeds.

After sunset, our guests arrive at our Bedouin camp to try activities such as camel rides, intricate henna tattoos or try shisha in our relaxing majlis, complete with silk carpets.

Dinner is a four course menu of delicious Emirati favourites including our signature dish, Ouzi. This lamb dish is a Bedouin speciality and is buried in a fire pit for hours until it is so soft and juicy that the lamb literally falls off the bone.

Contrary to popular belief, the desert is teeming with life. During the day, it is easier to spot the larger animals such as the once endangered Arabian Oryx, the Arabian and Sand Gazelles. There are also night safaris, where guests can really see the desert come alive.

Who should agents and tour operators wanting to work with Platinum Heritage contact?
We have enlisted the help of Clare Wilkes from the Sandra Leach Company in the UK; please email Clare at clare@sandraleach.co.uk. For all other markets, we would love to hear from people directly.

Whether you’re an adrenalin junkie or looking for something more relaxing, every holiday to Dubai should include a trip to the desert. Here’s our top five for desert fun.

- Sand skiing and boarding is huge in Dubai. Simply snap on your skis or board, climb to the top of a dune, then make the downhill run. Suitable for all ages and levels of experience and after a tutorial from your guide you'll be zooming along in no time.

- Dune buggies provide a truly exhilarating adventure – driving across the sandy slopes in two-seater off-roaders. Easy to drive and equipped with the best safety features, these fun vehicles provide an unforgettable safari across the desert.

- A camel trek is a Dubai must-do. Camels are nicknamed ‘ships of the desert’ for the swaying motion they make when they walk, caused by moving both legs on one side of the body at the same time. Jump on board for a camel’s eye view of the stunning surroundings.

- An Arabic desert barbecue is a great way to soak up some traditional culture whilst watching a stunning sunset over the dunes. Barbecue feasts take place deep in the desert and guests are entertained by belly and tanoura styles of dancing.

- A hot air balloon ride over Dubai offers the chance to view the emirate from a whole new perspective. In a one-hour flight guests will take in the expansive red desert sands near the majestic Fossil Rock Mountains.

Ritz-Carlton, Dubai unveils new rooms & facilities
The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai recently unveiled 148 new rooms and suites, additional restaurant concepts and swimming pools and spa facilities. Nestled along the Arabian Gulf on the cosmopolitan JBR Walk, the hotel blends the essence of Middle Eastern traditions with authentic and intuitive service.

The new guestrooms and suites comprise of 115 Deluxe Rooms, 13 Junior Suites (the resort's newest suite category), 18 Executive Suites and two opulent Royal Suites. The La Baie Lounge is a new outdoor dining destination with a menu inspired from shores around the world. There is also the Blue Jade, another new option that guides you through Pan-Asian cuisine while paying tribute to local flavours.

For the adults, there are nine spa treatment rooms, three private couple rooms with terraces, and a dedicated “hammam” area. Kids can enjoy two designated pools with a shade cloth and water slide for the younger visitors. For full details, please visit the The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai website.

The Vida opens its doors
Emaar Hospitality Group has recently introduced Vida, its new upscale hotel concept, to the Dubai hotel scene. Designed for the inspired, Vida is an urban hub, a place for the next generation of entrepreneurial minds to stay, play and connect.

Intuitive style, convenience, comfort and sensory stimulation are all on the agenda as well as offering the technology, services, environments and facilities that its guests need to optimise their stay. To find out more, visit the Vida hotel website.

Dubai Tourism score at Manchester City Football Club
Dubai Tourism recently hosted a joint event with Etihad and JA Resorts for 37 agents. Catherine Lamri of Dubai Tourism was on hand to provide the agents with the latest information on Dubai.

Dubai Tourism training event at The Savoy, London
A joint training event with Raffles Dubai, Seychelles Tourism and Emirates, took place at The Savoy, one of London’s top hotels where 40 agents were informed of the latest travel developments in the emirate.

Other Dubai News

- The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding is hosting special Iftars during Ramadan. Held in the centre’s beautiful courtyard in the heart of the Al Fahidi historic district, guests will be encouraged to ask any questions regarding Ramadan or the traditions of Dubai, while enjoying Arabic coffee and dates with their hosts. For more information visit this page.

- Dubai now holds the record for having the world’s tallest twisted tower. Recently completed, the Canyon Tower in Dubai Marina features a 90-degree twist. The 75-storey tower is approximately 310 metres high. Read more here.

Dubai Tourism has teamed up with TTG to offer one of our best prizes ever; a four-day holiday for two, staying at the incredible Jumeirah Zabeel Saray plus flights courtesy of Emirates! The winners will be able to depart from their choice of Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester or Glasgow.

Inspired by the imperial palaces of the Ottoman era, this is a five-star luxury hotel offering superb style. From its location on the west crescent of the iconic Palm Jumeirah to the spectacular lobby entrance, every detail will leave you inspired.

The resort is made up of 379 elegant guest rooms with 26 lavish suites and 38 royal residences offering impressive ocean views. The palatial Talise Ottoman Spa is home to 8 hydrotherapy rooms, 3 Turkish hammams as well as steam rooms, saunas and snow rooms.

To enter this fantastic competition, click on this link to the special TTG page. The entry deadline is 25 July and full terms and conditions are on the entry page. Good luck!

June’s competition winner
We’re delighted to announce Elaine Futcher from Co-operative Travel as the winner of last month’s competition. Elaine will soon be enjoying a two night stay for two at Raffles Dubai, an iconic architectural pyramid in the heart of the city that’s popular with royalty and the local cognoscenti.
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