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DUBAI SUMMER SURPRISES: THE VERY BEST OF THE BEST

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As the last few weeks of Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) approach, there are still many activities for everyone to enjoy. From DXB Airport to Dragon Mart, organisers Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) reveal a selection of the exciting events, sales and entertainment still happening across the city this summer:

SHOPPING

For one day only on Wednesday 17 July, shoppers who spend a minimum of AED 250 at Majid Al Futtaim malls will enjoy triple the chances of winning a grand prize of an outstanding AED 100,000.

Additionally, there’s never been a better time to upgrade your mobile phone as Etisalat is currently offering up to 40 per cent off on the latest devices and accessories. From tablets to phone cases and everything in between, this sale can’t be missed.

Exclusively at Robinsons in Dubai Festival City Mall, shoppers can revel in the MKS Jewellery summer capsule collection, embodying the sentimental joy of the summer season. Browse the vibrant rainbow coloured precious gems sourced and made in Dubai until 29 August.

In addition, everyone is encouraged to download The Dubai Mall app which reveals a special “surprize” offer every day until 3 August with the Digital Surprize and Delight of the Day.

ACTIVATIONS

Head to the Grand Atrium at The Dubai Mall and guess the weight of the giant teddy bear to be in the chance of winning the grand prize sponsored by Candylicious. The winner will be named at the end of DSS, so visitors are encouraged to get their guesses in quickly.

Dubai Airports and Disney Middle East have teamed up over the summer to make the holiday season even more magical with the help of Forky, the unlikely hero from Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4. Passengers at DXB Airport will be able to transform recyclable materials into toys by making their own Forky. There’s also a competition to Find Forky and win a family trip to Paris, including flights from AirFrance.

Customers who spend AED 200 or more at Dragon Mart 2 until the 3 August will enter into a draw to win up to three smartphones and ten shopping vouchers every week, as well as the grand prize of driving away in a brand-new BMW 4 Series Grancoupe.

STAYCATIONS

Situated with stunning views of the Burj Khalifa, Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay is offering a Summer Staycation weekend stay starting AED 400.  The package includes breakfast at Bayside Restaurant & Terrace, two complementary tickets to Laguna Water Park, 25 per cent off food and beverages and AED 200 spa gift voucher per person, available until 30 September.

Enjoy a summer getaway at Habtoor Grand Resort Autograph Collection L.L.C with an offer that includes a stay, breakfast, 20 per cent off on food and beverage and 50 per cent off on all spa treatments until 25 September.

ENTERTAINMENT

Witness a remarkable series of plays, By Cerise taking place at The Junction in Alserkal Avenue. Written by Australian playwright, Cerise De Gelder, the thought-provoking performances will take place on 19 July at 3:30pm and 7:30pm.

IMG Worlds of Adventure will be taking over Star Atrium, The Dubai Mall from 24 July to 8 August. Visitors who purchase an entry ticket worth AED 299 for IMG Park will enjoy a guaranteed round trip flight to more than 21 destinations worldwide from UAE. Fly for free to stunning destinations simply by purchasing an IMG ticket!

Funny man, Jason Manford is back in Dubai with his wit and charm for his Muddle Class tour, taking place at Movenpick Hotel JBR at 9pm on 25 July.
DINING

During the summer months, enjoy the famous Brasserie 2.0 brunch at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa for less with packages starting at just AED 325.

Devour a delicious healthy breakfast, satisfying lunch or hearty dinner at Community Café for less this summer, with 30 per cent off for all dine-in customers.

RAKBANK and Mastercard are the official key partners of Dubai Summer Surprises 2019, and the full calendar of events can be found on www.dubaisummersurprises.com and on @DSSsocial.

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Ramada Downtown Dubai awarded with TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame distinction

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The hotel secured Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years

Ramada by Wyndham Downtown Dubai was bestowed with the esteemed TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame award.

The property earned the review-based Hall of Fame distinction by securing Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years – from 2015 to 2019 – from the world’s largest travel site.

Mark Fernando, general manager, commended the team: “I would like to thank all the staff and heads of department for their commitment in continuously providing exceptional service to our guests throughout the years. Their hard work has definitely paid off as we attained the Hall of Fame accolade from TripAdvisor.

“On behalf of Ramada by Wyndham Downtown Dubai family, we share this achievement with all our loyal guests. With the opening of new hotels and increasing room inventory in Dubai, we take pride in our product’s capacity to stand out amidst the competition through our key location and premium amenities, complemented by unparalleled service.”

The Certificate of Excellence accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travellers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

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Eat to your heart’s content at B&B Iftaar and Suhoor buffet

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The scrumptious and extensive buffet at the restaurant – famous for its super-delicious Nihari and Halwa Puri – will satisfy any foodie’s craving

Foodies who love to eat all they can have, found yet another scrumptious place to dine with the extensive and mouth-watering buffet menu offered at B&B Restaurant, known for its famous delectable delights. The Iftaar and Suhoor buffets – available from 7pm to 10pm and 12midnight to 4am respectively – largely comprise traditional non-vegetarian and vegetarian fare spiced up by the likes of aromatic biryanis, succulent kebabs, karahis, and haleem besides the restaurant’s Dubai-famous nihari and halwapuri for which people flock across the emirate. The menu also contains a fair sprinkling of appetising dishes for the vegetarians.

Restaurant-goers will be further treated to a diverse array of typical and traditional Iftaar dishes including pakoras, samosas, hummus, fatoosh, fruit chat, dahibharay, chana chat etc, followed by a diverse variety in the main course, and then a delicious choice of sweet dishes.

For Suhoor, visitors can choose from the likes of doodhpheni, qeema, AalooTarkari, egg bhujiya etc.

B&B restaurant has been recently refurbished to add a new hall and are now taking party bookings. The business has further expanded to include catering for events as well.

“Ramadan is a combination of fasting and feasting, and we have attempted to put together the most popular food enjoyed by a sizeable population of UAE residents under one roof,” said Shahzad Khaliq, COO – B&B Restaurant, “Our food is known for its taste and presentation and people have always loved our menu for diversity and the authentic flavour that we guarantee in our dishes. Now that we have refurbished our interiors, we would like to welcome our guests to an ambience that is perfect for an evening out with family or a friends’ meet up. There’s always something for everyone at B&B.”

Price for the buffet is AED 70 per person for Iftar and AED 45 per person for Suhoor. The restaurant is located in Sultan Business Centre in Oud Metha, near Lamcy Plaza.

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Experience Brussels through its native dishes and true flavours!

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In Brussels, gluttony is a delicious sin, as its produce has both heart and soul. Hypnotically-flavored chocolates, Brussels waffles, and crispy chips, food is something to be enjoyed to the maximum in Brussels!

When you arrive in Brussels, close your eyes… and breathe in the magical scents permeating the neighbourhood of its master chocolatiers. Melt before the manons, truffles, mendiants and other chocolate delights that are bought and sold in the innumerable shops all around you. Try your hand at one of the many workshops just waiting to teach you the art of making chocolate delicacies. Have a party with your fellow travellers at the chocolate shops that open their doors and hearts to you… there’s even something for everyone. Discover chocolate’s most intimate secrets in its city’s museums.

Marcolini chocolatier Sablon Zavel

Amongst the numerous specialties of Belgian and more particularly Brussels cuisine, let’s unravel the waffle. The inviting aroma of freshly prepared Brussels waffles: at the same time, warm, light, deliciously crusty outside and soft inside. They differ from wafers or other waffles that you enjoy cold. For the Brussels waffle, you sit down at a table, you generously sprinkle icing sugar all over it (the waffle, not the table obviously) and if you prefer it rich, you can top it with whipped cream which will slowly melt. It’s pure bliss!

Resto National 21.07.12 © E. Danhier

When you ask for a waffle, be sure to specify “Brussels waffle” because in Belgium waffles come in all sorts and sizes in the various regions of the country, each having its own specialty, mostly cold versions of it. Amongst other famous waffles, there is the Liège waffle with chunks of sugar, which caramelize rendering a slightly sticky outside. This waffle is also preferably eaten lukewarm.

Chocolat – Chocolade

If you do not have a sweet tooth, don’t worry- we got you covered. For the salt lovers, tuck into a portion of chips as you take a stroll through Brussels. Forget “potato wedges” or “French fries”, indulge into the original Belgian chips: the popular snack and comfort food, which has been around since long before hip food trucks started to appear in the city, and can be bought in chip shops, stalls and vans. There’s nothing more Belgian than a cornet or box of the golden fried batons.

Purists bicker about the correct potato varieties and cooking temperatures, but at the end of the day, a delicious portion of chips – is all that matters! The Brusselicious label guarantees that an establishment serves freshly cut chips that are perfectly fried and served with home-made sauces.

The perfect combination of sweet and salty — Brussels offers your tastebuds a gastronomy ride which you will never forget.

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Concorde El Salam Hotel Cairo launches its new classic contemporary ballroom, designed for corporate events and weddings

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  • Adam Ballroom features the main grand hall, board room, business centre and two private guest suites, reception area, complete with butler service

Leading five-star hotel, Concorde El Salam Hotel Cairo which recently participated at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, added a new, classic ballroom to its portfolio in May 2019 for corporate events, weddings and social soirées. The ballroom features the main grand hall, Daleela board room, business centre with high speed internet and two Royal suites, Lina and Eden complete with butler service & reception area.

The new Adam Ballroom – which combines traditional Georgian architectural styles with a modern elegance designed by International designer Tony Dalton, will feature an 11-metre dome complete with an impressive crystal chandelier.

Opened this month, the ballroom includes a 620 sqm main function room, Daleela board room for executive meetings, a business centre and two landscaped designed outside terraces perfect to unwind and enjoy the lavish coffee breaks on offer. Additionally, Adam Ballroom complex has two luxurious private guest suites and reception area on the first floor.

Moteia Ismail, Chairman of Concorde Hotels and Resorts in Egypt, said: “With the capacity to accommodate up to 620 people in a theatre-style layout and 520 people for banquets and receptions, the Adam Ballroom is the perfect venue for everything from executive board meetings to lavish conventions and luxurious weddings.”

When it comes to weddings, the ballroom offers an added purpose-built bridal suite “Lina” and a luxurious honeymoon suite “Eden” as well as a reception area with private butler service located on the first floor, with a grand staircase coming down to the main ballroom, perfect for the bride and groom to enter as newly-weds. While for corporate events, the venue boasts professional meeting facilities supported by the latest array of state-of-the-art technology.

Moteia Ismail added: “The tourism industry in Cairo recorded a strong performance during the first half of 2019 with guests visiting hotels for corporate purposes, meetings, incentives, conferences and events. Looking ahead, this trend is expected to continue as a series of new attractions and investments are taking place across the country.”

Boasting 325 guest rooms including suites with free WIFI Internet in all rooms and outlets, the hotel features an ‘Executive Floor’ with executive rooms and a private executive lounge which has been specially designed to meet the demands of business travellers, while leisure guests can take advantage of the hotel’s cabana pool side rooms.

Food and beverage options include the signature La Veranda outdoor arena, offering a variety of Italian, Oriental, sushi, seafood dishes as well as a BBQ with live entertainment from May to November, Abou Auof Cafe serving traditional Egyptian cuisine, Italiano Italian restaurant, Le Marquis Lounge & Lobby Bar, Testa Rossa Café serving an Italian coffee blend as well as L’Auberge, Lounge Bar, offering live entertainment & serving International cuisine.

The hotel offers guests a well-equipped fitness centre offering massage with Thai masseuse, an outdoor heated swimming pool, glass squash court, an equestrian training school, a beauty salon and a soon-to-open international casino.

Ismail added: “With Royal suites, executive suites, corner suites and cabana pool side rooms providing total luxury and relaxation, excellent event, wedding and meeting facilities and a wide-range of food and beverage outlets, the hotel is fully-equipped with everything the modern traveller requires for either a business or leisure trip to Cairo.”

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Omeir Travel Agency offers 104 complimentary Umrah packages for service members in cooperation with the General Command of the Armed Forces during Ramadan

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In the spirit of giving in the Holy Month of Ramadan, Omeir Travel Agency, one of the largest and most renowned travel management agencies in the UAE, and the flagship company of the reputed Omeir Bin Youssef Group, is providing 104 complimentary Umrah packages that include travel cost, accommodation and transportation to the members of the UAE armed forces.

This initiative, held in collaboration with the General Command of the Armed Forces, underscores the agency’s commitment to its corporate social responsibility, and to the values of charity, and generosity, values that characterize both the people of the UAE and the holy month of Ramadan.

Abdullah Bin Omeir, CEO of Omeir Travel Agency, reiterated the importance of this initiative, which underscores the pride that UAE nationals have in the UAE Armed Forces, who defend the nation with their lives. Bin Omeir said: “This initiative that offers complimentary Umrah packages to the heroes of our armed forces is a gesture of gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices of our courageous soldiers and a reaffirmation of our unwavering vision that places community action at the top of our priorities. We constantly strive to be a national travel agency that understands all the needs of our customers and works to provide them with the best possible service.”

Omeir Travel Agency offers a variety of travel services to its customers. Its portfolio includes corporate travel management, travel services for the private and public sector, as well as personal travel services. Omeir Travel Agency strives to actively innovate its technology and practice to meet industry standards and ensure fast, efficient, and a more personalized user experience. The agency also has a 24-hour customer service center in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain to meet the requirements of customers in different time zones across the world, reflecting the agency’s excellence and leadership in the country.

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Frankfurt’s diverse tourism portfolio beckons GCC holidaymakers ahead of the summer season

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Shopping, sightseeing and great family experiences await tourists

Frankfurt, the second most frequented city in Germany by GCC tourists, is promoting its myriad of tourist attractions, shopping facilities, cultural festivals and medical clinics to attract holidaymakers from the Gulf during the forthcoming Eid Al-Fitr holiday and the summer season.

In 2018, Frankfurt experienced an increase of 4% in overnight stays from the Gulf region compared to 2017, with visitors increasingly staying for longer.

The increase is due to Frankfurt’s increasingly rich tourism portfolio, an increase in new sightseeing highlights, the perfect geographical location to undertake day-trips to nearby attractions such as the beautiful Rhine Valley, the historic city of Heidelberg (one-hour drive) or the elegant spa town of Wiesbaden (30 min drive) and its convenient infrastructure, including amazing shopping facilities in the outdoor pedestrian city centre or excellent designer outlets in the surrounding region – called the Rhine-Main Region.

The city known for being a financial hub and featuring an iconic futuristic skyline, has significantly ramped up its tourism portfolio in the last decade and acts as much more than just a gateway to Germany.

Although Germany’s largest airport makes the city conveniently reachable within 15 minutes, Frankfurt’s great appeal lies within its unique blend of old and new and its international flair.

Must see – sightseeing attractions

Among one of the major sightseeing attractions the city now has to offer, is the new historical site the ‘New Old Town at the famous Römer square in the city centre, which was reconstructed and officially opened last year. The new district featuring many beautiful medieval timber-framed houses is a lively meeting place, with an interesting mix of shops, restaurants, museums and residential flats.

A refreshing treat for the eyes, for those searching for tranquillity and nature, is the tropical paradise Palmengarten in Frankfurt’s upmarket district Westend. The botanical garden with enchanting flora and fauna spreads over 22 hectares and is great for a family day out with free-air greenhouses and immaculate parks: Kids and parents can hop on the Palmen-Express railway for a scenic journey around the botanical sites, and enjoy playing at the fairy-tale inspired playgrounds or row a boat ride on the Palmengarten lake.

Frankfurt is also a popular departure spot for boat cruises along the river Main or Rhine – the Rhine Valley being a known UNESCO World Heritage site. Tourists will not only enjoy the spectacular views of Frankfurt’s skyline and marvel at the city’s beautifully re-developed river banks, but they can also enjoy romantic sights of quaint villages, medieval castles and vineyards. Over the summer months, many cultural festivities also take place along the river such as the Museumsuferfest, which is scheduled from 25 to 27 August 2019.

Shopping galore – the city’s pedestrianized shopping area around the main high street Zeil is a stress-free experience for young and old and offers a great variety of shops and department stores. For those with a more exquisite taste, the high-end shops and designer boutiques at the luxurious Goethestrasse are the right place to go. Great value for money designer outlets and malls can also be found all around the Rhein-Main area in close proximity to the Frankfurt city centre.

Wide choice of quality hotel accommodation & medical clinics

Frankfurt’s well-planned infrastructure is considered one of the best in Germany. Combined with its cosmopolitan atmosphere, great tourist offerings and a great selection of hotels and medical clinics, makes Frankfurt a destination, where travellers will enjoy a hassle-free and convenient holiday.

In addition to the many leading five-star hotels in the city centre, Frankfurt also offers a wide range of more affordable four-star properties and serviced apartments for long-term stays, which cater to larger groups and families. Furthermore, BarrierFree (accessible) holiday facilities including accommodation, restaurants, activities, shopping centres and accessible transport await the city’s guests.

Apart from many excellent public hospitals and medical facilities, Frankfurt also has an impressive network of private clinics and specialized doctors, making it a superb medical tourism destination for those who are considering undergoing medical checks, cosmetic and wellness treatments or seeking support in case of more serious health conditions.

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ORLANDO ANNOUNCES RECORD 75 MILLION VISITORS, SOLIDIFIES RANKING AS NO. 1 U.S. TRAVEL DESTINATION

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Celebrates International Gains Despite Economic and Political Headwinds

Tourism officials announced recently a historic milestone for the U.S. travel industry as Orlando released news of a record-setting 75 million annual visitors in 2018. The increase of 4.2% over the prior year once again solidifies Orlando’s lead position as America’s most-visited destination.

Visit Orlando, the region’s official destination tourism and marketing organization, shared the news as part of National Travel & Tourism Week to a gathering of more than 1,000 tourism and community leaders.

“It was another record-breaking year for Orlando with both domestic and international visitation,” said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. “We saw strong gains from all of our core countries, particularly from Latin America. This success is a testament to the special appeal of our destination that continues to grow and evolve, as well as our strong commitment to strategic marketing initiatives.”

Orlando reached a host of new milestones in 2018 including:

– Record number of U.S. visitors: 68.55 million (+4.1%)

– Record number of international visitors: 6.48 million (+5.4%)

– Record airline arrivals: Orlando International Airport (OIA) maintained its position as the busiest airport in Florida, with 47.7 million passengers (+6.9%)

– Record international airline arrivals: OIA’s international arrivals reached 6.6 million passengers

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Sofitel Dubai Downtown celebrates five-year anniversary

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Sofitel Dubai Downtown is celebrating five years of success with several new products, solidifying the hotel’s position as one of Dubai’s leading luxury hotels  

Sofitel Dubai Downtown, the only international five-star hotel connected to The Dubai Mall through an air-conditioned skywalk and within close proximity to a host of Downtown’s most visited attractions, is celebrating its milestone fifth anniversary this month.

Since the inauguration in May 2014, the hotel has welcomed nearly one million guests originating from 200 countries with 1.3 million people served at the hotel’s seven restaurants and lounges. In just five years, the hotel has won nine awards from some of the tourism industry’s leading regional and international award bodies.

Klaus Assmann, Sofitel Dubai Downtown General Manager, said: “In the last five years our unique blend of local culture and refined European heritage has been a mainstay in Dubai. At the crux of our success is our incredible team of seasoned professionals, their commitment and dedication have ensured excellence at every touchpoint of the guest journey.

“The Dubai landscape is constantly changing so it is imperative for us to keep ahead of the curve through innovation and continue to implement it across all our rooms and F&B offering. The launch of the Coca-Cola Arena, the introduction of Gate Avenue in DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre), and our proximity to established attractions including Burj Khalifa, Dubai Opera, City Walk and La Mer, will allow us to maximise our position as the ideal base for entertainment and exploring the city.”

As part of the celebrations, Sofitel Dubai Downtown has launched five new offerings to enhance the world-class facilities.

Located on the third floor of the hotel, Club Millesime, a newly designed Executive VIP Lounge with a touch of French flair, offers all Club room and suite guests the opportunity to enjoy indoor and outdoor dining areas, a cigar lounge, a living room, a relaxation area with massage chairs and a private board room.

Over this summer, the hotel will also be debuting an exclusive floor for female travellers, Sofie’s Ladies’ Floor, located on the 15th floor will feature 12 exquisite rooms and suites. Full-length windows provide sweeping views of Downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa and the Arabian Gulf. Rooms will include several elegant feminine touches and a host of amenities to enhance the experience and provide added comfort, service, style and quality.

Sofitel Dubai Downtown has also launched Gallery, the latest addition to its event space. Located on the ground floor and featuring high ceilings, natural light, contemporary artistic décor and paintings, Gallery offers indoor and outdoor space, direct access from the street and can accommodate up to 120 guests.

Another new addition to Sofitel Dubai Downtown’s facilities is the Luxury Le Petit Prince Family Room. Featuring ample space for two adults and two children, thanks to the clever introduction of foldable bunk beds, the first city hotel to offer the configuration. The room comfortably accommodates two adults and two children below 12 years old. The new room category will be launched over summer.

Le Petit Prince Kids Club has also been recently upgraded. Located on the fifth floor of the hotel, the kids’ club offers indoor and outdoor playground, games, toys and books for different age groups.

With the introduction of the new family friendly room category and upgrade of the kids club, the hotel is aiming to attract more families and become a preferred family destination within Downtown Dubai.

“We see several opportunities in the coming years as we look to build on the success we’ve achieved to date. As the hospitality market in the region evolves, so does our offering. We will further enhance the product to ensure we continue to provide an experience and service of the highest caliber,” added Assmann.

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Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa hosts Media Ghabka Event

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Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa recently hosted its annual media ghabka event at the exquisite Layali Al Messilah Tent. The event was organized in celebration of the holy month of Ramadan and in recognition of the ongoing support and efforts made by the media sector.

Upon arrival, the guests were welcomed by General Manager at Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa, Savino Leone, along with the hotel management team. In his speech, Leone expressed his sincere appreciation to the media for their continued support and invited them to enjoy the distinctive true Ramadan hospitality of the special evening. He also extended his gratitude to Lincoln Alghanim, the diamond sponsors of Layali Al Messilah Ramadan Tent for the entire period of Ramadan.

The evening was held in the family-friendly Layali Al Messilah Ramadan Tent with its sophisticated and elegant design and décor, offering a rich cultural and authentic experience along with a fantastic opportunity to engage and network in a unique surrounding. The evening was complemented by enlivening sounds of traditional live Arabic music and a sumptuous Ramadan buffet featuring a wide variety of Middle Eastern favourites as well as international delicacies.

The Ghabka lasted till after midnight and Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa ensured that each guest had a truly memorable evening filled with warm hospitality and exceptional delights.

The Layali Al Messilah Tent is designed in perfect Arabian style and can accommodate private Iftars and Ghabkas for families and corporate bookings. Create unforgettable memories by celebrating traditional Ramadan festivities with loved ones at the Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa.

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