The United Arab Emirates is a small country on the Arabian Peninsula, which it shares with Saudi Arabia and Oman. Famous for its comparatively liberal laws, its robust tourism industry and swanky hotels, the country has become the financial, travel and tourist capital of the Middle East, despite its fairly small size.
The national capital is Abu Dhabi, which is also the name of the emirate in which the capital city is located, like Dubai the city, which is the name of the emirate of Dubai in which the city is located. These two cities and their emirates account for the vast majority of the UAE’s land and economy and are the two most dominate locations in the country, although there are another five much smaller emirates.
Vending machine selling gold now available in Abu Dhabi hotel
A vending machine that is stocked with gold was unveiled at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi in mid-2010 bringing a new souvenir option to the guests staying at the luxury five-star resort.
Operated by Gold to Gold, a brand owned by Ex Oriente Lux, the vending machine stocks 24-c gold bars weighing 1g, 5g and 10g. In addition, there are smaller collectible gold coins from the Krugerrand and Maple Leaf to the Kangaroo.
The Emirates Palace is the first hotel in the world to feature a gold vending machine after Frankfurt Airport in Germany unveiled a similar service for tourists seeking unique souvenirs.
Emirates Palace is a member of the Kempinski Hotel Group and is a national landmark in the United Arab Emirates, of which Abu Dhabi is the capital. The hotel is designed to resemble a royal palace and is decked out in all the luxury and comfort that goes with such a theme.
The hotel is set amid 85 acres of private landscaped lawns adjacent to a 1.4 kilometre long private beach. The hotel features 362 rooms: 302 Grand Rooms, 40 Khaleej & Khaleej Deluxe suites, 4 Royal Khaleej suites and 16 three-bedroom Palace Suites divisible into a total of 48 one-bedroom individual suites.
Khaleej is the regional word for the Persian Gulf or Arabian Gulf as it is known to the states on the Arabian Peninsula, such as the UAE.
UAE still dominates STR Global’s Middle East/Africa report for hotel construction
Despite the 2008 financial crash and the recession in 2009, which hammered the global travel and tourism industry, the United Arab Emirates is still on top in the African and Middle Eastern regions (combined together by STR Global in their regular reports).
Put together, Africa and the Middle East had 455 hotels in the development pipeline in July of 2010 and of these hotels, the majority are being built in the UAE, with the United Arab Emirates also seeing the largest number of rooms being built in July of 2010.
Of the 126,273 rooms in the total active pipeline (which includes those rooms in construction, final planning and planning stages), 55,165 were being built in the United Arab Emirates. UAE hotels are therefore growing rapidly in number despite the downturn.
Dubai, despite highly publicised financial issues with some major state-owned companies, continues to dominate the UAE hotel development scene with 32,686 rooms in the total active pipeline, more than half of all the hotel rooms being built in the UAE.
Of these, 17,162 rooms are actually under construction. Abu Dhabi trails with 14,641 rooms in the total active pipeline and 8,544 rooms in the In Construction phase.
Opening of Armani in 2010 landmark event
The opening of the Armani Hotel in Dubai has been long-awaited and the event in April was met with much fanfare and celebrations, coming close on the heels of the Grand Opening of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world and a national landmark in the UAE, named after the current ruler of Abu Dhabi and President of the UAE.
The newest of hotels in the UAE is a masterpiece of fashion and design and was influenced by the tastes and preferences of Giorgio Armani himself. Featuring 160 luxury rooms, the hotel occupies 6 floors of the 162-floor Burj Khalifa tower.
The major UAE developer Emaar, of which the state owns a significant portion, developed the hotel for Armani Hotels and will reportedly work with the company on new Armani hotels in Milan, Italy, Marassi, Egypt and Marrakesh, Morocco.
Major UAE telecommunications company expands service for hotels with wi-fi hot spots
The major UAE-based telecommunications business Etisalat announced in 2010 the launch of their Hotspots for Hotels service, whereby wi-fi access could be offered to hotel guests with flexible billing options.
The program is also a full-service option for hotel operators with Etisalat installing the infrastructure, deployment services and backhaul broadband internet access at no cost to the hotel operator.
In addition, hoteliers will no longer have to purchase prepaid internet as Etisalat will now allow them to bill wi-fi charges directly to the room bill and all hotel rooms and public spaces will be covered.
‘Dubai Green Tourism Award’ winners announced for 2010
The ‘Dubai Green Tourism Award’ is an acknowledgment of hotels that have strived to reduce their carbon footprint or impact on the environment through recycling, energy-efficiency, conservation awareness programs and other initiatives.
Organised and presented by the Department of Commerce and Tourism Marketing, the award is given to hotels in the top three star categories (Five, Four and Three Star) and hotels in these categories are ranked on three descending tiers (First, Second and Third place).
In the 5 Star group, Park Hyatt came first place, Grand Hyatt ranked second, and Al Qasr Hotel Madinat Jumeirah won third place.
Qamar Eddine Hotel took first place, in the 4 Star category, followed by Rotana Towers Hotel in second with Marriott Court Yard Hotel, Investment Complex securing third place.
Among the 3 Star hotels, Regal Plaza Hotel took first place, Versailles Hotel came second, and Princess Hotel secured the third place.
A number of hotel apartments were also acknowledged for their green efforts.