Monthly Archives: November 2012

Sheikh Mohammed gives go ahead for Phase II of world’s tallest hotel plan in Dubai

The second phase of the tallest hotel scheme in the world Dubai has been started after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid visited the project yesterday (25th Nov 2012).

The Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai ordered the start of the second phase of Emirates Group’s twin tower JW Marriott Marquis Dubai hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road after he was shown around the first phase, which included a 804 room tower, which opened to the public earlier this month.

The Dh960 a night hotel, which is scheduled to be completed in late 2014 or early 2015 will eventually have 1,600 rooms, making it Dubai’s biggest hotel by room number. And at 355 metres tall, the structures will be only 26 metres shorter than the Empire State Building in New York.

The towers supercede Rotana’s 333m tall Rose Rayhaan hotel, also located along the Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai as the world’s tallest building used entirely as a hotel.

Sheikh Mohammed’s website described the hotel as having a total value of Dh2.5bn. The hotel also boasts the largest function room in the Middle East and 19 restaurants. Sheikh Mohammed said the project would provide a boost to Dubai’s tourism sector.

The announcement follows Sheikh Mohammed’s announcement on Saturday that Emaar Properties and Dubai Holding would be pressing ahead with the Mohammed Bin Rashid City mega project which will include at least 100 new hotels as well as the world’s new largest shopping centre and a Universal Studios theme park.

The proposed increase in hotel supply comes at a time when Dubai’s tourism market is showing solid growth. According to Jones Lang LaSalle’s most recent report, Occupancy rates for the year to August 2012 increased by 3 per cent over the same period in 2011, reaching 77% on a city-wide basis while average daily room prices increased by 8 per cent reaching US$224 for the period.

The number of visitors to the UAE is expected to reach 9 million this year, according to a forecast yesterday by Business Monitor International. Passenger numbers flying into Dubai’s main airport increased to more than 33 million in the year to July 2012.

Mohammed Bin Rashid City unveiled in Dubai

His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has announced the establishment of a new city within Dubai, which will set benchmarks of urban developments in the region.


New city will be called “Mohammed Bin Rashid City” and will have four key components.

The first component focuses on family tourism, with a park that is equipped to receive 35 million visitors and the largest family center for leisure and entertainment in the Middle East, Africa Indian subcontinent and region. This center will be set up in collaboration with Universal Studios and include over 100 hotel facilities to meet the needs of visitors from the region.

The second component, focusing on retail, will feature the largest shopping mall in the world. The third component will include the largest area for arts galleries in MENA. The fourth component will see the development of a unique area that will provide an integrated environment for entrepreneurship and innovation in the region.

Making the announcement, His Highness emphasized, “The current facilities available in Dubai need to be scaled up in line with the future ambitions for the city. Therefore we have to start work immediately on the third phase of development that is aligned to our Vision till 2030 and boost the UAE economy to enable it to enter a new era in which it will become the capital of entrepreneurship, arts, culture, and family tourism for over 2 billion people.”

His Highness highlighted that the current accelerated growth rates require Dubai to start immediate preparations for the future because within just six years, the number of passengers passing through Dubai airport will reach more than 90 million people.

“Our development initiatives concerning infrastructure in all sectors should be aligned with this growth rate and we have the determination to reach our objectives and be the first in the region to achieve them,” His Highness said.

The new city will be located between Emirates Road, Al Khail Road and Shaikh Zayed Road, and will include Mohammed bin Rashid Gardens Project. It will be connected to Downtown Dubai and Business Bay through a crossing that will be named the “Cultural Crossing” which will include art galleries and create the largest area for arts in the region.

“Mohammed Bin Rashid City” will feature a massive park which will be 30% bigger than Hyde Park in London. It will be surrounded by the largest mall in the world called “Mall of the World”, which will be capable of receiving 80 million visitors a year, and include over 100 hotel facilities to meet the requirement for accommodation.

“Mall of the World” will be connected to a family entertainment center which will be developed in collaboration with Universal Studios International. This center will be the largest in the region and is expected to attract 6 million visitors each year.

“Mohammed Bin Rashid City” will be designed keeping in mind global environmental standards, and will include a specialized area in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. This area will provide an integrated environment to support entrepreneurship and attract talents looking for a platform to support their projects and innovations in various sectors, paving the way for a new economy based on knowledge, creativity and innovation.

The new city will include residential areas built on green building standards in terms of energy consumption, waste treatment and conservation of natural environment. It will also features number of golf courses under well-known international names. The new city project will be implemented by Dubai Holding and Emaar Properties and will be marked as the biggest joint venture in real estate industry regionally.

The tourism sector in Dubai is growing by 13% annually; with growth in hotel revenue exceeding 22% to reach more than AED 16 billion. The hotel occupancy rate was 82% in the year 2011, which was the highest globally, and the number of visitors to Dubai Mall reached 62 million in 2012, with 25% growth in retail sales in 2011.

Abu Dhabi Falconry Competitions to kick off 29 Nov

ABU DHABI: All is set for  the Abu Dhabi Falconry Competitions which will take place at Shabkhat Al Sarami area, in Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, on 29 November 2012, the organizing committee of the competition announced today.

The event is organized by Emirates Falconers Club under the patronage of His Highness Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces in Al-Wathba, Abu Dhabi, under the supervision of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

As registration for the competitions was closed, more than 600 falconers and 1109 birds are expected to take to the skies over the five-day contest which will highlight three disciplines.

The committee also said it had prepared the Etisalat Village with 30 shops to provide all traditional products and veterinary services.

Take Abu Dhabi tour | Desert Safari in Abu Dhabi | Ferari World Abu Dhabi

My London, by those who love the city

Gulf new has published an article in their Travel section which basically talks about London and how people relate to themselves with London. I am posing these narratives courtesy Gulf news for the readers of Dubai City Guide’s blog. 

Views of Matthew Williamson who is a one of England’s top designers, who graduated from London’s Central Saint Martin’s College.

My London in a sentence: London is a place filled with inspiration, culture and exciting opportunities, a hub of creativity where fashion is diverse and individuality is celebrated.

My favourite area: Primrose Hill. It’s an area I’ve lived in for many years. I love the café culture, walking my dog Coco on Primrose Hill and scouring the independent boutiques for trinkets and vintage furniture. I love the streets where the houses are painted in candy colours, it’s very fitting to my aesthetic sense.

My favourite places to eat, shop and stay: I love the store Maison Trois Garcons on Redchurch Street in east London. I’m always enchanted by the mix of unique furniture and quirky objets d’art adorning every surface. The owners have carefully selected rare and unusual antiques from all over Europe, there is everything from 1920s’ tiered glass chandeliers to kitsch parrot candleholders.


My best London memory: I came back from New York to show at London Fashion Week for my ten-year anniversary in 2007. There was such an exciting buzz in the city, as a lot of designers had returned to show here, and my show opened with a surprise performance from Prince, who was on tour in London at the time. It felt like such a great achievement to have been in the business for ten years, and I was thrilled with the show, and have showed in London ever since. I’m about to celebrate my fifteenth anniversary at London Fashion Week this September, so I hope more memorable moments are around the corner.

Helen McCallum is a purser for Emirates. She has flown (to London and other destinations) with the airline for ten years.

My London in a sentence: It’s a pulsating city that is quirky and creative, and every individual and every culture makes it unique.

My favourite area of London: Hampstead Heath, because it is so peaceful… you will feel like you are on top of the world, with magnificent views of London’s skyline. Nothing beats sitting outside on a summer evening, it’s the perfect place to relax, have a picnic and watch the Sun set over the city.

My favourite place to eat: The Oxo Tower, J. Sheekey in Covent Garden, the Ivy located in Theatreland and Nobu Berkeley.

My favourite place to shop: Covent Garden, for its quirky market and also for its street performers and association with the arts.

My favourite place to drink: Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street, it makes you feel like you have stepped back in time! The Ship, a riverside pub in Wandsworth, overlooking the prettiest part of the Thames … the list is endless. There’s always someplace new to discover.

My favourite place to get lost in: Hidden parts of the city, especially Camley Street Natural Park next to the Regent’s Canal.

A perfect day out means: Regent’s Park boating lake and the Open Air Theatre, where you can enjoy theatre and comedy under the stars.

Sam Jewel is the senior mâitre d’ at The Ivy in London.

My London in a sentence: It’s a melting pot, a city with as many identities as people. I ride my Vespa to work every day and pass many of the many that make London what it is.

My favourite area: Soho. It’s where I spend most of my time, and I love it. There really is something for everyone, whether it is hanging out at a café, grabbing a bite al fresco, catching some sun in Soho Square or spending the evening dropping in to the cool bars and the wave of New York-style countertop restaurants.

My favourite place to get lost in: My other love is the part of town I grew up in, Kilburn. Hampstead Heath is another favourite — it’s amazing to have such a large expanse of open land in such a huge city. To eat, right now I love the fast-turnover, small-plate and no-reservation restaurants in Soho. Barrafina is a particular favourite, as are Spuntino and Duck Soup. J. Sheekey Oyster Bar has to be one of the best bar counter dining experiences in the area, however, and a perfect place to eat before a show. Shopping, drinking and getting lost can all be summed up for me by the Sunday markets around Notting Hill. Cheap vintage clothing and general bric-a-brac, all surrounded by cool bars, and the impromptu BBQs make the area always feel as though it is warming up for the Notting Hill Carnival.

Sarah Klippert manages Mini, the quintessentially British car, in the Middle East.

My London in a sentence: London is a cosmopolitan and vibrant city, rich in culture, and, of course, an amazing place to shop!

My favourite area of London: Mayfair, for its historic buildings, art and design scene.

My favourite place to eat: The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell is my favourite. You can sit outside in the little square, and the food is light, flavoursome and locally sourced.

My favourite place to stay: The Covent Garden Hotel. I love the central location and the cosy bedrooms.

My favourite place to shop: For quirky gifts I like Liberty’s department store and Designers Guild on the King’s Road for home inspirations. For clothes, Selfridges department is a great one-stop store, as it stocks almost every designer label.

My best London memory: Mini United 2009 bringing 25,000 Mini fans together and celebrating the brand’s 50th anniversary.

Marco Pierre White is a renowned British restaurateur and the man behind the Melia Hotel Dubai’s Titanic, and The MPW Grill and Frankie’s at the Fairmont Abu Dhabi.

My favourite area of London: Chelsea and Kensington, because I’ve lived there for 30 years and I know my way around.

My best memory of London: Missing my coach home in 1981, because had I not missed it, I wouldn’t have walked the streets and come across a restaurant called La Gavroche for a job. I knocked on the door and asked them if I could get a job.

My favourite place to eat: I like to go to Riva in Barnes, a small Italian restaurant run by an old Italian man named Andreas. It’s out of the way, a tiny hole in the wall.

Carol Stokes, head of passenger service at London’s biggest airport, Heathrow.

My London in a sentence: It takes pride in its traditions, but is always looking forward for new ideas and innovations.

My favourite neighbourhood: Primrose Hill — the secret London, known only by locals, and film crews! Several blockbuster movies have filmed scenes here. Visit and look out for it at the movies.

My favourite place to eat: The Orrery in Marylebone High Street, overlooking St Marylebone Church gardens in the heart of Marylebone village.

My favourite place to shop: Museum and gallery shops. Most museums and galleries in London offer free entry and have excellent shops. Try the Victoria and Albert or the hidden gem of the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square.

My favourite place to stay: I live just outside London, and it’s only 20 minutes to the centre by train, so I rarely stay in town. If you’re visiting London, it’s worth looking at pretty towns and villages out of the centre, many of which have excellent rail and Tube links.

My best London memory: Flying into Heathrow on a sunny morning on the approach from the east. The view of London along the Thames, of Wembley and Kew Gardens, is unsurpassable and makes me glad to be home, every time.

Alex Field is head of marketing at Thomas Pink, the British shirtmaker.

My London in a sentence: London has the unique ability to preserve heritage and tradition while at the same time being a melting pot of innovation, and pioneering exciting new trends.

My favourite area: Chelsea. The private gardens and squares on and around King’s Road, and the proximity to the Thames gives it an almost village-like feel, and at the same time it’s so close to the buzz of Knightsbridge and Kensington.

My favourite place to eat, shop and stay: Jermyn Street. Apart it being where the Thomas Pink flagship store is, the street has an extraordinary history dating back to the 17th century. The Duke of Marlborough lived there when he was Colonel Churchill, as did Isaac Newton. It boasts Britain’s oldest cheese shop, Paxton & Whitfield, trading since 1797, and is home to fine restaurants (Franco’s is particularly good), gentlemen’s barber shops and cigar boutiques. What more can a man want? If I were to stay in London, I would recommend The Ritz. The iconic hotel offers the fabulous Thomas Pink Morgan service for its VIP guests, and the finest afternoon tea in the city.

Stephen Webster is known for his rock ’n’ roll jewellery, beloved by celebrities and musicians. His piece are stocked at Azal, Emirates Towers.

My London in a sentence: A city that offers absolutely everything and then tries to take back most of it, leaving just enough to keep me hanging on.

My favourite area: Mount Street in Mayfair. In this one street I bought my gun, I get my hair cut, I bought my luggage and buy most of my wife’s presents. Along with this, I can always get fish and chips from Scott’s.

My favourite place to eat, shop and stay: HIX, Brewer Street to eat; Marks Bar for drinks; the flagship Spencer Hart store for shopping; and the quintessentially British Claridges to stay.

My best London memory: My favourite two London memories are the births of my two daughters in Queen Charlotte and Queen Mary’s — national health at its best.

Jeweller to the stars Theo Fennell is so British he makes silver Marmite lids.

My London in a sentence: The most civilised, exciting and eccentric city I have ever been to.

My favourite area: I have always lived and worked in Chelsea. I love its quirkiness and that feeling of being in a village when, in reality, you are in the heart of a great and historic metropolis. There is no better place to watch people or just start up a conversation.

My favourite place to eat, shop and stay: If I am not eating at home with my family, I love the Wolseley — the food is great and the ambience is second to none. Jeremy and Chris, who own it, are restaurant geniuses. I shop at Harrods, the most extraordinary store in the world, at Dover Street Market, for strange things, and Sandoe’s Book Shop, which is the nicest place to browse in. I love spending time with my tailor, Bryan Staples, who has just made me a pea-green corduroy suit.

My best London memory: Seeing the girl who became my wife for the very first time at a rooftop party. It was London at the height of its madness and irresponsibility, she was wearing a Thea Porter Gypsy dress and looked beyond wonderful. The sun was setting and there didn’t seem much wrong with the world.

Bollywood heart-throb Arjun Kapoor recently appeared in Ishaqzaade.

My London in a sentence: London = Chelsea FC.

My favourite place to eat, shop and stay: To eat, Ping Pong — guilty pleasure; to shop, Selfridges — everything under one roof; to stay, Courthouse Kempinski — it’s central and comfy.

My best London memory: About three years back, one random Thursday evening, two of my friends and I decided to take off to London for the weekend. It was a complete boys’ trip, where three boys became men.