UAE - Staycations continue to remain a popular choice for residents across the UAE, with many booking a mini-holiday for themselves and their families ahead of the Eid Al Adha break.

Hospitality experts across the emirates told Khaleej Times that the long Eid break was the deciding factor for many to book a stay at their favourite hotels and resorts.

“With many residents that have had to cancel travel plans over the past year, our goal is to create one-of-a-kind experiences for guests that will not only enable them to feel that they are on vacation but also experience the local culture or city attractions,” said Afif Salibi, GM at Raffles Dubai. “The UAE family staycation that is currently on offer has been quite popular; parents dine on half board, children under the age of nine dine for free and four complimentary tickets to Laguna Park or Green Planet are offered to the family to explore attractions in the city.”

With many countries around the world that went into lockdowns, there was naturally a decrease in international travel, he added. “In addition, with no clear visibility on when international bans will be lifted, it provided us with an opportunity to welcome the local community and offer them a holiday feel in a safe environment. Since launching our staycation package, we have noticed a 40 per cent growth in revenue from UAE residents since the beginning of 2021, comparing to the revenue generated pre-Covid-19 from local business.”

Similarly, Faiek El Saadani, GM at W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island, highlighted how, with borders closed, more residents are looking for unique getaways on their doorsteps. “With Yas Island being the ultimate leisure hotspot, we have the opportunity to sparkle as the capital’s main luxury playground. We look forward to welcoming more residents over the coming months and helping them feel like they have escaped to an island paradise.”

“We already have a jam packed agenda for those coming to W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island for Eid concerts, with Hussain Al Jassmi & Assala on July 22 and Tamer Hosny & Myriam Fares on July 23, to firework displays in the evenings. Our Eid deal is a local package which includes benefits such as an evening meal at our popular trackside restaurant, limitless buffet breakfast, spa discount, and kids go free. And, we are Abu Dhabi’s only pet friendly hotel, with offers that pet lovers can avail an overnight stay in a spacious room, with plush pet beds, bowls and snacks to pamper beloved pooches.”

Mark Kirby, head of Hospitality at Emaar Hospitality Group, also shared how the company is preparing for the Eid rush.

“We are very fortunate that we have The Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountains, and other renowned attractions within Emaar, so we managed to bring a solid staycation programme together that has worked very well since we reopened last year,” he said. “We are having a progressive year so far; Q1, 2021 finished ahead of our budget and we are seeing occupancy rates that are stable. We’ve seen a lot of guest’s comeback to stay, dine and experience our offerings across our properties.”

“We took the opportunity to tailor the offerings into our staycation packages,” he added. “Guests checking in with us at any of our hotels within Address Hotels & Resorts, Vida Hotels & Resorts and Armani Hotel Dubai will receive complimentary tickets to Dubai Aquarium, At The Top Burj Khalifa, VR Park or Dubai Parks & Resorts depending on the category of the room and hotel booked.”

Kirby also highlighted the fact that location plays an important role when residents book staycations. “We are opening Address Beach Resort Fujairah, on July 15 right in time for the public holidays. Nestled between the Hajar mountains and overlooking the serene Indian Ocean, the property is an experience every avid traveller would add to the bucket list. We also have some incredible Afternoon Tea offerings across our properties and of course unbeatable views from Vida Creek Harbour, Address Sky View and Address Beach Resort for guests looking to dine with us during the holidays.”

Looking at what residents will be expecting out of their staycations, Afif Salibi highlighted how many will be looking for an opportunity to relax and spend time with their families trying new and exciting activities.

“We have included more inclusive and interactive family experiences within our F&B offerings,” Salibi said. “Families can also opt for an early dinner this summer with Solo Famiglia and savour from a repertoire of Solo’s favourites including antipasti, pizza, pasta and desserts, all crafted for sharing while the kids join our chefs for a pizza making class. Family-friendly pool passes and monthly memberships have also been introduced this summer at attractive prices and include free access for one child up to 12 years per adult as well as dining credit.”

A flavourful family-style brunch is available on Fridays, combined with full day access to the hotel’s swimming pool, he added. “With a fun twist on the award-winning floral afternoon tea in Raffles Salon, kids can enjoy their own dedicated afternoon tea with their parents. The children’s afternoon tea offers savoury and sweet snacks such as turkey ham and cheese sandwich, beef slider, crispy chicken tenders, vanilla and chocolate cupcakes alongside a choice of delicious hot chocolate and juices.”


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