Destination Abu Dhabi
More Americans Are Headed There for Business—and Pleasure
In June of this year, Hyatt has opened the first property under its Grand Hyatt brand in Abu Dhabi, located in the city’s Western Corniche close to Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and Bab Al Qasr Hotel. The property is currently in a soft opening phase, with “limited room inventory and a limited number of dining options.” It is expected to be fully open later this year.
The Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Residence Emirates Pearl is the second Grand Hyatt property in the United Arab Emirates, joining the 682-room Grand Hyatt Dubai.
This development is emblematic of the emergence of Abu Dhabi as an important business destination. The city, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is the seat of government and houses federal government offices. The president of the UAE lives in the city, where he hosts numerous events, including professional sporting events to bring Abu Dhabi positive attention.
With Abu Dhabi’s growing importance comes the amenities expected by the business traveler, including growing numbers of options for flights from around the North America, the opening of new hotels like the Grand Hyatt, and the expansion of the local airport, and with that, a few extra luxuries appreciated by the business traveler.
And what’s a business trip without a little pleasure? Abu Dhabi has plenty to delight the senses.
Abu Dhabi International Airport is growing as an international air transport hub for passengers and cargo. As part of a global hub strategy, Abu Dhabi Airport opened a new terminal in 2017, increasing the annual passenger capacity from 12.5 million to 30 million. Further expansion is on the drawing boards, enough to accommodate up to 60 million passengers per year at some point in the future.
Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, carries passengers from North American gateways in New York, Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. The Washington non-stop daily flights to Abu Dhabi, most recently commenced in 2013, created the first direct air link between the two capitals. At the same time, the airline also opened $6.8 million premium lounge in Terminal A at Dulles Airport to benefit its first class and business class passengers.
American Airlines and Delta both offer non-direct flights from U.S. destinations to Abu Dhabi. American departs from Dallas, Chicago Phoenix, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York (JFK and La Guardia), Boston, Charlotte, Miami, and Washington. Delta flights originate in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Seattle, Cincinnati, New York (JFK and La Guardia), Los Angeles, Boston, Detroit, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Orlando.
Waiting for a flight at Abu Dhabi International Airport? Travelers can enjoy the trappings of a luxury TOSA Spa in two locations at the airport. The spa in Terminal 1 offers express beauty treatments for those in a hurry, while the Skypark Plaza location opposite Terminal 3 provides the more extended traditional skin and body ablutions.
“TOSA Spa represents the type of organization that we pride ourselves in partnering with,” said Mohammed Al Bulooki, chief commercial officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, “as part of our corporate social responsibility along with our drive to deliver world-class services that consistently meet the needs of our passengers and partners.” The award-winning spa chain can be found in other Middle East locales, as well as India and the Maldives.
The official opening of the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi last year adds to the numerous attractions the emirate offers, including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the world’s first Ferrari theme park, Qasr AlHosn – the oldest stone building in the emirate, Sheikh Zayed Mosque, and Yas Island—fast developing into the region’s leisure and entertainment hub and home to the world’s biggest indoor theme park. Ferrari World is home to Formula Rossa, the fastest roller coaster in the world, which accelerates to 150 miles per hour in less than five seconds. The inauguration of Yas Island, led to an increase in the number of guests coming from the United States by 50 percent, as well as significant increases as well from and China, the United Kingdom, and Germany, signaling that Abu Dhabi is on its way to becoming a world-class destination.
Last year, Abu Dhabi witnessed a five percent year-on-year increase in the number of hotel guests staying in the emirate, with nearly 416,000 local and international visitors checking in to hotels in September alone, according to figures released by the Department of Culture and Tourism. These figures also emphasize the broader growth of hospitality throughout the emirate with the number of hotel guests year on year to September 2017 increasing by 14 percent in the Al Dhafra Region, eight percent in the Al Ain Region, and four percent in Abu Dhabi city, with a total occupancy rate of 69 percent.
Abu Dhabi isn’t cheap, but it does offer hotel accommodations at different price levels. The Emirates Palace is the crown jewel of Abu Dhabi’s hospitality industry, a lavish 394-room affair that reportedly cost $6 billion to build. Its opulence is unparalleled, featuring a grand dome, gold and marble flourishes, top restaurants, and first-class facilities.
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara is set among the dramatic landscapes of the Liwa Desert, miles away from the busting city. The hotel features restaurants, a swimming pool, gym, spa, tennis courts, archery, and falconry.
The Aloft Abu Dhabi is located at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, with easy access to the airport. The hotel’s loft-inspired rooms are comfortable and their chic design theme continues from the pool area to the rooftop lounge, where guests can gaze at the city below.
As for the Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel, when completed it will offer 332 rooms and 60 full-service one and two-bedroom residences, the Italian trattoria Verso, an outdoor infinity pool, Lum’a spa with hammam, steam room, sauna and relaxation rooms, a cigar lounge, and over 50,000 square feet of events space including 12 meeting rooms and the Al Bateen Ballroom.
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