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A week in the life of Nizar Saadi

A week in the life of Nizar Saadi

At the helm of the most exclusive events at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, director of sales – conference, banqueting and events Nizar Saadi shares a behind-the-scenes look at a typical week

Sunday


The alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. The dawn of a new day brings with it great anticipation for the events of the week ahead. But first, quality time with my precious girls. Our ritual is sacred –getting them up, fed and dressed for school is a daily routine that we all treasure.

After scanning the daily papers, I sit down to a cup of coffee and my favourite Moroccan olive oil and bread. It is safe to say that my days at Emirates Palace are eventful and highly unpredictable, hence this time of calm gives me an opportunity to clear my thoughts and to mentally prepare myself for the week.

Sundays are when I can delegate tasks to my team, clear out my inbox and get organised. With an ambiance of camaraderie in our open office space, my team and I debate the fine details of this week’s calendar, making sure we have all the boxes checked for each event.

Monday


Achieving prominence in the social circles of Abu Dhabi was not exactly part of my initial career plan. I always had my focus on a general manager position. However, when I was approached by one of my previous managers to move countries and to join the Emirates Palace team, my dream went through a metamorphosis.

The local culture is very interpersonal. Strengthening relationships with key partners is at the crux of gaining trust; repeat business as well as referrals. I dedicate a significant amount of my time to nurturing bonds with key clients and meeting potential patrons. I am lucky to have struck up strong associations with critical partners that I continue to depend on and I have been afforded the opportunity to continue to foster these mutual connections.

My relationship with National Bank of Abu Dhabi is one of these. I have an 11:00 am meeting with my good friend Bassem El Boustany. After exchanging pleasantries and the usual joke or two we
get right to business and delve into defining the branding and rooming requirements for next week’s event.

Tuesday


Family plays a central role in my life and my girls are my raison d’être. It is safe to say that my days are eventful and I cannot always guarantee that I will be home before my daughters who are aged five and eight go to bed. So my lovely wife and I reserve Tuesday mornings as our special day for family activities outside of the weekend.

Even with the mundane things like driving them to school, the focus is on quality time and making special memories that we can treasure.

Today, my daughters have the day off and I have a special surprise planned at the adventure pool on the West Wing of the hotel that will certainly make them smile.

Wednesday


I love my work, so it actually feels more like fun. I have the honour of working with some of the most interesting and creative people in Abu Dhabi. We treat Emirates Palace as a blank canvas on which we can create the most beautiful art. My meetings with the creative teams revolve around the intricacies of how we can transform the grounds of Emirates Palace to offer anything from a quintessentially English court-side tennis experience to an electric musical concert by the beach.

The logistics of coordinating large teams without compromising on the experience of our guests, and taking delivery of the truck-loads of materials needed to create the perfect event space requires planning and the utmost discretion and professionalism.

My team and I are in discussions with Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority about the schedule for the Abu Dhabi Summer Season and the list of events that Emirates Palace will be hosting.

Thursday


By midmorning I have talked to many of the same people I’ve spoken with for years. I have a special invitation to discuss the final details of a ministerial event. I take a tray of my contact’s favourite cookies and spend the rest of the day between meetings with event organisers and other third parties to finalise plans for this exclusive affair.

Friday


After a relaxed day at home with my family, I get dressed for work. I have multiple events around the property this evening. It has taken months of meticulous planning to meet the eccentricities and demands of each client. Shuttling at frantic speed between events being held on the four axes of Emirates Palace, the team and I coordinate with all relevant departments to get things done.

The wedding party in the Grand Ballroom has asked for a hundred more covers for the reception that it is scheduled to start in an hour. The concert organisers in the auditorium just received confirmation of a sheikh’s availability. As a result, the line-up has to be reworked to accommodate his arrival mid-event. We have a small incident that requires my urgent attention and so I hop onto a golf cart to the Marina to attend to my guests. The adrenaline rush continues until each event is brought to a successful close.

Saturday


The day starts as I wake up next to the three people that make me happier than anything in the world: my other half and my daughters. After a long evening, I intend on spending my day with them in bed, watching movies and with my favourite book, the Quran.

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