Why this UAE hotel is set to attract more corporate and leisure travellers
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Why this UAE hotel is set to attract more corporate and leisure travellers

Why this UAE hotel is set to attract more corporate and leisure travellers

The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah is popular among UAE staycationers and European leisure travellers – but more opportunities exist


Within hours of arriving at The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah, followers are quick to write plaudits. “We had my husband’s 50th anniversary there,” writes one Dubai contact, “My favourite UAE hotel!” writes another.

Yet despite its popularity as a place to celebrate or unwind, there is a segment of the market – notably corporates – who are less aware of its location and services, as Albert Meow, director of sales and marketing, explains as we breakfast on the picturesque water-side terrace of Vinesse. The stylish resort, designed by leading Italian architect Piero Lissoni, marks its second anniversary in April.

“Initially, the focus has been on the leisure market – particularly Europe – but we want to tap into the domestic market for off-site events,” he said. “We get requests but I think there are more companies we can reach out to. The awareness is still not there.”

But it is changing. Last month the resort hosted its first event from a UAE-based law firm, which booked 80 of the 89 rooms and enjoyed a beach BBQ.

A leading financial company has scheduled a group booking this month, but pharmaceuticals, with their strict requirements, are less represented.

“What tends to happen is, after they’ve been here for an event, they come back with their family for staycations so that’s another benefit,” added Albert.

With winter sweeping Europe, the beach and poolside loungers are now busy with travellers topping up their vitamin D (Germany, Switzerland and CIS are the top three outbound markets), and it’s not just FIT business; a UK-based incentive group booked 40 rooms for four nights in January.

“They claim to be an incentive but it was really a leisure break – they relaxed by the beach and enjoyed the F&B. We have many groups that come for meetings that add on leisure activities, and we offer extension deals.”

The average stay is eight nights, though some villas are booked for as many as 32 nights, and the two on the beach are in high demand – though they have less privacy. The majority of rooms are premium (56).

Unique location

The location is the resort’s trump card. The natural beach lies at the end of the 23-acre, plant-filled grounds – a space which puts most five-star resorts in the shade – and on the other side, guests have convenient access to the mangroves (teeming with flamingos and birdlife), marina and 18-hole Nicklaus Design championship golf course.

The resort – a convenient half-hour drive from Dubai – was originally planned to have 300 rooms and the decision to pursue quality not quantity looks an increasingly wise move as UAE room supply escalates and differentiation becomes more challenging. No brunches or residential beach/spa access help maintain the exclusivity.

The 85-metre linear pool, if not unique, is certainly exceptional and the F&B similarly ticks the less-is-more box with select venues serving a range of international (Vinesse) and seafood (Aquario) dishes. The stylish Library Lounge – which can be hired for events – has been extended, and upgrades have been made to the spa and Aquario terrace. More classes and events are earmarked for the library.

My partner ranked the “firm and thorough” one-hour treatment at The Spa by Oberoi as one of the best she’d had in 20 years and the fitness area is a dedicated area beyond, with more glass to enjoy the resort views.

Distinctive activities include kayaking in the mangroves and the Ajman Pearl traditional dhow cruise, explaining the history of pearl diving. Seawings provides speedy connections to other Emirates.

Discreet events

We take the lift to the lower ground floor in the North Wing, where the small ballroom is located, which can be partitioned in two and accommodate food/buffet areas.

The three meeting rooms come with drop-down screens and natural light, which look out onto a generous grass and decking area, which can be used for pre-dinner cocktails or events. Up to 200 guests can be hosted for weddings and in all, the banqueting space covers 4,600sq ft. Car launches can be hosted in the ballroom outdoor foyer and the villas are suitable for high-end product launches (e.g. jewellery).

Promising outlook

Albert said this year is “looking promising”, building on 25 per cent growth year-on-year. “Our leisure focus this year is smaller emerging markets and from a MICE viewpoint, we are keen to grow the domestic market.”

Group MICE offer

The current MICE offer includes a complimentary daily delegate package or dinner for one person. Rates start from Dhs1,111++ and the offer is applicable for a minimum of 10 rooms and above.

Paradise at home

Book your staycation in a Premier room starting from Dhs999 onwards from now to April 30, 2019. For bookings, kindly contact [email protected] or Tel: +971 6 504 4888 




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