M&I Forum – Dubai – March 2015
The other week I set off from Bournemouth first thing to travel to Heathrow ready to fly to Dubai for another M&I Forum event. After a smooth check in process I was soon settled in my seat on the plane, eating breakfast and planning my movie watching for the next few hours. The flight from Heathrow to Dubai takes around 7 hours and we flew with Emirates who operate daily direct flights from Heathrow. I was impressed with how comfortable and spacious the seats were and the food was definitely some of the best ‘plane’ food I have ever had!
After what seemed like a short journey, we arrived in Dubai at about 8pm local time. As with most forums I attend, I don’t know any of the group I travel with but I was immediately made to feel welcome by the hosts of the trip; representatives from our DMC Arabian Adventures. They were great and were even able to meet and greet us before immigration.
Once the group of attendees had all met up we got our transfer and made our way to our hotel. What hit me first was the heat; even in the evening the temperature was in the mid-20s. The warm evening air provided perfect conditions to enjoy the illumination of Dubai’s finest buildings and spectacular skyline.
The transfer was quick and only took approximately 20 minutes from the airport to our hotel the JW Marriott Marquis. Elevated above Dubai’s business district, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai resides in the Business Bay area. The Marquis is the world’s tallest hotel, a 72-story twin-tower skyscraper complex – it’s so high up your ears ‘pop’ when going up in the lift!
The JW Marriott Marquis features exceptional event and business facilities with 32 state of the art events rooms including two ballrooms and an impressive capacity of 1,548 people. The hotel also features the sublime Saray Spa, Health Club and an enticing array of restaurants and bars. I would definitely recommend The Vault Bar – located up on the 71st and 72nd floors of the hotel this bar has panoramic vistas of Dubai.
On arrival to the hotel I was checked in quickly and shown to my room. The hotel boats over 1,600 guest rooms and suites spread out across two towers and 72 spectacular floors. The chic and elegant bedrooms and have city views and all of which are outfitted with spa-like marble bathrooms, 46-inch LCD TVs, and plush bedding. As there is only four hours’ time difference between Dubai and the UK I found no problems with getting to sleep, or waking at a normal hour, which is a great bonus when you only have a few days somewhere.
After a great night’s sleep I woke up refreshed for my first full day in Dubai and made my way to breakfast. The spread was incredible – whether you wanted a full English, continental, American or Asian style breakfast, you could eat enough to set you up for the whole day.
During the first day we had a busy day of meetings with various representatives from hotels, venues and DMC’s from the UK and internationally. By the evening we were all ready for the next part of the trip – a Beach Party at the Atlantis the Palm Hotel and made our way to the hotels entrance to catch our transfer.
The Atlantis is the majestic resort in Dubai situated on The Palm, a man-made island that has captured the world’s imagination with its magnificent scale and ingenuity. The crimson coloured Taj Mahal like structure is one of the most stunning event venues in Dubai, combining exceptional meeting and conference facilities with luxurious accommodation, a range of leisure activities and award winning bars and restaurants.
Atlantis, The Palm offers the largest eat, meet and sleep venue in Dubai. With over 15 indoor and outdoor venues Atlantis will definitely wow both meeting planners and their delegates. With facilities to suit both intimate and large groups, Atlantis is the great backdrop for incentive groups, meetings, conferences, exhibitions, product launches, gala dinners and celebrity events. Atlantis is perfectly situated near the commercial districts including Dubai’s Media and Internet Cities, Dubai Financial Centre and Downtown Burj Dubai, and only 35 minutes from Dubai’s International Airport.
The Atlantis Conference Centre is a 5600m2 spaces which features a range of spaces perfect for conferences, exhibitions, meetings, award ceremonies and more. The venue offers valet parking, a helicopter landing pad and 1,539 rooms to accommodate for your guests.
We spent the evening at the locally popular Nasimi Beach which frequently plays host to concerts and other events. The night was filled with fantastic food and booming music all completed with the glittering Dubai skyline in the background! From the moment our group arrived, we were immersed in a dazzling world of imagination, pleasure and 5 star luxuries. I was well and truly blown away!
On the second day after some more morning meetings and a delicious lunch we were met by a convoy of 4×4’s, ready to take us to the desert for some dune bashing! We were driven into the desert and around the dunes at some speed, sliding down them. This was a lot of fun and we had plenty of opportunities to get out of the vehicles and take in the view. We even managed to spot a few camels and it really was an adventure!
Half way round the course we pulled up and got out to enjoy the view. The area had been set out with traditional carpets and cushions with a harpist playing in the background – this really set the atmosphere as we watched the sun set with a glass of champagne.
As the evening drew, we were then taken onto another camp. The camp site was made up of low rise tables and cushioning. We had our own private BBQ for dinner and various entertainments such as belly dancers, camel rides, henna tattooing, tarot reading and shisha. This is definitely an experience not to be missed; it’s fair to say we were all very disappointed when the jeeps arrived to take us back to our hotel!
The following day we packed up and made to leave for the airport. Although we were only there for a few days and got to see a little of what it has to offer Dubai was a fantastic experience. Dubai is a fabulous incentive destination, whether organising as a twin centre trip or visiting just one of the cities, there is so much for your group to see and do.
For help with organising your next incentive trip to Dubai please contact Zanna Events for more information!