IHG Hotels & Resorts’ top 5 luxury summer destinations

IHG Hotels & Resorts’ top 5 luxury summer destinations
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IHG Hotels & Resorts’ top 5 luxury summer destinations
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IHG Hotels & Resorts’ top 5 luxury summer destinations
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IHG Hotels & Resorts’ top 5 luxury summer destinations
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Updated 01 June 2023

IHG Hotels & Resorts’ top 5 luxury summer destinations

IHG Hotels & Resorts’ top 5 luxury summer destinations

Higher temperatures, the long school break, and somewhat slower office days can only mean one thing — it is summertime in the Middle East and it is the perfect time to travel — locally, regionally or even abroad. But before the trip comes the planning, which is one of the best parts of the experience. And with the summer months just on the horizon, it is time to start thinking about where to go and what to do. Decisions, decisions.

Whether you prefer a hassle-free staycation centered on wellness or adventurous family activities, or you are looking to add stamps to your passport, IHG Resorts and Hotels has got you covered. With its portfolio of 6,000 hotels across 18 brands in more than 100 countries, IHG Hotels and Resorts follows a “no two guests are ever the same” mantra, ensuring each experience is carefully curated to each visitor.

Indecisive and don’t know where to begin your planning? Here are five standout options from IHG Hotels and Resorts, whether you want to venture internationally or relax in near-by familiar bliss.

Wellness with a side of adventure at Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman

Everyone deserves a wellness retreat with a side of adventure at least once a year to restore the mind, body and soul. Look no further than Six Senses Zighy Bay, a village-inspired resort situated at the heart of Oman’s Musandam Peninsula — a secluded spot much-loved for its contrasting rugged mountains on one side and its long private stretch of beach on the other.

With two Arabic style hammams, an ice cave, skin purifying and soothing spa treatments, outdoor sunrise yoga and more, this wellness sanctuary is ideal for those who want to pause, reflect and relax. The resort goes a step further and will design a wellness program customized for you, created through a non-invasive wellness screening facility and the hotel’s smart tech and dedicated wellness experts.

Apart from relaxation, the resort also offers adventurous adrenalin-spiking activities such as paragliding (launching oneself into the sky from 960 feet), as well as snorkelling and more.

Dining is also on point. Indulge in traditional Bedouin dining, as well as contemporary local and international culinary experiences during your stay.

Family first at InterContinental Durrat Al-Riyadh Resort and Spa

Staycations or local micro-trips are a great way to take the entire family away on a break without the stresses of air travel, check-ins, and overweight baggage. IHG Hotels and Resorts has made this very much possible with a range of luxury hotels across Saudi Arabia.

The recently opened InterContinental Durrat Al-Riyadh Resort and Spa is distinctive, offering local Saudi residents and their families a luxurious and private family escape among a 154,000-square-meter lush green oasis.

Adults can relax and replenish with therapeutic massages or treatments from the largest 5-star resort spa facility in Riyadh and one of the best in the Kingdom.

Kids are also well catered to. There are unique activities such as the hotel’s in-house kids’ club with a ball pool, toy horses, and thrilling slides. Not to mention a tennis course and a fantastic space dedicated to mini-golf — the first miniature golf course in all of Saudi Arabia.

Impressed yet? The property also boasts 18 indoor and outdoor swimming pools, featuring an infinity edge pool.

Fall in love all over again at Carlton Cannes, a Regent hotel

Been eyeing that “once-in-a-lifetime” romantic trip? If you are feeling all things croissants, pretty streets and local flavors, then look no further than the exquisite Carlton Cannes, a Regent hotel.

Located on the French Riviera’s La Croisette Boulevard, this new Regent hotel is a luxury destination featuring charming high-ceilings, Côte d’Azur facing rooms, decorated with artisan fabrics and modern luxury detailing.

For a forever memorable perfect escape, you can charter a sunset sail, reserve a glorious helicopter tour over the coastline, or simply take a stroll along the famed boulevard’s designer boutiques. The hotel’s “experience agents” are always at your service to add magic to your stay in any way possible.

Shop or chill at Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown

Just five minutes away from Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa, Hotel Indigo is on the doorstep of Dubai’s most vibrant shopping destination and bustling boulevard. Here you can enjoy your break just the way you like it — whether that is keeping your fitness routine in check at the hotel’s gym and 25-meter infinity pool, relaxing with chill beats and shisha at the Orange Feels Bar and Shisha Lounge, exploring the canal walkways, or simply soaking up the glorious sunset from the hotel’s floor to ceiling views of the marvelous cityscape, all this while relaxing at its carefully curated rooms, designed with funk and pearl.

Furry friends are welcomed here, so bring your pet for a vacation of its own. There are also lip-smacking culinary experiences including Emirati, Levantine and Anatolian cuisines.

Live like a Londoner at Kimpton Fitzroy London

If you are a history lover wanting to spend your summer at places that will turn back time (with a very modern touch), the Kimpton Fitzroy London is for you.

Retire to rooms filled with dreamy art pieces and unwind in lounges adorned with historic, ancient design flair. But there is also an array of modern-day needs thrown into the mix — including a fitness center, private dining experiences, as well as a British bar and grill where dishes are prepared from ethically sourced produce. There are also pet-friendly amenities (inclusive of stay charges).

The hotel’s outstanding “Stay Human Concierge” will help you curate your very own personalized London adventure, which could include a leisurely picnic in Russell Square Gardens, private tours of the Tower of London and The British Museum, or even a Paddington afternoon tea bus tour.

Get planning soon and remember the IHG One Rewards program offers a suite of member benefits including discounted rates and promotions, late check-out, suite upgrades or food and drink discounts. Rewards points can be used across IHG’s growing portfolio — each of which provides a unique experience, from islandic or beachside escapes to restorative wellness getaways, luxury retreats, striking cityscape stays and much more.

Realty sector must adopt people-centric approach to planning

Ghada Al-Rumayan
Updated 26 September 2023

Realty sector must adopt people-centric approach to planning

Ghada Al-Rumayan

In a world dominated by blueprints and budgets, the real estate development industry has often lost sight of its most crucial element — people.

For years, the industry molded urban landscapes to meet the market demands in residential, retail and commercial segments without a holistic approach to the community needs of promoting fulfilling lifestyles and focusing on the people who use them.

Developers have, unfortunately, been seen as faceless entities, prioritizing numbers over the impact on people’s lives.

However, the winds of change are blowing, and a shift toward a people-centric approach is gaining momentum. It is not just about meeting the needs of a new generation but also making good business sense and, most importantly, doing the right thing.

ROSHN recognizes the importance of this shift and empowers individuals at the heart of its approach to development. Responsibility is paramount, and we take ownership of our role in shaping the urban landscape.

As we look to the future, the UN predicts that nearly 70 percent of the world’s population will reside in urban areas by 2050. This global trend is also mirrored in Saudi Arabia, where urbanization rates have increased significantly.

Comprehending this shift is vital for our future and is at the core of ROSHN’s most ambitious project to date, MARAFY.

A groundbreaking initiative, MARAFY embarks on the journey of transforming northern Jeddah into a hub of integrated living.

The project unfolds a seamless convergence of residential and commercial spaces with culture, cuisine, entertainment, hospitality and wellness.

This transformative urban development aspires to offer residents and visitors a blend of modernity and tradition.

Through the fusion of diverse elements, MARAFY aims to create an environment that redefines urban living and nurtures pleasant experiences, connections, and possibilities for anyone who calls it home.

MARAFY will redefine urban living by reimagining space and blurring the lines between work, leisure and community interaction.

Its contemporary design philosophy reflects our commitment to promoting fulfilling lifestyles and fostering vibrant communities. This development will triple the amount of publicly accessible waterfront, creating a new era of riverside urbanism.

By integrating MARAFY with ALAROUS, ROSHN’s first significant development in Jeddah, we create a synergy that enriches the lives of both communities.

ALAROUS is designed to provide high-quality housing with integrated amenities and public spaces that effortlessly connect with the MARAFY vision.

As MARAFY reshapes the urban landscape, ALAROUS residents will enjoy enhanced access to MARAFY’s cultural, recreational and social offerings, further enriching their quality of life.

Like other ROSHN communities, ALAROUS and MARAFY will embrace modern living while preserving the Kingdom’s rich heritage and local urban designs. This integrated neighborhood concept is what ROSHN has successfully introduced in Riyadh’s SEDRA, where early offerings were met with an encouraging response. It demonstrates the market demand for ROSHN’s concept of integrated neighborhoods packed with amenities that support a well-balanced, fulfilling lifestyle.

As a giga-project backed by the Public Investment Fund, ROSHN is determined to lead the way in the regional market, demonstrating through its groundbreaking developments how a people-centric approach improves the quality of life for residents, builds a stronger sense of community and ensures long-term business success.

As developers, we must recognize that our work profoundly impacts the lives of those who live in and around our developments.

The decisions we make today will shape our nation’s urban landscape for generations to come, and it is a privilege and a responsibility to be involved in this exciting process.

  • The writer is the Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Roshn Group

Abu Dhabi’s inaugural ‘Travel and Tourism Week’ set to drive economic impact for emirate

Abu Dhabi’s inaugural ‘Travel and Tourism Week’ set to drive economic impact for emirate
Updated 26 September 2023

Abu Dhabi’s inaugural ‘Travel and Tourism Week’ set to drive economic impact for emirate

Abu Dhabi’s inaugural ‘Travel and Tourism Week’ set to drive economic impact for emirate


The Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi is hosting Abu Dhabi Travel and Tourism Week from Sept. 25-30, a platform which brings together the emirate’s travel and tourism industry to foster growth and reinforce Abu Dhabi’s status as a global tourism hub. The initiative aligns with the emirate’s broader vision to welcome over 24 million visitors this year and further enhance the business and leisure tourism industries, driving economic impact to the UAE capital and beyond. 

The week starts with the first City Tourism Briefing event, followed by Abu Dhabi Business Events Forum, Abu Dhabi Wedding Show and the Future Hospitality Summit, leveraging the collective power of many tourism stakeholders from diverse industries, all contributing their expertise and insights to drive progress. 

Mohamed Khalifa Al-Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi, said: “The Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 drives our ambitions to build a strong foundation of strategic partnerships that facilitate the establishment of the emirate as a thriving global hub for business, investment, and leisure travel. The Abu Dhabi Travel and Tourism Week is set to unlock new opportunities that reaffirm our commitment to positioning Abu Dhabi as a dynamic and sustainable hub for tourism. We look forward to fostering growth in the sector by accelerating high-potential industries such as gastronomy, aviation, and business events and welcome all of our partners and future collaborators to join us in our journey.” 

Abu Dhabi Travel and Tourism Week will advance the emirate’s tourism industry across a range of sectors, such as meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions events, hospitality, destination marketing, weddings, tourism strategy, and more. 

The platform joins a slate of DCT Abu Dhabi acceleration programs that are strategically designed to boost growth, elevate experiences, and reinforce the emirate’s status as a global culture and tourism hub — these include MICE industry incentive schemes such as Advantage Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Culinary Program.

Set to become an annual fixture on the calendar, each year Abu Dhabi Travel and Tourism Week will feature a mix of flagship and exclusive, one-off events.

The events for the 2023 edition include:

City Tourism Briefing — Sept. 25

Executives from across the tourism ecosystem, including aviation, travel, hospitality and retail sectors, in addition to government entities, took part in the City Tourism Briefing, which provided a platform for Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector to engage with industry stakeholders. The invitation-only forum hosted discussions on how to harness the latest innovations and trends to create a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable future. The event also allowed DCT Abu Dhabi leadership to provide attendees with briefs on key initiatives, destination updates and upcoming plans.

Abu Dhabi Business Events Forum — Sept. 26-27

Returning for its third edition, ADBEF aims to be the foremost platform for the MICE industry in Abu Dhabi and the MENA region. The forum will facilitate the sharing of best practices, feature workshops delivered by professional MICE associations and keynote speakers, create social and networking opportunities, and foster the exploration of partnerships.

Abu Dhabi Wedding Show — Sept. 27-30

This inaugural event is set to be the premier platform for the destination wedding industry in Abu Dhabi and the MENA region, capitalizing on the emirate’s spectacular venues and infrastructure, natural beauty, and prestige as a must-visit location. The day will be dedicated to sharing best practices, learning from workshops led by professionals and members of Wedding Planner Associations, hearing from keynote speakers, and providing networking opportunities within the community.

Future Hospitality Summit — SEPT. 25-27 

FHS is an international platform where influential hospitality investment decision-makers gather to exchange knowledge, explore new partnerships, and shape the future of the hospitality sector. This event represents an evolution from the Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference and has been hosted in various emirates. This edition marks the first time it takes place in Abu Dhabi. 

Future-forward thinkers: ROSHN Hackathon winners revealed

Future-forward thinkers: ROSHN Hackathon winners revealed
Updated 25 September 2023

Future-forward thinkers: ROSHN Hackathon winners revealed

Future-forward thinkers: ROSHN Hackathon winners revealed

ROSHN Group, a Public Investment Fund-backed company and Saudi Arabia’s leading mixed-asset real estate developer of integrated urban communities, announced the winners of the ROSHN Hackathon at Cityscape Global in Riyadh.

For the “New Venture Ideas” track, EcoFit won first prize for their cutting-edge development and received a prize of SR350,000 ($93,300), while the Wajid team secured the second place and received a prize of SR150,000. In the “Established Startups” track, NeoROSHN claimed the first prize worth SR350,000, while the JMM Innovation team won SR150,000.

Each track offered a first-place prize of SR350,000. In addition to the cash prizes, the winning teams will also be invited to attend Innovation and 10x Thinking training at Google workshop and the Saudi Arabia Google Cloud Launch event.

“The ROSHN Hackathon embodies our unwavering commitment to innovating for the future. It’s not just about real estate; it’s about ushering in groundbreaking technologies, setting unprecedented standards, and nurturing entrepreneurs and budding economic sectors across the Kingdom. Through the pioneering solutions proposed by these forward-thinking entrepreneurs and startups, the hackathon aims to elevate the quality of life for residents and tenants. We are focused on translating innovative ideas into tangible, state-of-the-art solutions tailored for everyday needs. I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the participants, especially our victorious winners, for showcasing such creativity and resilience,” said David Grover, CEO of ROSHN Group.

The hackathon showcased a dynamic gathering of 16 teams, hailing from both the Kingdom and outside. These teams adeptly navigated challenges across three pivotal sectors: the evolution of software solutions, the unveiling of groundbreaking products, and the transformation of infrastructure and compliance. The participant pool, teeming with tech aficionados, real estate experts, budding college visionaries, and prop-tech trailblazers, became a melting pot of innovative minds. All were united by a singular mission: to ideate transformative solutions addressing the pressing challenges of the real estate sector. Ensuring a rigorous and fair assessment, a carefully curated panel of experts with profound roots in the Saudi real estate, housing, and technology sectors undertook the responsibility of judging.

The essence of this hackathon resonates profoundly with ROSHN’s foundational ethos, serving as a marker of the confluence of diverse perspectives, collaborative ventures, and an indefatigable spirit of innovation. Such attributes not only pave the path for the future of real estate but also mirror ROSHN’s steadfast commitment to empowerment.

CityScape, a premier international real estate event, recently marked its inaugural appearance in the Kingdom, unfolding at the Riyadh Exhibition and Convention Center. ROSHN took center stage as founding partner of the event.

Young changemakers tackle societal issues at ‘SHAPEATHON’

Young changemakers tackle societal issues at ‘SHAPEATHON’
Updated 24 September 2023

Young changemakers tackle societal issues at ‘SHAPEATHON’

Young changemakers tackle societal issues at ‘SHAPEATHON’

Global Shapers Jeddah Hub successfully organized SHAPEATHON, a social entrepreneurship hackathon that brought together passionate changemakers to develop innovative solutions for local societal challenges in three main tracks: Environment and Responsible Consumption, Health and Well-being, and Upskilling for the Future.

The Jeddah Hub is a part of the Global Shapers Community, a World Economic Forum initiative that aims to spark dialogue, action, and change. Jeddah Hub is made up of a pool of talented and driven Saudis youths coming together from diverse educational and professional backgrounds, including entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers, creative industry people, artists, corporate professionals, and athletes.

Over three days from Sept. 14-16, participants of the hackathon received mentorship, attended workshops, and worked collaboratively to develop their innovative concepts and prototypes. The final day culminated with participants presenting their solutions to a panel of judges, comprising industry experts and community leaders.

Speaking on the success of the event, Sarah Alharthey, curator of Global Shapers Jeddah Hub, said: “SHAPEATHON represents the power of collaboration and innovation, as it brought together a diverse group of passionate individuals to tackle pressing societal issues across multiple critical domains.” 

She added: “The event’s success highlights the remarkable potential for impact-driven projects that can contribute to the realization of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, fostering empowerment within the nonprofit sector and nurturing the aspirations of emerging social entrepreneurs.”

SHAPEATHON was hosted by the University of Business and Technology, with support from sponsors, OLO, resal, and Vibes Offices. TAM served as the knowledge partner, providing valuable insights and resources to the participants. The event also secured partnerships with renowned institutions, including the University of San Diego and The Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge.

The event successfully fostered an environment in which young innovators and social entrepreneurs could thrive. The hackathon was an ideal platform for impact-driven individuals to explore their creative potential and make a difference in their communities.

“We are thrilled with the success of SHAPEATHON,” said Ahmed Abulela, project leader of SHAPEATHON. “It is a testament to the talent, passion, and dedication of our community. We look forward to building on this momentum and to supporting our participants in their entrepreneurial journeys to make a positive impact in Jeddah.”

LuLu Group opens food processing and export hub in Italy

LuLu Group opens food processing and export hub in Italy
Updated 24 September 2023

LuLu Group opens food processing and export hub in Italy

LuLu Group opens food processing and export hub in Italy

To further boost its sourcing operations and to bring in high-quality products for its large chain of hypermarkets, Abu Dhabi-based retail giant LuLu Group officially opened its world-class sourcing, food processing and export hub in Italy.

Y International Italia, the sourcing division of LuLu Group, was inaugurated by Guido Guidesi, Italian minister of economic development, in the presence of Yusuffali M.A., chairman and managing director of LuLu Group. Also present on the occasion were Roberto Rizzardo, head of FDI department of Invitalia; Valerio Soldani, director of Italian Trade Agency; Naser Al-Khaja, charge d’affaires at the UAE Embassy in Italy; Dr. Nasser Al-Balooshi, Bahrain ambassador to Italy; Cesare Trevisani, chairman of Arab Chamber of Commerce of Italy; Mohamed Althaf, director of LuLu Group; Allessandro Simone, country head of LuLu Group in Italy; and other officials. 

This move by the LuLu Group will further boost its sourcing operations not only from Italy but also from nearby European countries, ensuring uninterrupted supply and price stability of food products.

Ideally located at World Trade Center Malpensa Airport in Milan, the state-of-the-art facility will primarily focus on sourcing, processing, storing, packaging and exporting of top-quality food products from Italy to more than 255 LuLu Hypermarkets spread across GCC countries, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. 

The focus categories include cheeses, chocolates, fruit jams, sweet and puff pastries, organic pasta, infused extra-virgin olive oil, and high-quality sea salt from well-known Italian brands. Apart from packed food, the center will also source and export a wide range of fruits and vegetables, including apples, grapes, kiwi and olives. 

Minister Guidesi expressed excitement on the opening of LuLu Group’s new project in Italy and assured the highest level of support and cooperation, which he said would further enhance trade ties between Italy and the Arab world. Speaking at the inauguration, Yusuffali said: “As a key partner in the food security sector in the Middle East, it is our ongoing strategy to set up our own sourcing and food processing units around the world to ensure uninterrupted supply and ensure competitive pricing by eliminating middlemen. 

“Italy has some unique cuisines, a vast variety of fruits, vegetables and various commodities and we are working closely with the Italian Trade Agency to boost the export of these products to our hypermarkets. We will be working closely with all stakeholders to promote the Italian brands by organizing Italian food festivals across our hypermarkets.” 

He added: “We will be initially exporting worth 50 million euros ($53.4 million) and expect to reach 200 million euros in two years. We are tying up with farmers cooperative societies to source fruits and vegetables, which will surely have a very positive impact on the agricultural sector of Italy. In addition, this project will also generate significant employment in Italy.” 

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE, LuLu Group has an annual turnover of $8 billion and employs more than 65,000 people from 43 different countries. It is ranked as the No.1 retailer in the Middle East and North Africa region and as one of the Top 50 fastest growing retailers in the world by Deloitte. 

LuLu Group has similar food processing centers in the UK, US, Spain, Turkiye, Vietnam, Thailand, China, and South Africa among others.