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Hotels such as the Desert Islands Resort & Spa, above, on Sir Bani Yas Island are looking forward to a bumper Valentine's Day. Stephen Lock / The National
Hotels such as the Desert Islands Resort & Spa, above, on Sir Bani Yas Island are looking forward to a bumper Valentine's Day. Stephen Lock / The National

Love is in the air for UAE's hospitality sector as Valentine's Day nears

Romance is not dead according to Abu Dhabi hoteliers as Valentine's Day bookings provide some much needed love for the hospitality sector.

Romance is not dead according to Abu Dhabi hoteliers as Valentine's Day bookings provide some much needed love for the hospitality sector.

Restaurants at the Beach Rotana hotel are fully booked for tomorrow night with rooms also going fast.

"Business overall looks more positive than last year," said Jasmine Arika, the director or marketing and communications at the hotel, where room packages start at Dh770 (US$209.63). All 11 restaurants have been booked since last week.

Abu Dhabi hotels attracted 2.3 million guests last year with revenues rising 6 per cent to Dh4.6 billion. But increased competition created by a raft of new openings has forced room rates lower as guests benefit from luxury rooms with budget prices.

The Desert Islands Resort and Spa by Anantara is also booked out.

"But with the premium packages we would be looking at higher sales in numbers" over last year, said David Garner, the regional director of sales and marketing, Anantara Resorts, Hotels and Spas.

The Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa, which opened last June, is also sold out for the day, he said.

Hilton Abu Dhabi, where Valentine's Day room packages start at Dh1,250, expects to be fully booked with guests from the UAE and other areas of the Arabian Gulf.

"This Valentine's Day weekend the hotel will be bustling as Idex, one of the biggest international exhibitions and conferences in Abu Dhabi [is in town]," said Corryanne Draper, a spokeswoman of the hotel.

The Jumeirah Hotel at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi is expecting an increased number of guests from the region as the date falls on a Thursday.

"The number of Valentine's Day promotions and offers has definitely increased over [the last five years], along with the increase in the UAE's hotels and restaurants," said Doris Greif, the general manager of Jumeirah Hotel at Etihad Towers, which opened in November 2011.

"The increased competition is great, as it requires hotels and restaurants to become more creative in their offerings."

Last year the hotel offered an anti-Valentine's Day event for non-couples, she said.

This year a Towers Suites Package at the hotel costs Dh6,000. It targets mostly Abu Dhabi residents, and includes complimentary pick up and return.

With uprisings and civil unrest engulfing neighbouring Middle Eastern countries for the past two years, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have seen a rising number of tourists, both foreign and domestic.

In Dubai, Jumeirah's luxury hotels are going all out to attract business. An exclusive package available to only one couple at the Madinat Jumeirah comes at Dh100,000.

For the price, the couple arrive by Rolls-Royce to Burj Al Arab followed by a helicopter tour departing from the hotel's helipad, and a private dinner on the Al Qasr Club Executive terrace accompanied by classical music. It also comes with a one-night stay in Madinat Jumeirah's presidential or royal suite.



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