x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Make two nights of the Madonna concert

As if Madonna in concert wasn't enough, many of Abu Dhabi's hotels are offering two-night deals so you can prolong the excitement while basking in luxury.

A guest enjoys a spa treatment at the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri Hotel’s Chi the Spa which is offering a number of Madonna-themed packages this month. Ravindranath K / The National
A guest enjoys a spa treatment at the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri Hotel’s Chi the Spa which is offering a number of Madonna-themed packages this month. Ravindranath K / The National

Madonna's two-night stop in the UAE for her MDNA World Tour is quite possibly the biggest entertainment event of the year so far.

With more than 30,000 fans from far and wide expected to converge on Yas Island on June 3 and 4, the city's hotels, restaurants and clubs are rolling out a host of special deals to cater for the influx of concertgoers.

Some places are truly getting into the groove of the occasion.

Chi The Spa at the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri Hotel offers the chance "to express yourself with vogue spa treatments" named after some of Madge's hits, such as the deluxe "Material Girl" package, which includes a full-body scrub and an hour-long facial. There is also the perhaps more speciously named "La Isla Arabica", which includes dry body brushing, exfoliation and a 60-minute massage.

"If you are lucky, the staff might sing the [names of the] packages for you," laughs Becky Wynton, the spa director.

Wynton says the packages are designed to reflect Madonna's career.

"The coffee scrub is included because of the detoxing effect it has - she is a big advocate of detoxing and health and wellness," she says. "We also link it back to the Middle East because it is Arabic coffee that we are using."

Abu Dhabi's hotels are also predicting a bumper trade over the two nights of the shows, especially those in the vicinity of the concert arena.

Some hotels on Yas Island, such as the Yas Viceroy, Crowne Plaza and Radisson Blu, have all launched uniform packages with a minimum two-night stay, mainly to cater for guests from overseas.

Yas Viceroy, the concert's official hotel, has three deals from Dh2,645 to Dh5,745 for two nights, based on two sharing, including breakfast and two Golden Circle tickets for either the Saturday or Sunday performance.

Andreas Kohn, the hotel's regional director of sales and marketing, claims that despite the steep price tag, fans were willing to push the boat out for a star of Madonna's calibre.

"To me, this is a once in a lifetime event," he says. "There are hardly any artists out there for whom I would pay a premium price to see, and have a nice weekend with my spouse."

Even hotels off Yas Island are expecting an increase in bookings. The InterContinental Abu Dhabi's communication director, Dania Malki, says although her hotel is a 45-minute journey from the venue, it hasn't deterred guests from making reservations.

"Some of the people who travel here from Lebanon, Egypt and any of the Gulf countries don't want to be stuck on the [Yas] island," she explains. "I find that when people come for Yas concerts or even the F1, they use it as an opportunity to explore the city and they book tours from us."

But it's not only the hotels that are trying to cash in: the city's night spots are also hoping to entice concertgoers with special themed parties.

These include Yas Island's Cipriani bar, which will host a two-night preconcert festival called Entertainment Box from June 1 to 2. Spread over three levels, the event includes sets by visiting DJs and dinner at Cipriani and Yotto between 7pm and 10pm. The highlight will be performances by the artist collective Loud Arabia, whose funk-fuelled percussions are designed out of drums made of used car parts and cans. Tickets are priced from Dh250.

Yas Island's super club, Allure by Cipriani, has been chosen to host the official after-party concert. And although the venue's creative director, Sebastian Clarke, won't reveal any details, he does let slip that DJs from Lebanon's famed Sky Bar will provide the tunes on the night and cooling systems "using nitrogen" would be put in place to offer respite from the summer heat.

"If we can mirror the energy we experienced during the F1 then it's going to be one tremendous party," he says.

Nevertheless, some businesses were oblivious to all the fuss.

Mai Shehada, the owner of the Madonna Beauty Spa on Salam Street, was not even aware that her business's namesake is coming to Abu Dhabi.

"That is interesting," she says when told about the impending concert. "If you bring Madonna to my shop then I promise to give her a complimentary session."

Cherish the thought.