DUBAI: From exquisitely themed gala dinners to fun and relaxed beach parties on offer, UAE hotels are ready to start 2013 with a bang.
Hotel dinners are selling fast in Dubai and are popular among revellers. Many hotels are offering dinner packages with access to live entertainment and fireworks to welcome the New Year.
It’s not too late to plan your big night out now — but many have been making room and dinner reservations as early as November.
“Dubai is top in the region in terms of hotel occupancy,” said Rashid Aboobacker, senior consultant at TRI Hospitality Consulting. “In December, Dubai has one of the highest occupancy rates regionally.”
That’s why few hotels are offering discounted room rates and are enjoying high occupancy rates.
The Atlantic on The Palm in Dubai has sold out in room and dinner packages two months ago. — but it’s not too tate to organise dinner and entertainment at some of the restaurants there.
Seafire-Steakhouse and Bar, Rostang, Nobu, and oriental restaurant Leavantine are offering special New Year’s menus, priced between Dh2,100 and Dh2,500.
For Dh2,100 at Seafire, you can ring in the New Year dining on pan-fried sea bass, salted cod and lobster brandade, croquettes, and caviar — finished off with a plum and white chocolate parfait. If you’re vegetatian, don’t worry. Leavantine is offering a vegetarian menu at the same price featuring cold and hot mezzeh, roasted vegetables with green wheat, and topped off with Arabic sweets.
And there’s a stunning fireworks display as the clock strikes 12.
Across the water at the Burj Al Arab, there are still dinner options on the table tonight. If you have a health appetite and a healthy bank balance, try dinner at Al Iwan restaurant for Dh7,450 per person. And more fireworks.
Officials in Dubai are expecting close to a million people around the Burj Khalifa tonight and the Metro will be running around the clock to bring revellers home. Parking is limited and illegally-parked cars may be impounded for a month.
Since it opened three years agto, the Burj Khalifa has become on the world’s iconic locations to ring in the cfhange in calendars. That’s why December is a bonanza month for hoteliers.
Hotels in Dubai achieve the highest food and beverage revenue in December, reflecting the revenue potential from promotions on food and beverages, according to HotStats. Additionally, in 2011, December food and beverage revenue accounted for 10.95 per cent of the total food and beverage revenue for the same year.
By the end of November, total hotel occupancy rates in Dubai were up 1.5 per cent to 81 per cent, from a little under 80 per cent in 2011, Aboobacker told Gulf News.
In Abu Dhabi, it’s a similar story. At the InterContinental Hotel Abu Dhabi, where rooms start at Dh1,400, there’s almost no availability.
“We are at 48 per cent occupancy,” Marwan Mseikeh, manager of Grand Millennium Al Wahda in Abu Dhabi, said. He said the hotel has a special promotion on at present for Dh399 for single and double occupancy.
Last evening, there was one roomj left for tonight — priced at Dh2,400 with a Burj Khalifa fountain view — at the Address downtown Dubai.
Sarah Algethami is a trainee at Gulf News
Party places and prices
The hot spots across the world to bring in the New Year
View from the Burj Khalifa: Dh16,000
The height of luxury in the world’s tallest building. Well, actually, it’s a seven-course meal at At.mosphere restaurant for New Year’s and features beaverages before eating. A window table with views of fireworks is Dh16,000 per person. There are only two remaining window tables. A middle table will set you back Dh14,000 per person. Each of the tables can seat between two and four peiople.
Cruising Sydney Harbour: Dh1,523.75
If you planned on ringing in 2013 in Sydney — there’s always next year.
Advertised rates for a Sydney Harbour cruise on New Year’s Eve featuring live music and a disc jockey will set you back A$400 per person. That price includes an all you can eat seafood buffet with views of the fireworks as they boom out from the iconic Harbour Bridge. The cruise lasts for three hours and drinks are not included.
Fireworks in Hong Kong: Dh1,558.11
If you want to enjoy the stunning skyline overlooking Hong Kong Harbour, be prepared to pay. An eight-course dinner in a five-star hotel with a view of the fireworks as the clock strikes midnight will set you back HK$3,288 per person. The view from the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is unrivalled — it is the tallest hotel in the city and has floor to ceiling widows overlooking the harbour. Drinks are extra.
A real Singapore fling: Dh999.54
A light buffet at a swanky dance club on the 33rd floor of a building in the financial district of Singapore overlooking fireworks in the harbour and at the Singapore Flyer will set you back S$333. You can dance until 3am while nibbling on canapes and finger desserts. Drinks are free flowing until 1am.
The romance of Paris: Dh1,068.04
There’s nothing quite like Paris and the Eiffel Tower. For €220 per person, you can dine on a boat as it cruises the Seine on New Year’s Eve. First course is “Foie Gras de canard aux pommes et poires caramélisées, réduction de balsamique — foie gras with carmelised potatoes in a balsamic reduction.” And the mains are even better. A glass of bubbly is included, but the memories will last you a lifetime.
London Bridge is falling down: Dh706.07
New Year’s revellers can party it up past midnight at a table in a top hotel that boasts views over the River Thames, including a glass of bubbly and jazz-band entertainment. But food or the other drinks aren’t included in the price that begins at £119 per person. The fireworks on London Bridge are free, though. And you have to be a group of at least four to gain entry to the celebration tables.
Time for Times Square, New York: Dh550.97
From the rooftop terrace bar in a hotel overlooking Times Square, you can party the old year away and welcome in 2013 as the crystal ball falls. There are finger foods, free flowing beverages and a disc jockey and the revelry continues until 2am. Taxes and tips are extra, of course. Entry was $150 but sold out weeks ago. Ah well, there’s always next year...
— By Mick O’Reilly Senior Associate Editor, with input from Sarah Algethami