Dubai: UAE’s hotels and resort destinations are bringing back the staycations with Valentine’s Day at the centre of it. Some are doubling down on what they are offering couples, with packages going all the way to Dh500,000. (Yes, you read that right…)
Ce La Vi has - for half a million dirhams - is giving couples a chance to enjoy a 12-course private dinner at the top of the Address Sky View hotel and a one-night stay in the presidential suite. They will also transform the pool deck with floral arrangements, a floral arch with a table for two.
The menu for the night includes Périgord Black Truffle from France, 24k Gold Caviar from Italy, Japanese A5 Wagyu Ribeye –flown from Hokkaido Japan, Gillardeau Oysters from France, Alaskan King Crab and Red Lobsters from Maine and Blue Fin Tuna from Spain.
To suit all budgets
But there are options to suit all budgets. The Taj Hotels in Dubai have conceptualized staycation and dining offers starting from Dh1,515. The ‘Royal Romance’ package includes an elaborate six-course dinner, followed by an overnight stay in a Burj Khalifa view room.
Without the staycation, the dining package will set you back Dh699 per couple. Additionally, there’s the ‘Maharaja Suite’ package for Dh5,000, where couples can enjoy a three-course dinner with bubbles, served by a personal butler on the private terrace, as well as aromatherapy massage, rose petal bath, an overnight stay and breakfast.
Ranjit Philipose, Area Director for the Middle East and General Manager of the Taj Hotel, definitely sees February 14 as an opportunity for the hospitality industry to put on their creative caps.
“This is one of the highlight events of the year and we have witnessed an increase in bookings for staycations on the preceding weekend and for the big day itself at Taj Dubai and Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers and at our restaurants,” he said.
F&B will be tucking in
Many F&B operators are noticing an increase in bookings ahead of the romantic holiday. “We have noticed a lot of demand, which has been challenging to accommodate with the safety measures and distancing regulations,” said Evgeny Kuzin, Chairman of Bulldozer Group to Gulf News.
“Over the past year, couples have been spending much more time at home, so a classic date night holds a lot more importance now than it used to. These occasions encourage guests to make time and indulge in a night out.”
Restaurants typically offer a special set menu designed for two, usually with a red, heart-shaped dessert to end the night. One of Bulldozer Group’s restaurants - Scalini - is taking the themed holiday a step further with a custom-fitted ‘Love Swing’ made with Fine Bloom flowers and surrounded by scattered rose petals.
“Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for restaurants to provide a unique experience for loyal guests,” Kuzin added. “We wanted to offer something special to enhance the occasion.” (The fragrance will certainly be there…)
Go for the small wins
Since last year, the hospitality sector has focused on generating enough traction around special events, whether it’s a summer break, the Eid holidays or an extended December 2nd weekend getaway. December provided some return to pre-COVID-19 numbers, but it’s been quiet going since.
Restrictions continue to curb travel and tourism activity over the first quarter of 2021. “I wouldn’t say we’ve noticed an increase in our bookings for Valentine’s as such, but perhaps that’s impacted by the capacity regulations,” said Stuart Birkwood, General Manager of Radisson Red Silicon Oasis. “However, a lot of our guests are regulars who book in at the restaurant.”
Radisson Red offers a Valentine’s Day celebration at Dh99 per person for two mains and two house beverages. “Honestly, we recognize that there is a real lack of casual style celebrations,” Birkwood said. “We wanted to create something easygoing."
“It’s been a hard year financially for a lot of people and romance shouldn’t have to be about spending money, but just spending time with people you love.”
Another more ‘casual’ property has also been enjoying the challenge of tailoring packages to suit its target audiences. “We launched a ‘Bae-cation’ deal for Valentine’s Day,” said Gurnoor Bindra the General Manager of Aloft City Centre Deira. “It is definitely more of a quirky offering with special in-room amenities, a bottle of grape, discounts to the spa, priority late check-out and more.”
“It’s important for the hotels to take advantage of these holidays. They not only boost commercial creativity in terms of offering a unique experience, but offer the chance for the hospitality industry to get closer to guests.”
When love finds a way, the hospitality industry profits…