YEAR IN RE­VIEW

The sto­ries, events and trips that left their mark in 2018

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Contents -

The sto­ries and trips that left their mark in 2018

THE BIG­GEST STORY GLOB­ALLY

Tech and more tech. The de­vel­op­ment of bio­met­rics is evolv­ing but we’re start­ing to see real changes – all the signs are that it will rev­o­lu­tionise air­port travel (see dig­i­tal fea­ture, Novem­ber is­sue). So­cial me­dia plat­forms are no longer just for shar­ing emo­jis but be­com­ing pay­ment plat­forms, and then there are robots, au­ton­o­mous taxis…

THE BIG­GEST STORY LO­CALLY

Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional re­lin­quish­ing four man­age­ment con­tracts in Dubai – not many saw that com­ing.

RE­CUR­RING STORY

It was a year for re­brands and ren­o­va­tions, in­di­cat­ing that Gulf hospi­tal­ity has come of age.

MID-MAR­KET GROWTH

The mid-mar­ket band­wagon pow­ers on and no­table launches were Hol­i­day Inn Dubai Fes­ti­val City (brand’s largest re­gion­ally) and Hamp­ton by Hil­ton Dubai Air­port (world’s largest Hamp­ton), but not ev­ery­thing was about scale, as ev­i­denced by Zabeel by Jumeirah’s ar­rival. Saudi Ara­bia’s ho­tel scene re­mains red hot, with 84 new ho­tels in 2018.

FAVOURITE STAYS

Wan­der­ing out of Suite 9 at Al Maha and see­ing the gazelles; en­joy­ing the lofty Nile views from the new-look Sher­a­ton Cairo; walk­ing through the Grand Hy­att Abu Dhabi’s sharp lobby and wak­ing up in Ho­tel Café Royal’s suite, over­look­ing Pic­cadilly Cir­cus and Houses of Par­lia­ment.

FAVOURITE PHOTO

The bal­le­rina at Pic­cadilly Cir­cus. Not some­thing you see ev­ery day!

EN­TER­TAIN­ING LAUNCH

You feel you’re in the movies at Aloft City Cen­tre Deira – and hav­ing Arne Soren­son at the of­fi­cial open­ing cer­e­mony was PR gold.

BEST IN-ROOM TOUCH

The pot of tea at Grand Hy­att Erawan Bangkok, af­ter six hours on the road.

AIR­PORT STORY

A big year for Oman avi­a­tion and Muscat In­ter­na­tional Air­port, which opened its new ter­mi­nal.

BEST FLIGHT

Vir­gin At­lantic’s Up­per Class trip to Lon­don, al­beit to re­port on the air­line’s new econ­omy prod­ucts (!)

EVENT HIGH­LIGHT

Frank Gard­ner OBE ad­dress­ing guests at the Busi­ness Trav­eller Mid­dle East Awards – and hav­ing tea with him, and his su­per­sized cam­era, a few hours be­fore the cer­e­mony.

MOST RE­WARD­ING STORY

‘Fi­nal straw’ ( July-Au­gust) as ho­tels call time on plas­tic. Im­por­tant sub­ject and in­ter­est­ing to re­search.

MEM­O­RABLE MEAL

Akira Back’s gas­tro­nomic ‘taster’ at the W Dubai – The Palm; I’ve not had Asian food like that be­fore, and fun to have a group din­ner in a suite.

RE­FLEC­TIVE TRAVEL MO­MENT

Stop­ping the oars in the mid­dle of a lake, in the mid­dle of the Lake Dis­trict; driv­ing over to Ull­swa­ter didn’t dis­ap­point ei­ther.

DE­MAND AND SUP­PLY

RevPar pres­sures and more sup­ply meant it was an­other tough year for hote­liers. Much as I wrote in 2017.

DES­TI­NA­TION TO WATCH

Tbil­isi was a real eye-opener: short flight times, en­joy­able F&B and moun­tain back­drop.

CUL­TURAL HIGH­LIGHT

Guer­nica in Madrid. Never seen any­thing on that artis­tic scale be­fore.

STRANGEST JUX­TA­PO­SI­TION

Strolling down Pat­taya’s in­fa­mous Walk­ing Street, in heavy rain, dur­ing a Thai­land MICE trip. Then vis­it­ing the beau­ti­ful Sanc­tu­ary of Truth.

WASN’T THAT FUN AWARD

The ‘rain­for­est’ shower at Palazzo Ver­sace Dubai’s spa – sure to in­vig­o­rate the senses!

ABOVE: A gazelle grazes at Al Maha Desert Re­sort & Spa

ABOVE: Lon­don view from Ho­tel Café Royal suiteBE­LOW: Ca­ble car view above cen­tral Tbil­isi

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