A group of UK planners were among the first to experience one of Dubai’s hottest new hotel openings, the new Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah Dubai, on a recent fam trip hosted by 24 Degrees DMC, All About Flights and Mandarin Oriental. OrangeDoor director of events and client services Joe O’Connell was on the trip and gives us the lowdown….
“I’ve been to Dubai plenty of times but getting the opportunity to see the new Mandarin Oriental property really appealed to me. The hotel had only been open two weeks when we visited so we were one of the first fam groups to experience it. You expect a certain level of luxury from Mandarin Oriental and I was keen to compare it with the London hotel.
The Dubai property is totally different – you get the sense they really thought about the location. The design is really tasteful with hints of pale blue and gold in the colour palette throughout the rooms and public areas, but not over-the-top Dubai gold! The rooms are amazing, with views either over the sea or the Dubai skyline and Burj Khalifa. We were all in standard rooms, and as far as standard rooms go, it was probably one of the nicest rooms I have stayed in. It was perfect – you couldn’t ask for more, and they were really spacious.
The meeting space is very well set up and flexible and sits in its own wing of the hotel. There are skylights in the main meeting rooms, so they are nice and light, although they can of course be covered. Although it is fit for purpose for conferences, personally I would gear it more towards high-end incentives, as far as our clients are concerned.
The programme put together by 24 Degrees enabled us to experience lots of different sides to Dubai, which was great. On the first day, we went out on a yacht and were given the opportunity to do on jet skis or try fly boarding, though I was more than happy to enjoy a glass of wine in the sunshine and let everyone else give it a go. For dinner, we went to Zeta restaurant at The Address Downtown, which overlooks the fountains and Burj Khalifa – the restaurant was beautiful and the food, which was Asian style, was really good. It’s a great option for incentive groups.
Dinner on the second night was at the Mandarin Oriental’s contemporary Portuguese restaurant, Tasca by José Avillez. The food there was out of this world – it was amazing. The restaurant itself is on the top floor of the hotel, overlooking the Dubai skyline. There’s a great terrace that you could potentially privatise for pre-dinner drinks for groups.
The itinerary also included Camel Polo at the Dubai Polo Club, which is a bit unique and different, a visit to the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding, for a traditional Emirati breakfast and a talk about their culture, and a trip to the spice souks, which was a real feast for the senses. But the highlight for me was dinner in Al Maha’s private nature reserve. I have had dinner in the desert numerous times, but 24 Degree’s take on it, and their access to Al Maha, was one of the best I have experienced. The dinner was delicious – it was restaurant-standard food but served in the middle of the desert.
The 24 Degrees team in Dubai were amazing in terms of logistics and we had Mike Hummel, the MD join us for the duration of the trip, which was great as he’s been there for 20 years so really knows Dubai inside out, and was able to talk us through how it has changed.”
For more inspiration, check out our Dubai Destination Guide…
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