Dubai Developments in 2017

Dubai is a city that’s constantly evolving, from the recent opening of numerous luxury properties such as the Palazzo Versace Dubai and renovated Hatta Fort Hotel, to attractions such as IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai Parks and Resorts, and a new safari park – the city is always on the global radar. Although landmarks like Palm Jumeirah and Burj Khalifa are a firm hit with tourists, 2017 promises to deliver more exciting new developments than ever.

Set to open in April, highly anticipated city lifestyle resort, The Address Boulevard Dubai, is in the heart of the prestigious Downtown Dubai area. The luxurious hotel will showcase one of Dubai’s largest art collections in a hotel by stand-out international artists. Standing at 368 metres, the 72-storey curvilinear tower will be the second tallest building in Downtown Dubai, next to Burj Khalifa, and the 36th tallest building in the world.

With its exquisite craftsmanship, Bulgari’s inaugural property in Dubai will add a new dimension to the city’s hospitality sector. Set to be the world’s fifth Bulgari Hotels and Resorts property, the luxury landmark will be designed by Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners and will be located on the sea-horse shaped Jumeirah Bay Island. The expansive 1.7 million square foot complex will be framed by lush landscaped gardens and comprise 101 rooms and suites in the main hotel buildings, as well as 20 hotel villas and a full range of luxury hotel facilities. It will also featuring 165 apartments, eight penthouses and 15 mansions, all offering magnificent views.

Marking its debut in Dubai, Viceroy Hotel Group’s newest edition is set to open its doors in April 2017. Designed by Yabu Pushelberg and NAO Taniyama and Associates, the stylish 477-bedroom beachfront resort located at the base of The Palm Jumeirah will offer each guest incredible views of the Arabian Gulf. The luxurious property will bring an ‘LA cool’ vibe to the region, featuring eight remarkable dining venues hosted by world-class chefs, a state-of-the-art 800sqm spa with 14 treatment rooms and three swimming pools.

Situated on the trunk of the famous Palm Jumeirah, Dukes Dubai will encompass a quintessentially British feel inspired by its famous London counterpart, Dukes London. Set to open in April, the hotel is working with a range of the best of British suppliers, bringing these to the UAE for the first time. Spread over 15 floors, the hotel will consist of 506 rooms in total. This includes 279 bedrooms of which 64 will be luxury suites, and 20 will make up part of the women-only Duchess floor, plus 227 fully furnished hotel apartments. The hotel will also boast an outdoor infinity pool with dramatic views and the hotel’s private beach as well as an atmospheric indoor pool and cocktail bar on the 15th floor.

JA Resorts & Hotels has revealed the sleek new look for JA Hatta Fort Hotel following an extensive renovation project, retaining its Arabian roots yet wonderfully updated with a 21st century look. Set in the historic and majestic Hajar mountains less than a two-hour drive from Dubai, JA Hatta Fort Hotel has been brought up to date and now offers the perfect tranquil getaway. Set in 80 acres of gardens, the hotel offers various leisure and entertainment choices including two swimming pools, spa, gymnasium, field and target archery range, mini golf course, tennis courts and a mini zoo

Dubai is building its reputation for affordable luxury with the announcement of the first four-star resort and spa on Palm Jumeirah, to be developed by R Hotels. Located on the East Crescent of the island, the new property will feature 259 rooms and modern recreational facilities including a spa, gym, swimming pool, sauna and steam bath. It will also focus on holistic treatments, offering guests a refreshing wellness platform, plus fitness and nutrition programmes.

Having opened its doors in November 2016, the legendary Italian fashion and lifestyle brand’s neoclassical masterpiece is reminiscent of a 16th-century palace, featuring the most opulent designs from House of Versace. Set in the heart of Dubai’s Culture Village, the hotel is plush in aesthetics and lush in verdure. Featuring 215 rooms dressed in bespoke Versace designs, the hotel is a haven of serenity as well as luxury, with several lagoon pools and reflection ponds elevating the tranquil atmosphere of the gardens. The hotel’s eight bars and restaurants include the conceptually-unique Enigma, featuring limited-edition menus that immerse diners into diverse cuisines, as well as Q’s Bar and Lounge, which is music legend Quincy Jones’ first ever bar.

Dubai continues the fun at IMG Worlds of Adventure. The city’s first mega-themed entertainment destination opened in December and features four adventure zones in one destination. With rides inspired by Cartoon Network shows and Marvel superheroes as well as epic adventures such as the dino-themed Forbidden Territory as well as a fun-filled foray into LazyTown, Dubai visitors can find something new every day. Looking ahead, visitors can also look forward to upcoming theme park IMG Worlds of Legends, offering a further nine zones spread over two million square feet and featuring some of the most exciting and popular brands in the world.

When it opens in Autumn 2017 Dubai Safari will be a 119-hectare, 10,000 animal-strong animal park in Al Warqa. The first phase, which will open this year, will introduce lions, antelopes and elephants into the park’s environs The park will offer the wildlife a safe habitat, with enclosures featuring air-conditioned rocks, chilled pools and misting machines to keep the animals cool over the summer months. The attraction’s vast expanse will comprise an Arabian village, Asian village, African village, Americas village and Australia village, and the scale and assortment of the park is sure to appeal to animal lovers of all ages. Plans are also in place for an on-site hotel, giving visitors the opportunity to truly make the most of the incredible safari experience.

Home to the waxy doppelgängers of Barack Obama, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Shah Rukh Khan, Kim Kardashian, Neymar Jr and Lionel Messi, to name a few, Madame Tussaud’s will be making its way to Dubai to open its Middle Eastern outpost following galleries in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, New York and Las Vegas. Set to be located on Bluewaters Island, next to what will be the world’s biggest observation wheel, Ain Dubai, Madame Tussauds Dubai will be a must-visit once it opens, and while the exact celebrity line-up to be immortalised in wax is still under wraps, visitors are sure to recognise some famous faces from around the world and the Middle East.

Dubai’s latest attraction is also one of its oldest dreams. The vision for Dubai Canal was born a long time ago, during the rule of His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, as an extension of Deira Creek and running like a vein across the length of the city linking Business Bay to the Arabian Gulf. The November 2016 opening of the water canal, crossed by numerous bridges and flanked by a winding boardwalk, is just one part of a much larger project that will ultimately feature malls, parks, running tracks, residences and hotels. For now, visitors and residents can enjoy spectacular sunsets along the boardwalk, taking in the Dubai Canal waterfall, while watching the nearby skyscrapers, Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road and Business Bay light up after dark.

Since opening in November 2016 the Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk has become one of the city’s most stroll-worthy spots, featuring 30 Food Trucks, 11 kilometres of walkway and an abundance of spectacular views. Built over the rocks of the Palm’s breakwater and stretching from the Rixos hotel on the crescent’s east side, running past Atlantis, The Palm all the way to the One & Only The Palm on the west, the pedestrian-only boardwalk gives visitors the chance to relax and enjoy Dubai’s stunning skyline from a unique perspective. With a line-up of laid-back and stylish cafés, kiosks and food trucks in the offing, it’s the perfect way to step away from the city’s breakneck pace and soak up the sun.

A tropical paradise in the urban heart of Dubai, The Green Planet at CITY WALK opened in September 2016 and is the region’s first bio-dome, recreating the enchanting world of a tropical forest with its rich biodiversity of over 3,000 plants and animals. The enclosed ecosystem has the rich green canopy and natural vegetation of the tropics allowing indigenous species to flourish and thrive. The building also includes a giant 25-metre tree, which is the largest indoor man-made and life-sustaining tree in the world.

Upscale Japanese restaurant Armani/Hashi celebrates the sea urchin and edible traditions fostered by Japan’s cherry blossom festival together this season with a duo of imaginative four-course menus styled to intrigue the eye and the palate. Guests can enjoy the creamy Uni heart of the spiky sea urchin, a highly prized delicacy fished off the coast of the rugged northern island of Hokkaido and served three ways, including tempura and ceviche, or treat themselves to some of the fresh fish flown in daily. The restaurant offers panoramic terrace views of the iconic Dubai Fountain coupled with the beat of restaurant’s resident DJ while dining on sushi, sashimi and other authentic Japanese dishes for a culinary occasion that will delight all the senses.
After eight years, the award-winning restaurant, RARE at Desert Palm PER AQUUM, has reopened its doors in time for Dubai’s al fresco dining season. Executive chef, Stefan Beutler prides himself on choosing a talented team to bring to Dubai’s buzzing restaurant scene a menu that redefines grilling. The ingredients have been carefully sourced from select local and overseas farms that are known for delivering the best produce. The kitchen has been designed to incorporate an oak burning wood fire grill and the team of chefs have created dishes cooked over slow burning oak.

Dubai’s luxury credentials are indisputable, and Tuscany-themed The Outlet Village offers the crème-de-la-crème of designer brands at affordable prices in a luxe environment. Modelled after the outlet villages of Europe, the shopping spot opened in September and features designs from Roberto Cavalli, Calvin Klein, Tumi, Cole Haan, DKNY, Villeroy and Boch, and Aati, all retailing at discounted prices. Taking inspiration from San Gimignano, a spectacular Tuscan hilltop town and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Italian countryside that is famous for its authentic craftsmanship, timeless style and cultured approach, The Outlet Village reflects Dubai’s sophisticated take on shopping.

The sweeping 2.5 hectare Etihad Museum which opened in January, tells the story of the founding of the United Arab Emirates. Fittingly located next to Union House, where the signing of the treaty establishing the UAE took place in 1971, the museum’s design emulates the waves and folds of a manuscript, with seven columns built to resemble the pens used to sign the original declaration. For visitors looking to take a deep dive into the history of the nation, Etihad Museum offers a plethora of resources. Composed of eight permanent pavilions covering the Union’s key moments, a walk through the museum complex brings the nation’s historic narrative to life: from a documentary film about the history of the UAE, to an interactive map and timeline illustrating the area before the formation, to the complexities of the unification process and the creation of the constitution.
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The region’s first permanent stage show, which goes live in mid-2017, is going to be nothing short of epic, featuring a custom-built 1,300-seat aqua theatre with a pool filled with 2.5 million litres of water serving as the focal point. The performance will feature 65 artists from 23 countries staging stunts including 35-metre dives and 15 kilometres per hour flights around the auditorium on high-powered winches. The high-octane production will be specially-scripted for the city.

Tuk Tuks, Taj and Treatments – India’s healthy future as a medical tourism destination


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A forty-five minute drive from Indira Gandhi International Airport amid tuk tuks, old fashioned Morris cars, trailers and cows and you are in the centre of Delhi.

The old city is characterized by its narrow streets, merchants and street vendors, museums and monuments while New Delhi showcases the five star hotels, impressive embassy buildings, golf course and malls.

India is on the list of global medical tourism destinations. In Delhi, there are three multi-specialist hospitals, each worth considering seriously; The Indraprastha Apollo, The Medanta Hospital and Max Healthcare.

Lower prices for high quality medical care are a serious proposition to interested consumers wishing to arrange treatment while combining the visit with a holiday with family and friends. However, hygiene, safety and third world country perceptions are key questions raised when India is an option to medical tourism.

Visits to these three major hospitals in Delhi provided insight into these concerns. At each, security was very much evident with people and patients channeled through security gates and all bags scanned.

Hygiene is a priority and no food, drink, flowers or medicines are allowed on to the wards from outside. All food and water preparation is managed by the hospital to avoid any infection and to maintain the highest hygiene practices. The wards are calm, quiet and have additional security at the entrance.

Before or after hospital treatment, Delhi and this cultural regional heart of India offers history, colour and amazing sites to provide the full meaning of a medical tourism destination. From Delhi, it is a four-hour journey to Agra and worth the journey to stand in front of the majestic Taj Mahal, so tranquil with that wow factor. This “architecture of romance” stands in pure white marble. With the exception of Fridays, it attracts around 20-30,000 visitors daily, from sunrise to sunset.


A visit to Agra can be done in a day or for those who wish to stay longer, an overnight stay is recommended. Those with high budgets should stay at the butler serviced Oberoi where most rooms have a view of the Taj Mahal in the distance. There are many hotels in Agra of all standards and transport is plentiful around the city.

It’s just a short flight to Udaipur from Delhi. Rajastan’s Udaipur is much quieter and calmer and famous for its mountain backdrops and lakes. The city itself has two distinct areas, the old and the new. Most of the big hotels are located in the new part while Old City houses the City Palace complex, the Jagdish Temple, meandering streets and busy markets.

A boat trip around the Picholet Lake is a must, especially at sunset with a stop to explore the Island Garden, Jag Mandir. It is set in the middle of the lake with manicured gardens, a restaurant and views from every corner. This venue is often used for special functions, frequented by many a celebrity.

Built in yellow sandstone and white marble the City Palace complex was built in 1539 high up to avoid attack. Its three gates symbolize liberty while the original horse stables have been converted to small shops. Leave time to explore as there is much to see with the museums and the palace gates.

Jaipur is a short 35 minute hop by plane from Udaipur, otherwise known as the Pink City, The city was painted by instruction from its founder, Maharaja Jai Singh, in honour of the visiting Prince of Wales, (King Edward V11). It was the first planned city in Asia, designed on a grid system, and portrays a modern, more advanced India, with wider streets, jewellery shops and beautiful architecture styled in palaces and museums. Said to be the second wealthiest city, its history is defined by past Mughals.

A drive past the Wind Palace shows where the Royal ladies were hidden from public view. Around the city, snake charmers seek attention by performing this age old tradition, while monkeys jump from palace roof tops. Talking of heights, climb aboard an elephant to transport you to the top of Amber Fort. It’s safe, fairly comfortable and, in the absence of fog, offers terrific views. There is a respect for the 100 female elephants. The government ensures they make no more 5 trips each day. This amazing site is outside the main city in Amer (Amber), the ancient capital until 1727. Three Kings contributed to the building of the fort which is structured on three levels, while inside are two palaces with glass mosaics, carved screens and mirror work motifs. It was around the City Palace, the Marigold market, and on crowded buses that scenes for the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel were filmed; Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggi Smith and Richard Gere were in town.


Red Fort Delhi

Back in Delhi, the same gifted Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan who brought us the Taj Mahal, also built the Jama Mosque of Delhi and Delhi’s capital, Shahjahanabad, with its magnificent Red Fort. Other places of note to visit include Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar. A rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk defines everyday life of India with merchants draping richly coloured silks to captive buyers, street food offerings and the trailers laden with misbalanced goods manually pushed between the crowds. You will need to hold on tight and keep alert to tuk tuks creeping alongside.


Medical Information:

Costs are drastically lower than those in the UK. Recommended treatment time for a hip or knee replacements is usually 15 days which includes two days prior to treatment to recover fully from the flight, allocated days in the hospital and outpatient physiotherapy and consultations and rest before the flight back.

A patient cannot be discharged until a full medical certificate is issued by the doctor with their permission to fly. Follow-up once back in the country can be arranged via telecommunications.

Insurance companies now recognise such treatments abroad. Details of insurance companies are provided by the hospitals and clinics.

Full patient medical reports are required to be assessed by the doctor/specialist before providing a full treatment package in advance.

Currency is available only on arrival. Be prepared to feel rich, pounds or dollars earn thousands of rupees.

English is widely spoken and many surgeons and specialists have trained and have experience of working in the UK.

For itineraries in India, use a knowledgeable and experienced travel company who know the destination and medical specialists such as ERCO TRAVELS PVT. LTD:

Tourism information:

Wellness tourism sees healthy growth in the MENA Region.


Wellness trips across the MENA region hit AED 26.8 billion in 2014 and, by the end of 2015, the UAE’s spa industry is forecast to achieve revenues of AED 5.5 billion, rising to AED 8.3 billion by 2017. These findings position this sector as one of the most valuable tourism-related industries in the Middle East, with the MENA region as the second fastest-growing market in the world for spas after Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI).

An ageing population, a rise in chronic diseases, increasing medical costs, failing medical systems and the stress of modern and often unhealthy lifestyles are some of the reasons behind the advent of this sector. Those in developing countries are also turning to “wellness” as they benefit from higher incomes and experience the effects of the West’s urban and sedentary habits. These factors combined have led to growing numbers of travellers choosing to take trips focused on maintaining and improving personal health and well-being.

Low cost airlines have contributed to this trend with the growing number of more accessible routes which in turn have opened up borders to more destinations and a wider range of facilities. Advanced technology and ongoing research have broadened minds and beliefs in wellness practices and treatments.

The media too plays a key role in showcasing health across all platforms: from broadcast, print and digital communications as well as the ever-increasing social media arena. Governments are introducing programmes to drive home the health message, public parks and play areas now feature exercise machines while food labeling on products continue the dialogue. This is encouraging more consumers to take responsibility for their own health, and to make lifestyle changes which influence not only nutrition and diet but also travel and holiday choices.

The industry has certainly responded to these changing attitudes and proactive actions. Consumers are defining and driving the industry to focus on complementary and alternative medicine, mind & body, fitness, anti-ageing, cosmetic, weight-loss and preventative programmes.

According to GWI’s 2014 Global Spa and Wellness Economy Monitor report, the UAE will top spa growth in the region by 2017, more than doubling current business volume with 17.9% annual growth since 2012.

Reflecting this industry trend, the Arabian Travel Market this year introduced its first dedicated Wellness & Spa Lounge with 25 exhibitors representing a range of recognised health and wellness hospitality destinations around the globe. These included Alila Hotels & Resorts, Carlsbad Plaza Spa & Wellness Hotel, Verdura Resort, Himalaya Spa Resort, CCR Hotels & Spa, Swiss Diamond Hotel, Divani Collection Hotels, Chenot Group, Velaa Private Island Maldives, LifeClass Hotels & Spa, Sianji Wellbeing Resort and Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda.

Commenting, Exhibition Manager, Nadege Noblet-Segers added, “In our research we found that across all markets, wellness tourism is exceptionally popular, with in excess of 9% year-on-year growth forecasted for the next two years, which is a staggering 50% faster than overall global tourism,”

“Wellness tourists spend on average, 130% more than the average international traveller, which presents significant opportunity for the MENA hospitality industry to target this high profile, high spend market segment with a wide variety of experiences, facilities and products to grow market share,”

But despite the ongoing debate over the definition of Wellness, be it a holistic retreat, a detox hideaway, or a holiday designed to relieve the stresses of everyday life, Wellness Tourism is the new growth area, a niche sector carved within the global travel and tourism industry.

Jane Wilson