Symran Lee is senior consultant at Grass Roots Meetings & Events, having joined in 2016 from Fortnum & Mason. During her degree in Hospitality Management at Portsmouth University, Symran earned a wealth of experience in meetings and events with PPHE Hotel Group, Michael Wisher, Flemings Mayfair and Hampton in Boston, Massachusetts. She is also proud to have been part the London 2012 Olympics.
Four islands, three hotels and a dune buggy
Abu Dhabi has more than 200 islands and is the growing capital of the United Arab Emirates. Recently Symran Lee, senior consultant, visited three hotels and four islands to research the meetings and events options, and here she describes her remarkable experience.
Meeting rooms 7
Maximum capacity 530
Four Seasons in Abu Dhabi is part of a 34-story luxury complex with restaurants, shopping and entertainment situated on the Al Maryah island. The hotel is set on 13 floors and is popular for its incredible spa; the Dahlia Spa. It has an amazing food and drink offering at six restaurants and lounges.
Yas Hotel, Marriott
Meeting rooms 15
Maximum capacity 600
Yas Hotel by Marriott is on Yas island and is an architectural striking building. I’d recommend this hotel for corporate clients in professional services as its smart and modern. The hotel has a contemporary feel with every room having views over the Yas Marina circuit or the Marina. It also has 11 dining options, spa and rooftop pool. Out of all the islands I visited, Yas island seems the best suited for team building as you have access to the circuit course.
Emirates Palace, Kempinski Hotels
Meeting rooms 40
Maximum capacity 2,400
The Emirates Palace really stands out as you drive towards it- it's a glistening palace! The vast hotel has over 40 meeting rooms, six large terraces, an auditorium and ballroom. Other amenities consist of two gyms, spas, three bars and nine restaurants including a Hakkasan. There's no doubt that it is utterly unique.
Arabian Nights Village
Hidden in the sand dunes, Arabian Nights Village is a must-see destination. The only way to arrive is on dune buggies through the sand hills as it's in the dessert. The first sight of the village is of authentic looking huts with a pool and palm trees. It's a hidden gem full of fun local activities, including: camel riding, sand boarding, henna tattoos and belly dancing. Its immersive private dining experience allows you to sit on the floor and eat Arabic food.
Butcher & Still
Butcher & Still is a well positioned restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel and has a great feel with a terrace looking over the Gulf. Its a Chicago steak house with a 1920's theme and excellent food and drink. Its differentiating feature is that it has a secret private dining room which can only be accessed in a lift.
Eclipse Terrace Lounge
The lights at night are all on the simmering screens and it looked spectacular with the views. The Eclipse terrace bar is also in the Four Seasons and is a fabulous option for atmosphere and socialising.
Saadiyat Beach Club
The beach club is on Saadiyat Island and is the perfect place for a layover or if you have some time to spare. It has a pool, beach and four food and bar places with overall great vibes. A bonus is you don’t need to be a member to visit – just buy a ticket.