Al-Ahram Weekly Online   4 - 10 October 2007
Issue No. 865
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875


Hotels & resorts

Ramadan festivities

ALTHOUGH the holy month of Ramadan is more than halfway over, hotels and resorts are still competing to attract guests to their Ramadan activities.

In Ramses Hilton Hotel you can break your fast at the Terrace Café Restaurant and savour the sumptuous Iftar buffet. For Sohour you can experience a traditional Ramadan evening at the Garden Court Café where you can enjoy popular beverages and delicious Ramadan specialties and have a relaxing evening with your friends playing backgammon, cards or dominos along with the sound of traditional Oriental music and lively Ramadan songs. A raffle will be conducted every Thursday and the winner will receive a valuable prize.

If you want to experience an Iftar and Sohour in the unique surroundings of sandy shores and waves, then visit JW Marriott where you can enjoy "Laialy Mirage" an ultimate trendy lounge setting with superb Iftars and Sohours, shisha, Oriental takht and a live band.

At "Laialy Mirage", the hotel offers its guests world class cuisine, fantastic entertainment and an exclusive atmosphere.

In Alexandria, the bride of the Mediterranean, there are various options for Iftar and Sohour. If you want to celebrate in style, then Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano is the venue. Iftar, which has a Mediterranean twist, is served in the hotel's Kala restaurant. It includes juices, hot and cold mezzas, salads, grills, a shawerma station and much more mouth watering dishes. Later in the evening a Ramadan Sohour banquet is served. It includes Sohour drinks such as karkade (hibiscus) and tamr hindi, hot and cold mezzas, and traditional desserts such as Om Ali and kunafa.

Iftar and Sohour menus are also available from room service for guests who wish to spend the evening in the privacy of their own room, while enjoying the marvelous Mediterranean view.

Sheraton Montazah Hotel in Alexandria, facing the royal Montazah Gardens, is also presenting a variety of food items at the daily Iftar buffet at Café Coquillage as well as various special Iftar menus made for groups. For entertainment Sahlala Café and La Terrace present Oriental takht, oud playing, live songs and Sohour.

For more attractions Sheraton Montazah offers a special package during Ramadan where you can book a double room on bed and Iftar buffet or breakfast buffet basis for rates starting at LE480 including taxes and service charge. The offer is valid until 12 October.

Hyatt mission

IN VIEW of Hyatt's role in developing the community and providing highly skilled candidates to the tourism industry, Grand Hyatt Cairo conducted a training programme for more than 250 students for three months during their summer vacation.

The objective of the programme was to provide a true training experience for students to experience a real work environment and to be well prepared to work in the hospitality business after graduation.

Hilton's online groups service

HILTON Hotels Corporation is the first hotel group to offer a personalised online conference and events management tool across all of its properties worldwide. The Personalised Online Groups (POG) service offers a straightforward way to organise and coordinate an event online.

POG is a customised online booking tool designed for coordinating delegate accommodation for meetings, conferences or big events, and will be offered to all events and conference organisers booking 10 guest rooms or more per night. The customised event page is fast and free to set up, taking as little as three to five working days to create.

All event delegates will receive their own dedicated URL, which will allow them to access their event's customised webpage and book their own hotel room at the negotiated rate. They will also be able to download and print the event itinerary, link through to the Hilton hotel website, download destination guides and e-brochures, and see any changes to the event's agenda.

"POG is a very powerful tool for conference and event organizers," said Azza Serri, regional director of business development, Hilton Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon & Africa. "By offering companies an attractive and customised webpage, their delegates can make their own booking arrangements allowing the organiser to concentrate on the actual event itself."

Serri added that POG's save time and energy by doing much of the work bookers do -- entering long lists of names, checking requirements, flight times, birth dates and passport numbers.

To find out more about this new service, visit hiltonforbusiness

Stay connected in Marriott

CAIRO Marriott Hotel has joined the "While in Egypt Stay Connected" project. The hotel has fulfilled the new norm-NN-criteria set by the Egyptian Hotel Association in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism that will bring the Egyptian accommodation business in line with international standards.

Cairo Marriott Hotel has also contributed in increasing the awareness of Internet connectivity by applying broadband Internet access which covers all of the hotel's public areas, business centre and all guest rooms.

Winning chefs at Conrad

CONRAD Cairo recently honoured its chefs who won 11 prizes in Egypt's Salon Culinaire competition. The chefs won one trophy, five medals and five awards.

The winning chefs stressed their constant drive for excellence in every detail so as to serve dishes that are tasty, presentable and healthy.

New appointment

NAGUI Arafat, general manager of Marriott Sharm El-Sheikh Beach Resort, recently announced the appointment of Lamia Assem as the marketing communications manager of Marriott Red Sea Resorts.

Assem has long experience in the tourism and hotels business, starting from 1993 where she worked in Le Meridien, Hyatt, Sheraton, InterContinental and Iberotel.

In her new assignment, Assem will be responsible for Marriott's three resorts in Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada and Taba while implementing new marketing strategies, enhancing the image of the Marriott Resorts in the local and international market and maintaining the high standards of the well established Marriott Red Sea Resorts as the leading hotels in the market.

Airlines & airports

From Cairo to Budapest

HUNGARIAN Airlines is to fly four weekly trips between Cairo and Budapest to connect between the two capitals and a number of European, American and Canadian cities.

"The decision by Hungarian Airlines to operate in Egypt is a result of the tourism boom that Egypt is currently witnessing and the increase in the number of tourists to Egypt, 9.1 million tourists in 2006, and the great expectations to increase the number to 10 million tourists by the end of the year," Elhami El-Zayyat, president of Emeco Travel and general sales agent of Hungarian Airlines in Egypt, said.

El-Zayyat added that Hungarian tourists had become attracted to Egypt and that there was a big demand from the market which led the airliner to appoint a sales agent in Egypt. "I believe that the Hungarian tourist movement will witness a big boom after operating Hungarian Airlines in Egypt as this development helps in taking Hungarian tourists directly to Egypt and facilitates the movement between Egypt and the cities of central and Eastern Europe which are connected by Hungarian Airlines," El-Zayyat added.

Weekly trips to Marsa Alam

STARTING this month, EgyptAir's domestic and regional company, Express, will fly two weekly return trips from Cairo to Marsa Alam on Sundays and Wednesdays. Marsa Alam is one of the booming tourist cities to the south of Hurghada on the Red Sea and includes some of the most virgin diving spots in Egypt.

Express has also received three new EMB 170 planes, increasing the number to six. Each plane accommodates 78 passengers which suits local and regional needs, according to Express officials.

Emirates Ramadan offers

EGYPT-based customers of Emirates Airline visiting Dubai during Ramadan can avail of two nights' accommodation in their hotel of choice for as little as $66 per person per night. From 12 September to 12 October, Egyptian passengers travelling to Dubai can enjoy a two-night stay with buffet breakfast at a choice of six select properties: The Seashell Inn Hotel, Traders Hotel Dubai, Highland Hotel, Marco Polo Hotel, Al Bustan Rotana Hotel and Al Murooj Hotel & Suites. Additional nights can be purchased but must begin and end within the validity of the offer.

The packages are available to all passengers regardless of class of travel and include a meet and assist service at Dubai International Airport by a uniformed representative of Emirates' destination management company, Arabian Adventures.

The packages, not valid for groups, are booked only on availability and all inbound and outbound flights into and out of Dubai must be on Emirates.

For more information log on to:

Lufthansa winter packages to the US

TOGETHER with its Star Alliance partner United, Lufthansa has put together an attractive and wide-ranging package for all America fans. There are 100 dream destinations to choose from right across the United States -- from Boston to Honolulu, from Miami to Portland -- and flights are available at extremely reasonable prices. You can go Christmas shopping in New York for as little as 369 euros, enjoy powder snow and après-ski in Aspen starting from 579 euros or surfing in Hawaii for 899 euros. Starting November, flights will be available to Orlando, a new Lufthansa destination in Florida, the "Sunshine State", for just 499 euros, while fares to the popular West Coast city of San Francisco start at 599 euros. This special offer brings the most attractive US cities within easy reach.

The special fares for Lufthansa flights to the 100 US destinations listed are for a return flight in Economy Class from Frankfurt or Munich.

Passengers can obtain information about Lufthansa flights and make reservations via the Lufthansa Call Centre on "0180- LUFTHANSA" (0180 5 83 84 26), through designated Lufthansa travel agencies or at Lufthansa sales counters at airports.

Etihad flies to India

ETIHAD Airways has set its sights on eight cities in India for new air services from its base in Abu Dhabi.

The airline's chief executive James Hogan met Praful Patel, the Indian minister for civil aviation and senior government officials to press the carrier's view that there is a burgeoning yet unfulfilled demand for flights between India's emerging cities and the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Etihad is currently constrained by an inter-government bilateral air treaty to operate just 28 flights a week from the UAE to India.

The airline's eight cities for the new services from Abu Dhabi are Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderarbad, Calicut, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Jaipur and Kolkata.

Etihad currently operates daily flights from Abu Dhabi to the commercial capital Mumbai and national capital New Delhi and three-flights-per-week to Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and four to Kochi (Cochin). Both Kerala routes will increase to daily flights from October, bringing the number of weekly services flown by Etihad from Abu Dhabi to India to its ceiling of 28 flights.


Xclusives & Kaza Club rewards programme

KAZA Royal Club, the private VIP hotel and restaurant loyalty membership card in Egypt and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, recently announced a strategic marketing alliance with Xclusives, a long established restaurants and retail loyalty programme with the largest share of the Egyptian market.

The new membership bundle gives members and cardholders ultimate privileges in dining, hospitality and retail that offers customers a unique reward programme with special discounts and entertainment incentives.

Each member of Kaza Royal Club and each Xclusives cardholder will enjoy 12 months of Royal Corporate Membership, 15-20 per cent discounts from 600+ restaurants, up to 20 per cent discounts in various top-notch retail outlets across Egypt and low corporate hotel room rates at all partner 4- and 5-star hotels throughout Egypt and the Middle East and North Africa region.

"We are excited about this new innovative strategy which brings together the largest hotel and restaurant membership programme with the largest retail marketing programme in Egypt," David Home, CEO and managing director of TVB Group International, said. "Both products compliment the other and the new combined product offers an unmatchable privilege and value bundle to our joint cardholders." TVB Group International is the parent company, owner and operator of Kaza Royal Club throughout Egypt and the Middle East.

Italian fam trip to Taba

A FAM trip was organised recently for 100 Italian tour operators to Taba in south Sinai to get acquainted with the tourist potential of the area. The trip was organised by the Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Tourist office in Rome in cooperation with EgyptAir and a number of hotels and travel agencies.

"The Italian market is considered one of the important markets exporting tourism to Egypt," said Amr El-Ezabi, head of the Egyptian Tourist Authority. "The number of Italian tourists was 800,000 in 2006, spending six million tourist nights. Indications this year show a 15 per cent increase during the period from January to July 2007 in comparison with last year."

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