Al-Ahram Weekly Online   4 - 10 February 2010
Issue No. 984
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875


Valentine's is better shared

AS A COUPLE become closer, the place where they share their special time must be equally amazing. For an ultimate romantic experience on 14 February, Sheraton Miramar El-Gouna is ready to fulfil guests' dreams and make special Valentine's arrangements.

The hotel is known for its exceptional beauty and romantic atmosphere. It offers superb facilities, including unrivalled dinning experiences at its restaurants and bars with dazzling views of the Red Sea and a bounteous array of exotic flavours.

Especially for Valentine's, a variety of massage options are available in five different treatment rooms, and serenity is also available at a unisex sauna and steam room, plunge pool and relaxation area.

Celebrating in style

THE FOUR Seasons at First Residence, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, has several special offers on 14 February. The first, at LE1,400 all inclusive, is a divine evening which begins with a pick up from your home in a 5 Series BMW, with a beautifully packaged box of chocolate and flowers awaiting. This is followed by a succulent three-course menu with access to the special Valentine's Chocolate Buffet. This package requires reservation 48 hours beforehand.

Alternatively, for LE1,800 all inclusive, a couple can choose to stay overnight and feast on a Valentine's dinner. They will be treated to a romantic room set-up with rose petals on bed and special Valentine's amenity, a complimentary breakfast the next day, and complimentary parking.

Other Valentine's attractions at the hotel include a three-course menu at Lai Thai Restaurant, live entertainment and access to the special Valentine's theme Chocolate Sunday Buffet for LE400 all inclusive. For the same price, Seasons Restaurant is offering a three-course Italian meal and access to the Chocolate Buffet. At the Tea Lounge, guests will find a special Valentine's desert menu.

Bonding through sports

TOURISM companies partnering with the Four Seasons Hotel were invited to participate in the second annual football tournament league. Players enjoyed a full day of back-to-back football matches between the companies. The league is an opportunity for Four Seasons employees to thank the companies for their continued support and cooperation.

In the spirit of good sportsmanship, medals were handed out to all players who participated and trophies were given teams to the first, second and third placed teams. As an added surprise, Four Seasons arranged for famous Egyptian player Mohamed Barakat to hand out the medals and trophies to the team.

Four Seasons catering made the event even more memorable by serving lunch all day to the players and their families.

Winning with love

COUPLES who want to win a free dinner for two on 14 February are invited to join in the Valentine's Day party at Sheraton Montazah. A free romantic dinner is the first prize at the tombola party which will feature love songs by a live band.

Guests are advised to make reservations for this special night at the hotel's Caesar Bar Just, and come armed with love and warm sentiments on this special evening.

Whirlwind of experiences

JAYDA, the green jade lounge at Conrad Cairo, hosted a night where guests put on winter clothes, fur coats, ski outfits, ice caps and scarves and enjoyed "Let it Snow" tunes. Gluehwein (hot muled wine with spices) and soups kept the crowd warm and active, and the party included prizes for best outfits.

Jayda's entertainment programme is innovative and varied, including Broadway nights, salsa passion, tango nights and the Friday Lebanese brunch. Jayda is sure to be a hit on Valentine's, with a specially prepared three course set menu by Lebanese Chef Faris.

In celebration of love, Conrad Cairo is preparing a unique four course menu at the recently opened Oak Grill. The restaurant serves the finest grilled, roasted and smoked meat and seafood, prepared on the charcoal grill, roasting oven and the oak-smoker, the restaurant's inspiration and the first in Egypt.

It is open for dinner only, and is inspired by the culinary heritage of Conrad Hilton's family farm in Ullensaker, Southern Norway. A rich verdant landscape, where clean rivers, dense woods and green meadows provide all year round fresh and seasonal food to the table. This is complimented by signature home-made breads baked to order and served warm. The dress code is smart casual, and prior reservation is advised.

Guests are also invited to experience the ultimate romantic experience during an overnight stay in rooms with stunning views of the Nile, a complimentary bottle of sparkling chilled wine, chocolate dipped strawberries and roses. To make your visit even more memorable, the hotel will upgrade a standard room to a deluxe room. This package is valid through the month of February at $169 non-inclusive, per night for two persons.

Annual party memories

STAFF at the Hilton Pyramids Golf were treated to the annual staff party which lasted all day. During the memorable day, all department heads changed places with their team members during a day full of singing, dancing and valuable prizes.

Entertainment was provided by Essam Karika and famous bellydancer Dina.

The Cristal Certificate third time

FOR THE THIRD consecutive year, Hilton Worldwide in Egypt, Hilton Nuweiba Coral Resort was awarded the Cristal Certificate of Achievement by the Check Safety First Company. Check Safety First is a risk management and guest safety organisation, which audits hotels on over 250 health and safety control points to ensure the general well-being of guests.

Check Safety First's Senior Consultant Mohamed El-Degheidi, Cristal Operations Manager, presented the certificate to the hotel's General Manager Gilaine Guirguis in recognition of her team's outstanding efforts and commitment to attaining the highest standards of hygiene and food safety.

"I am pleased to announce that Hilton Nuweiba Coral Resort has successfully achieved the Cristal standard for the third year in food safety, after fulfilling the necessary hygiene and sanitation standards, and practising the food safety management principles according to the pre-set criteria," stated Guirguis.

Talk of the future

US SCIENCE and Technology Envoy Ahmed Zuweil met with 600 members of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) for a vibrant discussion at the Conrad Cairo. This was the Nobel laureate's inaugural visit to Egypt since his appointment by US President Barack Obama, as part of the "New Beginning" initiative with Muslim communities around the world.

The initiative aims to foster collaboration in health, energy, the environment, and science and technology. AmCham members felt Zuweil's perspective was simple and hearty.

A meeting of minds

AT ITS FIRST Cultural Salon Book Launch, the Semiramis InterContinental celebrated the launch Diaries of an Egyptian Princess by Princess Nevine Abbas Halim. The salon is a literary journey giving guests an opportunity to meet and greet prominent writers and artists. Guests were greeted at the Grill Restaurant & Lounge by General Manager Jurgen Baumhoff and the book's Zeitouna Publisher Sherif Borai.

Drawn for her own diary, as well those of her mother and grandmother, Princess Nevine Halim embarks on a journey form one world war to the next, from Egypt to Europe and the US, from a world of privilege to social pariah. We meet her father, the charming rebel prince who clashed with the king and championed the poor. Amidst social whirl, political intrigue, royal gossip, young love, the fairy tale kingdom unravels as princes and princesses dance at the edge.

The hotel was also host to the Syrian Catholic Charity Society's annual Charity Ball. The evening was attended by many distinguished guests and Cairene celebrities, including celebrity actor Hussein Fahmi and his wife. The couple were welcomed upon arrival by Maltese Embassy Counsellor Roger Chakkal and the hotel's General Manager Jurgen Baumhoff. Highlights of the event included tenor Sobhi Bedeir, who swept the crowd off their feet at Cleopatra ballroom.

All that Jaz

EIGHT properties owned by Jaz Hotels, Resorts & Cruises recently won the TUI Holly Award, presented by the German leading tour operator TUI. The award is based on the results of 500,000 questionnaires completed by TUI guests staying at the hotels. The awards testify to the excellence of the hotels.

The winning hotels included Iberotel Makadi Beach Resort, Hurghada; Iberotel Samaya Resort, Marsa Alam; and Jaz Makadi Star Resort & Spa, Hurghada. Award winning cruises include Jaz Senator, Luxor, and Iberotel Crown Impress, Luxor.

Some 10,000 hoteliers compete for the TUI Holly every year, and the German tour operator presents this sought-after award to the best 100 hotels in the world.

Meanwhile, in honour of top producing travel agent and corporate companies, Jaz Hotels, Resorts & Cruises hosted the third Annual Awards Party at Iberotel Cairo Hotel & Casino. The party was attended by key contacts from top travel agencies and corporate companies, in addition to the press.

Guests enjoyed a magical setting for the party and exquisite service. Group Director Of Sales and Marketing Reem Makram presented the awards to the winners of the 2008-2009 competition. Jaz Hotels, Resorts & Cruises has a portfolio of over 42 hotels and resorts, as well as over 18 cruises. Future plans include major expansions in the region.

'Up in the Air' promo

IN ANTICIPATION of the release of Paramount Pictures film Up in the Air, Hilton Hotels gave guests a chance to live the life of a global traveller. Guests who booked a stay at their hotels between 3 November 2009 and 11 January 2010, were automatically entered In the Hilton Up in the Air Sweepstakes for a chance to win a selection of prizes inspired by the film. Prizes include one million Hilton HHonors points, Hilton HHonors Diamond VIP status, a trip to Paris and others.

Several scenes were shot at multiple Hilton hotels and signature Hilton products and amenities are used throughout, including a Hilton HHonors Diamond VIP card made for George Clooney's character, Ryan Bingham. The plot evolves around a frequent business traveller whose life on the road is threatened just as he is on the cusp of reaching 10 million frequent flyer miles, and after meeting the frequent-traveller woman of his dreams. Up in the Air, from Oscar-nominated director Jason Reitman, stars Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick.

The movie will open in Egyptian theatres in February, and Hilton Worldwide Egypt will be hosting a movie premiere night for its top accounts and team members. " Up in the Air is a compelling story set within the world of frequent travellers. As the leading global hotel brand, Hilton welcomes countless guests around the world into our hotels each day and becomes part of their life on the road," Dave Horton, Global Head, Hilton Hotels, said. "It is a true compliment to see Hilton represent the hospitality industry in this film, and we are excited to give our guests opportunities to experience the amenities that these characters and other travellers value from our hotels."

For her part, LeeAnne Stables, Executive Vice- President of Worldwide Marketing Partnerships at Paramount Pictures said: "We are thrilled to have an iconic brand like Hilton as our marketing partner on this film. It was important to our director, Jason Rietman, to have an authentic depiction of life among frequent travellers, and the Hilton team was incredibly supportive of our production while on the road."

Excelling staff awarded

AS PART of its policy to motivate and recognise successful associates, the Human Resources Department at Sheraton Sharm El-Sheikh held its annual staff party to honour staff who strive to achieve and maintain the hotel's high standards reached in recent years.

The party especially recognised team members who have been with the hotel for more than five years, with hotel associates, managers and executive committee members celebrating their outstanding efforts and accomplishments in the past year. In his opening address, General Manager Firas Irsheidat thanked everyone for their dedication and emphasised the need to keep up the good work. Irsheidat encouraged associates to maintain their exceptional care of guests by offering superior services and quality.

A full menu of love

SNUGGLE up to your loved one and enjoy an unbeatable combination of dinner and dance at Aqua e Luce at the Fairmont Heliopolis & Towers. Alternatively, treat your loved one to a dinner buffet at My Kind Of Place and get a 50 per cent discount from 10pm until midnight.

For those who prefer an authentic touch, enjoy a delicious set menu at Egyptian Nights, or indulge in love's sweet moments at Le Marché displaying a special selection of tea and pastries. The new Italian restaurant Leonardo offers a delight in a four course set menu, including a bottle of wine. The hotel promises a royal experience with love on the menu and bands playing all night long at Fuze Bar, Rainbow Bar and Darts.

Meanwhile, the hotel's Vice-President and Managing Director Sami Zoghbi and Senior Executive in charge of Sales and Marketing Sahar Rashed recently announced several promotions and opportunities among their staff. These include the appointment of Shadi Alaa as the new director of sales, travel; Ahmed Fouad to director of sales, corporate; Dina El-Banna to administrative assistant; Sherif Marei to associate director of sales, corporate; Rania Ahmed to senior sales manager; Khaled Ibrahim to sales manager; Khaled Elwan to assistant sales manager; and Amr Shehata to marketing manager.

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