Tag Archives: United Arab Emirates

Dubai Lights Burj Khalifa Up In Pink

Dubai Lights Burj Khalifa Up In Pink

  • Thursday saw the Burj Khalifa become more than just the tallest building in the world. The façade of the building was bathed in pink, to help draw attention and raise funds for breast cancer. The developer of the Burj, Emaar Properties, will see that the lights are turned on for the next two days and will continue it on the same days for the rest of October.

Visitors to the 823-meter tower are encouraged to show their support by dressing in pink. For each item sold by shops in the Tower during the month, one Emirati dirham will be donated to the Al-Jalila Foundation. Founded by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashed Al-Maktoum, the foundation seeks to promote early detection and prevention as well as research on breast cancer.

Dubai Lights Burj Khalifa Up In Pink

The Tower

The ruler also announced this week a new development in the Gulf emirate of Dubai with the construction of The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour. Upon completion, that is expected to be in 2020, it will dethrone the Burj Khalifa to become the world’s tallest building. Set to stand at 828-meters, the tower is expected to cost US$1 billion and will feature observation decks and a 360-degree view of the city.

The slender tower is designed by Spanish-Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava Valls and resembles a minaret that is anchored to the ground with sturdy cables. This new addition highlights Dubai’s reputation for building dozens of futuristic skyscrapers that have transformed the skyline. Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding is building a tower in Jeddah that is planned to surpass the Burj Khalifa, rising more than a kilometer. Obviously, that tower will be taller than even The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour.

Interview: Mohammed Alshaali for Gulf Craft

“If you don’t wake up at six o’clock in the morning thinking about boats, then you shouldn’t be in this business.” For Mohammed Hussein Alshaali, Chairman of Gulf Craft, the emotional involvement goes back a very long way. When he says, “I was born on the beach” it is not a throwaway line. Alshaali’s father was a sea captain in the days when fishing and pearling were the staple maritime trades in what were then called the Trucial States – a British Protectorate that became the United Arab Emirates in 1971. “My father made trading voyages all the way to East Africa, and I was brought up on tales of seafaring and the challenges of the sea,” he reflects, “and these became deeply ingrained in my memory.” There really is salt water in his veins.

The Gulf Craft Head Office

The Gulf Craft Head Office

Early experiences of boat building were strictly experimental – young boys messing about with boats. A fuel tank ‘glued’ together with tar was not something to be repeated. “The boat sank anyway, but fortunately we could swim.” Alshaali survived long enough to collect a degree in Management and Economy from Beirut Arab University and then joined the UAE Foreign Ministry, where a distinguished career took him to Ambassadorships in Washington and at the UN in New York and Geneva. But that’s nothing do with building boats… “All my free time, I always went back to the water. I love fishing. I bought a small boat, a Wellcraft, and shipped it from the US to Dubai… and a year later I bought another one, just 2ft longer. Then my brother and I wondered why we were spending so much money shipping boats, and why didn’t we build them ourselves? And that’s how Gulf Craft was born, in 1982.” (For the record, the company is presently ranked 10th in the 2014 Global Order Book of Superyacht Shipyards).

The Gulf Craft's largest manufactured Superyacht, Majesty 155 being launched

The Gulf Craft’s largest manufactured Superyacht, Majesty 155 being launched

“We used our capital to buy expertise. We bought moulds from the US, but the design was for a lake boat which was unsuitable for the local conditions, so we went back and redesigned… it was a very steep learning curve, and it was a very hectic time,” says Alshaali, but with a smile that says it was also exciting and hugely enjoyable. “We learned a lot during those first 10 years.” The first proper production boat out of the yard was a Colvic 53 designed by John Bennett, and in 1996 Gulf Craft invited Massimo Gregory to design a 77’ motoryacht that gradually expanded itself in an 82-footer. “We sold the first one to the President of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Nahyyan.”

Over the years, many notable names have been involved with Gulf Craft – Frank Mulder and Evan Marshall to name but two. Alshaali thinks for a moment. “We always had the passion, and that was natural, but passion and ambition have to be tempered by ability. This is very important. You really can’t start building 100ft+ superyachts on day one. There is a sort of apprenticeship that you have to go through. A 100ft boat is not simply two 50-footers end-to-end together. It’s going to be almost ten times the volume, and a hundred times more complicated. At each stage of our growth we have been successful because we always ‘listened’ to our ability and kept an eye on the quality.”

Majesty Yachts shipyard

Majesty Yachts shipyard

In 1993 Gulf Craft yachts started appearing in Asia – principally Malaysia and Thailand – and in 2001 the company introduced the Majesty Yachts series, starting with the 66’ and then the 77’. These were aimed squarely at the US market and went on display at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, but the market for a Middle East-built boat was never going to be good in the aftermath of 9/11.

So Gulf Craft went back to building smaller boats, and then gradually expanded all over again. Top of the range are presently the Majesty 125 and Majesty 135 tri-deckers, with a 155 due to be launched in Umm Al Quwain in June this year. “The market has shifted in recent years,” reports Alshaali, “and we are now selling almost 40% of our production straight into the Middle East. We are positioned in a very strategic location – close to the traditional yacht markets of Europe, and on the edge of a fast-developing Asia. It’s a good place to be.” Along the way Gulf Craft have been obliged to develop a super-efficient production supply chain. “We source components from all over the world, and what we can’t find easily and at a good price, we make ourselves. This forces us to produce our yachts in a timely manner and in an economical way. We can’t just go down the road to the chandlery for a different size shackle because we have changed our mind… It encourages attention to detail in the process, and efficient production planning.”Majesty-Yachts

After 32 years of operation, Gulf Craft has staff that have been with the company since the start. Alshaali is proud of that. “Experience is probably more valuable than anything else I can think of. You also need stability in this business: yacht building is a high-value low-units business. It doesn’t work on quarterly returns. Before the global financial crisis there were five very good years of business, but still some builders were saddled with huge and unrealistic debt. If you are not making money in the good times, how can you survive in the lean times?”

Mohammed Hussein Al Shaali, Chairman of Gulf Craft and Erwin Bamos, CEO of Gulf Craft, at the opening of the Singapore Yacht Show

Mohammed Hussein Al Shaali, Chairman of Gulf Craft and Erwin Bamos, CEO of Gulf Craft, at the opening of the Singapore Yacht Show

Mohammed Alshaali has now forsaken the Diplomatic receptions to concentrate on building boats. He still loves to fish, and is able to do so in rather more luxury than he did 30 years ago. And he still wakes up at six o’clock in the morning thinking about building boats.

Story Credits

Text and portrait by Guy Nowell, Editor-at-Large, Yacht Style

This story first appeared in Yacht Style.

Manchester City players

Etihad offers chance to train with Manchester City

While Qatar is counting on the French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain to attract tourists, the United Arab Emirates are betting on Manchester City, a club wholly owned by UAE investor Sheikh Mansour.

Manchester City players

The team’s official sponsor, Etihad Airways will invite a few lucky passengers and their guests (one each) to meet the team’s staff and players — including Samir Nasri, Yaya Touré and other stars.

The lucky winners will join the players and their coaches for a training session, take a behind-the-scenes tour of Etihad Stadium and attend an upcoming game. Transportation and accommodations will be provided for winners who live outside of the UK.

To enter the sweepstakes, soccer fans must purchase an Etihad Airways ticket before February 28 and complete an online form where they enter their ticket number. The winners will be announced in March.

Real Madrid Resort Island

Real Madrid to build $1billion artificial island resort

Real Madrid Resort Island

Real Madrid football club will spend $1bn to build a lavish resort island in the United Arab Emirates, complete with luxury hotels, marina and amusement park.

Executives unveiled plans for the “Real Madrid Resort Island”, featuring an oceanside stadium and hi-tech club museum in the northern Emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah, on the doorstep of the lucrative football-mad Asian market.

“Real Madrid Resort Island will be a major tourist and sporting centre of great dimensions and the highest level,” club president Florentino Perez said.
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Etihad Airways menus

Etihad going organic for First Class meals‎

Etihad Airways menus

Not content with loading professional chefs onto its planes, Etihad has now gone one step further by sourcing daily produce from an organic farm in the UAE.

The products are provided by Abu Dhabi Organics Farms, a prize-winning outfit which is managing to cultivate vegetables and fruits and raise cows, chickens and goats despite the blistering heat of the desert that surrounds it.
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Habtoor Palace dubai

Dubai plans new mega-development to rival Las Vegas

Habtoor Palace

The Al Habtoor Group, a UAE-based development firm, plans to build a new triple-hotel complex in the heart of the Emirate as part of a $1.3 billion project.

The “Habtoor Palace”. formed of two skyscrapers rising from a five-storey podium base, will see over 1,600 rooms added to Dubai‘s hotel scene.

The rest of the complex is designed as a ‘lifestyle experience,’ Al Habtoor says, with a luxury spa and multiple restaurants and banqueting facilities.
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Abu Dhabi city view

Abu Dhabi posts record tourist results

Abu Dhabi city view

A fall in Abu Dhabi‘s hotel prices has prompted a record year for the Emirate so far, according to figures released July 27.

The first six months of 2011 showed the best hotel results in the history of the country, with the number of visitors climbing 11 percent to just over one million.

Authorities hope to break the two million visitor target for the first time this year.
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Prada Milano

Prada announces retail strategy in Middle East

Prada Milano

Prada said on Wednesday it will open stores across the Middle East as part of a joint venture with Emirates luxury retailer Al Tayer Insignia to develop a new retail network.

“The joint venture company, headquartered in Dubai, will oversee the roll out of Prada and Miu Miu stores across the region, leveraging on Al Tayer Insignia’s market knowledge and expertise,” a joint company statement said.

The new retail network will see stores opened in Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, it said.
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Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi

Arabian fantasy for royal wedding

Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi

Luxury hotels in the United Arab Emirates are offering their guests an Arabian fantasy as Britain’s Prince William marries Catherine Middleton on Friday.

The Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, promises “a majestic experience fit for a king and deserving of an emperor” and said it wants to make the day unforgettable for its guests too.

The Palace, which bills itself as a seven-star hotel, offered an overnight stay from a modest $450 to $1,500 (300-1,010 euros) with a royal high tea thrown in.
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caviar factory

Abu Dhabi to build largest caviar factory

caviar factory

Abu Dhabi is closer to building the world’s largest caviar farm after two dozen live sturgeon were flown from Frankfurt in last month.

The fish arrived at the world’s largest aquaculture plant in Abu Dhabi, a new 60,000 square meter facility that is expected to produce 32 tons of caviar a year.

The notion of building a caviar market was an audacious and ambitious one for a desert city.

But as appetites for luxury goods continue to climb in this affluent city, spiking demand for one of the most decadent food products was destined to follow.
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Showroom Rolls-Royce Abu Dhabi

World’s largest Rolls-Royce showroom unveiled

Showroom Rolls-Royce Abu Dhabi

The world’s largest Rolls-Royce dealership has opened in Abu Dhabi as the luxury brand continues its expansion in the Middle East.

Spanning a massive 9,687 square feet, the showroom includes just five Rolls-Royce cars, but also houses a coffee bar, “customer configuration lounge,” and is linked to a new on-site Rolls-Royce service facility.

To mark the opening of the new facility, Rolls-Royce launched a Spirit of Ecstasy Centenary Collection Phantom Drophead Coupé, which forms part of a collection of 100 highly bespoke Rolls-Royce Phantom models.
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Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse

World’s most expensive purse worth $3.8 million

Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse

The House of Mouawad has just unveiled the Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse, the world’s most expensive handbag, valued at a staggering $3.8 million.

The most expensive purse in the world was designed by Robert Mouawad and handcrafted by 10 artisans in over 8,800 hours.

The heart-shaped purse incorporates 18kt gold and 4,517 diamonds (105 yellow, 56 pink and 4,356 colorless) with a total weight of 381.92 carats.
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Burj

AC Milan visit to Burj Khalifa

AC Milan Burj Khalifa

AC Milan reached dizzying new heights on Friday, when they played football at the top of the world’s tallest building, The Burj Khalifa.

With a pitch specially created on the towering 828 metre-plus structure, the AC Milan team took their game to levels never seen before.

The AC Milan squad were in Dubai for their Winter Tour and the Emirates Challenge Cup which was played against Al Ahli Club on Sunday January 2.
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Abu Dhabi hotel regrets $11M Christmas ‘overload’

Emirates Palace Christmas Tree

The Emirates Palace hotel that has been showing off an $11 million Christmas tree now says it regrets the overabundance of holiday cheer.

The Emirates Palace hotel said it regretted “attempts to overload the tradition followed by most hotels in the country” according to Gulf News.

“Putting the Christmas tree… is a tradition meant to share in celebrating occasions guests hold while they are away from their home countries and families”.
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Abu Dhabi Christmas Tree

Abu Dhabi’s $11 Million Christmas Tree

Abu Dhabi Christmas Tree

The Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi – already the home of the world’s first gold ATM – has unveiled an $11 million Christmas tree.

It is the “most expensive Christmas tree ever,” with a “value of over 11 million dollars,” said Hans Olbertz, general manager of Emirates Palace hotel.

Located in the gold leaf-bedecked rotunda of the hotel, the luxury christmas tree is decorated with silver and gold bows, ball-shaped ornaments and small white lights.
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A look inside Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi

Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park and the first with a Ferrari theme, opened on Thursday in the Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The theme park, located near the emirate’s Yas Marina racing circuit, is spread over 86,000 square metres (925,696 square feet).

Its massive red roof covers 200,000 square metres (2.15 million square feet), and features the world’s largest Ferrari prancing horse shield.
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Ferrari World soft opening delayed

Ferrari fans around the world have been forced to wait a little longer for the official arrival of Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi.

The park announced via its Facebook page that the soft opening date set for this week had been postponed out of respect to Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the ruler of Abu Dhabi‘s neighboring emirate Ras Al Khaimah.

Although the official page of the nearby Yas Marina Circuit has said that the park’s opening will now take place on Thursday, November 4, Ferrari World’s call center confirmed that the final opening date was still under discussion.
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Abu Dhabi vies with Dubai for cruising crown

Abu Dhabi is set to challenge Dubai for dominance of the region’s fast-growing cruise market, announcing October 25 that MSC will become the first cruise line to call the emirate home.

MSC Lirica, a 59,000-ton, 2,199-guest liner, will be the first ship ever to use Abu Dhabi as a home port, beginning October 2011.

It will sail 19 seven-night cruises from Abu Dhabi’s Mina Zayed Port, traveling round the Arabian Gulf peninsula to Muscat, before turning round en route for the UAE’s eastern emirate of Fujairah on the Indian Ocean.
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Rolls Royce Phantom Shaheen & Baynunah For UAE

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has announced that new Bespoke Phantoms have arrived in Abu Dhabi.

The cars are based on two different motifs which are inspired by the city’s rich culture and natural landscape.

The two Bespoke Phantoms in question are inspired by Shaheen (a very famous falcon) and by Baynounah (one of the historical places in Abu Dhabi City).
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UAE decision to ban BlackBerry services ‘final’

A decision to suspend key BlackBerry smartphone services that were deemed noncompliant with the laws of the United Arab Emirates is “final”.

“The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s (TRA) decision to suspend certain Blackberry services from October 11th is final,” WAM quoted a statement by TRA director-general Mohammed al-Ghanem as saying.

“We remain open to discussions in order that an acceptable, regulatory-compliant solution might be developed and applied,” WAM quoted him as saying.
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