Executive travel: Team bonding at the Tilal Liwa hotel in Abu Dhabi

The Tilal Liwa Hotel may be a little out of the way for most business travellers – but it also has a thriving teambuilding arm to lure in the corporate guest.

Tilal Liwa Hotel near Madinat Zayed in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi is a popular destination for tourists and residents on staycation. Courtesy Tilal Liwa Hotel
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Tilal Liwa Hotel near Madinat Zayed in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi is a popular destination for tourists and residents on staycation.

Visitors shouldn’t be too surprised, however, if they stumble upon groups excitedly trying to construct a tower from spaghetti and marshmallows.

This is one of several exercises designed to generate teamwork skills among individuals on a very different agenda.

Besides hosting those on leisure breaks, Tilal Liwa boosts occupancy via a teambuilding offering directed at UAE companies. The desert property aims to lure organisations seeking to motivate staff or host meetings in alternative surroundings, without the distractions of a city centre-based retreat, by offering team-building activities designed to replicate challenging situations at work.

Team bonding and cooperation is encouraged through games such as a map-based treasure hunt or a “battle of the air bands” in which participants perform a lip-synched version of a song as a unit.

While some of the activities may sound a little tenuous, there’s no arguing with the location. Activities can take place inside or out, including the Rub Al Khali desert or using Bedouin tents on its edge. A team-building schedule can be arranged either in-house or by a visiting organisation.

Tasks completed, Tilal Liwa offers guests the usual comforts expected of a four-star UAE hotel. Wi-Fi is complimentary and mostly speedy throughout communal areas and the 111 guest rooms. Meeting facilities include an LCD projector and stationary. There is a business centre, majlis and a meeting room, plus pre-function area for receptions.

Guest rooms are modern with passive colours. Beneath a bed-facing flat screen TV is a long desk for working, with access to power points. Each has a terrace or a balcony, facing either the dunes or a courtyard.

You’re also supplied with a small stand-alone table and two armchairs and, on the terrace, seating and another small table for a laptop. There’s no power point, so charge up first.

q&a with quad bikes for hire

David Dunn finds out more about the Tilal Liwa Hotel:

How far is it to the hotel?

It’s about a 90-minute drive from Abu Dhabi or three hours from Dubai.

How much does it cost to stay there?

The summer promotion rates start at Dh249 with breakfast and 25 per cent off food and beverages. The delegate package starts from Dh799 per night, including breakfast and lunch, morning and afternoon coffee breaks, meeting room access, LCD projector and stationery and use of the business centre. Rates are subject to 16 per cent service charge and tourism fee and based on a minimum of 10 rooms being booked.

What about dining and downtime?

The main Al Badiya restaurant serves breakfast, dinner and lunch. Refreshments are also available at Al Liwan bar, by the pool and in Layali bar. It is also possible to do BBQ under the stars by arrangement. There is a fitness centre and a pool overlooking the desert as well as table tennis, table football and sand volleyball.

Who uses Tilal Liwa for business and team building?

The hotel says most bookings are from companies in pharmaceuticals, the oil and gas industry and event management, as well as government entities.

What else is there to do in and around Tilal Liwa?

The hotel has quad bikes for hire and reception can book a camel trek or a desert safari. You can also visit the Liwa forts of Jabbana, Qutuf and Mezzaira. And, say hello to Shady, the resident hotel camel.


* The writer was a guest of the hotel

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