Built in 1899, the Dolder Grand Hotel near Zurich was extensively renovated in 2004 and has views over Lake Zurich and the Alps.
Built in 1899, the Dolder Grand Hotel near Zurich was extensively renovated in 2004 and has views over Lake Zurich and the Alps.

Short on ideas for February 14? Take a mini-holiday with that someone special



February 14 usually marks the time when hotels rack up their prices and restaurants introduce all sorts of silly seating rules and overpriced special menus, meaning that any sensible couple would stay at home for Valentine's Day. The worldwide recession, however, has meant that this year, hotels have been forced to maintain or cut their normal prices to boost occupancies - meaning that the occasion marks an opportunity for an extended weekend break, or at least a night away.

The Dolder Grand Hotel near Zurich (www.thedoldergrand.com; 0041 44 456 60 00) is offering double rooms on February 14 for $830 (Dh3,060) including tax, or a full one-night package including breakfast, a four-course dinner, a 4pm check-out and a one-hour spa treatment for two people for $1,300 (Dh4,780) on February 13 or 14, with a further 20 per cent off the $830 rate for additional nights. Built in 1899, the hotel was extensively renovated in 2004 and has views over Lake Zurich and the Alps. It has 173 rooms, a 4,000 square metre spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant headed by Heiko Neider.

In Prague, perhaps Europe's most romantic city, the Augustine Hotel, a Rocco Forte property built within seven historic buildings, has put together a three-night Valentine's weekend offer for its exclusive 13th-century tower suite. The suite is on three levels linked by a spiral staircase, with a bedroom at the top with 360-degree views across Prague through eight large windows. The luxurious open-plan bathroom on the second floor includes a large double-ended roll-top bath as well as separate shower and there is a spacious living room on the first floor. The interiors of the suite (and hotel) have been designed by Olga Polizzi.

A three-night stay in the tower suite for two people, including daily breakfast, champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries, a five-course dinner in the Monastery restaurant, couples spa treatments and a rose petal turn-down, costs $10,100 (Dh37,000) including tax and a classic double room in the main hotel costs $1,203 (Dh4,420) including tax. Guests will also be able to take advantage of the hotel's "bath butler", who will run your bath and light candles at your request. The rates represent a saving of a third on normal room prices. For more information visit www.roccofortecollection.com or call 800 7666 6667.

Closer to home, with a Valentine's Day Winter Wonderland Ski Chalet Package at the Kempinski Mall of the Emirates in Dubai (www.kempinski-dubai.com; 04 341 0000) couples can enjoy a cosy private dinner in their ski chalet overlooking the slopes of Ski Dubai for $1,090 (Dh4,000) including tax for one night, including dinner and a gift. Outdoors, take advantage of both the cool weather and the soft opening of the brand-new Banyan Tree Al Wadi desert resort in Ras Al Khaimah (www.banyantree.com; 07 206 7777) and enjoy three nights for the price of two. Until February 28, the 100-hectare oasis, which contains a 24-hectare nature reserve, is offering a complimentary night with a minimum of two paid nights; rates start at $630 (Dh2,311) per night, including taxes, for a deluxe pool villa. For those wanting a Valentine's Day package, Desert Romance packages are available from February 11 to February 15 and cost from $865 (Dh3,176) for two including taxes. The price includes one night's accommodation in a pool villa, a rose-petal bath, a sparkling beverage, breakfast and dinner. The resort contains a 3,000 square metre Asian-inspired hydrotherapy spa, a private beach club and an 18-hole championship golf course. The resort is set in Wadi Khadeja, a 20 minute drive from Ras al Khaimah city centre. The nature reserve contains Arabian Oryx, gazelles and camels; activities include hiking, camel riding and falconry.

Those who fancy cruising through Valentine's Day can save up to 50 per cent with Italian travel group Costa Cruises (www.costacruises.co.uk; 0044 845 351 0552). The company is offering a variety of February offers, including an 11-night voyage on the Costa Serena to Spain, Morocco and Madeira, stopping at Barcelona, Casablanca, Arrecife, Tenerife, Funchal and Malaga. The cruise departs from Savona in Italy on February 9 and prices start at $826 (Dh3,040) per person based on two sharing, including tax and all meals: a 50 per cent discount on the normal price.

Alternatively, a 14-night cruise through Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand on the Costa Allegra, stopping in Ujung Pandang, Komodo Island off Bali, Jakarta, Malacca, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, departing Singapore on February 6, costs $1,330 (Dh4,890) per person based on two sharing, including all meals and taxes. This price has been reduced by $503 (Dh1,850). travel@thenational.ae

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Maestro

Director: Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Maya Hawke

Rating: 3/5

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

SPEC SHEET: SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FLIP5

Display: Main – 6.7" FHD+ Dynamic Amoled 2X, 2640 x 1080, 22:9, 425ppi, HDR10+, up to 120Hz; cover – 3/4" Super Amoled, 720 x 748, 306ppi

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 4nm, octa-core; Adreno 740 GPU

Memory: 8GB

Capacity: 256/512GB

Platform: Android 13, One UI 5.1.1

Main camera: Dual 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 12MP wide (f/1.8), OIS

Video: 4K@30/60fps, full-HD@60/240fps, HD@960fps

Front camera: 10MP (f/2.2)

Battery: 3700mAh, 25W fast charging, 15W wireless, 4.5W reverse wireless

Connectivity: 5G; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Samsung Pay)

I/O: USB-C

Cards: Nano-SIM + eSIM; no microSD slot

Colours: Cream, graphite, lavender, mint; Samsung.com exclusives – blue, grey, green, yellow

In the box: Flip 4, USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price: Dh3,899 / Dh4,349

Eyasses squad

Charlie Preston (captain) – goal shooter/ goalkeeper (Dubai College)

Arushi Holt (vice-captain) – wing defence / centre (Jumeriah English Speaking School)

Olivia Petricola (vice-captain) – centre / wing attack (Dubai English Speaking College)

Isabel Affley – goalkeeper / goal defence (Dubai English Speaking College)

Jemma Eley – goal attack / wing attack (Dubai College)

Alana Farrell-Morton – centre / wing / defence / wing attack (Nord Anglia International School)

Molly Fuller – goal attack / wing attack (Dubai College)

Caitlin Gowdy – goal defence / wing defence (Dubai English Speaking College)

Noorulain Hussain – goal defence / wing defence (Dubai College)

Zahra Hussain-Gillani – goal defence / goalkeeper (British School Al Khubairat)

Claire Janssen – goal shooter / goal attack (Jumeriah English Speaking School)

Eliza Petricola – wing attack / centre (Dubai English Speaking College)

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Part three: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

RESULT

Leeds United 1 Manchester City 1
Leeds:
 Rodrigo (59')
Man City: Sterling (17')

Man of the Match: Rodrigo Moreno (Leeds)

Scoreline:

Manchester City 1

Jesus 4'

Brighton 0

Meydan race card

6.30pm: Baniyas (PA) Group 2 Dh125,000 (Dirt) 1,400m
7.05pm: Maiden (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,200m​​​​​​​
7.40pm: Maiden (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,400m​​​​​​​
8.15pm: Handicap (TB) Dh170,000 (D) 1,900m​​​​​​​
8.50pm: Rated Conditions (TB) Dh240,000 (D) 1,600m​​​​​​​
9.25pm: Handicap (TB) Dh175,000 (D)1,200m
10pm: Handicap (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,400m

2018 ICC World Twenty20 Asian Western Regional Qualifier

The top three teams progress to the Asia Qualifier

Final: UAE beat Qatar by nine wickets

Third-place play-off: Kuwait beat Saudi Arabia by five runs

Table

1 UAE 5 5 0 10

2 Qatar 5 4 1 8

3 Saudi 5 3 2 6

4 Kuwait 5 2 3 4

5 Bahrain 5 1 4 2

6 Maldives 5 0 5 0

Start-up hopes to end Japan's love affair with cash

Across most of Asia, people pay for taxi rides, restaurant meals and merchandise with smartphone-readable barcodes — except in Japan, where cash still rules. Now, as the country’s biggest web companies race to dominate the payments market, one Tokyo-based startup says it has a fighting chance to win with its QR app.

Origami had a head start when it introduced a QR-code payment service in late 2015 and has since signed up fast-food chain KFC, Tokyo’s largest cab company Nihon Kotsu and convenience store operator Lawson. The company raised $66 million in September to expand nationwide and plans to more than double its staff of about 100 employees, says founder Yoshiki Yasui.

Origami is betting that stores, which until now relied on direct mail and email newsletters, will pay for the ability to reach customers on their smartphones. For example, a hair salon using Origami’s payment app would be able to send a message to past customers with a coupon for their next haircut.

Quick Response codes, the dotted squares that can be read by smartphone cameras, were invented in the 1990s by a unit of Toyota Motor to track automotive parts. But when the Japanese pioneered digital payments almost two decades ago with contactless cards for train fares, they chose the so-called near-field communications technology. The high cost of rolling out NFC payments, convenient ATMs and a culture where lost wallets are often returned have all been cited as reasons why cash remains king in the archipelago. In China, however, QR codes dominate.

Cashless payments, which includes credit cards, accounted for just 20 per cent of total consumer spending in Japan during 2016, compared with 60 per cent in China and 89 per cent in South Korea, according to a report by the Bank of Japan.

MEYDAN RESULTS

6.30pm Baniyas (PA) Group 2 Dh125,000 (Dirt) 1,400m

Winner ES Ajeeb, Sam Hitchcock (jockey), Ibrahim Aseel (trainer).          

7.05pm Maiden (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,200m

Winner  Galaxy Road, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi.

7.40pm Maiden (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,400m

Winner  Al Modayar, Fernando Jara, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

8.15pm Handicap (TB) Dh170,000 (D) 1,900m

Winner  Gundogdu, Xavier Ziani, Salem bin Ghadayer.

8.50pm Rated Conditions (TB) Dh240,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner George Villiers, Tadhg O’Shea, Satish Seemar.

9.25pm Handicap (TB) Dh175,000 (D)1,200m

Winner  Lady Parma, Connor Beasley, Satish Seemar

10pm Handicap (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,400m

Winner Zaajer, Fernando Jara, Ali Rashid Al Raihe

Results

ATP Dubai Championships on Monday (x indicates seed):

First round
Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) bt Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) bt Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-1, 7-6 (7/5)
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x4) 6-4, 6-1
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) bt Milos Raonic (CAN x7) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4

PULITZER PRIZE 2020 WINNERS

JOURNALISM 

Public Service
Anchorage Daily News in collaboration with ProPublica

Breaking News Reporting
Staff of The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.

Investigative Reporting
Brian M. Rosenthal of The New York Times

Explanatory Reporting
Staff of The Washington Post

Local Reporting  
Staff of The Baltimore Sun

National Reporting
T. Christian Miller, Megan Rose and Robert Faturechi of ProPublica

and    

Dominic Gates, Steve Miletich, Mike Baker and Lewis Kamb of The Seattle Times

International Reporting
Staff of The New York Times

Feature Writing
Ben Taub of The New Yorker

Commentary
Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times

Criticism
Christopher Knight of the Los Angeles Times

Editorial Writing
Jeffery Gerritt of the Palestine (Tx.) Herald-Press

Editorial Cartooning
Barry Blitt, contributor, The New Yorker

Breaking News Photography
Photography Staff of Reuters

Feature Photography
Channi Anand, Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin of the Associated Press

Audio Reporting
Staff of This American Life with Molly O’Toole of the Los Angeles Times and Emily Green, freelancer, Vice News for “The Out Crowd”

LETTERS AND DRAMA

Fiction
"The Nickel Boys" by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)

Drama
"A Strange Loop" by Michael R. Jackson

History
"Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America" by W. Caleb McDaniel (Oxford University Press)

Biography
"Sontag: Her Life and Work" by Benjamin Moser (Ecco/HarperCollins)

Poetry
"The Tradition" by Jericho Brown (Copper Canyon Press)

General Nonfiction
"The Undying: Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Time, Dreams, Data, Exhaustion, Cancer, and Care" by Anne Boyer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

and

"The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America" by Greg Grandin (Metropolitan Books)

Music
"The Central Park Five" by Anthony Davis, premiered by Long Beach Opera on June 15, 2019

Special Citation
Ida B. Wells

 

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Kamindu Mendis bio

Full name: Pasqual Handi Kamindu Dilanka Mendis

Born: September 30, 1998

Age: 20 years and 26 days

Nationality: Sri Lankan

Major teams Sri Lanka's Under 19 team

Batting style: Left-hander

Bowling style: Right-arm off-spin and slow left-arm orthodox (that's right!)

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
MATCH INFO

Euro 2020 qualifier

Croatia v Hungary, Thursday, 10.45pm, UAE

TV: Match on BeIN Sports

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants

Abu Dhabi GP schedule

Friday: First practice - 1pm; Second practice - 5pm

Saturday: Final practice - 2pm; Qualifying - 5pm

Sunday: Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (55 laps) - 5.10pm

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

WE NO LONGER PREFER MOUNTAINS

Director: Inas Halabi

Starring: Nijmeh Hamdan, Kamal Kayouf, Sheikh Najib Alou

Rating: 4/5

Three ways to boost your credit score

Marwan Lutfi says the core fundamentals that drive better payment behaviour and can improve your credit score are:

1. Make sure you make your payments on time;

2. Limit the number of products you borrow on: the more loans and credit cards you have, the more it will affect your credit score;

3. Don't max out all your debts: how much you maximise those credit facilities will have an impact. If you have five credit cards and utilise 90 per cent of that credit, it will negatively affect your score.

States of Passion by Nihad Sirees,
Pushkin Press

Dubai World Cup prize money

Group 1 (Purebred Arabian) 2000m Dubai Kahayla Classic - $750,000
Group 2 1,600m(Dirt) Godolphin Mile - $750,000
Group 2 3,200m (Turf) Dubai Gold Cup – $750,000
Group 1 1,200m (Turf) Al Quoz Sprint – $1,000,000
Group 2 1,900m(Dirt) UAE Derby – $750,000
Group 1 1,200m (Dirt) Dubai Golden Shaheen – $1,500,000
Group 1 1,800m (Turf) Dubai Turf –  $4,000,000
Group 1 2,410m (Turf) Dubai Sheema Classic – $5,000,000
Group 1 2,000m (Dirt) Dubai World Cup– $12,000,000