Travel news: Saudi Arabia gets its first Aloft hotel and more

Plus: Second Marriott opens in Abu Dhabi; Book a halal retreat in Sri Lanka; Biltmore Hotel opens in Georgian capital.
The new Aloft in Riyadh. Courtesy Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
The new Aloft in Riyadh. Courtesy Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Second Marriott opens in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s second Marriott hotel has opened for business. On the corner of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed and Hazza bin Zayed streets, the Marriott Hotel Downtown is a new-build property with 25 floors containing 283 rooms and 32 suites, a full-service spa, rooftop pool and five bars and restaurants. Rooms cost from Dh556 per night, including taxes. The hotel follows the Courtyard World Trade Center, which opened in Abu Dhabi in December 2014. For more information, visit

Book a halal retreat in Sri Lanka

What’s billed as the “world’s first ever halal retreat” will take place in Sri Lanka in November. The week-long Productive Muslim Retreat, run in partnership with the website HalalTrip, aims to target young, urban Muslim professionals, entrepreneurs and students keen to take time off to reassess their lives, in a structured environment. Accommodation is at the Anantara Peace Haven Resort, near Tangalle. The programme runs from November 19 to 25, and will feature a mix of prayer, sightseeing, fitness activities, productivity workshops and specially catered meals. It costs from US$2,700 (Dh9,918) per person, excluding flights. For more information visit

Biltmore Hotel opens in Georgian capital

A 32-storey hotel owned by the UAE has opened in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi has 214 rooms and is believed to be the first hotel in the country with a presidential suite. The building incorporates the historic, Soviet-era Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute. Owned by the Dhabi Group, the hotel is also the first Biltmore hotel outside of the United States. Another Biltmore is due to open in Abu Dhabi’s Bateen Marina area at the end of this year. Double rooms at the Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi cost from Dh1,430 per night, including taxes. Georgia is seeing an increase in visitors from the UAE thanks to a visa exemption for GCC nationals and residents. For more information, visit

Saudi Arabia gets its first Aloft

Just in time for Haj, Aloft opened its first hotel in Saudi Arabia this week – a 281-room modern block in Riyadh. The hotel offers all the standard Aloft-branded cafes, pool and lounge features, including re:fuel and xyz. Aloft, which is part of the Starwood group, plans to open a further 12 hotels in the Middle East by 2020, with the next being the Aloft Dhahran in Dammam, close to the Bahrain causeway. Double rooms at Aloft Riyadh cost from 595 Saudi riyals (Dh583) per night, including taxes. For more information, visit

Published: September 8, 2016 04:00 AM


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