At this point you have read about most of my travels to the Middle East; however, I saved my time at Diriyah Gate for this last post of my series for obvious reasons — save the best for last, right?
The WTTC Conference set up a special visitation for everyone attending to be some of the first visitors to Diriyah Gate — an ambitious $20 billion heritage and tourism project that will eventually be home to 100,000 people and was once home to King Salman bin Abdulaziz. There will eventually be several 5-star hotels, fine-dining restaurants, shopping and entertainment experiences, but at the time I was there, it was more similar to its roots, with the clay structures that were once the personal mosques of the royal family.
Upon arrival at Diriyah Gate, we were welcomed with Saudi coffee and dates. At this point I was no longer surprised by the gracious and warm welcome that greeted me just about anywhere I went. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the coffee, I always took a date.
Next, a group of local musicians performed a cultural song and dance over hand drums while they performed traditional movements. During the performance we were offered an apple cider-tasting mocktail. At this point, local women and men disappeared to their separate prayer houses to worship for about 10 or so minutes.
The tour of the historic town of Diriyah was led by multiple men and women who worked for the tourism entity. We walked through the town in about 30 minutes as actors and actresses played the part of the city people who would have lived there hundreds of years ago. We saw people harvesting dates, children playing in the alleys and even an Arabian horse decorated in colors and jewels. Arabian horses are much smaller than a horse you would see here in the States. This one had the energy of a puppy with “zoomies.”
The end of the night concluded with Diriyah Gate executives thanking us for being some of the first visitors to this historic hub. It felt really special knowing the people here before were royalty praying in a private mosque, and those after me would enjoy the utmost level of hospitality. I do hope to return one day as hotels and restaurants begin to open, but I will cherish my memories until then.
— Haley Fogarty, advertising manager
There may not be snow in Los Angeles this season, but Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills is certainly full of the holiday spirit, with Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s events happening in the hotel’s gorgeous event spaces.
The Saronic or Argo Saronic Islands of Greece call travelers to explore its seven small islands and islets brimming with history, natural sites and more. With most easily accessible by boat, the islands’ proximity to ports of Athens make the Saronic Islands an ideal destination for those preferring shorter boat rides. In fact, trips from Athens ports to the islands take only between 10 minutes and two hours, depending on the island you choose, making them perfect for day or weekend trips. From Piraeus port, you can access Hydra, Spetses, Aegina and Poros directly. Come explore these stunning islands with us and find the inspiration to plan your next trip to these islands. Hydra Hydra town curves around a slope overlooking the Argosaronic Gulf like an amphitheater and is considered one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. Most unique to the island is its lack of vehicles. People on the island get around on mules and donkeys as well as water taxis, making for a peaceful and laid-back day. Hydra lies a two-hour ferry ride from Piraeus port in Athens.
Incentive travel has long been a way for organizations to drive sales and reward employees with opulent trips to exotic destinations. Today it encompasses even more.
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One affordable plan can protect an entire year of trips: business or pleasure, short or long, domestic or international.
With the holidays right around the corner, travelers are preparing for holiday travels. For those looking for a last-minute getaway filled with holiday cheer, consider Croatia. With a variety of winter activities perfect for travelers and locals alike, the Christmas countdown in Croatia is in full swing. Leading up to Christmas, Advent in Croatia makes it even more worth your while to visit the country with free winter incentives. If you plan on visiting Croatia, here are five cities going all out for the holiday season: