FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Doing Business in Dubai

by Sharon King Hoge

Nov 1, 2017
November 2017

MINGLE A CHORUS OF ‘‘What a Wonderful World” with a few bars of “Getting to Know You” and maybe add a dash of “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” and you have a theme song for entertaining clients in a city full of international attractions where networking provides an important introduction to business dealings (which may not always start on time). Dubai has its own routine. Clients like to get to know you before signing on; the attitude toward time is relaxed; and locals are accustomed to a glamorous, elegant, international lifestyle.

Businesspeople familiar with the city say it’s almost impossible to take local clients to venues they don’t already know. Instead, for mutual convenience they book a hotel in the Dubai International Financial Centre near the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, where most international corporations as well as the local royals maintain offices. “You never go wrong there, staying at one of the top hotels,” explains Danny Sebright, president, The U.S.–U.A.E. Business Council.

With the Sofitel, Sheraton Grand and the Jumeirah World Trade Centre among half a dozen choices around the financial district, a favorite remains The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre, with décor marrying classic Art Deco design and elegant traditional Arabic elements. Extensive event and meeting space in The Ritz-Carlton features the Samaya Ballroom, decorated with more than 1,000 antique mirrors and a ceiling embedded with crystals. The hotel’s seven options for dining include restaurants specializing in French, Italian and Belgian cuisine as well as the Center Cut Steakhouse. Regular guests and those in Ambassador Suites have access to The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge, where they can entertain executives in its stylish atmosphere with complimentary food and drinks.

Similarly, the Shangri-La, also located near the DIFC and the World Trade Centre, provides the Horizon Club for exclusive guests, as well as Vietnamese- and Chinese-themed restaurants and the lobbyside Dunes Café international buffet. Venues at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, where the country’s ruler can often be seen, include The Rib Room and Mundo, specializing in international cuisine.

While traditionally the best dining venues have been located within hotels, look to impress top executives at the acclaimed exception: the French bistro La Petite Maison in the 10-tower DIFC Gate Village. “It’s a who’s who at meals,” Sebright observes. One of the most expensive restaurants in the Emirate, its menu features Cuisine Niçoise, a Mediterranean blend of Genoa and Nice.

Tourists meet the sunrise on the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa tower. © TOXAWWW | DREAMSTIME

Tourists meet the sunrise on the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa tower. © TOXAWWW | DREAMSTIME

While people doing business with locals might not venture to touristy spots, consider a trip to the top of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, as an attraction for out-of-town clients. The Observation Tower on Level 148 truly sits at the top of the world. Twenty-six floors down, find an exclusive option at At.Mosphere restaurant’s private dining room, seating no more than 16 guests. Nearby venue attractions scattered around the mammoth Mall of Dubai offer places to dine near its aquarium, ice skating rink and renowned colorful dancing fountain show outdoors. Consider the exclusive Armani Hotel Dubai restaurant located on the mall’s ground floor, or treat guests to an authentic American experience at Shake Shack, Le Pain Quotidien, Magnolia Bakery, Rosa Mexicano or Red Lobster, all offering branches within the mall.

A meal at the 52nd-floor Observatory restaurant in the Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites gives overseas visitors a chance to look down upon the showcase manmade Palm Jumeirah islands branched out below. Located in the center of the Palm crescent, entertainment resort Atlantis, The Palm offers a totally global array of eatery options: British chef Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen, Japanese Nobu, Italian at Ronda Locatelli, YUAN for Chinese and Lebanese Ayamna. Ossiano serves seafood at tables next to glass walls overlooking the Ambassador Lagoon.

Golfing is not recommended during the months of April to September when the heat can be overwhelming, but the emirate boasts 11 courses within 30 minutes of each other, “one of the most concentrated offerings of world-class golf facilities on the planet.” Among others, choose from the Emirates Golf Course, opened in 1988 as the first all-grass championship course in the Middle East; the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club with its landmark sail-shaped clubhouse; or book public tee times online for the Trump International Golf Club.

For traveling outside the DIFC, Uber and taxis are available, and the Metro includes a Financial District stop, but the most reliable option is to book a car and driver with the hotel maitre-d’. Cab fare to the airport, about 20 minutes from DIFC locations, costs about $10.

Non-Muslims are expected to respect Islamic norms, wearing conservative dress and drinking alcohol legally only in hotels and clubs. The business day can conclude over fruit beverage concoctions or cocktails. The Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton overlooks the Gulf and hotel gardens. English-themed Alfie’s in Jumeirah Emirates Towers is described as “the consummate retreat for men with a taste for finer things.” The Grand Hyatt’s Cooz Bar features cool jazz for those who choose to wind down the day relaxing to the music of Dubai.

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FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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