You just move-n-pick it, balloons. For two dirhams each on Valentine's Day, at the Movenpick Hotel, Bur Dubai, where the "biggest ever heart in the UAE" will be built on February 14. The heart will be built as a 'Gift of Hope' for children in Iraq and Iran ...

By Sushil Kutty

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Published: Sun 8 Feb 2004, 3:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:34 AM

the money raised by selling balloons will be donated to children's charities in these two devastated countries.

And Movenpick Hotel, just six months in Dubai, has a string of other charities planned for the coming months, one of which will be a '24-hour run' tenatatively planned for just before or after next Ramadan, which could begin on a Thursday evening and be carried forward to Friday morning by when the entire city would have heard about it.

Movenpick Hotel general manager Thomas Tapken is like a man driven when it comes to helping children in need, and sports. The Terry Fox Run on February 6 saw a 60-strong contingent from the hotel take part. Tapken has plans to fly in participants from Asian countries for the proposed 24-hour run.

'We are extremely proud to be the first Swiss hotel in Dubai and would like to give back to those in need. As February 14 is the most romantic day of the year, let's give back to those with broken hearts,' Tapken told City Times.

Movenpick Hotel has joined hands with Swiss International Air Line, Aptec (Nokia), Wafi City, Dubai Travel & Tourism, CBI and Planet Hollywood to raise money for the children of Iraq and Iran by building the biggest ever heart in the UAE.

The balloons have been on sale from January 15 and can be picked from Movenpick Hotel, Bur Dubai. As for the biggest ever heart, Tapken estimates it would take 4000 balloons to build it on a metal frame and net.

The heart will stand in front of the hotel and when complete will be over 12 feet high and everyone will be able to see it on the morning of February 14. Many of the balloons will be sponsored by companies. Balloons sold, in advance and on the day, will be 'popped' from 5 pm onwards and lucky winners will find their prize information inside them.

'We are creating a charity event, and we think we will be able to sell it to customers, the revenue generated will go to children in need. We have other charities planned for the future. Movenpick has the resources, the public relations, coordination and management expertise to pull it. And we are looking for companies to assist, also get the community involved ...we want to create something, create even a new lifestyle,' said Tapken.

The focus is on children in need. 'Children need all the help, especially those in real need. We adults can help ourselves but not children,' said Tapken.

'We are a very strong group ...with the most number of rooms (232) in the UAE. We have plans to set up another hotel in the UAE in two and a half years' time,' said Tapken.

Movenpick is a multinational Swiss group, started in 1948, with core competence in gastronomy, hotel operations and wine. The chain has a total of 52 hotels and of them 26 are in the Middle East, with Movenpick Bur Dubai the first in the UAE. A seagull (Move in German) picking a morsel in mid-flight gave name to the company.

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