Valentine's Day: UAE hospitality industry pulling out all the stops for a memorable experience

With packages catering to all, residents and tourists will be spoilt for choice



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By S.M. Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 11 Feb 2022, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 13 Feb 2022, 8:54 AM

As February 14 approaches, Dubai is set to transform into a lovers’ haven, in celebration of the most romantic day of the year — Valentine's Day. Easier Covid restrictions, as well as high vaccination rates in the UAE, have led to restaurants, hotels, cafés and resorts making this day memorable.

There has also been a 60 per cent increase in hospitality-related business, in comparison to the previous year.

With packages catering to all, residents and tourists will be spoilt for choice, when it comes to planning the perfect date— from blissful moments of relaxation in resorts and hotels, to sumptuous meals from places across the city. The entire hospitality sector is looking forward to the big day.

Sanjay Vazirani, CMD, Foodlink Global Restaurants and Catering services LLC, said that special days such as Valentine's Day gave them a chance to make some seriously profitable connections with guests.

“Festivities and special days increase consumer spending during a very short window of opportunity.”

“At India Bistro we are offering a special set menu at both WTC and Sharjah outlets along with some special arrangements and contests at all the outlets,” he added.

Eti Bhasin, Owner, Dhaba Lane, agreed that the day was truly a special time to cater to couples.

“With the ease in restrictions imposed by the UAE, the hospitality sector in general will benefit, from hotel all-inclusive packages to offers at F&B outlets for couples, it would boost more revenue.”

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Hoteliers are not only gearing up to decorate venues, but are also considering making their hotels more colourful in other ways. Valentine-themed menus have been set, in keeping with the spirit of the celebration.

Hari Kaimal, CEO, Goldmead Hospitality Services, said: “Everything that can depict and show love is around our venue… from heart shaped balloons and confetti to red colour uniforms that our staff are wearing. It's not just the ambience but also the menu has been prepared and given names as per love themes.”

Rayyan Rizvi, Managing Director at Yoko Sizzlers, confirms that "there will be candles, roses and balloons to set the mood, and of course, mouth-watering delicacies for making it special for you and your partner over tempting sizzling dishes".

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According to Vazirani, market research indicated that 20-30% of people liked to eat out with their loved ones on such days, making it a big deal.

“Approximately 10-12% of men and women are also known to use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to get together with friends and family."

The people believe that Dubai is the perfect city to celebrate the day of love, owing to easier Covid-19 restrictions, high vaccination rates, and the Expo 2020.

Bhasin further explained that compared to the previous year, 2022 seemed to be better, in terms of business growth.

“It isn't only because of occasions like Valentine's Day but also with Expo 2020 happening at this time as well, we have seen the last quarter give us a 30% boost in sales, compared to last year's 4th quarter,”

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Kaimal said that he hoped to see more visitors with the ease in restrictions and the success rate at which the vaccination has been administered.

“We have been getting a lot of queries with regards to Valentine's Day plans because of our panoramic view of the Dubai skyline, which, with the setting sun, can prove to be a perfect romantic rooftop.”

Say it with flowers

Every year, during the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, Emirates SkyCargo also transports some of the most popular gifts distributed on the day. The top 5 commodities that are transported on Emirates SkyCargo during this time are flowers, chocolates, luxurious perfumes, watches/jewellery, and electronic gadgets.

Flowers, in general, and roses, in particular, are by far the most popular gifts for Valentine’s Day. In January 2022, more than 3,000 tonnes of flowers, freshly grown in various countries, were transported by Emirates SkyCargo across the planet.

Chocolates, another universal favourite, is a popular gift option— not only for Valentine’s Day but also for other celebrations. Emirates SkyCargo transported more than 150 tonnes of premium chocolate around the world, during January and February 2022, with a sharp surge in the week before Valentine’s Day.

Perfumes are also high-demand gifts in the weeks leading up to the big day. Over the last week of January alone, Emirates SkyCargo moved more than 200 tonnes of luxurious perfumes from cities in France, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands, to the rest of the world, just in time to stock retail shelves for Valentine’s Day itself.

Expensive watches, jewellery and other accessories are also gifting favourites for special occasions.

Lastly (but definitely not the least), electronics, especially mobile phones and tablets, are in high demand as gifts for Valentine’s Day, with shipments witnessing a rush in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.

Special treats

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Many cafés and restaurants are offering exciting deals that can make your Valentine’s Day memorable. Special dinners, drinks and cocktail menus are being offered at Dh299 (per couple), up to Dh1,500.

Numerous restaurants, like the Señor Pico Restaurant, Level 43 Sky Lounge by Four Points Sheikh Zayed Road, Fogueira Restaurant and Lounge, Masterchef, The TV Experience, Ikigai Resto + Bar, Risen Café & Artisanal bakery, The Blacksmith Bar and Eatery, The St. Regis Dubai, The Palm, and more have special treats for people celebrating the day.

Some hotels have come up with romantic staycation packages for couples, starting from Dh1,500, up to Dh35,000. The Ritz Carlton DIFC has promised a memorable and romantic package, starting at Dh1,795, which goes up to Dh35,000.

With so much love in the air, Dubai truly brings out the spirit of Valentine's Day, and the importance of giving out love, in the pandemic.

ayaz@khaleejtimes.com


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