Forty-five years ago this week, Sheikh Zayed opened the Hilton Abu Dhabi, bringing a new luxury - and smoked salmon - to the city
Hilton Abu Dhabi and the Corniche as it looked around 1975. Courtesy Alain Saint Hillaire
On a sunny afternoon in 1973, a group of people gathered on what had been an empty sandbank just a few years before.
They were waiting for Sheikh Zayed, who on May 23 was about to open a building that would change Abu Dhabi for ever.
At around 1.30pm, the late president cut the ribbon on Hilton Abu Dhabi using golden scissors.
On that day forty-five years ago, the late president toured the function halls, swimming pool and tennis courts along with the manager, Ahmed El Nahas.
Afterwards, hundreds attended a lavish state lunch at the hotel’s Liwa ballroom, the police band played while a model of the Maqta Bridge was placed on the centre table.
Built at a cost of Dh38 million, it represented a new era of internationalism for the city.
Abu Dhabi had hotels before. The Beach Hotel had operated on the site of the modern-day Sheraton Corniche, the Al Ain Palace was open, while Al Ain already had its own Hilton.
But this was the first five-star brand in the city, redolent of a glamourous era when top hotels where the place to be seen. Abu Dhabi also desperately needed to cater for the surging number of visitors arriving on the back of the oil boom.
News of the 1973 opening was carried comprehensively in all the newspapers including Al Ittihad, Gulf Mirror and Abu Dhabi News, with Al Ittihad devoting an entire page inside to the opening.
An advert for Hilton Abu Dhabi that appeared in Gulf Mirror, May 1973.
Hilton Abu Dhabi had ten floors, about 180 rooms, five function halls, a bowling alley, arcade games, tennis courts, an outdoor pool with air-conditioned cabins and a view of the Arabian Gulf on one side and Al Bateen beach on the other.
“We drove in cavalcade down a tarmac road through flat desert towards the sea. There was a town there. A new town spreading over the sand. It was Abu Dhabi,” wrote Patricia Holton in her 1991 book, Mother Without a Mask, about the hotel in the 1970s.
“We drove along the seafront to a new Hilton hotel which stood on lonely splendour at one end of narrow road that would eventually become … the Corniche,” she wrote.
“The hotel looked like a fort, standing strong and tall in the desert night. Inside its lobby was cool and broad with a few white couches. The space seemed right for the white-robed Arab men and the long, full skirts of the European, Indian and Mediterranean women who dressed in the evening.”
Hilton Abu Dhabi not only dominated its surroundings, it introduced new foods, higher levels of service and a breakfast buffet of such variety that had never seen been in the city.
New foods included iceberg lettuce, artichokes, smoked salmon, avocado and foie gras. French food dominated the menus and everything had to be flown in from London once a week.
Selim El Zyr was Hilton Abu Dhabi’s first food and beverage manager.
“Smoked salmon – that was a big story,” recalls Mr El Zyr.
“And the vegetables that are today in every supermarket and back streets of Abu Dhabi were then were a novelty,” says Mr El Zyr, who went on to co-found Rotana.
Of course a night at the Hilton did not come cheap. Mr El Zyr recalls a one-night stay cost then cost about Dh450, which is more expensive than a stay today during Ramadan.
The day after the official opening a more informal cocktail party was held. Music was laid on by the Toni Rossi Group, who rocked out in safety helmets and overalls on a stage designed like a scaffold underline the epic effort to get the hotel built. In the middle of the ballroom was a huge model of the new Hilton.
“I must admit to thinking it was a real edible cake, so did a lot of other people,” wrote Janet Godfrey in a lively account of the night for Abu Dhabi News.
“I was not the only one caught poking a sly finger through a 4th floor window to see if it came out coated with jam and cream."
In the years that followed, many new hotels sprung up and trends had begun to swing from business to tourism. By 1994, Hilton Abu Dhabi went through a renovation. The bowling alley became Hemingway’s, the Hiltonia beach club opened, while a new wing added sorely-needed rooms. But it also strove to maintain the spirit and sense of home as those early days. Twelve years ago, Hans Schiller used to walk the Corniche and tell his wife that one day he’d become manager there.
“It’s very seldom that a hotel is 45 years old and still has the spirit. Look at all the modernity around us and people still like to come here,” says Mr Schiller, a German hospitality veteran who has been manager since last August. Many guests come back again and again to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays and for Mr Schiller, it’s like coming home.
Hilton Abu Dhabi's veteran employees, from left, Samir El Kerwash, Naeem Ahmed and Sulaiman Taha. Victor Besa / The National
According to the most recent figures Abu Dhabi has at least 169 hotels and in 2017 welcomed more than five million guests. It now boasts a number of five-star hotels run by Jumeirah, St Regis, Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons. But they all owe a debt to that May 23 day.
“The impact that it made was tremendous,” recalls Mr El Syr. “For entertainment in the city, it was Hilton. If you wanted to eat a decent meal, you went to Hilton. That was the place to be.”
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To watch Neil Bruce comment on SNC-Lavalin's fourth quarter and year-end 2017 financial results, click here.
To watch Neil Bruce talk about the vision and 2018 priorities for SNC-Lavalin, click here.
SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (TSX:SNC) today announces its results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2017.
“We are very pleased with our 2017 performance. Through the acquisition of Atkins, the largest and most transformative in our history, we continued to deliver on our strategic growth objectives while positioning the Company for future opportunities. We divested certain non-core and low growth businesses, further de-risked our business model and applied tighter governance mechanisms to proactively manage our project portfolio,” said Neil Bruce, President and Chief Executive Officer, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. “The integration of the Atkins business continues to progress well and will be fully completed in 2018. We have a positive outlook on growth and confidence in delivering on our 2020 vision. Our backlog is supported by a healthy pipeline of prospects across our sectors and geographies, as well as revenue synergies from our business development efforts in our enlarged group. Our recent selection as a preferred proponent for the Montreal light rapid transit system underscores the quality of our organic prospects and bolsters our reputation as the leader in infrastructure in Canada.”
Bristol wins Innovative Exporter of the Year Award, in Manufacturing, awarded by Dubai Trade on 19 February 2018.
"We would to congratulate Bristol for their prestigious achievement in winning the Innovative Exporter Award. This award is a testament to their continuous hard work and perseverance over the years. Congratulations to us all and to many more years of success! "
Source: Concorde Corodex Group's Facebook page
Mr. Eddy Tannous, General Manager of Fairmont Bab Al Bahr hotel and Mr. Gregory Zoughbi, Board Member and Head of Membership and Sponsorship Committee at the Canadian Business Council (CBC) Abu Dhabi, met at Fairmont Hotel, a five-star luxury hotel located on the waterfront, 4 km away from the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Mosque.Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Hotel recently became a Gold Sponsor of the Canadian Business Council (CBC) of Abu Dhabi.
During the meeting, Mr. Zoughbi presented Mr. Tannous with a plaque of appreciation in recognition and appreciation of Fairmont Bab al Bahr Hotel role in sponsoring CBC and supporting its activities and events.
“It is a pleasure to receive the plaque from Canadian Business Council (CBC) Abu Dhabi; we are very keen on strengthening our ties with the CBC. We will be pleased to support the CBC, host your events and collaborate with you to ensure that they are successful”, Mr.Tannous said.
“Fairmont Bab Al Bahr is a favourite venue for CBC's members and Canadian Business delegations who come here and enjoy the same service quality they are used to in Canada such as at Chateau Frontenac and Chateau Laurier. As a Gold Sponsor of CBC, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr is now part of an elite group of organizations that will benefit from the strength of CBC's brand and its network in the UAE and Canada. In addition, CBC members will benefit from exclusive deals at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr”, Mr. Zoughbi said.
Fairmont Hotels & Resortsconnects guests to the very best of its destinations worldwide, providing travelers with memorable travel experiences, thoughtful and attentive service and luxury hotels that are truly unforgettable. Each Fairmont property reflects the locale’s energy, culture and history through locally inspired cuisine, spirited bars and lounges and distinctive design and decor. With more than 70 hotels globally, and many more in development, the Fairmont collection boasts some of the most iconic and distinctive hotels in the world. This extraordinary collection includes The Plaza in New York, The Savoy in London, Fairmont Grand Del Mar, Dubai’s Fairmont The Palm, Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai, Fairmont San Francisco and Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Québec City. Fairmont is part of AccorHotels, a world-leading travel & lifestyle group and digital innovator offering unique experiences in more than 4,000 hotels, resorts and residences, as well as in over 2,600 of the finest private homes around the globe. For more information or reservations, please visit fairmont.com.
Canadian Business Council (CBC) Abu Dhabiis a non-for-profit organization that represents businesspeople and companies in Canada and in the United Arab Emirates. CBC provides many business events and supports its members to create business opportunities in the United Arab Emirates through a wide network of relationships and contacts in the two countries. CBC membership includes businesspeople that work in the UAE companies and Canadian companies and represent them in the UAE. CBC members share common interests in creating excellent business relations and to strengthen trade relations between both countries.
To reach Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Abu Dhabi, please contact:
Sayad Ibrahimli/Director of PR and Communications
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr
+971 2 654 3333
To reach the Canadian Business Council or for more information about CBC’s membership and sponsorship benefits, please communicate via the contact page at http://www.cbcabudhabi.comor by email at email@example.com
Shaybah GOSP4 that is harnessing standardisation. (Image source: Bell Pottinger)
SNC Lavalin presented a technical session on modular construction for oil and gas projects at ADIPEC 2016 that promoted a 30 per cent reduction in project costs through standardised and modular solutions
The oil and gas sector is under increasing pressure to reduce costs and enhance efficiency for energy projects. Against such a backdrop, standardised designs and modularised construction techniques are the best way for the industry to achieve this, according to experts at SNC Lavalin, a top-tier engineering, procurement and construction group in the Middle East.
“While it is not a new concept in the oil and gas industry, standardisation is fast emerging as the most efficient and economical option in the EPC sector in the Middle East. Implementing standardised designs and adopting a modular approach to processing units can significantly reduce project budgets, project schedules and construction site work, sometimes by as much as 30 per cent,” said Alan McLean, executive vice president, oil & gas, SNC Lavalin Middle East. “This can really be a game-changer for an industry whose players need to spend less for the same output and to the same high standards. Our standardised solutions allow them to do this.”
SNC Lavalin presented at ADIPEC 2016, showing visitors the benefits of standardised and modularised solutions through a series of highly informative interactive displays of its oil and gas projects at its stand on the concourse. The company also showcased its training and simulations capabilities using interactive virtual reality technology. On 8 November, Peter Dennis presented an ePoster session on “Improving Electrical System Efficiency in Oil & Gas Facilities,” and on 9 November, John Jeffers delivered a technical session on “Achieving Predictable Outcomes for Modular Construction in Mega Projects.”.
During the first half of 2016, SNC Lavalin won contracts worth more than USD$1.1 bn in the region, mostly in the oil and gas sector. Representative ongoing oil and gas projects include asphalt production facility contract for Saudi Aramco’s Ras Tanura Refinery in Saudi Arabia, engineering consultancy for Oryx GTL in Qatar, oil processing facility, EPC work for Exxonmobil’s West Qurna 1 field in Iraq and a wastewater treatment project for LAFFAN Refinery 2 for QatarGas.
In 2014, SNC-Lavalin acquired Kentz, a global engineering and construction solutions provider to form an oil and gas group of 20,000 people world-wide, with approximately 10,000 in the Middle East. Together, the firm is a tier 1 engineering and construction leader, offering client-focused, end-to-end engineering and construction solutions across upstream, midstream and downstream projects to many of the world’s leading energy companies.
Abu Dhabi – November 10, 2016 – Al Jaber Trading, a company of Al Jaber Group, in cooperation with Kenworth Truck Company, participated in ADIPEC 2016 that takes place between 7 & 10 November 2016 in Abu Dhabi, Stand No: J5210.
Al Jaber Trading and Kenworth displayed the Model Super 963S “King of the Desert” Heavy Duty Truck.
Mr. Michal Sidani, Managing Director of Al Jaber Trading said: “We are excited to be a part of the ADIPEC 2016. It provides an outstanding venue to meet with our customers, while also displaying the industry-leading Trucks that are focused on supporting the needs of the Oil and Gas businesses”
Ms. Sharon Sidoine, Director of Sales Operations at PACCAR Global Sales said: “Kenworth was the first manufacturer to design off-highway trucks to carry oil rigs in the desert over fifty years ago. We are pleased to display the latest model Super 963S, which is unsurpassed in its ability to carry oil rigs in the deep desert. ”
Some fun facts about the Super 963S:
Picture Caption: H. E. Sultan Almansoori, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the SME Council, speaks with Dr. Ziad Awad, Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin’s Senior Vice President (SVP) and Head of Region, Middle East, India and Africa.
Canadian Government Officials, CBC Board of Directors, and CBC Sponsors and Members Attend the UAE Ministry of Economy’s 7th Conference on SME and Innovation. The event highlighted the importance of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and their contributions to the Economy.
In his speech, H. E. Sultan Almansoori, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the SME Council highlighted the collaboration that was held between the UAE and Canada. He also indicated that the event was held in Canada few years ago as part of this collaboration.
The closed event was heavily attended by Canadian delegates including:
Etihad Airways plans to issue a debut US dollar-denominated benchmark sukuk and will meet investors over the coming days to determine its size, maturity or interest rate, sources told Reuters on Monday.
Investors said the planned Islamic bond, known as a sukuk, could be as large as $1 billion, although one banker involved in the transaction said Etihad has given no specific indication of the size, maturity or timing of the Islamic bond sale.
HSBC, JP Morgan, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and First Gulf Bank are the deal underwriters, according to an investor presentation dated Nov. 3 which was seen by Reuters.
Etihad Airways, owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on what would be its first Islamic bond targeted at international investors.
The airline, whose credit is rated A by Fitch, reported total revenues of about $9 billion in 2015, according to the presentation. At the end of last year it had 121 aircraft and it plans to take delivery of a further 188 by 2026, it added.
Etihad Airways Partners, a funding vehicle for the Abu Dhabi-based carrier and airlines in which it has equity stakes, has issued two bonds since September.
Global 7000 has a range capability of 13,705 kilometres and can fly from New York City to Dubai non-stop
Bombardier’s Global 7000 completed its first test flight over Toronto on Friday, a milestone for the long-range business jet considered critical to the growth of its corporate plane division.
The test aircraft took off from a Bombardier facility in Canada's largest city on Friday morning and flew for about 2 hours and 27 minutes, the company said in a statement.
"The systems and aircraft performed as expected," it said.
Because of previous delays, some investors and analysts had been sceptical that the first flight would take place in 2016, suggesting instead that it would fly in 2017. Bombardier had said the Global 7000 would fly in 2016.
The new jet is scheduled to enter service during the second half of 2018 after being delayed for two years. Competitors in the long-range jet sector include the 650ER produced by General Dynamics Corp's Gulfstream unit, and Dassault Aviation SA's flagship Falcon 8x.
Business jets have been crucial for Bombardier earnings in recent years. Its commercial aircraft business lost money as the company spent heavily to develop its CSeries jet, which entered service this summer after years of delays.
But because of a slowdown in global demand for corporate planes, Bombardier said in September that it would halt completion work for its Global 5000 and 6000 business jets during certain periods in 2017.
The furloughs at Bombardier's global completions centre in Montreal follow a decision in 2015 by the Canadian plane and train maker to cut production of Global 5000 and 6000 jets, citing weak demand from China, Latin America and Russia.
By contrast, the Global 7000 has a "strong order book," Bombardier Chief Executive Alain Bellemare said in a recent interview, although he would not disclose specific sales figures. He said the jet is "critical" to the future growth of Bombardier's business jet division.
According to Bombardier, the Global 7000 has a range capability of 13,705 kilometres (8516 miles) at Mach 0.85 with eight passengers. It can fly from London to Singapore or New York City to Dubai non-stop.
Bombardier shares were down 1.1 percent at C$1.80 in Toronto on Friday.
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