Ajman (UAE): This is one 'dry' place where guests are crowding to enjoy a unique concept in hospitality. Tucked away in the UAE's emirate of Ajman, the Ajman Palace Hotel takes pride in its halal-friendly tag.
Located on the beach-front that gives an endless view of the Persian Gulf, the Ajman Palace Hotel is a popular destination for travellers from Central Asian countries as well as those Muslim families which want to abide by the rules of Islam.
"We wanted to establish the property as a unique one. It is alcohol-free and focussed on family guests. We have worked very hard on making this concept (halal friendly) popular and our guests have given us a very encouraging response," hotel general manager Ferghall Purcell, who hosted the G8 leaders when he headed the Lough Erne Resort in Northern Ireland in June 2013, told IANS here.
The absence of liquor in a 5-star property may be seen as a hindrance by many, but this is "not an issue at all" for the Ajman Palace management (managed by Hospitality Management Holdings or HMH), as Purcell put it.
The high point of the hotel is that it has become a much sought-after venue for all-women's parties during weddings due to its 'halal friendly' concept.
"We have the largest hotel ballroom in the northern Emirates. We are a hit for weddings and big conferences. We recently hosted a big fat Punjabi wedding with guests travelling here from across the globe. Everyone went back happy with memories to cherish," Purcell said.
The Al Saalah Ballroom can accommodate over 1,200 people.
The hotel, located among a chain of top properties along the Corniche road in Ajman, has hosted nearly 60 weddings this year.
It has its own 150-metre-wide private beach that can be enjoyed at any time, particularly between October and March.
With 254 rooms in the semi-circle shaped hotel, getting a sea-view room is an option. The hotel offers an array of food - ranging from local Arabic flavours to Indian sub-continent to continental to Japanese, among others. For those wanting to indulge in some evening fun, the open-air 'Seesha' bar is an attraction.
"Our guests can find 34 different kinds of sushi in our Asian restaurant Dragon's Place," its manager said.
"Balancing world-class facilities with the legendary Arabian hospitality, it offers 254 rooms, suites and serviced residences, a remarkable range of restaurants and lounges, fabulous meeting and event venues," Purcell noted.
The hotel itself is a multi-nationality place with the staff hailing from 27 countries.
Property: The Ajman Palace Hotel (5-star).
Location: Ajman (capital of Ajman emirate); adjoining Sharjah city.
Distance: 11 km from Sharjah International Airport; 22 km from Dubai International Airport.
Activities: Pool, sea beach and an array of leisure and recreation options at Lifestyle Club, including a spa and state-of-the-art fitness facility.
Price range (rooms, suites, residences): $175 to $550 (Rs.12,000 to Rs.36,000)
(Jaideep Sarin was on a private visit to Ajman. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)