SPGLIFE in Abu Dhabi & Dubai

In November I had the pleasure to play a role in the SPG Vienna Destination video that was recently “released” on YouTube & SPG TV in hotels throughout Europe, Middle East & Africa. I was in luck again when they invited me to join ISMRC15 – a conference that would take place in Abu Dhabi. Very basically put: they used my persona throughout the conference, in workshops where participants needed to re:think how to connect & interact with travellers. I’m sure that at the end of the week, everyone was sick of hearing my name 😉 However what the 800 attendees didn’t know, was that the Sven persona was a real person. (although some people figured it out) So I jumped out of a cake.. Another ‘persona’ & I were called on stage for a chat on Thursday. We had a few good laughs and I even took the time to take a selfie. I’ll have a video of that up soon.

There is question though that I received after my presentation on Friday that I would & should answer differently. So I have the chance to do so now.

“Do you think that you as a traveller are representative for a group of travellers?”
*Yes and no. Given the high frequency I travel for leisure purposes, I may not represent the average leisure traveller. However, I do represent Generation Y (millennials) with our specific needs, the constant need to be connected (FOMO) being one while the most important desire is to experience things differently. In a way that it isn’t already published a million times on the internet. Unique experiences…  On the other hand, as an elite member of several loyalty programs I do also represent a group that travels very often, again with specific needs. Needs & wishes linked to status benefits and recognition. Time is money, time is precious. Checking in needs to be swift, but check-in & check-out times shouldn’t really apply to the minute (SPG Your24 being a perfect example). We’re not just loyal customers, we’re not just a name on the card… We’re real persons as well

Anyway, in terms of living the good life.. it was a really really great week in Abu Dhabi & Dubai.

  • visited St. Regis Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island & got pampered during the day
  • Attended the Starwood Hotels & Resorts 2014 EMEA Award Ceremony
    I’ll be visiting a few award winning properties in the months to come…
  • Flightsimulator 747 (http://www.mutahida.com/)
    Two years ago I spent New Year’s Eve in Dubai and continued to Abu Dhabi afterwards for some relaxation therapy. Not just that but I also visited the Al Forsan International Sports Resorts where I enhanced my rifle range shooting capabilities on a 300 meter indoor rifle range. At the time I mentioned a few of their activities, however there was one I didn’t notice myself! A flightsimulator in a 747-400 cockpit! Obviously I needed to do that now.. although ‘passengers ‘ may have gotten a bit sick, the two landings I did were relatively “smooth”! (is Emirates still hiring pilots?)
    flightsimulator-747-abu-dhabi (1)
  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi at night The mosque is beautiful during the day, but it’s even more stunning around nightfall or even better in the evening..
    sheikh-zayed-grand-mosque-abu-dhabi-at-night-2 sheikh-zayed-grand-mosque-abu-dhabi-at-night sheikh-zayed-grand-mosque-abu-dhabi-at-night-3
  • Overnight in Dubai in a Luxury Suite at Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi:
    I even had a hot tub in my suite…
  • Al Maha Resort & Spa in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve: relaxation time after all the hard work…
  • Hashi Restaurant at the Armani Hotel (Burj Khalifa)  the sushi.. the dessert… O-M-(F)-G.

While these are just teasers, I’ll have (much) more (& better) pictures from St. Regis Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island, Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi & Al Maha Resort to come 🙂

When I visited Abu Dhabi & Dubai two years ago, I had a very “meh” feeling about it, the shopping mall next to a shopping mall inside a shopping mall culture didn’t reallty attract me. I always said it are good places to spend a day or two at most before continuing to whatever destination it may be. Well maybe I was wrong and I just didn’t plan it properly, because now I have a feeling I could easily spend a week there living the resort life during the day, party hardy at night and add a few activities such as indoor skiing, visiting the Dubai Conservation Reserve, flightsimulators, karting, … etc.

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