Gran Meliá Arusha takes brand into Africa for first time

Gran Melia Arusha albwardy

Gran Meliá Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening the first property under the flag in Africa, Gran Meliá Arusha.

Based in the heart of Arusha within northern Tanzania, the exclusive east African resort will be the perfect base for visitors looking to explore the natural beauty of some of Africa’s most striking landscapes, including the Serengeti and Kilimanjaro.

Gran Melia Arusha is a new addition to the extensive collaboration between Meliá Hotels International and Albwardy Investment.

Meliá Hotels International already successfully operates five Albwardy hotels: Meliá Zanzibar and Meliá Serengeti Lodge in Tanzania, Gran Meliá Iguazu in Argentina, Meliá London Kensington in the United Kingdom, and Meliá Desert Palm also in Dubai.

The luxury hotel will boast a convenient location for both international and regional travellers, located just a 45-minute drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport and 20-minute drive from Arusha Airport.

The property will also lend itself well to business travellers, offering a state-of-the-art conference centre and meeting facilities in the diplomatic hub of Tanzania.

Gran Meliá Arusha will feature 171 exquisitely decorated rooms and suites designed with earthy interiors and contemporary furniture to provide a relaxing atmosphere for guests.

The rooms are complete with private balconies, offering panoramic views over Mount Meru and the hotel’s luscious surrounding gardens.

Dubai beat VS King Power to lift polo's Gold Cup at Cowdray Park

Dubai beat VS King PowerTwo exciting semi-finals brought victories for Top Srivaddhanaprabha’s VS King Power team over Park Place and Ali Albwardy’s Dubai against Scone Polo, taking them to Sunday’s Gold Cup final – a repeat of the 2014 showpiece.

VS King Power, who have added VS to the team’s name in memory of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha who lost his life in a helicopter crash at Leicester City’s stadium in October 2018, altered their line-up for the final.

Vichai’s son ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha was No1 as usual, but Polito Pieres took the No2 slot, Marcos di Paola moving up to three and Juan Martin Zubia playing at back. Dubai kept their line-up unchanged with 16-year-old Camilo Castagnola at one, Rashid Albwardy at two, Bartolomé Castagnola at three and Ignacio du Plessis at back.

Chukka one opened with Pieres immediately on the attack, his first attempt at goal going wide. A couple of minutes of frantic action resulted in a penalty being awarded to Dubai which Camilo Castagnola sent from 30 yards to secure the opening goal of the match for his side. A lovely steal by Polito was the making of goal No2, with Zubia picking up the ball and sending it between the posts. Polito won the ball from the throw and tore to Dubai’s end to make it 2-1 for King Power. Camilo and Bartolomé  Castagnola produced three goals in chukka two, and, with just one from Pieres for VS King Power, it ended with Dubai 4-3 ahead.

A fast and tough chukka three saw a spot penalty awarded to KVS King Power in front of Dubai’s goal, which Polito sent through to equalise, but Bartolomé answered with two goals for Dubai and at the end of the first half it was 6-4 in Dubai’s favour. The massive crowd went out to tread-in and when the fourth chukka got under way, a fantastic piece of play saw Polito Pieres leave the ball for Zubia, who obliged with a huge lofted shot to score goal number 11 for VS King Power. Rashid Albwardy won the ball from the throw-in but di Paola grabbed it back, Zubia stopped Bartolomé from snatching it while di Paola came through and passed to Srivaddhanaprabha, who made a superb goal to make it 6-6. Another fantastic goal from Srivaddhanaprabha and King Power were ahead. A 30-yard penalty awarded to King Power just as the chukka was drawing to a close enabled Polito Pieres to extend the lead to 8-6. A frantic fifth chukka saw spot penalties produce a goal for each side before a fantastic shot, hit from way back, saw Polito Pieres take VS King Power on to 10-7. His next goal came from a 60-yard penalty and it was 11-7 in VS King Power’s favour.

 Dubai won the next throw-in but with Bartolomé  challenged by Pieres, his young brother coolly slipped through and scored, the chukka ending at 11-8 to VS King Power.
 The sixth chukka opened with a swift goal from Camilo, then it was his brother’s turn to shoot a mighty goal. Camilo won the ball from the throw-in and there was a scramble in front of VS King Power’s goal which resulted in a whistle. Bartolomé  calmly sent the ball through the posts from 60 yards and it was 11-11. The excitement levels grew. VS King Power won the throw-in and Pieres scored to take his side into the lead again. Srivaddhanaprabha saved the ball from Dubai’s next attempt at goal, but, aided by the power of du Plessis, Bartolomé evened up the scores at 12-12 before the whistle blew. The match went into a seventh chukka. Away went Zubia with the ball, but du Plessis struck out for the other end. Srivaddhanaprabha made a great clearance, the ball taken on by di Paola, Pieres and then Zubia who raced away to Dubai’s goal only to send the ball wide. Off down the boards raced Bartolomé, the wonderfully intuitive combination with his brother which we have seen throughout this Gold Cup tournament coming to the fore as Camilo dived forward with the ball and put it through.

Dubai had won the King Power Gold Cup 13-12 in breathtaking finish.

Jon Rudkin, director of football for Leicester City FC, presented individual prizes to all players, tournament umpires and commentators before handing the coveted Gold Cup to Rashid Albwardy, son of the Dubai patron. The MVP award went to Pieres of VS King Power; Open Chacota, owned and played by Srivaddhanaprabha, was voted best playing patron’s pony, and Rebalde, owned and played by Camilo Castagnola, was awarded best playing pony of the match, with a rug presented by Lila Pearson. Ali Albwardy, patron of Dubai said: “It was such an exciting match. I’m proud of all the boys in this young team, they played fantastically – in fact, both teams had a wonderful match. “The game was entertaining to watch, hard, fast and exactly what polo should be. I thank Cowdray Park Polo Club for their fantastic organisation of the tournament.”

Worlds biggest Rotortug named at Albwardy DamenWorld's biggest Rotortug named at Albwardy Damen

This January, Albwardy Damen in Sharjah hosted a naming ceremony for the world’s biggest Rotortug, the ART 100-46 RT Raven. The vessel will be operated by Perth-based KT Maritime Services Australia, a joint venture partnership between Kotug International and Teekay Shipping Australia.

The 46m long Infield Support Vessel (ISV), RT Raven is built to a Robert Allen design, and features DP2 and a 100 tonnes bollard pull capability. The new tug, built at the Sharjah yard, will be used for offshore support operations and has been designed and outfitted for operations in the Timor Sea. In particular, Albwardy Damen points out that RT Raven has been specifically designed to meet the field’s unique marine service requirements, which include tanker berthing and operations support, including emergency response.

Speaking at the delivery ceremony, Lars Seistrup, managing director of Albwardy Damen, commented: “This is a special vessel in many ways. It is the biggest Rotortug ever built, and it is also one of the most powerful tugs ever built in the UAE. We are very pleased with the end result which is the consequence of close cooperation and teamwork with the client.”

Albwardy Damen is a joint venture between Albwardy Investment, Dubai, and the Damen Shipyards Group, Holland. Both are family owned companies with a long history. The company provides shipbuilding and ship repair services to the marine and oil and gas related industries in the Middle East, and currently has a total workforce of around 1100 people of 26 different nationalities in three UAE locations- Dubai, Sharjah and Fujairah.

Meliá  Hotels International has set plans to open two new hotels in the UAE in 2018. 

melia desert palmDubai

The first hotel—Dubai's Desert Palm Hotel—will be rebranded as a Meliá property through a partnership with Albwardy Investment Group, the hotel's owner. The official rebranding for the 38-guestroom Desert Palm Polo Club & Resort by Meliá is scheduled for July 1.

This will be Meliá's fourth partnership with Albwardy, following three others in Tanzania and Argentina: the Meliá Zanzibar and Meliá Serengeti Lodge in Tanzania and the Meliá Iguazu in Argentina. The Desert Palm Dubai originally operated under the Per Aquum brand by Minor Hotels before Meliá agreed to take over operations earlier this month. 

The group’s Me by Meliá Dubai—the first Me by Meliá in the UAE—is scheduled to open after its hotel with Albwardy begins operating. Architect Dame Zaha Hadid designed the 93-room hotel with 98 serviced apartments while developer Omniyat is developing it in the Opus building in Downtown Dubai’s Burj Khalifa district.

Desert Palm Retreat Dubai 005Albwardy Investment-owned Desert Palm rebrands

Desert Palm, a luxury boutique hotel in Dubai which was owned by Albwardy Investment, is being rebranded as Desert Palm Dubai and will be independantly operated.

Since opening its doors in 2008, Desert Palm has been Dubai’s little oasis of calm on the edge of the city.

The 160-acre private estate was formally opened by HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Originally created as a haven for owner Ali Albwardy’s personal enjoyment of polo, Desert Palm Dubai is set in the graceful, serene, manicured surrounds as a private polo estate. The retreat boasts four polo fields, a riding school and stabling facilities for over 300 horses.

As part of Albwardy LLC’s portfolio, Desert Palm Dubai has become a firmly established retreat, spa and fitness destination within the UAE community and stylish society.

James Reeves, general manager said: “The future of luxury hospitality will be to celebrate guest’s individuality, imagination and to redefine the code of unpretentious service. Our retreat focuses on continuously improving services using the ease of technology for in-house guests, enabling them to book experiences around the city from the privacy of their suites and villas, or simply reserving dinner at Rare to booking a spa treatment."

"Although we recognise that technology should not be seen as a ‘replacement’ for guest services, rather we believe it should enhance it. At Desert Palm Dubai, we focus on you so you can decide when you want something and how you want it as opposed to your stay being defined by breakfast, lunch, dinner," Reeves said.

The hotel focuses on the elements that makes the guest’s experience truly private - from the surrounding appeal of a boutique property to the sense of intimacy in certain spaces. "It is always important to keep some things classic and personal,” he said.

Situated as an oasis opposite the new Dubai Safari Park, which is slated to open later this year, and near IMG Worlds of Adventure, Desert Palm Dubai features 38 guest suites and villas, an infinity swimming pool, organic-specialised treatments at Lime spa, Rare as the fine dining restaurant that masters Argentine-style Grill, a relaxed poolside brasserie, the chic lounge Red bar or the outdoor Polo bar.

Desert Palm Dubai is an elegant, equestrian-themed boutique hotel and basks in the lush landscape to provide a refreshing, avant-garde contrast to the conventional flamboyance of the city’s sky-scraping image. The hotel’s culture is providing guests with everything they need for a relaxing and timeless experience from the fast-paced business hub’s lifestyle.

Taking cues from its rebranding celebration, guests will receive beautiful benefits when reserving directly from their new website on