Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Day for mega-rich romantics

UAE hotels hope money can buy ME love

DUBAI - It may not be possible to buy love. But at least you can spend a fortune trying to do so in the United Arab Emirates, where luxury hotels are offering Valentine's Day specials for mega-rich romantics.

Lovey dovey in Abu Dhabi? The Emirates Palace, which bills itself as a seven-star hotel, has the priciest Valentine offer -- a seven-day stay for a cool million bucks.

"Time to show your love to your love," the hotel says. Takers will have a private butler and a chauffeur-driven Maybach luxury car at their disposal during their stay, which the hotel says can be "tailor-made to your design."

Options for the million-dollar deal include a romantic dinner in-suite or on a yacht at sea, helicopter flights, use of the Abu Dhabi golf course, horse riding, watching camel racing, and even making your own perfume.

A private jet is also on call for a quick shopping trip to other countries in the region during the week.

The daily Gulf News quoted sources close to the hotel as saying a Russian businessman had expressed interest in the package.

But an employee told AFP that variations on the deal had been offered for some time, and "we didn't expect to sell any of the packages" because of the world economic crisis.

The hotel does offer a more modest three-day Valentine's deal for about 500,000 dirhams (136,000 dollars). This includes in-suite dinner with live music -- and a diamond necklace for the lady.

East along the coast in Dubai the prices may be lower, but opportunities to lavish largesse on one's loved one are not hard to find.

The Palace hotel -- near Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building -- offers a deal entitled the "Sweet Suite Package" for 9,999 dirhams (2,700 dollars).

The couple stays in one of the hotel's Royal Suites, where they are treated to a candlelit dinner, French champagne and a chocolate fountain. Spa treatment is included to massage away some of those extra acquired calories.

However, one hotel employee told AFP there has not been much interest in the package so far, because "it costs too much."

The Kempinski Hotel in Dubai's Mall of the Emirates has a 5,600 dirham (1,525 dollar) offer, which includes a night in a suite, a four-course candlelit dinner, "pampering at the spa," and breakfast for two.

And the Atlantis hotel, on the Jumeirah Palm artificial island, is offering Valentine's packages ranging from 3,840 dirhams (1,046 dollars) to 6,114 dirhams (1,665 dollars), depending on the suite.

The offer includes spa treatment, champagne, a platter of chocolate-covered fruit and access to watery attractions -- including a swim with the hotel's dolphins.

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