Intercontinental Dubai Marina, Dubai
Freshly opened in the Dubai Marina district, this 328-room property has bolstered Intercontinental's existing presence in the emirate. There are nine meeting rooms, the largest of which can take up to 100 delegates, while the hotel's headline F&B attraction from this month (September) will be Jason Atherton's Marina Social - the Michelin-starred, British chef will oversee a menu with a Mediterranean influence.
The property's location will likely prove part of the appeal for many, with Dubai Media City, Jumeirah Beach and Dubai Marina Mall all sitting within ten minutes' drive. Other stand-out features include a spa, health club and outdoor pool, while for those organisers looking after VIPs, there are 24 suites.
Marsa Malaz Kempinski, Qatar
Qatar isn't short on new and upcoming hotel projects, but the Marsa Malaz Kempinski - open since the start of the year - is one of the most notable for the C&I market. It is located on The Pearl (Doha's own manmade island in the style of Dubai's The Palm) and has 281 rooms and suites. Two ballrooms cater for events, with the larger of the pair able to take 1,600 theatre-style. There are also six smaller spaces.
Externally, the hotel has a similar look and feel to the Emirates Palace, Kempinski's large-scale Abu Dhabi property. Other features for organisers to be aware of include a private bay with outdoor pools, a Clarins spa and a yacht jetty.
Zaya Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi
A very different proposition from many of Abu Dhabi's hotels, but one that is ideally suited to high-end incentive groups is the Zaya Nurai Island, which is reached via a ten-minute speedboat ride from Saadiyat Island. It opened earlier this year on a partly natural island with 32 one-bedroom beach villas and 12 larger, two-storey 'water villas'.
Activities on site range from scuba-diving and snorkelling to kite-surfing and cycling, with a soon-to-arrive spa providing a further way of unwinding.
All-day dining is available, with an emphasis, where possible, on locally sourced food, and the resort also offers a range of activities such as yoga classes and art workshops.
Four Seasons Bahrain Bay, Bahrain
Looming above the Bahrain capital, Manama, to a height of 68 storeys, the newly inaugurated Four Seasons Bahrain Bay isn't one you'll have to spend much time searching for on the skyline. Its 257 rooms and suites occupy floors 11 to 28 of the building itself, which was designed by international architectural firm SOM, and organisers can also make use of reception space for up to 750 and a banquet area for 550.
On the dining front, there are no fewer than three Wolfgang Puck restaurants and lounges - the highest of them on the 50th floor - as well as two signature Bahraini eateries. The hotel is likely to become one of the kingdom's highest-profile C&I options.
Fairmont Ajman, UAE
The lesser-known emirate of Ajman, which is located only half an hour away from Dubai, might not shout as loudly as its UAE neighbours, but this new Fairmont property should pique the interest of event planners. There are 252 rooms and suites, each equipped with all mod cons, and the hotel sits on a 200m-long, white sand beach.
The property as a whole aims to showcase Arabian traditions and hospitality, but event planners will also find a cigar and cocktail lounge and an a la carte Italian restaurant. There's a large ballroom for meetings, together with spa, infinity pool and water-sport options.
Anantara Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, Oman
Currently scheduled to welcome guests from late 2015 onwards, the Anantara Jabal Al Akhdar Resort will be perched on a canyon rim 3,000m above sea level, making it the highest five-star resort in the Middle East. The remote mountain location is a manageable two-hour drive from Muscat International Airport, and a total of 115 rooms and villas gives it definite potential for groups.
Event space comes in the form of a banquet hall for up to 200, as well as two smaller meeting rooms, while other eye-catching facilities include an infinity pool, a stargazing platform, five restaurants and bars and the obligatory Anantara Spa. It represents a first step into Oman for the Thai-based hotel group, which already has several properties in the UAE.
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