The UAE National Day is being marked by luxury properties in the Maldives, while in the Emirates a new food tour will be hosted around Old Dubai to honour the occasion.

In Saudi Arabia, St Regis launches a new hotel in Riyadh, while One&Only opens in Athens.

Here's a round-up of recent travel and tourism news – in case you missed it.

Maldivian hotels launch UAE National Day offers

With a long weekend on the horizon for UAE residents, several hotels in the Maldives are offering special National Day rates and winter travel deals.

This includes Kandima Maldives – on the three-kilometre-long island resort Dhaalu Atoll – with 264 studios and villas. Stay three nights in a Sky Studio over the National Day weekend on a half-board basis at Dh3,605 per adult with a free group dolphin cruise and spa session for two, plus a 20 per cent discount on diving and water sports. Domestic transfers by seaplane, plus taxes, are also included.

Another option is Nova Maldives, which opened last year, with 76 overwater and beachfront villas, three restaurants, including overwater Teppanyaki and a spa. Stay three nights in a beach villa with full-board including three daily meals, free dolphin cruise and couple's spa session, plus discounts on water sports – for Dh5,290 per adult. Transfers and taxes are also included.

New National Day food tours in Dubai

The UAE hospitality brand Rove Hotels has teamed up with local food tour specialists Frying Pan Adventures to host a specially curated tour in honour of the country's 52nd National Day.

It's a culinary journey around Old Dubai, running on November 30 and December 1. Cross the Dubai Creek on an abra, stroll through the narrow alleyways and try traditional foods, from deep-fried street snacks to an authentic Emirati meal enjoyed while sitting in a carpeted majlis.

Regag bread, claypot almond chai and rose lemonade from the oldest cafeteria in the souq are just a few of the treats in store. It costs Dh175 per person and can be booked through the Frying Pan Adventures website.

Europe's 10 best Christmas light displays ranked

Research from ferry and cruise operator DFDS has determined Europe's must-see festive light displays via an analysis of TikTok videos and views.

London is named the best city to see the illuminations, as Regent Street and Covent Garden are the top two spots to be dazzled by the lights.

The annual Brussels by Lights display in Belgium and Christmas at the Botanics in Edinburgh are also rated among the top five spectacles. Oxford Street, again in London, rounds out the top five.

Bahnhofstrasse's Lucy Christmas lights in Zurich, named after The Beatles' song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, is also ranked in the top 10. As is Colmar's display, a fairytalelike town in north-east France bordering Germany where the buildings are dressed to resemble gingerbread houses each year.

The St Regis Riyadh opens its doors

A new hotel in Saudi Arabia's capital city has opened, marking Marriott International's 500th luxury property globally. The St Regis Riyadh, located in the heart of recently launched destination Via Riyadh, features 83 rooms and 21 suites, plus a two-bedroom Royal Suite with separate living room, dining area, pantry and library. Each room also has floor-to-ceiling windows and walk-in wardrobes.

Dining outlets include The Drawing Room for afternoon tea and light bites, Jackie for American-Greek cuisine and rooftop poolside venue Stella Sky serving sushi and sashimi infused with Saudi spices.

The 1,240-square-metre St Regis Spa, meanwhile, has four treatment rooms, a couple's suite, ice fountain, sauna and steam rooms.

Ras Al Khaimah runs pet-friendly tourism campaign

A feline character inspired by a real cat named Leo, who was rescued by RAK Animal Welfare Centre, is the face of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority's latest brand campaign, showcasing the northern emirate as an ideal place for a pet-friendly holiday.

The emirate is known for its love of animals and pet-friendly properties. Last year, it launched a new programme called Ras Al-K9 to attract dog owners.

This new programme, called All About You, also features an online game where players can use a beach bag to collect holiday essentials and be in with a chance of winning prizes, such as a three-day, all-expenses-paid trip to Ras Al Khaimah and discount vouchers.

New One&Only resort welcomes first guests in Athens

One&Only Aesthesis, which opened in Greece on November 11, harks back to the golden days of the Athenian Riviera in the neighbourhood of Glyfada.

The property, located in a 21-hectare beach and forest reserve, overlooks the Aegean Sea about 30 minutes from the ancient sites of Athens.

It features rooms, bungalows, suites and villas, plus outdoor living spaces, private pools, gardens and fireplaces, paying homage to mid-century design vernacular with marble, timber and woven leather.

Manko is the signature dining spot serving Peruvian-inspired cuisine, while Ora by Ettore Botrini celebrates Mediterranean dishes and El Bar de Paco Morales reimagines Andalusian flavours. Alelia bar, meanwhile, is a tribute to the nation's olive tradition.

A kids' club and Greece's first Guerlain Spa with 10 treatment rooms, a hammam and an outdoor pool also feature.

Premier Inn Middle East begins flash sale

Budget-friendly hotel group Premier Inn Middle East has launched its Purple Sale with hotel rooms available from Dh99 (plus fees) a night across seven properties in the UAE and Qatar.

The flash sale runs until November 29 for stays up to October 13, offering children free accommodation and breakfast.

The hotels included are in Dubai's Ibn Battuta Mall, Al Jaddaf, Silicon Oasis, Dubai Investments Park, Dubai International Airport and Dragon Mart. It also encompasses Doha Education City branch.

2023-11-20T10:57:29Z dg43tfdfdgfd