Last week I flew to Dubai to attend the M&I Forum which was held at the Westin Al Habtoor City where we were also staying for the duration of the trip. The Forum is an event held for Buyers and suppliers in the hotel, meetings and events industry to network, make contacts and experience the destinations and venues on offer. It’s a great opportunity to get to know other venues and event professionals and to gain valuable contacts in the industry and meet new people.
I flew out on the Monday and arrived at the hotel in the evening ready for the 2-day programme of one to one meetings, site visits and group activities to begin. After a series of back to back one to one meetings on the Tuesday morning up until lunch time where I met with hotels, destination management companies and convention bureaus from various destinations, we then had group activities in the afternoon – mine was cocktail making at the Cin Cin bar at the Fairmont hotel Dubai. We made three types of cocktails which were a Mojito, a Moscow mule and an Espresso Martini and of course got to enjoy drinking them all too! – Definitely my idea of a fun afternoon activity and by the end of it we could all certainly give the barman a run for his money! Tom Cruise eat your heart out! #Cocktail! 😊
After all the groups got back to the hotel from their activities (bet they couldn’t guess which group had alcohol involved in their activity! Lol) it was off to get ready for the first evening event of the trip which was being held at The Meydan hotel where we had a rooftop gala style dinner event overlooking the Dubai skyline and the Dubai racetrack. Greeted with a red carpet and drinks reception with harpists playing in lit up pods, we then made our way further out onto the roof top where the dinner tables were laid out with white linen and LED candelabras alongside entertainment stages and buffet dinner stations that the lined the sides of the roof area. There were acrobats on silks, dancers and a live band and various bars around the roof top and amazing views of the city.
On day 2 we had more back to back one to one meetings up until lunch time networking with more hotels and venues attending the forum before going over to the W hotel Dubai for lunch in the Ballroom where there were again various buffet stations set up around the room and canapés and drinks being passed round, the room was set up as a standing buffet with poser tables so that people could interact and mingle during the lunch and try out the different food stations as well as get a feel for the space in the Ballroom. After lunch the afternoon was free time to do as we pleased and chill by the pool, have a spa or salon treatment in the hotel or see other parts of the city. I went and had a salon treatment and had my hair done ready for night two’s evening events! #selfie ready! 😊
Night two was held at the Atlantis the Palm hotel in the Lost Chambers aquarium with underwater halls and tunnels surrounded by the many different fish swimming around and the event had a Halloween theme complete with gothic decorations and Vodka cocktails made to look like blood bags served by a zombie style doctor! There were again various food stations and bars around the different chambers for our buffet dinner, including an almost life-size human torso cake ready to chop up! They had divers come down into the tanks with signs welcoming us to M&I Forums and a live band for entertainment and you could also wander around the different chambers and see the different aquarium exhibitions themed on Atlantis which house 65,000 different fish and sea creatures. It’s a really amazing space and very unique for an evening event. I (naturally!) found myself with the Irish suppliers on the trip and ended up finishing the night drinking Guinness back in the hotel bar with them until the early hours after a rousing sing along on the coach on the way back to the hotel covering everything from Oasis to Justin Bieber, I’m pretty sure the coach driver may have resigned after that! Ha-ha 😊 Needless to say, the seven-hour flight back home the next day was an experience! Lol
Despite the raging hangover! It was a really great trip, with great people who I will hopefully have the pleasure of being friends with for a long time to come (bring on the Dublin reunion!) and be able to work with for events in the future and I can now tick Dubai off the list as a destination to visit too!