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Mon 1 Jan 2007 05:47 PM

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Rain doesn’t stop play

The recent spell of bad weather across the GCC might have left pedestrians caught out, but for hotels, golf courses and other open-air leisure facilities, it was business as usual

The recent spell of bad weather across the GCC might have left pedestrians caught out, but for hotels, golf courses and other open-air leisure facilities, it was business as usual.

The Dubai Golf and Yacht Club reported healthy visitor numbers despite the wet weather; good drainage thanks to the sand foundations of the course meant that there was no issue of flooding, and despite the heavy rain, there was no lightening, which would have posed a safety risk for golfers.

“The course remained open throughout [the rain], and it was surprising how many golfers still played, even on the days when the weather was particularly un attractive” said Alan MacKenzie, director of golf, Dubai Golf and Yacht Club.

According to MacKenzie, November was the busiest month on record for the number of overseas visitors that came to play at the club, which has a small cache of 275 permanent members.

“I do not think that we had any cancellations. It was wet, obviously, but it was never raining to the point where it was impossible to play the course,” he explained.

“If people are on holiday, they have come out to Dubai and they have already booked their golf. They will generally still want to go out and experience the course.

“Maybe next year, just in case, I might buy some more umbrellas for the proshop, and a few waterproofs, which is something that I have not stocked before.”

Had the rain been accompanied by lightening, the course would have been closed, MacKenzie added.

The neighbouring Park Hyatt Dubai has also proved resilient to the rain, even though many of its F&B outlets have large outdoor seating areas.

“We just had to bring all the various functions inside the restaurant,” explained Maria Warner, marketing and communications manager at the hotel.

“The only thing we have to be careful of is the tiles in the piazza area; we have the yellow warning signs out because it can be slippery.

“If anything, [the rain] has pushed people to use the spa more, which in terms of revenue is a good thing.”

For hotels that cater to large outdoor functions, the weather presented a larger threat, but every hotel that
Leisure Manager

spoke to said that their hospitality teams managed to quickly move functions inside.

“We were holding an outdoor function for 400 people when it started raining heavily during set up,” said Joanna Horn, food and beverage manager, Al Murooj Rotana Hotel & Suites.

“The only solution was to shift the whole function to the hotel.”

“The guest was flexible and understood that there was no other option but to shift everything to the hotel,” Horn continued. “We had very limited time to set up and prepare the room for the function but the event turned out to be a success, nonetheless.”

The Radisson SAS Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek and the Renaissance Dubai Hotel also reported incidents where they had to relocate large outdoor events inside the hotel because of the rain.

Jumeirah reported “a slight reduction” in visitor numbers at Wild Wadi as a result of the recent weather, but confirmed that the water park remained open for business and did receive visitors.

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