AbuDhabi: Yasmeen Eldaly
Awarded twice in one week, one for the Best Family Restaurant in Abu Dhabi, and the second in the Arabian Tourism Market for the Best Family Destination in Abu Dhabi, the Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel (AFOC&H), is a breathtaking unique destination that lure both residents and tourists, said Mrs. Dulce Ortega, sales and marketing director of the (AFOC&H) in an interview.
“The building, the first open armed forces hotel for the public in the world, always seek excellence and ensuring standard of the seven stars hotels services and facilities,” she told Emirates Tourism Magazine. She added more details in the following interview:
- When has the Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel been established in Abu Dhabi?
With a long history and heritage, the AFOC&H was partially opened in 1997 for the UAE Armed Forces and their families. Later on, and thanks to the vision of Late His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan to establish a recreational oasis sharing the heritage, culture and architecture of this piece of art, the AFOC&H was opened to the public. Nowadays everyone can visit the AFOC&H along with families and companions and enjoy the hotel services and facilities.
- Could you explain how the distinctive architecture and design of the AFOC&H helped in luring tourists? What are the prominent features of the building?
The AFOC&H structure is very unique as one of the biggest pillarless building in the world. In 1983, a French architect Roger Taillibert won a worldwide competition to design it with construction eventually commencing in 1987. The club and hotel officially opened in 1997; It featured a falcon, the national symbol, expanding its wings. Standing alone, it is an attractive destination for its diversified fun and adventure like bowling, children village, shooting club with orpaintball and adventures activities. The project also comprised 20 different meeting halls and venues that can host different types of events with a 650-seats theater, and a 10,000 people capacity Garden. In the AFOC&H west wing, there is a five star hotel where the guests can enjoy original Arabic hospitality along with unique Emirati spirit. The tourists love to discover the worldwide unique design and structure of the AFOC&H. We are unique also because this is first armed forces club that has been open to the public in the world.
- Moving to the hotel, how many rooms and suites are there? Please also describe the interior design?
The hotel has 600 overall staying rooms and suits. The hotel East Wing is residential and the other side which is named as the West Wing hotel consisted of 294 rooms with 32 suites. All the 294 elegantly rooms and luxurious suites are embraced by an breathtaking inner garden, which is one of the world’s largest assemblies of 142 species of plants in an indoor location. Unsurprisingly, the hotel was honored with the prestigious British Association of Landscape Industries “BALI” Landscape Award few years ago.
- Could you please brief us on the deals signed with other partners and developers?
We signed a collaboration deal with “Hala Abu Dhabi”, a branch of Etihad Airways hoping to increase the flow of business and visitors into Abu Dhabi, and ensuring the image of the emirate as full of interesting properties and attractions. We furthermore work together with Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau, Sport Council and Abu Dhabi Tourism Authorities to attract exhibitions and more tourism via contributing in many international fairs and road exhibitions. For our wide experience in organizing conferences, catering and exhibitions for main events, mingled with strategic geographical site, we are one of the preferred venues for international special events on medication, sport and security among others. Additionally, our near location to Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre “ADNEC” and to the airport attracts large number of delegations.
- The summer is at the doors, what are your new offers for the tourists and guests in 2016?
We have special offers for our hotel guests where they can enjoy discounts in our attractions facilities. Additionally, “Ramadan holy month” this year will be very important season as we are celebrating in 20thanniversary of our “Ramadan Tournament” organized from our side. It is a very recognized International Sports Tournament with a lot of surprises and more games than ever. “Iftar & Suhoor” meals, provided not only in the hotel but in the outdoor catering area where we feed around 20,000 persons in the “Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque”, give us a very good opportunity to reach and integrate with people. On the other hand we organize lectures and camps for kids along with the “Emirati” show, very special event, and theatre performances.
- What would you like to say to your guests?
The Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel is a breathtaking treasure in Abu Dhabi. It’s a unique destination that features the UAE original and historical features, where you can enjoy the Emirati culture. We invite all to come and visit the AFOC&H for a coffee or brunch in one of our award winning restaurants, whether with family or come for a business event. Only in one week, past one, we won two awards, one for the Best Family Restaurant in Abu Dhabi which is “Al Bathna Restaurant”; and we invite all people to come and taste its meals, the second one is the award of Arabian Tourism Market for the Best Family Destination in Abu Dhabi. We are proud with our service and facilities and I would like to thank all the people who chose the AFOC&H from a wide range of luxurious destinations, for stay, fun, food and leisure, and we are looking forward to welcoming more and more guests from all over the globe, to see our endeavored efforts for excellence and for fulfilling our promises for ensuring our clients with a seven stars experience.