Enjoy a safe holiday this summer

Ireland has finally released its own “green list” of countries from where travellers no longer have to quarantine for two weeks.

Just 15 countries made the cut, but the UK wasn’t one of them.

Other popular European holiday destinations, such as France, Spain and Turkey, were also excluded.

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Apart from the 15 countries on the list, and those travelling from Northern Ireland, all other arrivals into the Republic of Ireland must continue to self-isolate and restrict their movement for 14 days.

The new Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he would be taking a “cautious approach” when it comes to foreign travel.

However, the publishing of a list of quarantine-exempt countries is sending “mixed messages”, claimed a spokesperson for former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, reports the BBC.

The Irish government is still advising against all non-essential international travel.

The Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade says on its website: “The Irish Authorities advise against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice.”

A statement from the Irish government said that, following the list’s publication, enhanced measures including an Electronic Passenger Locator Form, more rigorous follow-up procedures, a call centre operated by the Dublin Airport Authority, and a proposed testing regime for symptomatic passengers at airports and ports, would be introduced.

It follows Northern Ireland’s announcement that it would no longer require travellers arriving from 59 countries to quarantine from 10 July. Its list was the same as that of England and Wales.

Scotland released its own list, which was identical barring two omissions: Spain and Serbia.

Ireland’s list of “green” countries:

  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia 
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Norway 
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia 

What are the special staycation packages that The Meydan Hotel has lined up for guests this season?

To celebrate our hotel reopening, The Meydan Hotel has launched the Lovin Meydan Summer Campaign which includes the following unbeatable getaway offers and activities:

Pool Day Use offer at Dh150 per person consisting of all day access to our Infinity Pool and Food and Beverage credit equivalent to offer price (Dh150). Applicable to bookings on Sundays through Thursdays.

Daycation offer at Dh249 for a family with 2 kids consisting of access to a Grand Superior Room from 9 AM till 6 PM and hotel facilities as well as 25 per cent discount on food and beverage.

Staycation offer at Dh399 consisting of an overnight stay for 2 adults and up to 2 kids with breakfast (In-room Dining or Farriers Restaurant) as well as 25 per cent discount on food and beverage. Guests staying 3 nights save 10 per cent and those staying 5 nights save 15 per cent.

Stay and Dine offer at Dh499 consisting of a staycation for 2 adults and up to 2 kids with breakfast (In-room Dining or Farriers Restaurant) and Dh200 credit fully redeemable towards Food and Beverage.

All these offers and more are available on our website and through direct calls to the hotel. Guests can also live chat with us via WhatsApp at 056 525 4040.

Are there any special offers that guests can avail if they book directly with the hotel, what are these benefits?

Guests booking directly with us can enjoy a complimentary upgrade to the next room category and free early check in and late checkout based on availability.

What are the safety precautions that the hotel has in place in keeping with the current health scenario?

The Meydan Hotel understands its responsibility to the community by taking extra measures to ensure the safety of all guests and staff alike and implement the highest levels of cleanliness and hygiene practices. Based on this, we have embarked on an alternative cleaning approach to reinforce the understanding of the ordinary hotel cleansing procedures and add to our already high-level cleaning standards.

The hotel also received the prestigious Bureau Veritas’ Safeguard label – to ensure high hygiene standards throughout the hotel. All staff have undergone professional infection control training equivalent to a hospital grade process. Enhanced and innovative disinfection technologies such as electrostatic sprayers, hospital grade chemicals, ultraviolet light vacuum machines, UV box sterilisers, steam cleaners and cold fogging machines will be used throughout the hotels.

Shurooq launched the Sharjah Collection by Mysk, a boutique hotel concept, as part of its ongoing strategy to promote the Emirate as one of the region’s leading cultural tourist spots. Mysk by Shaza through The Sharjah Collection unveils the soul of Sharjah and reveals the essence of this Emirate through the balance of luxurious accommodation, heritage and a unique ecosystem, Arabian culture and hospitality. Consisting of the Mysk Kingfisher Retreat, Mysk Al Badayer Retreat and Mysk Al Faya Retreat, the Sharjah Collection by Mysk is a group of distinctive boutique hotels, ecoretreats purposefully located in key locations throughout Sharjah.

Mysk Kingfisher Retreat

Located on Sharjah’s east coast, arrive at the resort on a private boat that takes you to your private island with a modern tent and its own private pool designed to provide comfort, privacy and amazing views of the Indian Ocean.

Experience With exclusive access to a pristine ecosystem that embraces its Arabian heritage, Kingfisher Retreat provides you with a world-class luxurious experience. Enjoy unique and remarkable team building activities, workshops and small conferences with its intimate meeting room that can seat upto 20 people.

Activities Learn and practice an ancient craft at the archery range, savour the tranquillity as you kayak through mangroves, watch sea turtles hatch, nest and swim, and catch a glimpse of many rare bird species and the wildlife that all define Khor Kalba as a globally important wetland. Inhouse guests get to enjoy diving, kayak excursions, stand-up paddle boarding, nature walks all along the Watchtowers trek, cycling Wadi Helo or across Kalba, and visiting the Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre or the Kalba Bird of Prey Centre.

Tents Kingfisher Retreat consists of 20 luxurious tents, each designed to provide comfort, privacy and amazing views of the Indian Ocean and that come with a private plunge pool and barbecue.

Dining It’s a healthy organic culinary experience in store for in-house as well as walk-in guests at the Kingfisher Retreat, with all-day dining. On offer are some exceptional dining experiences including picnic at the beachm a romantic cabana dinner and self-BBQ at the tent.

Mysk Al Faya Retreat

Mleiha is home to significant sites including Bronze Age tombs, historical caves and pre-Islamic forts. A wealth of fascinating artefacts, from camel skeletons to pottery and iron tools have been discovered here, with many on display in the outstanding Mleiha Archaeological Centre. The foothills of sandy mountains play host to one of the region’s most unique hotels with the Mysk Al Faya Retreat rising out of the enchanting dunes that surround it.

Activities Offering a boutique experience like no other Mysk Al Faya Retreat presents guests the opportunity to explore the true beauty of the Mleiha region, which was nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Rooms With just five rooms, Al Faya Retreat’s contemporary feel masterfully combines aspects of originality, blended together with luxe modernity. Bedrooms feature a skylight for stargazing at night with a fire pit primed for recapping the day’s many adventures.

Dining The roadhouse type concept of the Rock Restaurant at Mysk Al Faya Retreat provides an intimate and private setting, with a seating capacity of approximately 40 guests. Guests can enjoy contemporary à la carte menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with dishes including mohalla, khoboz khameer and mezze platters.

Spa A private sanctuary only available to in-house guests, the spa at Mysk Al Faya Retreat is based on the element of salt. The 118sqm spa offers thermal and relaxation experiences that touch on the five senses. Facilities include a salt inhalation room, a shower walk, herbal sauna and a 128sqm outdoor saltwater pool.

Mysk Al Badayer Retreat

Close your eyes and imagine a caravanserai coming along the Silk Road. That would be the perfect example of what the Mysk Al Badayer Retreat presents. A picturesque desert stop set against the sweeping dunes of central Sharjah.

Activities Spend the day lounging as you enjoy the sun’s kisses on your skin, experience the art of henna or go on an adrenaline-fueled adventure exploring the desert’s gems with desert safaris, sand boarding, dune bashing, stargazing and falconry displays.

Tents and rooms Choose between staying in a fully equipped, luxurious tent or in a room depending on the journey you would like to foster.


Al MADAM With a seating capacity of 88 guests, Al Madam is characterised by a contemporary design and interpretation of a modern-day eatery with elements of local charm. It offers a buffet breakfast, either buffet/prefixed menu for lunch/dinner and an à la carte menu covering international and regional fare.

Dubai: While UAE has yet to start direct flights to this Mediterranean island archipelago, Malta has included the UAE on its list of ‘safe’ countries for tourism. This means as soon as flights to this country take off, you might be able to take that much needed break with fair weather, crystalline beaches and social media worthy pictures.

The Maltese islands are home to beautiful beaches, diverse archaeological sites, world-famous diving spots, one-of-a-kind natural phenomena, delicious food, and much more.

Additionally, several events are scheduled throughout the coming months for visiting enthusiasts like, the Mdina Grand Prix for classic cars, the Rolex Middle Sea Race organized by Royal Malta Yacht Club, and XTERRA Gozo Trail Run.

A non-stop flight to the destination from Dubai in UAE would take just over 8 hours.

Malta International Airport officially re-opened for commercial flights in the beginning of July to a select list of countries that are considered safe, which states that passengers coming from those countries can enter Malta without quarantine or any special permits.

The list of safe-corridor countries was further extended on July 15th, and the UAE has been included in the list alongside other safe countries like Japan, Netherlands, Germany, and South Korea, as well as other MENA countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia.

Before planning any trip, always check the latest travel information released by the UAE government as well as the government of your destination. As of the time of publishing, UAE has no active flights to Malta. 

A recent report released by global real estate consultants, Colliers International in association with travel and trade show, Arabian Travel Market (ATM) revealed some interesting finds on how local tourism and domestic travel are expected to lead the charge in the UAE and the wider GCC’s recovery from the pandemic.

Released ahead of ATM Virtual, a three-day event held last month between June 1-3, the report revealed the percentage of bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48km radius increased from just 20 per cent in January 2020 to 43 per cent in March. In Dubai, the percentage rise was slightly lower but no less exciting, from 19 per cent to 36 per cent.

Further findings from global digital travel marketing solutions provider, Sojern suggests staycations are expected to become the most popular choice of travel in the short to medium-term, with data revealing hotel bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48km radius accounted for 77 per cent of all bookings in April and domestic travel from Dubai accounting for 91 per cent of searches and bookings within the same radius.

UAE hotels have of course been taking note of the numbers and are stepping up to the plate to ensure prospective guests are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to staycation options (check our listings page for the best options).

However, what is more worrying and of immediate concern to UAE hotel operators is how the pandemic and related hygiene issues could keep guests away from their doors. Sharjah Collection by Mysk, owned by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority has prempted this by reinventing its value offerings.

Shafik Alaaeddine, General Manager, Mysk Hotels, says, “Sharjah Collection by Mysk offers the perfect example of social distancing through three retreats: Kingfisher Retreat, Al Faya Retreat and Al Badayer Retreat. It represents sanctuary living with luxury accommodations, transformational experiences and intimate encounters with nature and culture that makes guests feel safe and socially distant.

“Mysk by Shaza, our management company, has also introduced Shaza ASSURES (Active Safety & Sanitisation measures to Uphold and Reassure Excellence in Service), a programme designed to ensure that Shaza and Mysk Hotels are following the hygiene standards in daily operations. We enhanced the safety and hygiene precautions as our guest’s protection is our utmost priority. We have ensured a new safety and hygiene protocol at all our retreats that includes frequent sanitising and cleaning of all areas and sanitising the rooms after checkout and before check-in.

“Hand sanitisers are available throughout the retreats, and all our staff use masks and gloves at all times with staff temperature readings checked daily before duty commences. Guests are also screened and their well-being is ensured before entering the retreat. In terms of dining precautions, we serve a la carte and in-room dining only. We ensure safe distancing between guests and a cap on maximum seating at our restaurants while our food menu is contactless.

The Meydan Hotel, which opened doors to guests this month after the lockdown also has precautionary measures in place.

Mohamed Shawky, Hotel Manager, The Meydan Hotel, says, “The Meydan Hotel understands its responsibility to the community by taking extra measures to ensure the safety of all guests and staff alike and implement the highest levels of cleanliness and hygiene practices. Based on this, we have embarked on an alternative cleaning approach to reinforce the understanding of the ordinary hotel cleansing procedures and add to our already high-level cleaning standards.” The hotel also received the prestigious Bureau Veritas’ Safeguard label — to ensure high hygiene standards throughout the hotel. All staff have undergone professional infection control training equivalent to a hospital grade process.

The hospitality industry in the UAE as in the rest of the world has been in a state of churn because of the pandemic. And while hotel brands do foresee changes in how the industry will function in a post-Covid world, the outlook is positive overall. “The retreats of Sharjah Collection by Mysk are performing satisfactorily due to their nature: boutique properties, private pools, surrounded by nature, transformational experiences etc and it gives confidence to the guests to stay over,” says Alaaeddine. “Safety and hygiene measures are the new normal and our mission is to ensure the safety of our guests and staff at all times. Moving forward, we will for sure see international tourism bouncing back slowly. At the moment we foresee starting Q4 by seeing international travellers coming back to the UAE and to our retreats, even as we focus on curated and individualised programmes to meet their needs.” ■

Making a clean sweep

Eng. Khalid Al Khatib, CEO, Shield Middle East elaborates on what the hygiene and sanitisation firm is doing to help the UAE hospitality industry welcome guests back to hotels in the country.

How is SHIELDme supporting the UAE hospitality industry as hotels reopen to welcome guests as the pandemic winds down?

SHIELDme offers hotel sanitization solutions which ensure that the facilities are sanitized all the time, we train hotel staff to complete disinfection on their own.

We suggest the following process for sanitisation:

1. Disinfect the room after the guest checks out before the cleaning staff enters

2. Cleaning staff to clean the room

3. Disinfect the room again with SHIELDme

SHIELDme kills 99.99 per cent of viruses and bacteria in 30 seconds, and is accredited by international labs in the US, UK and Australia.

What is the brand’s USP in terms of its product portfolio?

SHIELDme contains HOCL, which is the formula produced by human body when fighting microbes, which makesSHIELDme 100 per cent safe, also, most sanitisers contain high level of alcohol, flammable, and causes skin irritation, however, SHIELDme contains zero alcohol, hence causes no irritation, non-flammable, and accordingly 100% safe for you and your family.

Are you looking at expansion plans in the UAE and the region?

SHIELDme sanitizing solutions are manufactured in UAE, UK, and Australia, and distributed all over the world, we supply to any location, and we have multiple distributors in many countries, and our vision is to be the number safety solutions provider in the world.

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