I have been going to the Middle East to facilitate team-building retreats for over a decade, but just when I think I've seen it all, there is another secluded oasis to discover. Here are a few hotels and resorts that are ideal for small groups a seeking private setting for executive retreats, team events and business meetings. Two are in the desert, 3 are in the city, and 2 are on the beach. (One of the beach properties is in the city but your group will feel like it's far away on a secluded beach resort.)
United Arab Emirates
I have previously profiled Desert Palm with its 38 chic suites and villas and equestrian facilities. I almost hate to reveal this next secret Dubai hideaway.
- XVA Art Hotel
With 3 traditional open courtyards and wind towers on the outside and 7 ultra chic designer-decorated rooms on the inside, Dubai's smallest boutique hotel in historical Bastakiya is a tremendous find for small executive retreats and business meetings.
Artists from around the region have showcased their work at the XVA Gallery, the site of the annual Bastakiya Art Fair.
The cafe is a favorite of Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay. The hotel also has its own dhow which is ideal for private dinner cruises on the Dubai Creek.
With modern decor, The Village One to One Hotel has 128 guestrooms arranged in 18 discreet boutique-style villa clusters to ensure maximum privacy for small groups. Each cluster has a private rooftop pool and sundeck. Meeting facilities at the conference center are geared to small groups. The Executive Room, accommodates up to 35 people, the Board Room seats a maximum of 14 people and The Summit Room has a capacity of 50. Wireless Internet is complimentary in guest and meeting rooms. Group dining can be arranged at 7 on-site restaurants including The Village Club, an outdoor venue set amidst lush gardens and a grove of palm trees. The Asian-inspired T-Garden is serves blended teas and savory and sweet delicacies.
The Wahiba Sands Desert
- Desert Nights Camp
Desert Nights Camp is yet another hidden treasure that I would rather keep under wraps. This cluster of 30 luxury Bedouin-style tents in the Wahiba Sands is ideal for desert safaris and desert team building retreats. Yet, with luxurious bedrooms and bathrooms and all the comforts of home, you'll almost forget you're in the middle of the desert until you step outside. The multi-purpose room accommodates 20 people in classroom-style set up and up to 40 in theater-style. Two dune restaurants, the Oasis Bar and in-room private dining will cater to cater to your group's food and beverage needs.
Six Senses Zighy Bay
Six Senses Zighy Bay is located on a secluded bay on Oman’s Musandam Peninsula. The 79 Pool Villas, a 4 bedroom, private reserve and 2 two bedroom retreats provide a range of options for small groups of all sizes. Meeting facilities at the private reserve can accommodate up to 40 guests. Guests can enjoy the resort's recreational facilities and spend time getting pampered at the spa during downtime.
With ponds, soothing water gardens, fountains, and pristine gardens, The Chedi Muscat is one of Oman's most exquisite beach resorts. Although The Chedi Muscat is not a small boutique hotel (it has 158 Omani-inspired guest rooms), its configuration gives small groups maximum privacy and access to resort facilities without getting lost.
The rooms are elegantly appointed in neutral colors to create a relaxing ambiance. Small groups may want to consider booking well in advance and reserving the 38 Chedi Club Suites that provide access to The Club Lounge. Very small groups can book the 8 Deluxe Club Rooms that also provide club access. Rooms amenities include Nespresso machines, 32-inch flat screen television, and Bose entertainment systems with iPods and docks.
Meeting facilities are ideal for small groups. The Salalah Room with a calming view of the water fountain in the Arabic courtyard can accommodate up to 30 people boardroom-style. The Nizwa Room accommodates up to 22 people boardroom-style. For group dining, The Legian overlooking the Shisha Courtyard is an intimate dining space for up to 12 guests. Each section of the Setai private event venue has room for 8 - 20 diners for a total capacity of 60.
Photo Credit: XVA Art Hotel
Photo Credit: Kiattipong Panchee for Six Senses Zighy Bay
Photo Credit: The Chedi Muscat
Search the Cvent Boutique Hotels Directory for properties in the Middle East.