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BN Travel: My Luxuriously Fabulous Trip to Abu Dhabi – Part 1! Photos & Scoop from BellaNaija Editorial Assistant Jennifer Obiuwevbi’s Holiday

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There’s nothing like a vacation. When I was originally informed by BellaNaija that I was going on a trip to Abu Dhabi courtesy of Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority it was like music to my ears. I was literally counting the days to the trip and was super excited to be going there and see all that was the ‘New Middle East’, especially since I had seen the “Sex and the City 2 movie and loved it.

After fighting the heat at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport and joining my companions for the trip, we finally checked in and were ushered into the Etihad Airways SDS lounge. The lounge looked luxuriously African inspired with bamboo wooden furniture and floors decorated with chaise lounge chairs, I could tell that this trip was off to a great start. The luxury continued when we boarded the Etihad Flight EY 672 direct flight to Abu Dhabi. Being my first time in business class I couldn’t help but take a couple of minutes to take it all in (it sort of made me never want to fly economy again)

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The flight was smooth and comfortable and I can officially say there is nothing like the service in the Pearl Business Class. Two in-flight movies and two exotic meals later we were officially tourists in the UAE capital. After going through immigration and all the processes we were met by the Head of Corporate Policy for Etihad, Damian James. He gave us a quick overview of our itinerary and we were chauffeured to the beautiful Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa by Anantara. At the entrance we were greeted, much like the ladies of “Sex and the City 2” with dates and coffee which are the traditional foods of welcome in the emirates. We got our keys and immediately that card  hit my palm it was like a wake up call… “you’re here, take it all in”. Nothing could have prepared me for the room and the pictures don’t do it justice, but the room was beautiful.

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Yours truly feeling fly in the lobby!

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The view out my window

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A couple of hours later we met the Area Marketer and Communications Assistant for AnantaraTammy Chan for a brief tour of the hotel. We started off downstairs where we toured the “Ingredients” restaurant where guests have breakfast and sometimes dinner and the Thai restaurant “Pachaylen” where we were scheduled to have dinner later that evening. On entering the spa we were immediately hit with the smell of Ancient Arabia and Thai inspired therapies. We took a look at the rooms where couples came for massages and the popular Hammam bath. On a sincere note, the bath experience looked overwhelming but after I saw a woman walking out looking like she just lost 10 pounds I think I’ll give it a shot next time I go there. Up next, we were led to the gym where they have separate training areas for  the men and the women.

After the gym, we went over to see one of their best lounges, the Kasara Lounge. Tammy explained that they have a lot of  different classes of guests and so provide different lounges to meet them at their needs, like the Kasara lounge for guests in the Kasara rooms.

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Waiting in one of the lounges just before the tour

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The Kasara Lounge

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Next up, we took a drive to the luxurious Etihad Towers with our host Nabeel Faris from the Tourism and Culture Authority. To my surprise, the tower which looks like a single large building, is actually comprised of 5 towers; a business tower, a hotel tower, two commercial towers and one residential tower. Who knew!

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For lunch Nabeel took us to a restaurant at the highest tip of the Etihad towers which has a gorgeous 360 aerial view of the entire island. During the lunch we talked about why we were all there, Abu Dhabi.

Lunch was informative and brief  and after a few hours we left for the Etihad Airways Headquarters and Training Academy where we met Damien again for a tour of the building. To begin our tour we started at the Networking Operations department. We were introduced to the head of the department Kevin Obrian who described their functions. He stated that they take care of everything flight and passenger related. They are in charge of handling flight editing, live updates, general change of flights, complaints from passengers, flight delays, flight changes, cargo, flight safety etc. They had so many gadgets on the wall that I felt like James Bond was going to walk in at any moment.

After we exited the room we met up with the Nicki Aisten the head of Service and Strategic Training. This was one of my favourite parts of the trip because we got to go into the flight simulators. Yay! Nicki is in charge of the department that trains the cabin crew including the chefs and all those who render services under Etihad Airways.

At the moment they have a total of 4,700 staff  and recruit a total of 1000 every year. They have simulators for every possible situation that could occur on a plane, which provides them with a real life scenario of what could happen during a fire, water landing etc. After our tour with Nicki, we met Tamer Mokbel, the manager of the Ground Training Program who explained the ins and outs of being a pilot.

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Nicki Aisten at the simulator for ‘Pearl’ Business class

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The Etihad Airways simulator…cool right?

All in all it was a great first day. We drove back to the hotel for a nice dinner with the team at the Pachaylen restaurant where I had my first encounter with Thai food. I must confess its not a favourite, but I definitely enjoyed the experiment. I decided the trip was too exciting to narrate in one day so I’m going to save the remaining fun for subsequent days to come.

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From L-R: Nabeel Faris, Benjamin Atonko, Damien James, Funke Babs-Kufeji and Jennifer Obiuwevbi

The next day had a lot planned and the soft bed in my hotel room wasn’t going to ruffle itself. I cant tell you much but all I can really say is that the next day was RED, FAST and FUN.

39 Comments

  1. Ms. Jayee

    March 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I want to work with the BN Team!!! *weeping profusely*

    • www.anemistyle.blogspot.com

      March 11, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      Me too, amazing perks

    • 1 + The One

      March 11, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      You just typed my thoughts! BN, any vacancies plix? The Travel department preferably.. I don’t mind doing an Atoke on you *where are my pen and paper*.. A letter is waiting to be penned.
      Thanks in advance..

  2. Enoh

    March 11, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Welcome back Penshy, I can tell u had a swell time, pls keep my share of d goodies cos I’ll collect.

  3. Jelly

    March 11, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Jenny oh wat a trip… wanna come along!

  4. fashionLagos

    March 11, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I need to visit Dubai!

    • Anna

      March 11, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      *Abu Dhabi

  5. fatima R

    March 11, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    As my Hausa people will say “garin dadi da nisa” (a place of joy is far away)

  6. her royalmajesty

    March 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    include me next time, urs truly

  7. @ajiriavae

    March 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    It looks like it was a lot of fun!!!
    ajiristyle.blogspot.com/

  8. OY

    March 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Almighty God!i need a fun job like the BN team have………….

  9. Awww

    March 11, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Very Nice… Good job BN

  10. Madam the Madam

    March 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Wow, a trip to Dubai courtesy of the BN team?? Where can I apply biko?

    Nice write-up Jennifer, sounds like it was an amazing experience.

    • Anna

      March 11, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      *Abu Dhabi

    • lilly

      March 12, 2013 at 11:01 am

      Lol! People keep calling the place Dubai sha.

  11. sweets

    March 11, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    woow Jennifer doing a good job. #base babe repin#

  12. Mz Socially Awkward...

    March 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    You lucky lass… I’m quite “jelox” but hope you guys at BN get even more sponsored vacations like this. This is an international site that is going places!

  13. Ibrahim Audu A

    March 11, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Wre you able to visit the Ferrari World and the Sheikh Zaid Grand Mosque? if so,please could you let us into the things that are abound there

  14. Busola

    March 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    I’m officially jealous. Abu Dhabi looks delicious!!!

  15. tatafo!

    March 11, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    the perks of working for BN…must be nice

  16. SexNTheCity2

    March 12, 2013 at 1:33 am

    Nice pictures. Just a quick correction. Sex and the City 2 wasn’t filmed in Abu Dhabi. It was actually filmed in Morocco.

    • Ms lala

      March 12, 2013 at 6:35 am

      i just found out too….but abu dhabi is soo gorg

    • paris club

      March 12, 2013 at 7:46 am

      haba check your details properly cos i watched behind the scene footage and i think morrocco is out of it

    • lilly

      March 12, 2013 at 11:02 am

      the Plot was Abu Dhabi jor

    • FirstThingsFirst

      March 12, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      Thought it was filmed @ Abu Dhabi too oo….so y the Abu Dhabi bla bla from carey et al. All well and good still always enjoy watching the movie

  17. Mujer Casada

    March 12, 2013 at 2:01 am

    Mmmhmm. The Arabs – na dem first chop oil. Na dem understand current economics data. Not surprised – all dem king children na so so Harvard economics dem dey study. Dem done first us Nigerians dey diversify because ehem (Cough), oil market don dey fall. Dem don pay all d first class and everything for Nigerians because guess what – dem know say if dem dey wait any other than Nigerians to boost their tourism, dem dey waste time. So my dear Nigerians, go there and spend your tired and soon to be outdated oil dollars. I will continue to pray until oil becomes obsolete. God no dey sleep.

  18. Mujer Casada

    March 12, 2013 at 2:02 am

    We are waiting for the rest of the country to join us Niger Deltans in poverty.

  19. skinnygirl

    March 12, 2013 at 8:21 am

    But why? I’m so jealous…. BELLA biko help a jobless sister out! Any vacancy?

    • MOG

      March 16, 2013 at 3:39 am

      @skinnygirl fat boy…..i hate you 🙂

  20. Grace

    March 12, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Wow,Abu Dhabi is so beautiful,i wish i was the one on that trip….I sure a vacation seriously.:(

  21. Beee Baby

    March 12, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Bella employ me naaaaah! Jenny am jelox…..i see u had fun,lucky you.

  22. JADE

    March 12, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Bella pls employ me ohh, i dont mind starting from the bottom rung of the ladder

  23. diamond

    March 12, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    See what the Arabs used their oil money to do. In Nigeria, you get the exact opposite. Officially pissed.

  24. Anonymous

    March 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Abu Dhabi is beautiful bt nt as mch as Dubai. Dubai is more fun-filled than Abu Dhabi bt dy av 1 thing in common: Fabulous hotels $ serene environment. Everything so beautiful. If you visit Abu Dhabi $ doesn’t visit the Sheikh Zaid Grand Mosque, Ferrari World etc, dn you’re missing

  25. jam jam

    March 12, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Great! Wish it is moi! Really need a reak from work! *sigh!

  26. iba

    March 12, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    fabbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb wont mind visiting o

  27. Noms

    March 12, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Oniovo,injoy. You are carried.

  28. B

    March 12, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    aww 🙂

  29. Neni Stone

    March 12, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    You obviously had fun. Good on you girl!!

    nenisnaija.blogspot.com/

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