How to Plan an Arabian Themed Corporate Holiday Party

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hotel Majestic's Annual Holiday Party

2007 Employee Christmas Party Arabian Theme, Majestic Hotel, Barcelona, Spain. (c) 2007 Rob Hard / RH Communications, Inc.

Each year, employees at Hotel Majestic in Barcelona gather for their annual holiday party. Like most corporate holiday and end of year events, the Hotel Majestic holiday party is both a celebration and an employee appreciation event. Unlike most corporate hosts, however, the Hotel Majestic is known for their dedication to throwing a truly unbelievable event for their internal employees. Every year, the celebration is more amazing than the last with the event theme changing every year.

In 2007, with plans to expand the small, luxury hotel group into the Middle East, the holiday event planners chose an Arabian theme. 

Are you looking to be inspired for your Arabian themed holiday party? Here's how they did it.

The Arabian Holiday Event Details

A planning committee was comprised of 20 employees from all departments within the hotel, and they also identified and executed the event theme, which they named The Majestic's Haima. As always, the event took place in the beautiful Hotel Majestic itself right in Barcelona, Spain. When you have such a beautiful event space with which you are familiar and is at your disposal, why not use it? The team choose to use their 6,943 square foot ballroom (645 square meters) to host the 180 attendees that join the celebration each year. As is the custom, the planning committee chose to be prepared for an all-night party starting at 8 p.m. and not shutting down until 4 a.m. While the event details are helpful, the most interesting aspects of the spectacular event are found in the perfect execution of the theme through catering, decorations, and even the agenda.

The Arabian Holiday Party Catering Menu

A great party always has great food and drink, and the Majestic's Arabian-themed company holiday party was no exception. Guests were welcomed with a glass of champagne upon arrival before experiencing the well-planned dinner menu. Wine and water were served during dinner, and as is company custom, there was an open bar during the party.

If it is in the budget, an open bar is a great holiday party option. But if you're looking to keep costs down, there is always the option of limiting alcoholic beverages to beer and wine or really sticking to the event theme with a signature drink or two. In this case, the welcome drink and open bar were accompanied by a traditional Moroccan tea ritual during dinner to really pull the theme together.

Beyond the drinks, the event planning committee dedicated themselves to planning a truly delicious and beautiful feast. The event food reflected a traditional Arabian buffet complete with Middle Eastern favorites and even some more adventurous fare. The party menu included:

  • Humus
  • Shrimp kabob with tandoori sauce
  • Morocco tomato with mozzarella and basilica
  • Selection of Iberian cold meats
  • Variety of salads
  • Chicken soup flavored with cardamom
  • Falafel
  • Lamb cooked Marrakech style with couscous
  • Fish kebob with fresh tomato
  • Chicken curry with steam Indian rice
  • Selection of fresh fruits
  • Morocco pastries

The Arabian Holiday Party Decor

No themed event is complete without stunning and appropriate decor. While many of the gorgeous decorations were rented from a local event supplier, the staff at Hotel Majestic actually created the main haima (a festive tent found in Arab celebrations and special events) themselves.

Other special decoration tems included:

  • Arabian tables
  • Morocco puffs
  • Morocco cushions
  • Morocco special mattresses (sitting)
  • Special Morocco lanterns
  • Fountain with plants
  • Fresh flowers
  • Morocco pipes
  • Morocco furniture and accessories

The Arabian Holiday Party Agenda

While many err on the side of under planning for a party's evening agenda (in an effort not to feel too strict or confining), the planning staff at the Majestic have always approached their company holiday party slightly differently. 

It may surprise some American planners, but evening entertainment generally begins around midnight in Spain with parties lasting into the early morning hours. To keep with the custom when it comes to executing their annual holiday event, the Majestic always plans the pre-party hours with food, presentations, and performances before the real party kicks off at which time the party is allowed to progress naturally with little to no planned agenda items.

The staff use the time leading up to the party to ensure that the company executives have time to address the guests and to ensure that any fun appreciation events like the gift raffle are completed.

Here is what the party agenda looked like for The Majestic's Haima looked like:

TimeAgenda Item/Event Activity
7:30PMDepartment Heads Welcome Employees
8:00PMWelcome Entertainment: First Belly Dance Performance
8:30PMEntertainment: Second Belly Dance Performance 
9:00PMGeneral Manager and CEO Presentations
9:30PMDinner Begins
10:00PMEntertainment: Third Belly Dance Performance
11:00PMActivity:Gift Raffle*
12:00AMActivity: Belly Dance Class
12:30AMParty Begins

*The annual event gift raffle includes approximately 30 different items, with a few big ticket like long weekend trips, flat screen TVs, dinners for two at Barcelona restaurants, watches, and even mobile phones. Though your raffle gifts need not be as extravagant as the Hotel Majestic, everyone likes the chance to win something and everyone loves winning.

Tip for Event Planners

When it comes to throwing a great company holiday party, you don't have to have the budget or event planning expertise of the Hotel Majestic. Use the Hotel Majestic's Arabian holiday party theme as a jumping off point for your brainstorming.