Sensorium x Dubai

Spirit Circle

A few months ago the team at Tourism Ireland asked us if we would we be able to take our Sensorium at The Spirit Circle experience “on the road” – needless to say, it was a yes from us!

Little did we know then that “on the road” meant that we’d be heading off to Dubai, and not Dublin - a challenge for our first mobile experience! We were the only experience being invited in the whole of Ireland – just a wee bit of pressure eh?! But, as Ronan says, diamonds are made under pressure.

Phil 2, Ronan and I set off at the beginning of October, bags packed with fake hands, ears, noses, miracle berries, smoke bubble guns and more. It’s a wonder that our bags made it through security!

It was our first time in Dubai, and we weren’t really sure what to expect, but from the first place we visited we were blown away by the hospitality everywhere we went. 36 degree heat in October is certainly a bit different to what we’re used to though!

The event we were hosting Sensorium at is called T-Fest, a luxury travel show, and it took place at the Atlantis Palm hotel. The team at T-Fest do not do things by half!! We were located in a huge outdoor marquee covered in bean bags, palm trees, lanterns - there was even a Zen Den where you could have a massage and acupuncture!

Sensorium is usually around 2 and a half hours, but we only had a 45 minute slot, so we adapted the experience, themed it for Tourism Ireland and asked guests to “Sense Your Inner Irish”. We picked 5 unique Irish landscapes like Wicked Wild Atlantic, Ghostly Giants Causeway, Headstrong Hidden Heartlands and through a series of taste, smell and visual experiences people discovered which they were most drawn to.

We were fully booked for both days, and having taken part in some of the other experiences at T-Fest, I started to get that dreaded imposter syndrome feeling. The fear of letting down the Tourism Ireland team who had put so much trust in was real. My text to Caroline 10 minutes before it started of “I am so nervous” was responded with a “you’ve got this” and that’s what I needed to hear. Now that’s a business partner!

The guests were blown away by the experience and the feedback was so overwhelmingly positive that my cheeks were sore from smiling. Ronan and Phil 2 nailed it and people were so engaged throughout the whole experience.

In the evening times we visited Coya, Roka, Mimi Kakushi and Zuma and they are food and drink experiences I will never forget. We headed to Tomoka, a class beach side bar, which is run by Belfast’s own Dee Kelly who managed Liquor XXX for years – he is loving life in Dubai!

We celebrated Ronan’s 29th (32nd) birthday in style and let me tell you, the guys at T-Fest know how to throw a party. The first evening in White Beach was out of this world, with food from Nobu and drum circles, fire dancers, the lot!

A huge thank you to Natasha and Olivia from Tourism Ireland (who are both absolutely class by the way) for trusting us and to Matt and Jenna in the Dubai office for just being so welcoming – they really are a dream team.

We’ve been invited to Capetown, Kenya, Abu Dhabi and more, but for now we’ll take a deep breath and get back to running Sensorium in Belfast and getting our new experience ‘Belfast by the Glass’ off the ground.

Words by Phil Ervine.

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