Resorts World Birmingham: a world of its own

Date Posted: 04/10/2016

Resorts World Birmingham celebrates its first birthday this month, but this relatively young attraction is by no means an amateur when it comes to providing groups with a memorable visit. Rachel Bailey reports. 

Sat in a luxurious restaurant eating a delicious lunch of red snapper and steamed jasmine rice with a tranquil view of a stretch of water in front of me, it’s hard to believe that I am not on a cruise ship.

Quite the opposite, in fact; I am less than a six minute drives from Birmingham Airport, a stone’s throw from the Exhibition Halls of the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and the Genting Arena, and a half an hour drive from the centre of Birmingham.

I am in Resorts World Birmingham, one of the largest leisure attractions to be built in the West Midlands. It’s located on the NEC campus in Solihull, seven miles from the city.

I’m eating my lunch with Charles Lu, the marketing project manager for resort travel and tourism, who assures me that the cruise-ship feel is no coincidence. The attraction has been designed with this kind of environment in mind, and it’s effective. Like a cruise ship, there’s a host of features on offer that will keep guests occupied. 

There are 50 outlet stores; an 11-screen Cineworld including an IMAX screen; 18 bars and restaurants with a wide range of food offers; a luxury spa with a swimming pool; a large casino; plus the four-star Genting Hotel with 178 rooms including six 5-star suites and one presidential suite.

In a nutshell, this is not just a shopping centre. This is a world where everything is under one roof, where you can visit for a few hours, or stay for a number of days.

Resorts World Birmingham lit up at night.

Pictured: Resorts World Birmingham lit up at night.

Malaysian roots

Resorts World Birmingham is owned by one of the world’s leading global leisure groups, the Genting Group, which is based in Malaysia.

With a direct investment of £150 million, the Birmingham site is the first Resorts World property in Europe. Other Resorts Worlds are located in Malaysia, Singapore, Manila, New York and Bimini Island.

The UK site has been built with Asian culture in mind. The design of the on-site Genting Hotel, for example, was overseen by a feng shui master from Malaysia, and the layout of each luxurious room plus the amenities within them reflect this. 

The Sky Bar – which is an exciting part of Resorts World Birmingham’s night time offer – has a cocktail menu based on Wu Xing, the five elements of Asian philosophy (metal, earth, fire, wood and water). The Sky Bar also includes a theatrical chef’s table centre piece, which has a Teppanyaki and Yakitori serving platform.

Sky Bar

Pictured: The Sky Bar, which offers cocktails and a theatrical chef’s table centre piece.

All under one roof

Outlet shopping is one of Resorts World’s main appeals. Taking up the ground floor is the outlet retail mall, which boasts top brands in confectionary such as Lindt, fashion outlets GAP, H&M, Next, Nike and other favourites such as Luke, Carhartt, The North Face, Kurt Geiger, and cosmetics stores including The Body Shop.

The majority of the 50 stores have come together under an incentive scheme comprising an exclusive discount card – just for groups.

This card allows each group member a further discount of between a ten and 20 per cent discount on top of the already discounted outlet prices (up to 70 per cent off RRP).

Follow a session of retail therapy with lunch at one of the many restaurants located throughout the complex. Remember that delicious red snapper I was eating earlier? I was sat in the Robata Bar and Grill, one of the most popular eateries at Resorts World Birmingham, where Australasian and Pan-Asian food is served daily – on beautiful colourful crockery, I might add.

Robata Bar and Grill

Pictured: Examples of tasty offerings in Robata Bar and Grill.

Further highlights for hungry visitors include the Bottega Prosecco Bar, which offers top quality Italian dining accompanied with premier Prosecco wine, and famous chef Andy Waters’ restaurant, where British and French cuisine is served in a relaxed atmosphere.

There’s also a collection of familiar high street eatery brands, like TGI Fridays, Pizza Express and Nandos, so tastes of every kind are catered for.

Many of the Resorts World Birmingham restaurants and bars take group bookings or offer set menus. The High Line New York Bar and Lounge, for example, can have its booths booked separately for smaller groups, or be entirely booked out for private events.

Once you’ve eaten your fill, there’s a number of entertainment options to choose from. Visitors can drop in at the 11-screen Cineworld, which is home to one of the first-ever purpose-built IMAX screens in the UK. This cinema screens the latest films as well live broadcasts of concerts and other performances.

Alternatively, relax at the Santai Spa. A wide selection of therapies are available, in addition to the heated swimming pool and a salt cave. Thirty minute head, shoulder and back massages are on offer for those who might not have enough time to enjoy a full body treatment.

Make time also for a visit to the Genting International Casino which is open 24 hours a day. It’s said to be the largest casino floor in the UK, offering a wide variety of table, card and slot games. There are delicious dining options in here, too, plus a Sports Bar with 180 degree screens showing the latest live sport from football and golf to rugby and boxing.

Cineworld

Pictured: The 11-screen Cineworld, also home to one of the first-ever purpose-built IMAX screens in the UK.

Why should groups visit?

Want to know why Resorts World Birmingham is a great place for groups to visit? Here is the view of the Resort’s Operations Director, Ian Bennett;

“Resorts World Birmingham offers several options when it comes to visiting,” he explains. “Groups can use the complex for a short visit maybe to shop or grab a bite to eat, but there is plenty on offer for those who wish to spend the day, with a number of onsite discounts. There are also both exhilarating and relaxing leisure experiences to enjoy, like the cinema, spa and of course casino.

“Alternatively, groups can stay for a longer period by booking for one or more nights in the Genting Hotel so they can have a richer and more immersive experience.”

During its first year of trading it appears most group bookings are taken on an individual basis, and GTOs should call to book what they want at least 48 hours in advance.

The Resorts World Birmingham website is currently being refreshed, providing organisers with a dedicated groups’ page and a platform to plan a group trip to the Resort.

The High Line New York Bar and Lounge

Pictured: The High Line New York Bar and Lounge, which takes group bookings.

A round-up of group benefits

• An exclusive discount card for every group member to spend in the outlet stores
• Free coach parking
• Free meal vouchers for the group travel organiser and the coach driver
• Discounts/packages in the spa and casino when booking in advance
• Group booking and set menus at a number of on-site bars and restaurants.

Useful contact:

Group booking enquiries: 0121-273-1230
Email address: GroupTravel@resortsworldbirmingham.co.uk
Website: www.resortsworldbirmingham.co.uk

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