The long summer is finally coming to an end but that doesn’t mean we’ve had enough of holidays. You don’t have to hop on a plane for a luxury short break, Bahrain offers a range of fantastic staycation venues right on our doorstep.
FOUR SEASONS HOTEL BAHRAIN BAY
Set on its own island and rising tall and splendid in the Arabian Gulf, this hotel is anything but ordinary. Shimmering silver by day and a glorious gold by night, it’s the place to savour some world-class luxury without stepping outside Manama.
Whether you want to steal some quiet time or have some all-round family fun, The Four Seasons Bahrain Bay has it all. Besides top-notch dining, the hotel offers a host of services and amenities. While grown-ups can enjoy a meal at the hotel’s signature restaurants, such as CUT by Wolfgang Puck, or a rejuvenating spa treatment, the hotel’s Kids For All Seasons programme gives little ones endless opportunities for fun.
Call 17 115-000.
Liz O’Reilly tried out the latest invigorating treatment at The Spa Four Seasons Bahrain Bay, and left feeling distinctly renewed.
First off, I have to say, this spa has to be one of the fanciest I’ve ever been in. It’s all space and light with great views and worth a visit even if just for a manicure, as the atmosphere is pure blissful relaxation.
I went to try the newly-launched Jet Lag Recovery programme which aims to ‘restore the body’s natural biorhythms and deeply relax the nervous system’.
The first stage involved a gentle pearl and jasmine body scrub to renew energy. At 50 minutes, this part was a little too long for me, but the therapist’s touch was gentle and soothing and the scrub itself smells wonderful.
Next came the application of amethyst gel spread over the scrub. While wrapped in warm towels, I was given a mini facial using garnet scrub followed by a mud mask and facial massage.
I must admit I was slightly concerned as my sensitive skin often does not take well to scrubs, however, I need not have worried, my face was left looking and feeling soft and glowing.
I then stepped into a warm aromatic shower to rinse off the body scrub and gel and came out to, perhaps, my favourite part; a gentle all over application of jade body cream. Without the pressure of a massage but still firm enough to ensure absorption of the product, this seals in the goodness of the scrub and gel and leaves the skin feeling amazing.
The final stage was the application of day cream to my face before I was led to the relaxation area to chill with a cup of delicious lemon and ginger infusion.
I didn’t have jet lag to start with but I can imagine, if you did, this treatment and these surroundings would be the perfect tonic.
AL AREEN PALACE & SPA
This destination resort and spa offers a unique experience combining privacy and opulence in an alluring, peaceful haven that is rich in both spirituality and culture with 78 luxuriously appointed pool villas that impressively showcase a mesmerizing Arabian charm and sophisticated elegance.
A tasteful melding of traditional Middle Eastern design and stylish contemporary flair, the villas offer an ideal retreat to unwind and relax in total privacy with an open-air, heated swimming pool and jet-pool, a sprawling master bedroom and en-suite facilities that include an oversized infinity bathtub.
The hotel also features three world-class restaurants and an award-winning spa which is the largest on the island and allows you to wrap yourself in sheer luxury as you discover a perfect blend of relaxation and pleasure.
Call 17 845-000.
THE WESTIN/LE MERIDIEN BAHRAIN CITY CENTRE
The twin hotels let you experience luxury on a par with international standards, right in the heart of things in the midst of the island’s business and retail district and actually attached to the Kingdom’s premier mall.
Le Meridien Bahrain City Centre, with its snazzy design and attention to detail, is a tribute to Parisian culture and hospitality. Let yourself be spoilt silly with its excellent facilities and lip-smacking treats. Unwind by the serene poolside or re-awaken mind, body and soul at the Heavenly Spa located at sister hotel, The Westin Bahrain City Centre, home to the country’s largest authentic Turkish Hammam.
Besides impeccably appointed rooms and suites, both hotels offer a shoppers’ paradise by way of the adjacent City Centre mall, and have convenient exits directly to and from the retail destination.
Call 17 171-000.
Behnaz Sanjana sampled the Heavenly Spa at the Westin Bahrain City Centre and cannot help reminiscing about her fantastic experience.
When the amiable Emily ushered me in to the tranquil confines of the venue, I was expecting a relaxed two hours, away from the business of a usual weekday. Little did I know that the Turkish Hammam and Swedish massage I had signed up for would turn out to be the most pampering and indulgent experience I’ve had in a long time.
After a 10-minute soak in 38°C of water, I entered the steamy, marble interior of the Hammam. Contrary to what I expected, it was not so hot as to cause even the slightest discomfort. Emily guided me to the large central marble slab and proceeded to put a seemingly benign white mitt to work on my prostate body. The thorough scrub-down rid me of all accumulated grime and dead skin, leaving me squeaky clean.
The next step was the fun part; something I have never seen before. Emily held a cloth bag soaked in suds over my body, and in one swift action, she let huge bubbles of soap rain all over me. The tingle of the lemon scented ‘bubble wrap’ evoked in me a child-like glee. Washing the suds away, she treated me to a rich body masque to seal in the moisture and quench any dehydrated skin.
Once outside the Hammam, I had to gather myself to dip into the 12°C water. There, pores closed!
A warm cup of ginger tea later, I headed for what had to be one of the best massages I have ever taken. Emily’s hands were intent on soothing my muscles, and comforted me into a meditative lull.
I emerged from the massage room fresh as a daisy and left the Westin Bahrain City Centre’s Heavenly Spa feeling…well, heavenly.
SOFITEL ZALLAQ THALASSA SEA & SPA
Sitting pretty on the white-sand beach, seemingly at the tip of Bahrain, the sprawling Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa is everything your vacation-starved heart yearns for.
This five-star luxury property offers guests the only Thalassa Sea and Spa in the GCC. So you know where to head to for ultimate rest and relaxation coupled with the healing properties of seawater. Besides luxurious rooms and panoramic sea views, the hotel has its own private island for you to wander on.
With a blend of French art de vivre and warm Bahraini hospitality, you’re bound to come away feeling ‘magnifique’.
Call 17 636-363.
Nestled within the beautiful Amwaj Islands, all the rooms at this hotel afford stunning ocean views. However, looking inside you are guaranteed to be floored by the contemporary design of the hotel and its plush, modern interiors even before you proceed to your room. The spectacular, high-ceilinged lobby will not fail to impress even the most discerning tastes.
Make the most of this tropical wonder by enjoying the exclusive benefits of the Beach Club which offers the best amenities. If you fancy getting your adrenalin pumping, partake in the many water sport or fitness activities on offer, or simply experience the complete bliss of a five-star lifestyle at the spa.
Call 16 000-111.
One of the early luxury hotel entrants to the island, The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain proves that old is gold. If you deem a getaway incomplete without the warm ocean lapping at your feet, then this is where you should head.
This place is a peaceful haven of luxury in the otherwise busy Seef District. Its inviting surroundings urge you to put your feet up within the lush landscapes and drift miles away from reality – just what a staycation should be.
The hotel has an award-winning ladies spa, fine dining par excellence and a high-end shopping arcade as well as a private island and secluded villas.
Call 17 580-000.