Dubai may get the foot traffic but Bahrain is carving its own sizzling path as being the latest luxury hot spot on the Persian Gulf. Dubai and Qatar are brimming with tourists but Bahrain remains a locally orientated spot where the air permeates with spice and the pearls adorn the souks. From blue bejeweled private beaches to iced white malls punctuated with high end stores – Bahrain boasts one of the best experiences for those wanting to explore the shimmering sights of the glorious gulf.
Where to Stay
Bahrain understands seven-star luxury just as well as Dubai – and its collection of palatial hotels and overblown ornate spas are true testament to this fact. The Ritz Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa sits on its very own private island in the shallow waters of the shallow blue shores that gifts Bahrain its name. Expect lush gardens filled with pink flamingos, tennis courts, lagoon like pools, and exotic flowers. Book a private villa for panoramic water views, a private breakfast chef, personal jacuzzi, and exclusive access to the club lounge. The spa is also worth exploring with its secret female sanctuary, dead sea rituals, cleansing treatments, and gentlemen’s only experiences.
You will need a private boat transfer to get to the architectural wonder that is the Four Seasons Bahrain Bay. This urban oasis is the perfect retreat from the city outside – made clear from the second you step inside the cathedral like lobby with its olive trees and original artwork. The private island is a pleasure to discover with its emerald lawns, exotic flowers, and shimmering blue pools. You can expect signature high standards when it comes to the suites – lashings of space, marble powder rooms, top floor views, and floor to ceiling windows to ensure you don’t miss a thing.
The Al Areen Palace and Spa is a unique luxury experience that encourages high class villa living with an Arabian edge. The villas are lavishly designed with private pools, bubbling Jacuzzis, vaulted ceilings, carved arches, and deep soak bathtubs. When you aren’t relaxing in the bliss of your villa you can partake in endless Chinese inspired spa therapies or exploring the evocative cuisine that marks Bahrain on the map as a foodie haven.
Where to Dine
Cultures collide in fusion finery in the blue breath of Bahrain. You can dine in opulence on traditional Arabic dishes or fine tune your palate with lively Mediterranean flavors, oriental notes or dabble in elegant gastro creations from some of the world’s best chefs. One of the best restaurants in town has to be Masso, a fine dining spot that takes its status as the first farm to table experience in the desert. Date and wild rocket salads, fresh fish from the pearl studded waters, and Mediterranean tapas adorns the menu and the vibe is always sociable.
La Mer is an excellent choice for those fresh seafood lunches that seem to linger all afternoon. Hovering right above the hazy blues of the gulf you can select your own seafood fresh from market and watch it being expertly cooked before you. Think freshly caught salmon with truffles, silken oysters and mussels, and an infamous chocolate dome dessert that locals say melts like butter on the tongue.
Maki Bahrain is another firm favorite for well-tuned blends of Japanese, Asian and Mediterranean delights. Sleek and modern in design and conveniently located right in the mall, you can spend a whole afternoon splurging on designer goodies before sitting down at Maki for soft shell curry crab, exotic cashew chicken, marbled sashimi, and perfectly tapered sushi.
Where to Play
Speedboat trips along the gulf, horseback riding along the shore, and pearl diving are just a few of the lavish experiences you can enjoy in the beauty of Bahrain. The Beach Boutique of Aldar North offers a great place to play – parasols line up in the sun, jet-skis soar across the surface of the water, and dolphins can often be spotted jumping across the horizon.
You cannot take a trip to Arabia without indulging in a spot of shopping and the Moda Mall is the go to for personalized shopping trips that have an exceptional staff to shopper ratio. Marbled floors guide you through a veritable maze of high end brand names and there is always someone on hand to help you choose just the right designer handbag or beautifully curated pearls from the deep.
After hours Bushido is worth booking a table at as it is considered one of the best lounges in the whole of the Middle East. Mood lighting, a Buddha bar atmosphere and tunes that spill out late into the evening set the scene for an exquisite night on the tiles with la crème de la crème of Bahrain’s social scene.