Bahrain’s capital city, Manama, is the largest of its six inhabited islands. Its financial harbour, dominated by the iconic twin towers of the World Trade Centre, is home to the Kingdom’s strong banking sector, second only to oil. Diversification into other sectors is part of the Kingdom’s ‘Economic Vision 2030’ strategy, writes Ramy Salameh.
Centrally located beside Bab Al-Bahrain (historic gate) and bustling Manama Souk, the recently opened Merchant House is Campbell Gray Hotel Group’s first foray into the region and the first official luxury boutique hotel in Bahrain. The 46-suite property is defined by original art and design; Chagall, Hirst and Warhol hang beside a host of Bahraini and GCC artists of international repute. For the glitz and glamour of major hotel brands, the likes of the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons are close by.
Stay put at The Merchant House’s rooftop Indigo Restaurant and savour the ever popular ‘Hamour’ fish dish or head to Block 338, located in the heart of Adliya, and search out ATTIC restaurant. It’s a beautifully designed eatery with plenty of terrace space offering Mediterranean cuisine. A tip for brunch would be to find the atmospheric Lukmatina Cafe on Muharraq Island.
By day, Block 338 is a pedestrianised quarter of restaurants, galleries and boutiques. By night, it becomes a nightlife hot-spot with super-cars queuing to be seen, as the fine diners and bars start to fill up. For nightclubs head to the nearby Juffair district for headline venues klub360, Apollo Club and Club Wrangler to dance into the early hours.
Although walking is an option, the primary means of transport is by car or taxi. Rent a car from one of the many city rental companies or jump into one of the relatively inexpensive metered cabs that traverse the city.
Journey through 5,000 years of history at Bahrain National Museum or visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed Bahrain Fort. Divers can go in search of pearls or a submerged Boeing 747 within the world’s largest eco-friendly underwater theme park.
Gulf Air operates 14 direct flights a week – two a day – from London Heathrow to Bahrain International Airport. The flight takes around 6.5 hours. British Airways operates a daily service from London Heathrow. Bahrain International Airport is located on Muhurraq Island, 7km north of the capital city Manama and a 16-minute drive away.
For more details on planning a trip to Bahrain visit: btea.bh