The Middle Eastern nation of Bahrain is a cluster of more than 30 islands tucked into a pocket of the Persian Gulf. I would like to think that it is because of our warm desert weather that the people of Bahrain are also very warm and welcoming.
At Somerset Al Fateh Bahrain, we exemplify this hospitality with service that goes beyond expectations. It is also such dedication that got us named the Best Serviced Apartment Provider in Bahrain by the Business Destinations Travel Award 2015. Nominees for the Awards, which honour the best travel and hospitality companies in corporate travel, are voted in by a diverse cross section of corporate travellers and purchasers of corporate travel. Getting a nod from the very people whom we strive to serve is particularly meaningful. Crowning our achievements, Ascott was also recently named the Best Serviced Apartment Company Middle East at the 2015 Business Traveller Middle East Awards which celebrates the best in Middle East travel and worldwide.
Beyond winning hospitality, Bahrain also has several winning attractions to make your stay a great success. Let me be your guide.
Bahrain is the seat of the ancient Dilmun civilisation, one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Adding to its mystic, legend has it that my country is the site of the Garden of Eden. History and culture are, therefore, very much a part of this pearl of the Arabian Sea’s attraction. In fact, our capital, Manama, was named the Arab Capital of Culture in 2012 by the Arab League. That is why, at Somerset Al Fateh Bahrain, we have specially designed a cultural itinerary for our guests as part of our Ascott Lifestyle programme, designed to offer our guests an immersive experience in Bahrain.
Ascott Lifestyle offers a set of specially handpicked experiences and activities, ranging from cultural to gastronomical, local delights to wellness. Thoughtfully curated by Ascott’s residence managers, these activities enable guests to explore the cities they are living in and continue to enjoy the activities they are familiar with while being away from home.
One of the stops specially handpicked by us is the Bahrain National Museum, the largest and one of the oldest public museums in the country. At the US$30-million complex that spans two buildings and covers 27,800 sqm, you can see the wins from wars past as well as artefacts from Bahrain dating back some 6,000 years.
Wander the many halls of the museum devoted to archaeology and the ancient civilisation of the Dilmun, the culture and lifestyle of old Bahrain, and the country’s natural environment including its flora and fauna. Among the notable exhibits is an actual burial mound which was transported from its original site in the dessert to the museum, beautiful agate and carmelian beads, earthen burial jar, and old Quranic manuscripts and other historical documents.
Another historical site that is part of our cultural tour is the Bahrain Fort (Qalat al-Bahrain). Built in the 16 th century by the Portuguese to protect Bahrain’s trade routes in the Indian Ocean, this UNESCO World Heritage Site sits on top of a 17.5 hectare man-made hill, the result of several layers of human occupation over time dating back at least 2,000 years, which is one of the most prolific archaeological digs in the Arabian Gulf.
In the last 50 years, residential, public, commercial, and military structures have been uncovered. A museum was opened in 2008 to showcase over 500 of the artefacts found.
One winning attraction my family and I particularly enjoy is the Lost Paradise of Dilmun Waterpark, a little more than half an hour away from Somerset Al Fateh Bahrain. The biggest water park in the Middle East snagged the seventh spot in the Top 10 Middle East attractions in the 2014 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Attractions Awards.
With temperatures that can hit a high of 40 degrees Celsius in June and July, this wonderland of water rides and attractions is a welcome respite from the heat. The park is modelled after the ancient civilization of Dilmun that once inhabited Bahrain. Float down the man-made river, zip down giant water slides, play bumper boats with other visitors, splash around the water playground, frolick by the artificial Dillmun Beach and make sandcastles, or lounge by the pool in private cabanas – it is family fun all the way.
Still on the theme of winning, a must-see is the Tree of Life. The 400-year-old tree in the Sakhir desert is a major tourist attraction that was featured in LA Story, a movie that the LA Times named the 20 th best film set in Los Angeles in 25 years. What makes this 7.6 m Prosopis cineraria tree in the Sakhir desert such a draw is the fact that there is no water source nearby, yet it flourishes. To me, the tree is a symbol of the tenacity of Mother Nature. No matter the adversity, she beats all the odds.
The site where the tree grows is also where ancient rites used to be performed and archaeologists have unearthed artefacts near the tree, some dating back to the Dilmun civilisation. At the visitor centre designed as a circular fence to protect the tree, you can admire the tree in the shade and view the treasures from the past that have been uncovered nearby.
Bahrain’s beauty lies not only in its long and rich history but also in the warmth of its people. Come stay with us at Somerset Al Fateh Bahrain and let our hospitality and award-winning attractions win your heart.
Stay with us:Somerset Al Fateh Bahrain