The Four Seasons’ royal suite. Courtesy Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay
The Four Seasons’ royal suite. Courtesy Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay

Hotel insider: Four Seasons Bahrain Bay, Manama, Bahrain



The welcome

The 68-storey hotel, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is a startling structure. It takes my driver, who doesn’t work for the hotel, more than an hour to reach it from the King Faisal Highway opposite, thanks to traffic, the under-construction nature of the area and poor signage. Yet the entrance to the hotel is spectacular, as the hotel transitions from its ultra-modern neo-Brutalist exterior into what resembles an art deco cruise liner. The lobby is cavernous and filled with eight mature olive trees, 1920s-style plaster reliefs, original artworks and a piano-and-violin duo. I’m staying in a one-bedroom suite, so check-in takes place there.

The neighbourhood

The hotel is situated somewhat surreally on its own 12-acre private island in the middle of the newly constructed Bahrain Bay. Most of the plots surrounding the island are still being developed. It takes about 10 minutes to walk around the island, and the manicured gardens and pools are a pleasure to be in. It’s about 15 minutes’ drive to the airport and 10 minutes to downtown Manama.

The room

The hotel has 273 rooms, including 57 suites, and all rooms are situated between floors 11 and 28. At 47 square metres, standard rooms are spacious. There are no balconies and none of the huge windows open. Thick carpets in the bedrooms, Murano glass chandeliers and lacquered panelling create a feel that’s both luxurious and practical. Bathrooms are a whirl of marble and mirrors. My room is a 94-square-metre deluxe suite, featuring a reception area, gorgeous marble-floored hallway and dressing area and a separate living room. It’s one of the few hotel rooms I missed when I returned home.

The service

Telephone requests are dealt with professionally and quickly, and service in the two Wolfgang Puck restaurants is excellent. Things are less assured at the buffet breakfast in the Bahrain Bay Kitchen, an all-day dining restaurant, where not all staff are on the button.

The scene

Most of the hotel guests are from Saudi Arabia; other diners in the restaurants are mainly Bahrain residents or businesspeople, yet the hotel has a very sophisticated, international feel.

The food

The breakfast is disappointing and not quite up to the usual Four Seasons standards. At Re Asian Cuisine on the 50th floor, the menu is exciting and tempting – the Assam seafood curry with rice costs 17 Bahraini dinars (Dh166), but is delicious and enough for two to share. At Cut by Wolfgang Puck, on the lobby level and first floor but still enjoying a view over Manama, think slick and tasty: steaks from 17 dinars (Dh166) for a New York sirloin to 68 dinars (Dh662) for a Japanese Wagyu rib-eye.

Loved

My room and the spa, where I have a 90-minute “invigorating oud” treatment (79 dinars [Dh770]): a massage with oud oil, distilled from agarwood, and a thermal algae mask for the spine. It’s subtle but supremely relaxing and energising.

Hated

I wake up at 3am on the first night to a high-pitched whistling, which I’m later told is wind hitting the building.

The verdict

A new landmark for Bahrain and a luxury retreat well worth a splurge for the rest of us.

The bottom line

Double rooms at the Four Seasons Bahrain Bay, Manama, Bahrain (www.fourseasons.com/bahrain; 00973 1711 5000) cost from 145 dinars (Dh1,413) per night, including taxes and Wi-Fi, but excluding breakfast.

rbehan@thenational.ae

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Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

ENGLAND SQUAD

Goalkeepers Henderson, Pickford, Pope.

Defenders Alexander-Arnold, Chilwell, Coady, Dier, Gomez, Keane, Maguire, Maitland-Niles, Mings, Saka, Trippier, Walker.

Midfielders Henderson, Mount, Phillips, Rice, Ward-Prowse, Winks.

Forwards Abraham, Barnes, Calvert-Lewin, Grealish, Ings, Kane, Rashford, Sancho, Sterling.

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Aayan’s records

Youngest UAE men’s cricketer
When he debuted against Bangladesh aged 16 years and 314 days, he became the youngest ever to play for the men’s senior team. He broke the record set by his World Cup squad-mate, Alishan Sharafu, of 17 years and 44 days.

Youngest wicket-taker
After taking the wicket of Bangladesh’s Litton Das on debut in Dubai, Aayan became the youngest male cricketer to take a wicket against a Full Member nation in a T20 international.

Youngest in T20 World Cup history?
Aayan does not turn 17 until November 15 – which is two days after the T20 World Cup final at the MCG. If he does play in the competition, he will be its youngest ever player. Pakistan’s Mohammed Amir, who was 17 years and 55 days when he played in 2009, currently holds the record.

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Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The biog

Nickname: Mama Nadia to children, staff and parents

Education: Bachelors degree in English Literature with Social work from UAE University

As a child: Kept sweets on the window sill for workers, set aside money to pay for education of needy families

Holidays: Spends most of her days off at Senses often with her family who describe the centre as part of their life too

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Display: 6.7” LPTO Amoled, 2412 x 1080, 394ppi, HDR10+, Corning Gorilla Glass

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2, octa-core; Adreno 730 GPU

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: Android 13, Nothing OS 2

Main camera: Dual 50MP wide, f/1.9 + 50MP ultrawide, f/2.2; OIS, auto-focus

Main camera video: 4K @ 30/60fps, 1080p @ 30/60fps; live HDR, OIS

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.5, HDR

Front camera video: Full-HD @ 30fps

Battery: 4700mAh; full charge in 55m w/ 45w charger; Qi wireless, dual charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Google Pay)

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP54, limited protection

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Dark grey, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2), USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price (UAE): Dh2,499 (12GB/256GB) / Dh2,799 (12GB/512GB)

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Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro, 4nm, octa-core

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256GB

Platform: Android 14, Nothing OS 2.5

Main camera: Dual 50MP main, f/1.88 + 50MP ultra-wide, f/2.2; OIS, EIS, auto-focus, ultra XDR, night mode

Main camera video: 4K @ 30fps, full-HD @ 60fps; slo-mo full-HD at 120fps

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.2

Battery: 5000mAh; 50% in 30 mins w/ 45w charger

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Google Pay)

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP54, limited protection from water/dust

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Black, milk, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2a), USB-C-to-USB-C cable, pre-applied screen protector, SIM tray ejector tool

Price (UAE): Dh1,199 (8GB/128GB) / Dh1,399 (12GB/256GB)

The bio

Favourite vegetable: Broccoli

Favourite food: Seafood

Favourite thing to cook: Duck l'orange

Favourite book: Give and Take by Adam Grant, one of his professors at University of Pennsylvania

Favourite place to travel: Home in Kuwait.

Favourite place in the UAE: Al Qudra lakes

Plan to boost public schools

A major shake-up of government-run schools was rolled out across the country in 2017. Known as the Emirati School Model, it placed more emphasis on maths and science while also adding practical skills to the curriculum.

It was accompanied by the promise of a Dh5 billion investment, over six years, to pay for state-of-the-art infrastructure improvements.

Aspects of the school model will be extended to international private schools, the education minister has previously suggested.

Recent developments have also included the introduction of moral education - which public and private schools both must teach - along with reform of the exams system and tougher teacher licensing requirements.

Most polluted cities in the Middle East

1. Baghdad, Iraq
2. Manama, Bahrain
3. Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
4. Kuwait City, Kuwait
5. Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
6. Ash Shihaniyah, Qatar
7. Abu Dhabi, UAE
8. Cairo, Egypt
9. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
10. Dubai, UAE

Source: 2022 World Air Quality Report

MOST POLLUTED COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD

1. Chad
2. Iraq
3. Pakistan
4. Bahrain
5. Bangladesh
6. Burkina Faso
7. Kuwait
8. India
9. Egypt
10. Tajikistan

Source: 2022 World Air Quality Report

Youth YouTuber Programme

The programme will be presented over two weeks and will cover the following topics:

- Learning, scripting, storytelling and basic shots

- Master on-camera presence and advanced script writing

- Beating the algorithm and reaching your core audience

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Engine: Twin-turbocharged 4-litre V8
Power: 542bhp
Torque: 770Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
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On sale: Now

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Sarfira

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Rating: 2/5

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Engine: Twin-turbo, V8
Transmission: 8-speed automatic and manual
Power: 503 bhp
Torque: 513Nm
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