Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

Executive travel: Business and pleasure in Manama’s Downtown Rotana hotel

Bahrain’s new Downtown Rotana leads a double life; it suits the business traveller in the week and the leisure guest on the weekend.
The new Downtown Rotana in Manama, Bahrain. Courtesy Rotana
The new Downtown Rotana in Manama, Bahrain. Courtesy Rotana

It’s a challenge to concentrate on work in the “executive” lounge of Bahrain’s new Downtown Rotana – unless you are a suitably focused individual.

Club Rotana, on the 24th floor, is tranquil and comfortable and the panoramic view out across Manama, Bahrain’s capital, is a distraction.

The Abu Dhabi hotel group’s new property, in the banking and ministries district, opened in March – its third hotel in the island state – and it leads a double life: it’s a business destination during the week and a leisure hotel at the weekend.

The design is well suited to both genre of clientele. It is stylish yet functional without being clinical, spacious without being cold.

I stayed in a Classic Room, which meant I only had access to the Club Rotana lounge for an additional Dh240 per day. The lounge’s services and facilities include a variety of places to sit and work, complimentary hot and cold drinks and snacks during the day as well as canapés and beverages in the evening, which can make the cost worthwhile as long as you don’t eat elsewhere. There’s a dedicated business meeting space attached, too, offering privacy away from the large TVs screening 24-hour news channels, and a desk area.

My room. meanwhile was a fresh and modern space with floor to ceiling windows to maximise the view and a king-size bed.

High-speed Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel and there was a glass table in the room sizeable enough to work at as well as two further armchairs for reading or gazing out of the window.

The flat screen TV faces the bed and the bathroom features an enthusiastic, reviving shower over a decent length bathtub, plus a hairdryer. The wardrobe contained a safe and an iron with board, for removing those packing creases.

A classic room costs from about Dh600 per night, including breakfast. A Club Rotana King Room, with the Club Rotana privileges, starts at about Dh690 per night.

q&a plenty of space for dining

David Dunn expands on what else the Downtown Rotana has to offer:

Where else can I eat apart from the executive lounge?

Flavours On 2 is the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant. It’s spacious with a bright colour scheme and a broad range of international dishes. Teatro Downtown is the trendy bar and restaurant, serving Japanese, Chinese, Indian and Italian dishes. Room service is available: a Caesar salad costs Dh40 but the mini bar is expensive in comparison.

What about meeting rooms?

As well as the smaller one attached to the Rotana Club, there are two floors of meeting rooms of various size and flexible configuration, with drop-down projectors or large TVs, a dedicated lift and breakout areas. Rental prices begin at Dh1,460 for up to 10 people. There’s also a ballroom and a smoking area.

Is it a good base for getting around?

There are plenty of cabs around but beware: they charge considerably more than UAE taxis. A six-kilometre ride to Manama’s visitor-friendly Al Fateh Mosque costs more than Dh50.

What attractions are nearby?

It is a three-minute walk to Manama Souq, which sells everything from fabrics, phones and spices to gold and watches. For a lengthier walk, head to Seef harbour for working fishing dhows.

What can I do to unwind in the hotel?

Downtown Rotana has a pool, long enough for a worthwhile work out. There’s also a well-equipped gym with city views.


* The writer was a guest of the hotel.

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Updated: December 18, 2016 04:00 AM

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