New luxury eco-resort to open on Bahrain's Unesco-recognised Hawar Island in September

Mantis Bahrain Hawar Island will feature overwater villas and a Bear Grylls adventure programme to help guests get closer to nature

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The Hawar Islands have been described by Unesco as "Bahrain's last remaining true wilderness", but they are set to become a new eco-tourism hot spot. A luxury resort is to open its doors in September.

Mantis Bahrain Hawar Island is a boutique-sized hotel that can be reached by a 20-minute boat ride from the mainland. It has 102 keys, including 24 overwater villas that look as if they've been transported to Bahrain from the Maldives.

The resort was first announced in 2021 as part of the Mantis Group, founded by conservationist Adrian Gardiner. The brand is owned by hospitality group Accor, which is bringing Mantis to the Middle East for the first time.

Its properties are known for blending luxury with eco-tourism. At Hawar Resort by Mantis, the designs have been inspired by the ancient Bahrain custom of al korar, a collective act of weaving gold thread.

The islands are off the southernmost tip of Bahrain's mainland and are separated from Qatar by a narrow strait. Lauded by Unesco for its migratory waders and multicoloured coral reefs, the natural attractions of the islands will offer conservation-focused experiences for travellers, including birdwatching and snorkelling.

Hawar Resort, built in partnership with Edamah, the real estate arm of Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, will also give visitors the opportunity to see diverse wildlife, including Arabian oryx, sand gazelles and Arabian horses, all of which have made the area their home.

The surrounding waters are home to marine life and blooming corals, as well as the region's largest herd of dugongs. A study in 2022 found a herd of nearly 700 dugongs near the islands. Guests at the eco resort will also be able to go paddleboarding and kayaking, or enjoy a waterside picnic.

Activities such as cookery classes, photography sessions and a safari under the stars will also be on offer. And children can learn more about nature while having fun at the Little Dugongs Kids Conservation Club.

Adventure seekers who plan to head to the islands can test their skills at the Bear Grylls Survival Academy, established by the UK television presenter and survival expert. Activities will push travellers to their limits and sharpen their outdoor skills. There will also be a water park and an adventure park as part of the resort.

For those seeking a slower pace, a luxury spa and wellness centre spanning 1,500 square metres will be available to guests. It's design is inspired by the natural elements and rich culture of Bahrain's islands. Treatment rooms at the spa will have views of the Arabian Gulf and travellers will be able to enjoy thermal experiences, fitness classes and an outdoor fitness studio.

There will be plenty of dining options, with five concepts for guests to choose from, including a sprawling all-day restaurant and a pool bar and grill.

“This project is of immense strategic importance to the kingdom, reflecting our vision to promote sustainable tourism while showcasing Bahrain’s natural beauty and preserving it for future generations," said Christopher Calvert, chief executive of Edamah. "The world-class offerings of Hawar Resort by Mantis will be a major addition to the kingdom’s tourism landscape."

Sustainable practices, including an initiative for sorting and reusing waste, and the use of water and energy conservation technology will help to minimise the resort's impact on the environment.

The resort should be able to receive bookings in the next few months, said Anil Ilhan, director of sales and marketing at Hawar Resort by Mantis. And while room rates have not yet been announced, the resort is positioning itself as "affordable luxury", he said at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

Updated: May 11, 2024, 10:07 AM