WEEKEND GETAWAY: The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain

In the middle of the Arabian Gulf, standing under blue sky and above the waters, a group of islands make up the Kingdom of Bahrain. It is considered one of the most prominent tourist destinations today.

Not only is it a place for tourists, it is also a home for expats. Expat Insider’s global survey in 2017 revealed that a majority of expats say they are happy in Bahrain because it provides for almost all their needs.

Bahrain ranked first for family life in general and fourth for the friendly attitude towards families with kids. It also climbed up from rank 22 to 6 in terms of quality of education and from rank 32 to 11 in terms of childcare and education.

Location

Sitting in the middle of Bahrain, like a haven of relief, is The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain. The hotel is just three kilometers from Manama City Centre and fifteen kilometers from Bahrain International Airport.

First Day

Rock Licker and I had a good and welcoming first day. We were so happy to have the privilege to celebrate our first year anniversary at our favorite hotel.

The hotel gave us one of their Club Rooms with Club Lounge access. We soaked in the scenic view from a room with stylish furniture and features. To our surprise, they gave us balloons, printed photos from our Instagram posts, colorful macaroons, fruits, and chocolates. (Thanks for that, Ritz-Carlton!)

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Because it was Ramadan, the Club Lounge where we were supposed to have lunch in was closed. Instead, we had lunch at La Med restaurant, the hotel's poolside restaurant.

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After lunch, we had a nice and peaceful walk along the beach. The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain has a 600 meters of white sand beach. We rested on one of the beach cabanas and savored the view. We also soaked in the open-air jacuzzi and sunbathed in one of the coolest floating loungers we’ve ever seen.

We explored the waters on a kayak. Boats and kayaks can be booked for everyone to enjoy the blue of waters of the Gulf.  Before the sun went down, we decided to swim and enjoy the atmosphere and warm water.

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During the evening, we were invited to experience the Ghabga at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain’s Al Khayma Tent. Ghabga are a showcase of traditional Ramadan hospitality meant to bring people together. We enjoyed sumptuous food, live Arabic music, and the warm, friendly ambiance.

We were also invited to try the Iftar at the same tent. Iftar is hosted by Muslims for them to open their fast. We came at the right time since it was Ramadan. The experience gave us a glimpse of how warm connections to people can be due to food and some bonding.

To cap it off, we enjoyed a delicious vienna cake and coffee at our favourite, Gourmet Lounge. It features Old World classics for delicious pastries and hearty meals.

It was a great night!

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Second Day

It’s such a pleasure to wake up in the morning to the beauty of the Arabian Gulf. As a celebration of that, we had breakfast at La Med. La Med is one of the hotel’s nine restaurants, and it’s the one with the big buffets.

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We extended the enjoyment with a relaxing soak at the jacuzzi bathtub and a lovely swim at the indoor pool. Those who stay in The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain have unlimited access to swimming pools and fitness facilities.

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As an ending to our stay, we had a delightful lunch at La Med before we checked out.

Conclusion

Our stay in The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain was short, but It’s hard to forget its ethereal beauty, the lone blue spot in the middle of the cosmopolitan city. 

Anyone who wants to indulge should consider staying in the hotel and in Bahrain. In this busy world of ours, it’s always good to refresh and pamper yourself.

Thank you The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain for always been our happy place during weekend break!

SPA REVIEW: Argan Day Spa

Located in one of the most posh areas of Bahrain, in Lagoon Park of the Amwaj Islands, Argan Day Spa is a place to relax, rejuvenate and revive. Rock Licker and I together with Little Sissy (Symon) had the opportunity to visit the spa for full body massage, foot spa and pedicure.

The spa is divided into two section - Men and Ladies. Rock Licker and Little Sissy went to the Men section and I went to the Ladies section.

My experience

Upon entering the ladies section I was greeted with friendliness and helpfulness by the receptionist and was politely asked to wait for my therapist  at the waiting area. While waiting, one of the staff came to offer me a drink - juice, water or tea. I opted for water.  Not too long after my drink arrived, another staff ushered me to changing room where I was provided with white robe and slippers. The changing room was adequately spacious, impeccably clean and well-equipped. After I was done changing, I was handed over again to another lady who guided me to the hydrotherapy room. Here I had a wonderful soak in the hydrotherapy jacuzzi tub for 15 minutes.  It was incredible! The heat and the jet helped ease my tired muscles, relieved stress and induced relaxation.

When it's massage time, the spa staff guided me to the massage room. For my treatment, I went with the Hot Stone Massage. My masseuse is an expert. The rhythm, the pressure, the heat of the stone was perfect and she did exactly what I wanted for a massage. I also got a hot towel after the massage which felt really amazing. 

After my massage treatment, I was led to the relaxation room and was given a cookie, mineral water and a warm tea. 

Once finished, I had the privilege to tour the ladies spa. One thing that I noticed was each services are divided into discrete sections which create orderliness and comfortable relaxation. There's a salon where they do manicure and pedicure, hand and foot spa, waxing, threading, hair coloring, hair styling, hair straightening and more. There’s a Vichy shower room where clients can enjoy the argan homemade recipe body scrub application and the argan milk lotion massage. There’s a hammam room for Moroccan bath treatments. There’s a BrunoVassari facial room. As we all know, BrunoVassari is an internationally well-known and high-quality skincare products from Barcelona, Spain. They became the pioneer in wine therapy products and treatment when they launched the Kianty line in 2002. The good news is the Kianty Experience is available at Argan Day Spa and I can’t wait to try it! 

In the middle of the tour, I had the chance to meet the spa owners. They are kind, gracious and ambitious women, originally from Morocco. An ex-airliner and the other one an ex-hotelier. Both utilized their expertise and experience in their respective fields to create this one-of-a-kind spa that provides clients with unsurpassed services. Salute!

After the tour, it was time to change, say goodbye and thank you to everyone, and meet Rock Licker and Little Sissy outside. 

The whole experience was great and I absolutely look forward to coming back!

Rock Licker’s experience

Rock Licker and Little Sissy (Symon) were welcomed by a male receptionist at the men section. Rock Licker told him he has an appointment for full body massage and Little Sissy for foot spa and pedicure. The receptionist called his staff who subsequently escorted them to the relaxation room and offered them something to drink. Rock Licker said the relaxation room has a design and lighting that create tranquility. But they didn’t stay there too long, the staff brought Rock Licker to the changing room where he changed into robe and another staff took Little Sissy to the manicure and pedicure room. After that, Rock Licker was led to the massage room where he had a 90-minute Hot Stone Massage. He said he really liked it that the therapist put just the right amount of heat on the stone and the massage was very relaxing. It was just what he needed after playing basketball the previous night.

Little Sissy’s experience

Little Sissy’s foot spa and pedicure was faultless too and he was quite happy with it. Being a vain person that he is, he cares about being well-groomed all the time. It is mostly about hygiene that's why he really gives high importance to it.

Conclusion

We highly recommend Argan Day Spa. The staff’s friendliness, professionalism and knowledge, the clean and relaxing environment, the quality of the products that they use and the amazing location of the spa make it a safe haven to our mind, body and soul.

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

Argan Day Spa

SPA REVIEW: The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Luxury Spa Escape

Marking my blog's 3rd month from launch, myself and two friends had an opportunity to experience The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain's newest offering - The Luxury Spa Escape for the Ladies of Eastern Province, KSA. The package includes a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce Ghost Series II on a return journey, an all-day beach access, healthy lunch at the hotel's La Med restaurant, and a luxuriously relaxing 1-hour body massage and 45-minute facial treatment.

Rolls Royce Ghost Series II

Our day started early with a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce Ghost Series II. Thanks to our gracious driver, Mr. Ahmed for the stylish, smooth and quiet ride from home in Saudi Arabia to The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain. 

Rolls Royce Ghost Series II

Rolls Royce Ghost Series II represents the very essence of luxury and power with its classic performance, sophisticated technology, timeless design and premium interior. 

Rolls Royce Ghost Series II

Hand-built by more than 60 craftsmen, this masterpiece boasts a lavish interior that's packed to the brim with high-quality materials for a superb finish. 

Rolls Royce Ghost Series II

One notable aesthetic elements of Ghost is its "starry night" ceiling that makes every journey a magical experience.

Rolls Royce Ghost Series II

Outside, it's conspicuous bonnet ornament "Spirit of Ecstasy", "RR" emblem and standstill hubcaps create an imposing presence that will leave everyone completely awestruck.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain has a setting conducive to relaxation and wellbeing. From the spectacular panorama of the Arabian Gulf to the fresh sea breeze and the soothing sounds of gentle waves, the setting induces a sense of calm and peace that will make you feel like you’re in a completely different environment. 

Beach Facilities

The beautiful expansive beach is one of the most astounding features of The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain. Its fine, powdery white sands and its crystal clear blue waters make it irresistibly photogenic. Aside from its highly-impressive beach, the hotel also boasts 3 swimming pools (2 outdoor pools and 1 indoor pool), all with spectacular view of the Arabian Gulf. A relaxing day at the beach or in the pool is an absolute bliss!

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (Beach)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (Beach)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (Private Island)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (Main Pool)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (Infinity Pool)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain 

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (Luxury Spa)

La Med

La Med has a beautifully peaceful setting with calming interiors and stunning swimming pool view. It offers relaxed dining experience where guests can indulge in a deliciously healthy buffet of appetizers, soups, salad, entrees and desserts. Amongst my favourites during our lunch were fattoush salad, grape leaves rolls, roast duck, nigiri and maki. Everything in La Med was amazing from its restaurant design, staff, food and view. It was truly enjoyable we dined there for more than 2 hours!

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (La Med)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (La Med)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (La Med)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (La Med)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (LaMed)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (La Med)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (La Med)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (La Med)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (La Med)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (La Med)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (La Med)

Spa Facilities

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain prides itself on having world-class spa facilities that include a thalassotherapy pool, steam room, jacuzzi and other wellness area.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (The Ritz-Carlton Spa)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (The Ritz-Carlton Spa)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (The Ritz-Carlton Spa)

After our hearty meal at La Med, we proceeded to The Ritz-Carlton Spa where Laura, the Spa Manager joyfully welcomed us and showed us around the spa and subsequently took us to the locker room where the three of us changed to comfortable robes and brand new spa slippers before heading to the spa waiting room.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (The Ritz-Carlton Spa)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (The Ritz-Carlton Spa)

When we arrived to the spa waiting room, our masseuses introduced themselves and asked each of us to fill out a consultation card, with few questions to answer and tick boxes to select any medical issues like heart conditions, back pain, allergies, asthma, muscular joint pain, etc. Our masseuses used these to identify the most suitable oils and techniques for each one of us. After that, they offered us iced tea with lemon and lemon water with apple slices. I opted for the latter which I think was very refreshing. Rattana, the masseuse told me that drinking tea or water before the massage helps keep the muscles soft and pliable, and it also aids the kidneys process the various toxins moving through the body to be flushed out after the treatment. After signing the papers and drinking water, each of us were led to our treatment rooms. The treatment rooms were purposely designed and equipped to provide the most relaxing experience. They were adequately spacious with warm neutral colours, ideal room temperature and relaxing music. As soon as I was ready for the massage, Rattana, politely told me to lay face down on the comfortable massage bed and asked me to smell 3 different types of essential oils that she picked based on my answer in the consultation card. She didn't tell me what they were or what they were for because she wanted me to go by my feeling and choose the essential oil that I best reacted to. I ended up choosing the energizing essential oil. Soon after that, Rattana started working her magic from my back concentrating on my hips before moving on to my legs and rolled me over to take care of my arms and shoulders. The calming sound of the music and the rhythmic movement of Rattana’s trained hands were perfectly in sync. With the use of finest quality essential oil and an application of optimal amount of pressure tailored to my needs, the massage left me feeling completely relaxed and ultimately detoxified.

After the relaxing massage, I was treated with a facial treatment that includes a gentle cleanse and exfoliation, followed by a hot and cold sensations, moisturizing and a delightful aromatic facial massage. I had a happy, refreshed and rejuvenated skin afterwards. 

After the facial treatment was over, I was then taken to the relaxation room where me and my friends enjoyed a cup of tea before going to the changing room to get dressed and head out.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (The Ritz-Carlton Spa)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (The Ritz-Carlton Spa)

Return Journey

Did you know that the 2017 Rolls Royce Ghost II Series has an onboard wifi, outstanding seats with fully-functional features which include iDrive infotainment system, heated seats with massage function, soundproofing technology, adjustable air-suspension system and a lot more astonishing features that were made to achieve the best ride possible? 

With its innovative technology and advanced engineering, a relaxing and comfortable journey from The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain back home to Saudi Arabia was guaranteed.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (Rolls Royce Ghost Series II)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain (Rolls Royce Ghost Series II)

HOTEL REVIEW: The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain

After many years of travels and many days spent in the world's finest hotels, I believe that a great stay is all about luxury, tranquility and perfect service - The Ritz-Carlton brand epitomizes this. So last weekend, we opted to experience their property in Bahrain.

Location

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain is beautifully located on a 20-acre of private beachfront swept around a picturesque lagoon in Seef District. Its outstanding location helped create an environment with a personality of its own, something that cannot be replicated.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain

Arrival

My first impression of the hotel usually begins the moment I reach the valet / drop off area or once I enter the lobby. But this time it's different. As soon as we approached the hotel property, we immediately felt the exclusivity of the place. Two men wearing black suits together with three security officers, welcomed and greeted us in the hotel's main gate. Just like any other guests in The Ritz-Carlton, we were politely requested to go through a rigorous security check and once completed, only then we were welcomed to continue our way inside.

Parking Area

Valet parking service in The Ritz Carlton is free for all in-house guests. But since we always go for valet parking whenever we stay in a hotel, Rock Licker opted to do self-parking just for a change. Luckily, because the hotel has large parking lot, we didn't have a hard time finding a space to park our car even if it's weekend.

Main Door

The hotel's main lobby is just a few steps away from the parking area. When we reached the main door, Ritz-Carlton's enthusiastic door staff welcomed and greeted us with a warm and sincere smile on their faces. Upon entering the door, we underwent another security inspection and x-ray before we proceeded to the lobby.

Lobby

As we walked towards the grand lobby, we were blown away by it’s soaring ceiling with glass dome, bright white atrium and black marble wall surrounding the large classic elevators. The lobby is beautifully adorned with white and blue flower arrangements in one side and a gold statue in the middle. We sat in one corner of the lobby which has an ample seating for guests. While waiting for our appointment, the Guest Relations Officer introduced herself and pleasantly engaged with us. It was only a short exchange of pleasantries, but we were touched by her charming and sincere demeanour. Having a decade of experience in a 5-Star airline that focuses heavily on hospitality and customer service, I can easily tell from the first few moments of interaction if the staff is genuine, represents the brand well and brings it to life. 

Lobby (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Lobby (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Lobby (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Lobby (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Lounge

After a while, we decided it's time to get our room. We went up to the Club Lounge located on the 7th floor to take advantage of the personalized check-in which is one of the benefits of being a Club guest. When we get to the Club Lounge, the lady who's in-charge at the lounge desk welcomed and greeted us, and then the lady who works in the F&B, joyfully ushered us inside the lounge for a comfortable wait and succulent breakfast.  

Immediately, we were treated to the spectacular view of the Arabian Gulf, hotel's private island, yacht club, garden and swimming pool through the huge glass windows. It was absolutely one of the best views that I've ever seen!

View from Club Lounge (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

View from Club Lounge (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

After savoring the view, we decided to sit in the library area. As we were settled in our seats, the lady in the desk came to us to introduce herself and took our passports for an express check-in. After the registration, she came back to inform us that our room was not ready yet. We told her it's okay and we will happily wait. Actually, we were too early. We arrived there 10:00 am and their standard check-in time is 12:00 pm.

Club Lounge (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Lounge (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The Club Lounge features minimalist and contemporary style. It's light, spacious and cozy. Plus, the white and blue colour of the walls and the chairs added up to a calm and refreshing feel. 

Club Lounge (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Lounge (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Lounge (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Lounge (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Lounge (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Lounge (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

There are four culinary presentations at the Club Lounge throughout the day that includes the following:

Breakfast        6:30 am - 11:00 am
Light Snacks     12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Hors d’oeuvres  5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Sweets & Cordials 9:00 pm - 10:30 pm

For 100% leisure stay, it's best to book a suite with club access and just enjoy all the club benefits.

Club Lounge (The RItz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Lounge (The RItz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Just when our Club Suite was ready, we received a very generous surprise upgrade into a Diplomatic Suite. We were also offered to view both suites and the villa and it made us even happier! 

the happy travellers

Club Suite

The Club Suite has a sleek and modern design that includes large living room, bedroom, separate soaking bathtub and rainforest shower area, walk-in closet and powder room.

The living room is furnished with two seater sofa, side table and rectangular coffee table. It features 42-inch LED TV and coffee and tea making faciltiies.

Club Suite - Living Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Suite - Living Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The bedroom has one king size plush feather bed with fine 600-thread count cotton linens and comfortable duvet and pilows. It has large workstation and  floor-to-ceiling windows with beautiful view of the bay and the city. Additionally, it features 42-inch LED TV, an iPod docking station, BOSE alarm clock radio and dual phone line with personal voicemail. 

Club Suite - Bedroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Suite - Bedroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The bathroom is smartly laid out and spacious with private toilet room, dedicated bath tub, separate rain shower room and single sink with vanity,  15-inch flat-screen TV and full set of high quality Asprey toiletries.

Club Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

the happy travellers
Club Suite - Toilet & Bidet (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Suite - Toilet & Bidet (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The walk-in closet is equipped with garment drawers and shelves. It has in-room safe, bath robes, slippers, clothes hangers, shoe tray and laundry bags.

Club Suite - Walk-in Closet (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Suite - Walk-in Closet (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

the happy travellers
the happy travellers

The powder room has lighted mirror, wash basin, toilet and bidet, accent vase, hand towels and basic toiletries. 

Club Suite - Powder Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Suite - Powder Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Suite - Powder Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Club Suite - Powder Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Villa

After viewing the Club Suite, we took a golf buggy going to hotel's private island where all the villas are beautifully perched. The Villa is Caribbean-inspired and includes private pool with patio, large living room, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths with bathtubs and showers, office / library, powder room and kitchen.

Villa (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Villa (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The villa's private pool is good for doing laps and its perfect location allows guests to enjoy the relaxing view of the ocean. Next to the pool is a covered patio, a nice spot to sit and relax after a great swim.

Villa - Private Pool and Beach (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Villa - Private Pool and Beach (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The living room has a tropical design and is furnished with colourful sofas, side tables, coffee table, wall-mounted bookshelves, ceiling fans and floor lamp.

Villa - Living Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Villa - Living Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The dining area has a stunning pool and ocean view. It is furnished with side boards, planters, lamps and a set of long table and chairs that can sit up to 12 people. 

Villa - Living Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Villa - Living Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The master's bedroom features a floor-to-ceiling window with an amazing ocean view. It has one king size plush feather bed with fine 600-thread count cotton linens and comfortable duvet and pillows.  It also has a receiving area, workstation, TV cabinet and side tables. The master's bedroom features 42-inch LED TV, an iPod docking station, BOSE sound system, BOSE alarm clock radio and telephone line. 

Villa - Master's Bedroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Villa - Master's Bedroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

the happy travellers

The bathroom is my favourite part of the villa. It has a private toilet room, dedicated bath tub, Large-screen LED TV, separate rain shower room with jets and single sink with vanity and full set of luxurious Asprey brand bath amenities.

Villa - Master's Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Villa - Master's Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

the happy travellers
Villa - Master's Toilet & Bidet (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Villa - Master's Toilet & Bidet (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The second bedroom has one queen size plush feather bed with fine 600-thread count cotton linens and comfortable duvet and plush pillows. It is furnished with side tables, accent tables and chairs, TV stand, telephone, LED TV, BOSE speakers and wardrobe cabinet. 

Villa - Bedroom #2 (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain) 

Villa - Bedroom #2 (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain) 

The third bedroom is similar to the second bedroom, the only difference is the bed. This one has twin bed.

Villa - Bedroom #3 (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Villa - Bedroom #3 (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Toilet and bath for bedrooms 2 and 3 are also the same. It has natural stone tiles, single sink vanity, bathtub with shower and full set of Asprey toiletries.

Villa - Toilet & Bath #2 (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Villa - Toilet & Bath #2 (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Villa - Toilet & Bath #2 (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Villa - Toilet & Bath #2 (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The office / library allows guests to manage their business and still be productive during their stay. It has computer desktop, printer, telephone line, work desk and chair.

Villa - Office (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Villa - Office (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite

After visiting the Club Suite and the Villa, we proceeded to our upgraded suite, the Diplomatic Suite. It is AWESOME! It has an absolute elegance in every details and everywhere there are excellent touches. Classic wooden writing desk with bronze table lamp and china vase display is beautifully placed near the bed. The plush feather bed with 600-thread count cotton linens looks lovely with its matching yellow floral headboard and bedskirt. The damask bedroom wall exudes refinement and prettily attached to it is a pair of adjustable reading lamps that gives emphasis to its elegance. There's also a pair of vintage bedside tables  and neo-classical glass lamps on top of it. If the bedroom looks beautiful in picture, it is much more so in reality. 

Diplomatic Suite - Bedroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Bedroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

As I continue to explore the bedroom, I was thrilled to find Patchi bars on my side table. A sweet and delicious welcome treat from The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain!

Patchi Chocolates (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Patchi Chocolates (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

While I was taking pictures, Rock Licker was on the bed busy browsing the in-suite dining menu . 

the happy travellers

This is the view from our spacious balcony - fountain, pond, lush garden, private island and the Arabian Gulf. Isn't it so lovely? 

Adjacent to the bedroom is the living area. It is attractively furnished with stylish sofas, decorative fringe pillows, coffee table, side table, planter and floral carpet. 

Diplomatic Suite - Living Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Living Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

There's also a display cabinet that holds the crystal glasses, ice bucket and tong, red wine and mini bar menu. Next to it is a small table for the coffee and tea facilities.

the happy travellers
the happy travellers
the happy travellers

Moving on the other side of the suite, there's another living room with dining area that spans half of the Diplomatic Suite. This one is furnished with sofas with yellow and white damask design, decorative pillows with twisted cords, square coffee table, side table, TV and stand, chinese rug and a massive China display cabinet showcasing wide array of exquisite antique vases and shiny crystal glasses.

Diplomatic Suite - Living Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Living Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

the happy travellers

The lavish dining area has round table and four neo-classical chairs with antique studs and fluted legs. Right beside it is a rosewood console table with dark granite top which serves as platform for the beautiful China porcelains. There's also an accent mirror wall that creates an illusion of an even larger space and attached to it is a nice wall frame. 

the happy travellers

Look how happy he is. His food arrived quickly!

the happy travellers

He ordered chicken biryani with papadom and dipping yogurt. 

Suite Dining (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Suite Dining (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The mirrored walk-in closet has lots of drawers and shelves where weighing scale, shoe tray, flashlight, in-room safe, hangers and laundry bag are located. 

Diplomatic Suite - Walk-In Closet (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Walk-In Closet (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Walk-In Closet (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Walk-In Closet (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

In front of the walk-in closet is the vanity table with mirror and chair. There's also a classic wooden coat hanger with shoe mitt, shoe polisher, wooden shoe brush and sewing kit.

the happy travellers

This is my favourite part of the suite. A luxury bathroom is every girl’s dream. Marbled walls and floors, spacious bathtub with jets, expansive mirror, vanity mirror, double wash basins, Asprey bath amenities, separate rain shower with jets and a private toilet (with bidet) room. It's a little piece of heaven on Earth!

Diplomatic Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The bathrobes bearing the Ritz Carlton logo and the towel racks that's loaded with different types of towels are placed outside the shower room.

Diplomatic Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

For long staying guests, they can take advantage of having a small kitchen in the convenience of their own suite. During our stay, we preferred to eat at the restaurant and at the Club Lounge that's why we were not able to use this.

Diplomatic Suite - Kitchen (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Kitchen (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Outside the kitchen is the powder room with a single sink vanity, mirror and toilet.

Diplomatic Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Powder Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Diplomatic Suite - Powder Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

After taking photos of the suite, we went to The Spa to experience The Ritz-Carlton's signature spa treatments. Upon arrival at The Spa, the staff greeted us and directed us to the waiting area. As soon as we were seated, our therapists approached us and politely introduced themselves. They handed us hot towels and served us with hot ginger tea and nuts. After that, they asked us to fill out the consultation form so that they could bring attention to any of our specific concerns or conditions. When everything was ready, they guided us to the couple's massage room.

Spa

The Spa - Reception (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The Spa - Reception (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The Spa - Consultation Form (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The Spa - Consultation Form (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

As we entered the room, we were astonished to see the floor and the bed sprinkled with fresh rose petals. This one deserved to be photographed, so we asked the therapists if we can take a photo and they gladly said yes. 

The Spa - Couple's Massage Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The Spa - Couple's Massage Room (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Right after taking a photo, they asked us to wash up and wear our bathrobes. 

The Spa - Bathroom (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The one that I tried is the On the Banks of the Dead Sea treatment, while Rock Licker chose the Secrets of the Argan treatment. The Banks of the Sea is a 90-minute treatment using highly re-mineralizing and detoxifying ingredients to renew and soften the skin. It includes a Dead Sea salt scrub, Dead Sea mud full body wrap and full body massage. On the other hand, Secrets of the Argan is a 90-minute treatment using a selection of Arabic ingredients to deeply cleanse and gently remove impurities from the skin surface whilst strengthening the benefits of the Argan oil leaves the skin nourished and hydrated. This treatment includes crushed Argan shells body exfoliation, Ghassoul mud wrap, scalp massage and application of Argan oil.

After the treatment, they gave us 15 minutes rest before taking a shower.

For me and Rock Licker, the experience induced to us a deep sense of relaxation and left us feeling very peaceful and calm. It was terrific!

Club Lounge at Night

After having our spa treatments, we headed back to the Club Lounge. As usual, I was engrossed in taking photos while Rock Licker enjoyed drinking his coffee and reading the newspaper.

Voila! There he is. I left him on the other side of the lounge and this time he is in the media room.

I could say that I'm quite impressed with this Club Lounge. While some Club Lounge are only good at serving breakfast, The Ritz Club Lounge offers quality food, cozy ambiance and extraordinary service from morning until evening.

Primavera

Come dinnertime, we went to Primavera, the only Italian restaurant in the Gulf region with 100% all-Italian crew.

Primavera (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Primavera (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

The restaurant exudes stylish, upbeat and inviting atmosphere which is perfectly in tune with the Italian's energetic personality.

Primavera (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Primavera (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

We sat near the glass window and almost instantly, we were presented the menu. Everything on their menu seems to be delicious so we asked for recommendation and the exuberant restaurant manager, Beatrice Manno suggested to us the degustation, which is basically sampling small portions of all the chef's signature dishes in one sitting.

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Primavera's Chef Armando Aristarco served us almost everything from the menu and it was absolutely an explosion in the mouth! It was like having a food tour all over Italy because of the staple dishes that he prepared for us. Yum!

Primavera - Val Di Non (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Primavera - Val Di Non (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

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After our delightful meal, we were also granted the opportunity to take a peek inside the kitchen. Thanks to Primavera's gracious Chef who personally toured us around his workplace. 

Primavera - Kitchen (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Primavera - Kitchen (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Primavera - Chef Armando Aristarco (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

Primavera - Chef Armando Aristarco (The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain)

In one corner of the kitchen, we spotted the motto posted on the wall. It is certainly a highly practical and essential advice to all the people working in the kitchen. From now on, this will be Rock Licker's motto too! 

And then, we came across with this guy who genuinely takes pride in his work. Great job!

After our delightful dinner at Primavera, we decided to take a stroll around the hotel to burn some calories and take night shots of the property. We came back to our room before midnight.

Swimming Pool

Thai Lounge

La Plage

Boulevard Lounge

Diplomatic Suite - Balcony

When I woke up the next morning, I was wondering where is Rock Licker. I found him lounging at the balcony, drinking his coffee and checking emails.

I convinced him to have a full breakfast at the Club Lounge to start the day right. Look at the transformation on his face by just having a scrumptious meal!

After a hearty breakfast, we looked around to see Ritz Carlton's nine restaurants. But during that time, a few of them were not open for lunch. So we ended up checking out La Med, Nirvana, Lobby Lounge, La Plage and Gourmet Lounge.

La Med

La  Med offers relaxed dining experience in a peaceful setting complemented with extravagant buffet and best culinary team. 

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Nirvana

Nirvana, on the other hand, is the hotel's Indian restaurant that serves authentic traditional dishes. It has a sophisticated decor and features live music at night.

Lobby Lounge

Lobby Lounge provides guests a wide array of delicious afternoon treats together with relaxing music and beautiful ambience.

Before vacating the suite, the typical Rock Licker wanted to go up to the Club Lounge to maximize our Club access and grab a few bites. So we did and then we went to the lounge desk and handled the checkout procedures. But we weren’t done with The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain yet. We roamed around the hotel property and took photos again to our heart's content.

Flamingo Pond

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Private Island

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Yacht Club

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Water Sports Center

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Swimming Pools

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La Plage

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Al Fresco

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The Ritz Gourmet Lounge

And then, we found this -The Ritz Gourmet Lounge, a cafe with enjoyable chic Parisian ambience.

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Aside from its jaw-dropping aesthetic features, the selection of cakes and pastries here was enormous. Overwhelmed by the quantity, we took our time to look through the glass food counter to choose what we really like.

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To satisfy our sweet tooth, we ordered blueberry cheesecake, grand macaron and caramel eclair. To complement the delicious pastries, we had red rose juice and earl gray tea.

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We spent a good two hours lounging in this posh cafe. We then, ask one of the staff to issue us the bill. After a couple of exchange, we became comfortable with each other. Out of his generosity, he served us mixed nuts while waiting for our appointment. I started to remember my good old flying days and mentioned to him that it's the same thing I normally serve for the airline passengers. He instantly got interested which airline I worked for. We then found out, we knew each other eight years ago. He was our ground staff trainee and we met a couple times in the airport. During that time, we've connected because he was such a charming person but sadly, he was uncertain about his future career as most of his contemporaries have already landed a job. During those few encounters with him, I tried my best to encourage him and told him that breakthrough will come. Eventually, we lost contact because his training with our company was only for a short period of time. 

We were both struck that our paths crossed again and of all the places it's in The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain. We were amazed of what he has achieved so far and how he is proud of working for The Ritz-Carlton. Now as a Supervisor at Gourmet Lounge in The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, he is all praises to his current employer as it gave him the opportunity to grow professionally and personally. Truly, The Ritz-Carlton creates wonderful stories not only for their guests, but for their employees as well. 

We left The Ritz-Carlton with lots of great memories from its amazing facilities, impeccable service, delightful cuisine and caring staff. Thank you The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain for the incredible experience! We will definitely keep coming back!

HOTEL REVIEW: Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea and Spa

Having been a spoiled frequent guest of AccorHotels (Sofitel Manila, Pullman King Power Bangkok, Novotel Phuket) during my decade stint as a flight attendant, I was extremely excited to experience Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea and Spa.

Inquiry and Booking

We learned about Sofitel Bahrain’s latest offer through a travel show. We contacted the hotel reservations thru email for inquiries and they gave us a good deal for 3 different room types. The one that we booked was the Luxury Club Room.

Image from Sofitel website

Location

The hotel is beautifully located in a quiet and secluded area in Zallaq, far away from the busy city. It is 30 minutes drive from Bahrain International Airport and 25 minutes from Manama Central Business District.

Arrival

Upon arrival, the valet man opened the driver’s door, took our luggage out and parked the car for us. However, me and Rock Licker were puzzled as to why there was no bellman nor doorman in sight, just an employee in black suit with a name tag trying his best to ignore us. He helped me though, half-heartedly, when I said I needed help with my bag. Later on, we found out he's the hotel security manager.

Front Desk

During check-in, we were assisted by the gentleman at the front desk, Mr. Tariq. He is nice and friendly, and he gave us our requested room with a great view of the beach, garden and pool. After checking in, he escorted us to the lounge for a comfortable wait. Our room was not yet ready because we arrived around 10am and the standard check-in time is at 1pm.

The only downside is that Mr. Tariq overlooked the fact that we were booked in the Luxury Club Room which means that our check-in should be done at the Club Lounge, not in the front desk . A supposedly added comfort that we missed because of a basic information that the front desk staff ignored or probably cared less. 
 

Lounge

While waiting for our room key, we were served simple but delicious morning foods and healthy juices. With the small number of guests that stays and eats at the lounge, it's an ideal place for people who prefers exclusivity and privacy.

Aside from breakfast, the lounge also serves mid-day snacks, afternoon tea, light dinner and evening Arabic sweets for Club Millesime guests.

Room 1508

Immediately after getting our key, we proceeded to our Luxury Club Room, a well-appointed 43 sq.m Arabic-themed room with wide balcony overlooking the pool, beach and garden. It has one king size bed, 42" HDTV, Bose sound system, working desk, cordless phone, WIFI , tea/coffee, Nespresso coffeemaker and minibar. The bathroom has a single sink, Hermes amenities, a tub, rain & jet shower and toilet & bidet. 

Welcome Fruits and Dates

The View

WiFi

Wifi in this hotel is free but the signal is too weak and almost non-existent not just in our room but in every part of the hotel. We reported it to guest services immediately on our first day. The one that spoke to us said there was a shortage of bandwidth and the management is still figuring out how to resolve it. The staff sounded a bit irate and no solution whatsoever was presented. We complained again the next day (our check-out day) and this time they gave us a mobile wifi. Well, it's too late!

We then found out from friends that they encountered the same problem during their stay in Sofitel Bahrain last year. We just hope that the hotel will fix it soon. 

Friday Brunch

The Friday Brunch spans the main restaurant, plus the Italian and Asian Restaurants. We went down to the main restaurant early and spotted the staff having their pre-duty briefing. We decided to go outside and stroll the garden, and came back when everything was ready. When we returned to the main restaurant, we approached the staff and told him we reserved a table for two. He asked for our names and searched it in the reservation list. He guided us towards the table,  which was at the farthest end corner of the Italian restaurant.

Guests in the Italian Restaurant were entertained with a mascot and a clown. In the main restaurant, there was a live music and everybody was enjoying singing and dancing.

The food was very good especially the seafoods. However, we think more improvement must be done with the service during busy hours.

Saraya

Wok

Fiamma

Lobby

We went to the lobby after brunch to walk around and to take photos. We bumped into Mr. Tariq and asked him if he could show us the Opera Suite. He told us to go to Club Millesime and look for the Filipina attendant there. He said she's not busy. 

Opera Suite

We went up to the lounge and looked for the Filipina attendant that Mr. Tariq mentioned but she was on lunch break. Luckily, there's another Filipino attendant, and he offered to show us the suite.

Swimming Pool

After viewing the Opera Suite, we headed outside for our late afternoon stroll and enjoyed the gorgeous view of the beach, garden and pool.

The hotel swimming pool was pure, clean and not too busy. The pool layout was simple yet functional with lots of lounge chairs and daybeds lined on the side and a nice swim-up pool bar in the middle.

Beach

The beach set up is good with golden sands and clear, calm water, perfect for water sports activities and weekenders who wish to spend some time away from the city’s stressful environment.

Garden

We loved the hotel's beautiful lush garden with rows of trees that lights up at night creating a romantic feel.

Kids Club

After our quick afternoon stroll, we visited the Kids Club which is located at the leftmost part of the beach. Inside the Kids Club, there's a playroom, computer stations, arts and craft area and a reading area. Outside, there's a kiddie pool.

Spa

We also got to see the hotel's Thalassa Spa. It has an area of 2000 sq.m with 14 treatment rooms. and boasts facilities and full services that include sauna, hammam, sports room, tennis and squash courts, seawater and freshwater swimming pool, hairdressing and beauty salon, yoga/pilates studio, meditation area and dietician. According to their therapist, all treatments, massages and thalasso cures are tailored according to their guest's desires and needs, and uses only the best marine products.

Fitness Gym

The fitness gym offers diverse cardiovascular equipment, fitness instructors, changing area and client area.

Beauty Salon

The beauty salon has a variety of services like manicure, pedicure, hairstyling, wax and eyelash extension. 

Lobby at Night

Breakfast at Saraya

Breakfast served in the main restaurant, Saraya, was outstanding and has a good selection of fresh fruits, yoghurts, breads, various jams and spreads, cold cuts, cheese, and a selection of cooked breakfast. As we were enjoying our breakfast, me and Rock Licker can't help but notice this pleasant and hardworking guy who was very attentive to the guests, sincerely greeting them, responding to their requests and collecting their plates. When we look at his name tag, we saw his name is Skandar and he is the Restaurant Assistant Manager. Then, there's this other guy just standing either at the cashier or at the condiment station, pretending to be busy at times. He passed by our table and we looked at his name tag. We found out that he is the Restaurant Supervisor and his name is Jaiz. Me and Rock Licker just looked at each other, bewildered how lazy this supervisor is compared to his boss. We just observed that most of the restaurant supervisors from brunch and breakfast were not helping that much. The servers wearing apron were all hardworking but they were few.

 

Afternoon A la Francaise

Before checking out, we took a gander at all the food and wine booths set-up on the beach which was a promotional and advertising campaign for French products. The supermarket chains Aljazira, Alosra and Jawad, the French poultry group Doux, the company BMMI and PAUL Bakery & Patisserie participated in the event.

Check-out

We did our check-out in the lounge and reported all our concerns to the lounge manager. She apologized to us and connected us to another manager who promised us a better experience next time.

HOTEL REVIEW: The Gulf Hotel, Bahrain

Bahrain is one of the top destinations amongst the GCC countries. Known for its relaxed application of Islamic Law, Bahrain has an immense cultural diversity, with different faiths and churches in operation and high percentage of its population are expatriates, mostly from oil & gas industry and banking & finance sector. 

THE GULF HOTEL

During the long weekends we had the chance to experience modern Bahrain for the first time. We've read somewhere that The Gulf Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Manama, so we gave it a try and booked a stay for a night. Although, when we were there, we didn't had the chance to use all their facilities because it was just a short stay. But we were able to tour the hotel and take some photos. We were told that the hotel was recently renovated. No wonder why it's not obvious that it's already a half century old establishment. Based on our experience, I could say that everything about this hotel is practical. There's nothing really fancy. But having been around for many years, it was able to build a reputation that cannot be shaken. For some, it's just an old hotel. But for Bahrainis, it's an institution.