The best places to bag some beautiful gifts this season
1 Try the obvious ones Bahrain might be small, but it has some seriously big malls. The easy choice for anyone is to head to the country’s biggest mall, City Centre Bahrain in Seef (www.citycentrebahrain.com), where the world’s most popular brands sit side by side. Of course, there’s also Seef Mall in Seef and Muharraq (www.seef.net), which has top-name brands, but offers a more leisurely shopping experience in a smaller space. 2 Splash out on high-end brands Nowhere offers a better selection of high-end stores than Moda Mall in Manama (www.modabahrain.com). From Fendi to Gucci and Mont Blanc to Al Zain Jewellery, this is where you’ll find those extraordinary presents for that extra-special person in your life. 3 Discover local wonders There are so many small businesses and local boutiques dotted around Bahrain, but if you want to find some great ones all under one roof, you have two excellent destinations to choose from. Firstly, sandwiched between mammoth centre Seef Mall and City Centre Bahrain is Al A’ali Shopping Complex (www.alaalicomplex.com), which boasts some lovely stores selling items such as furniture by Gulf designers, hand-crafted antiques and beautiful souvenirs from the region. Elsewhere, in A’ali, you’ll find Riyadat Mall (www.riyadat.com.bh), which is a hub for local female entrepreneurs. Find gorgeous furniture shops, cute kids’ brands and beauty stores, plus plenty more.
4 Bag some bargains No-one is going to blame you if you’re broke. After all, it’s the thought that counts. But it doesn’t mean your present has to be poor. Firstly, there are the souqs. Around the country, there are traditional markets, with some lovely, locally-made products up for grabs, and you can haggle for them, too. Then there’s Dragon City in Diyar Al Muharraq (www.dragoncitybahrain.com) that stocks thousands of affordable products. Find home furnishings, clothes, sports equipment, electronics – you name it, they got it. You’ll also pick up some great gifts at the charitable Palm Association’s festive sale on December 7 in The Diplomat Radisson Blu (www.thepalmassociation.com). 5 Click online There are two good things about shopping online: firstly, you don’t have to get off the couch; secondly, there are some things you can’t even find in the shops. For beach-loving fashionistas, turn to Maison du Maillot (www.maisonmaillot.com), which is run by two sisters from Bahrain and sells über-trendy swimwear for men and women.
6 Turn to the region Neighbouring countries, in particular the UAE, also offer some great online retailers, which deliver to Bahrain. Sivvi (www.sivvi.com), for example, sells funky clothes, accessories and beauty products from well-known global brands, but also regional designers, for men and women. For ideas for kids, also try Mini Exchange (www.miniexchange.com), which houses a huge array of products not just for children, but also for Mum and Dad. 7 Go for vouchers It might seem impersonal, but sometimes it’s better to let the giftee do the choosing. You can’t go wrong with a gift voucher, which are available in shops all over the country. A spa voucher is also a lovely idea. Turn to page 64 for more inspiration from Bahrain’s spas. 8 Order a box Monthly subscriptions for boxes of goodies are becoming trendy all over the world. Whatever your loved one is into, you’re bound to find a suitable box somewhere. One we love is called The Happy Box (www.thehappybox.ae), which is based in the UAE. Every month, you’ll receive a box of educational activities, with step-by-step instructions on how to get the whole family involved in the fun.
9 Hunt down hipster havens Got a super-trendy pal to buy a present for? This is never easy, but, luckily for us, there are a fair few shops that could have been plucked straight out of Williamsburg. For example, urban shop Tilly’s Concept in Seef Mall (17 162 594) represents hand-picked independent labels from the region and around the world. You’ll find everything from quirky stationery by The Yard Kuwait to wooden sunglasses by Bahrain’s Barrel & Drum and arty T-shirts by J9sharabi.
10 Find foodie products We all have a few gourmands in our lives who would squeal with delight if you gave them a kitchen gadget or jar of kombucha. No trip to Lakeland in City Centre Bahrain (17 179 810) would be wasted, as they stock all the latest appliances and currently have a festive collection in store. For some actual food, we recommend taking a look in Amwaj Island’s jones the grocer (77 770 055), an Australian gourmet café that stocks some lovely products and plenty of cheese (enough said?). For festive, cute cupcakes and epic cakes, then turn to Lola’s Cupcakes (Saar Mall branch: 17 723 456), which has a new selection on sale this month.
11 For the little ones Outside big-name shops like Toys ‘R’ Us and Virgin Megastore, there are some terrific boutiques selling cute kids’ products. Doe A Deer in Hamala (17 276 767) stocks beautiful products for babies and toddlers, with clothes, cots, toys and much more. They also offer a gift-packing service. Meanwhile, in Al A’ali Shopping Complex, Lalapaloza (16 101 612) offers spa treatments for children, as well as sweet bath products, stationery and other craft gifts in the retail shop.
12 Seek out technology Whether we like it or not, the world has gone tech mad and we’re sure you’ll have a few devices on family members’ wish lists. One of the best places to go for the latest gear at affordable prices is Sharaf DG in City Centre Bahrain (17 172 617). For gamers, we recommend Euphoria in Seef Mall, Seef (17 582 040). 13 For your decorations When you actually present all these gifts, you’ll want to do it in a properly decked-out home, so getting the best Christmas decorations is a priority. One of our go-to spots for everything from trees to baubles and Santa hats has to be Artikel in Barbar’s Jawad Dome (17 795 070). It might be pricey, but the quality of ornaments and items is high and even if you don’t buy anything, the shopping experience during the festive season is worth the trip alone. Merry Christmas!
The festive season in this issue
62 The number of festive events going on around Bahrain, as listed in our epic Christmas cover feature this year.
40 The amount of New Year’s Eve parties we’ve got all the details for. From Caribbean bashes to Roaring ’20s themes – you’re sorted.
16 There are this many reasons to travel around the Gulf this month. Hop on a plane and take the family for a quick festive break.
10 We have ten awesome Christmas jumpers for men and women. Go on, channel your inner Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy.