Don't get all heated up about spending a summer in Bahrain. Take the plunge at these refreshing summer oases
Time Out Bahrain staff
The Banyan Tree Spa & Resort Al Areen is offering the chance to rent one of their luxurious pool villas for five hours and throw a pool party with all the trimmings – a dedicated team of staff to attend to your guests; a buffet lunch and unlimited soft drinks, all served up in a beautiful Arabian-influenced villa’s courtyard. Price is BD350 for a maximum of 10 guests (or share the price with nine friends and you’ve got a fabulous day out for BD35 each).
While you’re there, try the hotel’s outdoor vitality pool (BD15 for non-resort guests, open 8am-8pm daily), which features water jets, a bubble island, lazy rivers, a jet pool and hydro-massage stations. You’ll enjoy complimentary mineral water infusions, homemade iced teas and sorbets, with the option of buying a wide range of beverages, cocktails and light snacks at the a la carte pool bar.
Alternatively, the resort’s indoor hydrothermal garden (from BD35 per person) includes an arctic shower and an igloo room, where a rubdown with ice is the perfect circulation booster – and the ultimate cooldown. More info from The Banyan Tree Al Areen (17 845 000, email firstname.lastname@example.org). Prices are subject to tax and government levy.
A visit to Al Dar Island requires photo ID to buy a ticket and a short boat ride, but the temperature is lower than the mainland thanks to the cooling sea breeze. On arrival, you’ll be welcomed by little manchoos scooting about in schools under the pier (these are used to make an anchovy-like spread called meh-ya-wa that locals spread on khubz bought from Bahraini bakeries), along with friendly staff who will guide you to your sun lounger and bring you an umbrella and towels.
Enjoy ice-cold drinks and snacks delivered to your lounger or at the beach café between dips in the sea, a spot of snorkelling or in-water volleyball. You could also take a dolphin-watching, fishing or pearl-collecting boat trip (subject to weather and prior booking). Plus there’s the option of overnighting in the bedouin camp with a barbecue to grill your catch of the day. Al Dar Island is accessible by boat from Sitra fishing port, where you buy your ticket (17 704 600, www.al-darislands.com). Open Tue-Sun 10am-6pm. Island entry and sea taxi fee (photo ID essential) BD5 adults, BD3 kids.
In the heart of the desert, the Lost Paradise of Dilmun is a true oasis for kids and families throughout the week thanks to its entertaining rides and slides, wave pool and sandy beach, all surrounded by statues of mystical gods and faux ruins reminiscent of ancient Dilmun. But Thursday night is Ladies Night, and from 6pm until midnight, the girls come out to play, with an all-female staff on hand as lifeguards, to supervise the slides and lazy-river ride, and serve chilled fruit cocktails at the in-pool bar. There’s even a female DJ to keep you entertained as you lounge in the moonlight. A girls’ night out with a difference. Lost Paradise of Dilmun, Al Areen (17 845 100 www.lpodwaterpark.com). Open Wed-Mon 10am-5pm and from 6pm-12midnight for ladies on Thu nights. BD13 for guests over 1.3m and BD5 for guests under 1.2m. Boys 10-years-old and under are allowed at Ladies Night.
Sand and sport
Looking out across the turquoise shimmering bay from your sun bed at Coral Beach Club is a pretty good way to spend a day, especially as the sea and a chilled pool are steps away. Centrally located on the Al Fateh Corniche, this cosmopolitan playground is the perfect way to get away from it all without literally getting away. Luxury yachts are moored to one side of the marina with speed boats and jet ski’s on standby, and there’s also the option of wakeboarding, skiing, knee-boarding, banana boating, parasailing and diving (with a diving instructor available).
Or perhaps you’d rather just laze in the sea-water swimming pool with a drink from the swim-in café. A day-pass entitles you to all this, plus access to the air-conditioned gym-with-a-view (the spa and water sports are additional). Round things off with a Lebanese meal at Rayes restaurant serenaded by a live oud player. Coral Beach Club, Al Fateh Corniche (17 312 700, email@example.com). Open 9am-6pm daily. Entrance fee on week days is BD5 adults and BD3 children, weekends BD8 adults, BD3 children. Towels are provided (free of charge). Annual membership: Single BD300, Couple BD450, Family BD500 (with two kids under 12). Members receive 15 per cent off spa and watersports.