If you’re a member or have a day pass to one of Bahrain’s most luxurious, water-front five-star resorts, then watersports enthusiasts are in luck. For both kids and grown-ups, the activities here are endless, whether you fancy a quick dip in the pool, relaxing in the Turkish baths, or getting your heart rate up with kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and pedal boating. The team have recently launched a dedicated watersports activity counter, which is open every day from 9am to 5pm, and prices start from BD5 per hour. Once you're suitably exercised, you can then cool off in one of the hotel's many exceptional restaurants and bars.
Day passes: BD20 (weekdays), BD45 (weekends). The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef, www.ritzcarlton.com (17 586 612).
This homegrown coastal management and recreation company hosts a range of water sports lessons and events throughout the year at a variety of locations from Amwaj Islands to Marassi Al Bahrain. Owner Mohanna Al Doseri founded the company back in October 2014 and then launched GYPSEA Watersports, a natural watersports centre, just over a year ago. They offer internationally certified classes in kiteboarding, stand-up paddleboarding and paddleboard yoga, and they’re currently setting up a windsurfing and sailing school, with more to come later this year. You can join them for a class or head out on an expedition to a nearby island, followed by barbecues, bonfires and live acoustic performances.
Prices vary. Main office location: Block 17, Road 117, Hidd Industrial Area, www.beachculture.me (77 363 677).
Coral Bay is easily one of Bahrain’s top spots for a recreational lifestyle, with restaurants, nightlife spots, a spa and even a dive centre, where you can train for your PADI certification in scuba diving. The watersports centre offers jet skiing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, knee boarding, banana rides and pedal boating, as well as kayaking (single and double). You can also rent a boat from here for BD60 in the first hour, BD40 for every additional hour, for up to 14 people. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon with friends, finishing up by the pool bar in the evening or on the Karma Lounge terrace under the stars.
From BD10 per hour (non-members). Coral Bay, Al Fateh Corniche, www.coral-bay.net (17 312 700).
Al Dar Islands
For an entire day (and even a night) by the water, there’s no better place than Al Dar Islands, a lovely island paradise off the shore of Sitra that's perfect for staycations and generally escaping real life for a while. Take a boat from the port in Sitra (it runs every 30 minutes), to the tiny island and enjoy an afternoon of beachside activities. Play in-water volleyball or take out the pedal boats and kayaks. There are also a range of boat trips you can book – a romantic cruise for two around the nearby islands, dolphin watching, fishing for three hours and even pearl diving (and potentially take home a gem of your own). Once you’ve exhausted yourself with these, you can have a bite and beverage from the restaurant or even bed down for the night in one of the chalets at Al Dar North. Just make sure you always have a valid ID on you for coastguard registration.
Day passes: BD6 (adults), BD3 (children one to 15), free (kids under one). Prices vary for watersports. Al Dar Islands, Sitra, www.aldarislands.com (17 704 600).
Lagoona Beach Resort
Right now, this is the place to be for people who love to splash about. The relatively new Budaiya-based resort has launched a range of activities. Scuba dive in the clear blue waters, fish in the shallow waters, watch our dolphin pals frolic in the sea, jet-ski, water-ski, wakeboard, kayak, parasail – the list is rather large. Most excitingly, however, is the introduction of some rather new experiences on the island. For example, the Seabreacher, which can jump and roll like a dolphin, cruises at 40 mph and can dive up to five feet underwater. The Jetovator launches you 40 feet in the air (and you can only find this at Lagoona). You can also find the X-Jetpack, flyboards and hoverboards here. Basically, it’s a haven for watersports lovers.
Packages and prices vary. Lagoon Beach Resort, Budaiya, www.lagoonabeachbahrain.com (16 630 000).
The marina is currently home to Biss Marine, which offers a range of sailing and water sports lessons, as well as boat and yacht charters, from its state-of-the-art facilities. There are a range of internationally recognised powerboat training schemes and PADI diving courses and excursions, as well as lessons in wakeboarding, wakesurfing and waterskiing. Most recently, the team launched dinghy sailing, which is a great way for children to learn how to sail. Alternatively, if you prefer a captain do all the work for you, then book yourself a boat. There are daily yacht charters, with boats ranging from 35 to a whopping 61 feet. Prices start from BD350 for ten passengers.
Powerboat courses from BD150; Sailing courses from BD200; diving courses from BD50; water sports activities from BD60 (one hour, all equipment, tuition and water included). Amwaj Marina, Amwaj Islands, www.bissmarine.com (16 034 486).
This five-star water-front resort is definitely a great place for families, largely thanks to Flipper’s Kids’ Club and Water Park. Sure, you can hang out on the beach or by the pool, but a range of activities are also available, including boat trips, jet-skiing, banana and donut rides, kayaking, fishing and diving trips.
Day pass: BD15 (adult), BD10 (child) on weekdays, BD25 and BD10 on weekends. Activities start from BD10 (30 mins). Art Rotana, Amwaj Islands, www.rotana.com/artrotana (16 000 111).
Bahrain Sailing Club
For those who seek a quieter, more humble atmosphere, we recommend heading out to the Bahrain Sailing Club in Zallaq, where you can also stay the night in one of the rooms for just BD20 (two people). For a mere BD3 you can go and hang out on the soft sandy shores and enjoy the clear waters here, and for an extra BD3 you can also rent a kayak for an hour. This is also a great place for amateur sailors to train on a laser dinghy. Lessons are available at a variety of prices (call for more information).
Entrance BD3. Bahrain Sailing Club, Zallaq, no website (17 836 078).
Al Bander Hotel & Resort
This stalwart resort offers the ideal location for us island dwellers to escape the hum-drum of real life. Even if you’re not renting out one of the lovely chalets, which are dotted along the shores, you can head over for a day at the beach and make full use of the facilities. This includes a marina, where elite yachts are moored, as well as a beautiful beach, pool areas and crystal waters. As for the watersports selection – take your pick. Firstly, they have a dedicated Dive Centre, where you can earn your PADI certification to explore the ocean deep. Then a whole host of other activities such as knee boarding, row boating, canoeing, fishing, snorkeling and banana boating are available.
Day pass BD20. Al Bander Hotel & Resort, Sitra, www.albander.com (17 701 201).
Buy and protect your gear
The original Budaiya-based branch opened in 1989, selling just bikes. Now they’ve launched three branches – also in Juffair and Amwaj Islands – and sell all manner of extreme sports equipment, including inflatables, kiteboards, water-skiis, paddleboards and accessories such as helmets and ropes.
Skate Shack, Budaiya Highway, www.skate-shack.com (17 697 176).
The homegrown coastal management brand also sells surfing, kiteboarding and paddleboarding gear, as well as sails, kayaks, wetsuits and plenty of necessary accessories. It also offers equipment storage, maintenance and rental, alongside other services including watersports lessons from a variety of locations
across the island.
Main office: unit 71, block 17, road 117, Hidd, www.beachculture.me (77 363 677).
Paddle Sport Marine
Kayaks, stand-up paddleboarding equipment, water-proof bags and a number of accessories are available from this local company based at the Lagoona Beach Resort. It also rents out the equipment, including 24-hour inflatable stand-up paddleboards. Feeling adventurous? Book in for the three-hour kayak trip that includes fishing, snorkeling and island hopping.
Lagoon Beach Resort, Budaiya, www.paddlesport-marine.com (34 195 125).