Manama? Haven’t we been to these parts already?
Well, we’ve had a wander through the Bab Al Bahrain arch and into the Manama Souq, but there’s far more to the capital than that.
That’s right – Manama is the capital and largest city in Bahrain. In fact, this year it’s also the Capital of GCC Tourism in 2016. Its name is derived from the Arabic al-manãma, which means “the place of rest” or “the place of dreams”, and it’s home to a diverse population of over 150,000. All roads in Bahrain lead to Manama...
It must be banging then. You’ve told us about the market and cheap eat spots, but is there anything modern?
Definitely. Firstly, it’s home to the Bahrain World Trade Centre which, when it was built in 2008, was the tallest building in Bahrain and the first skyscraper in the world to integrate eco-friendly wind turbines. At the base of that, there’s the high-end Moda Mall, where you’ll find all sorts of luxurious brands such as Fendi, Gucci, Mont Blanc and more.
Impressive. Is it just full of tourists, though?
Not at all. All walks of life make their way through the streets of Manama. Of course, you’ll find plenty of travellers in the souq areas, and there are a few five-star hotels of note, where they might stay, but otherwise you’ll find residents of all nationalities going about their daily business here. The Diplomatic Area, where ministries and offices reside, is also part of the city.
I’m listening, but all I heard was “five-star hotels”. Which ones?
You’ll find the InterContinental Regency Bahrain at the centre of it all, as well as the Sheraton Bahrain attached to Moda Mall, and the Golden Tulip a little further down. Home-grown hotel The Domain Bahrain is also here and very new to the city is the Downtown Rotana.
So I’m guessing there are some decent fine-dining spots, too?
Oh yes. The Domain Bahrain in particular is home to a few Time Out Bahrain award-winners such as Le Sauvage steakhouse and European spot Le Domain . Back in the Bahrain World Trade Centre, we recommend a trip to the Italian restaurant BiCE (book in for the business lunch), Japanese-fusion eatery Maki and for modern Arabic cuisine, there’s no place like Abd El Wahab.
Only in Manama
This brand new hotel opened its doors just a few weeks ago in the heart of the capital. The 26-storey hotel offers 249 contemporary rooms and a range of food and beverage outlets, including Flavours on 2 (all-day dining), Teatro (East-meets-West fusion), and the Sundeck Pool Bar. Most of all, it offers a new, modern dimension to an older area. Visit www.rotana.com/downtownrotana.