Whispers Of Nature

For a change of scene, Fernanda Langhammer embraced a staycation at Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain for a journey of unwinding into luxury and enchanting experiences.

Travelling is reported to have a beneficial impact on your health – mental and physical. It can improve your mood, reduce stress, boost your immune system and add a smile to your face. However, it requires a lot of planning and extra time, so how can you get the same positive effects without actually leaving the country? By going for a staycation. And I can truly say that my time at Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain allowed me disconnect without the hassle of travelling.

The hotel is the only all-villa property in Bahrain, and it provides a luxurious experience. Offering 78 private villas of one, two and three bedrooms, each with their own pool, takes sophistication to a whole new level. With 24- hour butler service, you can be pampered at any time of the day or night – personalised service is an important aspect of Raffles’ values.

The hotel conservatory lobby is a marvellous, massive space that looks like someone’s living room with many potted plants (an array of tall, short and hanging plants) and different seating areas with sofas, armchairs and pouffes as well as many decorative elements such as lamps, vases and candles. Everything is tastefully chosen in a colour palette that goes from ivory and earthy tones to grey and black. The greenery from the plants and fresh flowers add a natural scent to the ambience, giving you a pleasant sensation. Meanwhile, water fountains take your hearing sense to calming and relaxing mode.

The Arabic arches and doors between the spaces bestow a sense of palatial grandeur to the property. Mashrabiya’s architectural element, with its iconic lattice technique, covers the main hall’s glass ceiling right after the entrance. This Islamic geometric pattern has also been added to other areas for a regional touch to the interior design. The natural light is allowed to pass through this magnificent ceiling, creating an enchanting vibe.

I was mesmerised by this fantastic place. I then headed to the left to find the check-in area; on my way, I passed by Ycone Paris, the celebrated patisserie from French Chef Yazid Ichemrahen – if you have a sweet tooth, this is undoubtedly the place to visit. I reached the reception, which looked more like an extension of the space without standing out – I loved that it blended with the rest of the décor, making it quite cosy. Win, the receptionist, welcomed me with a lovely smile; the check-in was smooth, and we were sitting in the buggy heading to our private villa in no time.

Esther, our butler, drove us to our one-bedroom villa within comfortable walking distance of the lobby. The privacy of these villas needs to be mentioned. The big wooden door opened to a wide space, and the tall walls enclosing the area gave an incredible sense of seclusion. Inside the walls, you have the villa itself, with a living room, bedroom and incredible bathroom, forming a U-shape. In the middle of the U, there is a Jacuzzi which is attached to the private pool. The pool is big and decorated with dark blue tiles with hints of sparkle, making it quite elegant. The temperature-controlled water allows it to be used throughout the year regardless of the weather. The building disposition permits you to see and access the pool from all rooms, but the view from the bedroom was the best! During our stay, I lay in bed and watched the water and the small waterfall for long moments, enjoying the peaceful view.

By the pool, there is a large dining table and loungers for chilling while enjoying the outdoors. There is also an indoor dining room and living area with a TV to relax with your friends and loved ones.

A selection of sweets waited for us when we got to the room and a welcome note from Marie-Beregere Chapoton, the hotel’s General Manager. Nespresso coffee and a selection of fine teas were also available in the room. We felt pampered with so much care and attention to detail.

DINING EXPERIENCE

During our stay, we had the opportunity to try Palma, the hotel’s main restaurant’s, Iftar. With a by-the-table concept, we had a spread of cold and hot appetisers such as original and octopus hummus, taboule, labneh with caramelised beetroot and carrots, green salad, kibbeh, vegetable samboosa and a warm bread basket. What a great start! The mains were too many and we chose a selection of grills with giant prawns, lamb chops and tender beef ribs – everything cooked to perfection. Nazir, our waiter for the night, was extra attentive and asked the chef to prepare some vegetarian options to accommodate our diet preferences.

Our breakfast was served in the villa with a special touch: a floating basket. I love breakfast food, and the Raffles Breakfast Experience was more than I could have wished for (it was definitely my favourite meal). It had the best croissant I ever tried in my life and the local Peninsula goat cheese was spectacular. The Mezza, a halved eggplant with labneh topped with spring onions and pomegranate and Raffles Shakshouka, made with air-dried tomato, were the highlights of the savoury options. Lunch was also served in the villa, and we had the Lemon Thyme-infused Roasted Beetroot Salad, Spanish Water Scallop and Black Seabass, a light but filling meal that we all enjoyed for its freshness and well-balanced flavours.

WELLNESS SPA VILLA

Not only does the calming environment of the hotel help you disconnect from the world outside, but the spa concept offered at Raffles takes you to a complete state of bliss. The Wellness Spa Villa is a three-bedroom villa transformed into a realm of peace, providing unique treatments. It is the only hotel in Bahrain offering the latest technology and procedures from the exclusive Dr Burgener Switzerland. It also embraces signature therapies that pay homage to the Middle East and Bahrain’s rich heritage. If requested, the treatments can be performed in the guest’s villa for extra privacy.

As part of the well-being programme offered at Raffles, I joined a yoga session in the garden with Anudeep, the instructor. He started the session by explaining that yoga is not only about flexibility but about balancing body, mind and soul. The smell of the grass and the sound of birds made the one-hour experience very pleasant – I left feeling lighter and somehow energised.

HIGHLIGHTS AT RAFFLES AL AREEN PALACE BAHRAIN

The greenery. The variety of exquisite plants throughout the property defines its embodiment as the Palace of the Secret Garden. With an array of potted plants and meticulously landscaped gardens blending local flora and exotic specimens, the resort showcases its commitment to horticulture and the sensory experience it provides.

Incredible books. They are everywhere (thousands of them fill public areas and villas) and are amazing! As part of the Raffles brand, Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain has partnered with the Ultimate Library (a company that curates intelligent and stylish books for hospitality and residential spaces) for luxurious literary collections.

The Writers Lounge feels like a private members’ club with impeccable décor in muted tones and statement lighting. On the ceiling is a poem by Bahraini poet Ahmed Mohammed Al Khalifa about the country’s rich civilisation, which gives a sense of uniqueness to the space. The walls are adorned with captivating Arabic artwork and calligraphy, and the seating area comprises a large plush sofa, comfy chairs, a pool, chess and checkers tables.

The villas are equipped with Compoz Paris, a sophisticated aromatic diffuser that uses 100% natural-origin perfumes to enhance well-being. You can choose your favourite scent according to your preferences and wellness goals.

Last but not least, the Butler Service – an iconic testament to the brand. Esther, our lovely butler, organised everything we needed during our stay and even provided a special eye mask and chamomile tea before bedtime.

Book your romantic escape or celebrate a special occasion in complete privacy at Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain. You will indulge in memorable experiences and be transported to an exciting place without leaving the island.

For more information or to make a reservation,
please call Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain on 1784 5000.
@rafflesalareenpalace.bahrain

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