Review: Weddings at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa
Weddings at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain
A few months ago, I met some of the marketing and communications team over at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa while they were in Dubai during a travel expo. Their enthusiasm for the weddings held at their hotel was infectious and I loved that they cared so much about the couples. After they found out that Bride Club ME was media partnering with Bahrain’s only wedding exhibition, Wedding & Fashion Arabia, and that the hubby and I had never been to Bahrain before, they invited me over for a venue tour. A and I decided to make a mini-break of the trip while we were at it.
Especially for our Bahraini brides-to-be, and any couples out there considering the Middle Eastern island for a wedding or perhaps a long weekend, here’s my review of our stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain, complete with details on the hotel’s wedding offerings and facilities. Enjoy!
We flew to Bahrain on flydubai for AED850 per person, landing a mere hour after departing Dubai. We were greeted by The Ritz-Carlton’s chauffeur, who transported us to the hotel – about 15 minutes away – in an air-conditioned BMW.
My first impression of Bahrain was that it seemed to be a mix of Al Ain and Abu Dhabi – laid back and a tad more “old school” than Dubai. My impression of the hotel at first glance was similar – relaxed and old school, but with glamorous charm. Set within lushly landscaped gardens and sandy beaches just steps from the sea, the resort is a place where guests can immerse themselves in the local culture, enjoy extraordinary cuisine from morning to night and explore the dazzling capital city of Manama.
After a quick, no fuss check in, we were escorted to our spacious room with standard amenities on the fifth floor. While we didn’t have a balcony, our large windows offered a magnificent view of the Gulf, the hotel’s outdoor grounds and the Manama city skyline.
All club rooms come with free Wi-Fi access, although connecting proved difficult at times. A scrumptious bowl of healthy fruit and dates awaited us and, five minutes after arriving, we were handed a plate of delicious pre-dinner miniature cakes. The hotel’s communications executive Deniz, also greeted us with a personal welcome.
Dinner at Plums restaurant
For our evening dinner, the hubby and I headed down to the hotel’s Plums restaurant – an unpretentious contemporary environment where you can take time out to sit, chat, eat, drink and enjoy the vibrant, modern art-deco interior of the restaurant. I loved the suspended hat lighting in particular.
Plums combines refined dining with innovative cuisine, and specialises in premium beef and fresh, top-quality seafood. We met the restaurant’s chef de cuisine, Yann Bernard Lejard, who prepared some surprise starters for us, including amuse-bouche, foie gras and shrimp. For mains, Adam opted for steak, and if it’s steak you want, this is certainly the place to go in Bahrain. I feasted on grilled salmon. Dessert, just like the restaurant’s interior, was a work of art and delicious to boot.
The waiters at Plums were both knowledgeable and professional. Special touches included being able to choose from a selection of knives for meat and fish. We enjoyed a great experience all round, although make sure you are seriously hungry upon arrival – we could hardly move afterwards! The restaurant would make a great pre-wedding dinner venue.
Chill-out tunes and ‘La Massage’
The following morning, Adam and I took some time out to explore our immediate surroundings. The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain offers impressive indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Situated at the edge of Manama Bay, the hotel’s private beach sweeps around to a picturesque lagoon and private island. It was absolutely gorgeous and we really enjoyed the resident DJ’s chilled-out tunes as the sun set after a day by the pools.
After some sun and sand, we headed to the hotel’s Royal spa, where we sampled the sauna and steam room before settling into a 60-minute customised treatment called ‘La Massage’. Using various massage techniques, it was an intense experience, but I felt seriously re-energised after my knots had been attended to. Priced at BD70, it was well worth every penny and I’d definitely recommend this therapy to a bride and groom before, or the morning after, their big day.
Indian cooking classes at Nirvana restaurant
A highlight was being invited by Nirvana’s executive chef to attend some Indian cooking classes in celebration of the cultural Indian festival Diwali. Four chefs from different corners of India created special recipes, which Adam and I, along with several other guests, were taught how to cook. These included curried okra and delicious Masahari kebabs.
It was a real treat being allowed inside the kitchen to see how real chefs prepare and create their trademark dishes. Before leaving with our own recipes to recreate at home, we sat down to feast on what we’d prepared with a lot of assistance from the chefs. Cooking classes are a great activity to experience as a couple, especially if your fiancé isn’t exactly a dab hand in the kitchen!
Morning yoga class
During our final morning at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain, A and I decided to try out the regular morning yoga session at the hotel’s fitness centre. I’ve dabbled with yoga before, but the hubby was totally alien to it all. Our yogi for the morning was Meena, a vivacious, comedic character who clearly had years of experience.
At the class, we learnt about posture, stretching, building strength and breathing, as well as how to connect mind, body and soul in order to bring harmony and balance. We also practised some de-stressing breathing exercises. I must admit the session re-awakened my desire to do more yoga and the stretching really helped ease some of my aches and pains. Morning yoga sessions at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain’s fitness centre cost: BHD5 per session.
Wedding venue tour and facilities
Finally, after a wonderful few days exploring the venue and experiencing its hospitality, I was treated to a personalised tour with the hotel’s event manager, starting with the two impressive ballrooms. The main area of the hotel, where both the ballrooms are located, offers a private entrance for wedding guests and separate parking, which is always a bonus.
In the Al Ghazal ballroom, crystal chandeliers cast a warm glow over the rich blue carpets. The 940-square-metre ballroom can seat up to 550 guests, and is also divisible into four rooms.
The Al Noor ballroom is 858 square metres and can seat up to 600 guests; this is a ballroom fit for royalty, and is often used for this purpose, according to the hotel’s events team. Opulent and luxurious with a decor featuring intricate golden designs, this magnificent ballroom is a favourite for weddings and other happy celebrations. Personally, I feel traditional Arabic and Indian brides would favour the ballrooms, as they are indeed very grand.
Some couples, however, bypass both of the ballrooms and opt to host their wedding in the main entrance area, which has a 1920s theme.
For Western brides and couples who prefer a more natural and organic setting, the hotel’s villas can be used for smaller, more intimate weddings. The table arrangements could be organised on the terrace facing the ocean, while the ceremony could take place in the private garden.
My personal favourite of all the hotel’s wedding venues was the private island, which can accommodate around 600 people and offers couples a blank canvas that can be totally transformed according to their needs. The hotel can only offer day weddings on the island, however, due to noise restrictions. It was so beautiful – honestly, I could hideaway there forever! I would LOVE to, one day, see photos of a reader’s wedding on the island.
The best part of the hotel’s wedding offerings is that many things can be coordinated in-house. The wedding flower set-up can be designed by The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain flower shop, and the wedding cake tailor-created at The Ritz Gourmet Lounge. Wedding favours can also be sourced within the hotel, including edible macaroon favours from the Gourmet Lounge.
Our short but sweet stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain was wonderful and I would highly recommend a visit if you have not already been. The venue also offers an array of wedding options suited to couples of all nationalities and preferences.
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