If you’re after an island escape but like your holidays to be about more than just lying by a pool and sunning yourself, then Bahrain might be the place for you.
Here you have history and culture by the bucket load but also the chance to kick back and relax.
In Arabic, “Bahr-ayn” means “two seas”, which refers to the Arabian Gulf and the fresh water springs that exist under the ocean. The country consists of an archipelago of 33 islands, the two main ones being Bahrain itself and Muharraq. As an island, strangely there are few beaches on offer, but it’s possible to try various water sports from diving to kitesurfing, as well as relaxing leisure activities such as dolphin watching and pearl diving.
One of the top spots to stay is The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, a sprawling resort that is as luxurious as it gets, boasting an array of restaurants, bars, sporting facilities and beaches, plus a spa and a gym.
When you do decide to venture out, the hotel can arrange boat trips. A two-and-a-half hour Sandbar Beach excursion (for Dhs400) includes a journey to the picturesque island of Jarada, some 14km from the hotel. Once there, you can relax in seclusion.
When you are back on dry land you can embark on a great culture trail, starting off at Bahrain National Musuem (packed with lots of interesting artefacts depicting traditional Bahraini life). After enjoying that blast from the past, take a trip to the Al-Fateh Mosque, which welcomes visitors and also offers guided tours, while Bahrain Fort is a top way to step back in time and see ruins stretching back thousands of years.
From island retreats to cultural connections, why not take a brilliant break in Bahrain?
Return flights from Dhs1,340 with Etihad Airways. Rooms start from Dhs1,050.
Ritz-Carlton Bahrain three dining spots
This Indian restaurant transports you to the subcontinent. The top-class cooking puts a smile on your face and the overall vibe makes you feel a million miles away from the sunny beaches outside, in a good way.
The hotel’s newest venue is a modern Mexican kitchen. The colourful interior is inspired by the artist it takes its name from. It has a terrific terrace, the dishes are full of vibrant flavours and the drinks are fun and authentic, too.
This plush steakhouse comes with a sense of drama. Plums does everything you’d expect of a top steakhouse and then some. The food served here is far from straightforward, as the restaurant’s chef plates up his innovative array of dishes with a generous sprinkling of panache and artistry.