Welcome to the first hotel that I stayed at in Bahrain. This will also be the first hotel that I stayed in the middle east. Bahrain is not a cheap place and same goes for the hotel market. The prices are exacerbated by the exchange rate where one 1 Bahraini Dinar equals
3.71 Singapore Dollar. Don’t let the prices fool you. I got a shock when I first check the prices of the hotels. Things may seems cheap when you see the prices at 1 or 2 dinar but after converting, it might shock you. I decided to spend 1 night each at the Le Meridien and Westin respectively. Both the Le Meridien and Westin are part of the City Centre Mall development and they belong to the same owner as well. Both of the hotels are directly connected to the mall which anyway is one of the best mall in Bahrain. There are numerous dining outlets and shops in the mall. I am curious to see the difference between two such similar brands that is just next to each other. As a matter of fact, the Westin is pricing a little higher than the Le Meridien.
Booking Process & Pre Arrival
I book a MMF rate directly from Marriott for this stay. Thankfully the MMF rate soften the blow a bit. For my 1 night stay, the base level standard room with breakfast me 67 BHD after tax. That is 253 SGD including taxes. Yea scary! Furthermore, this is not the peak season in Bahrain. When the F1 is on, expect to shell out a lot more for a hotel room. Le Meridien City Centre Bahrain has 260 rooms and suites spread across 5 categories. All rooms and suites here comes with a bathtub.
|Rooms||Le Meridien Club Access||Bathtub||Room Size||No.of Rooms|
|Junior Suite||Yes||Yes||42 Sqm||20|
|Oriental Suite||Yes||Yes||55 Sqm||18|
|Pearl Suite||Yes||Yes||88 Sqm||1|
I actually arrived the night before but decided to just book and stay at the Ibis since it is quite late and there is no point in splurging for something better. It was a short ride away and I got an uber which cost me around 2 BHD. Trust me, I would have walked if I could. I arrived at the Le Meridien at around 11am. The hotel have its own dedicated driveway and there is also a direct entrance to the mall. As I pulled up, the bellboy came over to help me with my bags and to usher me to the check in counters.
It has quite a nice lobby and a typical Le Meridien look with a revolving door. You have a cafe and a restaurant towards the side of the lobby too. The hotel is quite choc and there are plenty of seatings by the lobby area.
A staff dressed in the traditional arabic dress came over to offer some Arabic coffee and traditional Arabic sweets to welcome guests. Those baklava were so good and addictive and I was asking the staff where to get them. I felt so guilty while eating them but they were simply unstoppable. Throughout the day, in the lobby, you have some fruits, bottles of water as well as some pastries. A lovely touch in the Bahrain heat. I am really delighted but how welcoming and engaging the local Bahrain people are. I love how they work hand in hand in with the expats. Bahrain is a very open and laid back place.
There was no wait for checking in given the early hour. Check-in was fast and prompt. I was immediately help to by the lady working the desk who is super friendly and welcoming. She also surprised me with an upgrade to one of the hotel best suite, the Oriental Suite which is just a level below the presidential suite. You can access the mall directly from the hotel.
I was honestly pretty surprised to be upgraded to the Oriental Suite, one of the best suite in the entire hotel and just below the Presidential Suite. The suite measures 55 sqm. While it is not the most spacious suite that I have seen in the regular and open configuration does make it look bigger than it measures. The suite was nicely appropriately.
The suite have a short entryway and upon entering you can immediately find the mini bar counter to the left where it is equipped with an actual coffee machine and an impressive kettle. You can also find some packaged tea and coffee. I rather lovely those reusable coffee capsule from illy, they works pretty well and this is more eco-friendly for the environment too. It would be a nice touch if they had some Arabic coffee sachets or something. A fridge can be found below which is left empty for your use. They offer some cream inside for your drinks.
On the right side of the entrance, you can find a half bath. I have always appreciate having a half bath in my suite and they always come in handy. This is especially useful when you are staying with friends or family. Then you enter the main space of the living room which is modestly decorated but feels very cosy and homey. It is in a squarish configuration. You have a dining table for 4 person on the right corner. This would be great for dining in the room.
The living room comes with a spacious L-shaped couch she could easily fit 4 to 6 people comfortably. Opposite it is a high quality smart television which is on the smaller side for the suite. It does comes with a huge number of cable TV channels and you can also use connect your devices using Chromecast from your device. I love that they have designed all the media ports and outlets in a little platform below the television for you. You can easily connect via HDMI even USB to the television rather than trying to find the ports with your stretched arms blindly.
The working desk is next to it with a comfortable swivel office chair. This is decent to work on. Outlets can be found and the wifi is easy to connect to. The connection is good in the suite.
The bedroom in the living room is separated by an actual door. I love this layout as you can get some work done or chill in the living room while your partner is still resting in the room. The bed is super cosy and comfortable. Flanking the plush king-size bed are nightstands. Outlets can be easily found as well as controls for the lighting. I do wish that the blinds are electronically controlled in the suite. The bed is on the softer side but I will put that down to personal preferences. Pillows were thin although thankfully additional pillows could be easily requested from the staff.
Left on the bed is a little cute towel display and some postcards of Bahrain. This is a lovely touch and I wish more hotels would do this. It is a cute little set up and shows the attractions in the city. Travellers can have a sight and perhaps even find new places to visit.
Left on the bed is also a couple of pamphlet showing information about the hotel and there is also a voucher offering complimentary coffee in the cafe.
In the corner of the room we can find a armchair which I felt is in a pretty awkwardly position. It is not that comfortable sitting here being that close to the television. The suite doesn’t have much of view, it faces the surrounding with patches of the desert.
Opposite the bed you can find another little platform and a television. This vanity area is nicely designed with a flip up mirror and the hairdryer can be found inside too. I am sure the ladies will appreciate this area. The TV is a replica of the one in the living room.
The bedroom comes with a spacious walk in wardrobe, it comes with everything that you might need from bathrobes to ironing kit as well as plenty of hangers and a safe. I felt like the place could use a little more lighting and the luggage storage rack is on the smaller side as well. It could probably only fit a carry on suitcase. I am impressed to find that they provide these sewing kit with safety pins and buttons, common stuff that might rip off easily from your shirt. What a nice touch!
The bathroom comes with both a separate standing shower and a bathtub. The double sinks sure is a nice touch. All sorts of amenities are provided and as usual toiletries are from Malin+Goetz, the standard brand in Le Meridien properties. They are generous with it with one set by the standing shower and one by the bathtub. Water pressure and temperature control is excellent and I had a great shower.
I came back in the afternoon to find a generous welcome Amenity from the hotel. Thank you to the staff at Le Meridien Bahrain City Centre for making it such a sweet stay. I came back to a huge basket of fresh fruits as well as a platter of traditional arabic sweets. They were so good and I can’t stop having them. I wish I could bring them all home with me. I am surely not going to lose any weight here.
Given how they are sister properties, much of the hotel facilities are shared among the Le Meridien and the Westin. This includes the Fitness Centre, Pool and Spa. The fitness centre is located on the Westin side and of a good side. It is open 24 hours which makes sense since there are plenty of business travellers in Bahrain. This will be good to get a work out anytime you want.
You can find all sorts of equipment that you might need from leg raise, treadmills, bikes, weights, yoga balls and lifts. It is a nice space. Bottles of water as well as towels and apples are provided. You can access the gym directly from both hotel.
The pool is a lovely place and have sort of an infinity vibe. A good pool is a must for a hotel in the middle east, this is where you flock to escape the heat. It is located on the third floor and on a space between the two hotels. You can also find a restaurant and pool bar by the side.
There are plenty of sunbeds and cabana by the side of the pool. The water look so tempting. This is a great place to get some tanning. You have a smaller wading pool in addition to the main one. It would be a nice touch if they provide some high spf sunblock for guests.
Le Meridien Club
Guests who are staying in an Executive level room and above as well as Platinum Elite Marriott Bonvoy members and above are invited to the Le Meridien Club. The club is located on the 11th floor. The place is open from 2pm to 11pm. All-day drinks snacks is served throughout the lounge opening timing and from 6 to 8pm, there is a evening cocktail service.
The lounge is on the smaller side and perhaps have sitting for about 30 people or so? It nevers gets too full in the evening when I am there too. It is quite a nice environment if you wanna work someplace other than your room and it comes with a good view of the surrounding area as well. You can find the typical lounge couches as well as some sofa seats. The attendant working the lounge was a delight.
Throughout the day, you have some fruits and snacks as well as juices.
I was down for the evening cocktails in the evening and the selection is not too shabby. I was expecting a little more. The offering seems to be what I would expect in the states. There are some fruits, salad, sandwiches.
For hot dishes, you have a chicken cream soup, chicken skewers, lamb skewers and stirred fry vegetables. It could be a light dinner replacement if you want something simple.
Thankfully, the drinks are much better. You have two choice beer, Blue Moon and Heineken, Red and White wine, Spirits ranging from whisky, rum, gin, vodka with simple mixers. Non-alcoholic drinks consists of juices and soft drinks. The staff are excellent and prompt with refills, we had a lovely chat about the city and his work in Bahrain.
Breakfast at Baharat Restaurant
Breakfast is served at Baharat Restaurant, just to the side of the lobby from 6.30am to 11am. The times is really good especially for a city hotel. It would have cost 10.5 BHD if not included in your room rate or elite status. I was down for breakfast and was warmly welcomed by the staff upon entering and drinks orders were taken. There are plenty of seats and I do not foresee having to wait even during peak timings.
By the entrance, you can find a range of fresh juices and there are some arabic coffee on offer too. I love that the coffee are made by a barista behind the bar and they were really good. The staff are great with offering refills.
Then you have like a live station that you could request for freshly made waffles or pancakes and even had some sort of local bakes as well. Those Manakish are really good.
The cold station is in the middle and here there are plenty of cold cuts and fruits. You can also find a salad bar, cheese, smoked salmon as well as plenty of fruits. I love the yoghurts and hummus.
A egg station is on offer where you can get eggs cooked to your liking. The hot dishes are found to the end of the restaurant and you can find some roasted potatoes, eggs shakshuka, beans and typical items like mushrooms and sausages. To the side there are a good number of bakes and they also have honeycomb. Those donuts are so good but so unhealthy as well. It is a decent breakfast but now one that is over the top that I would have expect from a hotel breakfast in this region. I would not go out of the way to dine here if it is not included. There is certainly room for improvement, for one, I would have love to see more local and Arabic dishes.
The Le Meridien is a great hotel if you can swing it! It is not that it is a particularly expensive place in Bahrain but that is just the prices of the hotels in town. You will easily fork out 100 SGD for a simple Ibis. I had a really good stay here and the location is impeccable. The city centre mall probably offers you everything that you might need. This place is popular for expats. Great hotel and I had like a really good stay. The property is well-maintained but does show its age. I hope they can touch up the rooms soon. Staff hospitality and service is excellent, this is the please surprise that I didn’t expect from Bahrain. If I have to nitpick, the bed is on the softer side and they can definitely improve the breakfast offering after all I have heard about Middle East breakfasts. I decided to mix things up for my stay in Bahrain and stay a night each respectively at the Le Meridien and the Westin. Next up, I will be heading over to the Westin next door to see exactly what is the differentiation factor. Stay tuned for the review.