Bahrain’s beauty lies in the shallow waters that lap its coastline. The word ‘Bahrain’ is derived from the Arabic for ‘Two Seas’ and historically its wealth came from the trade in the pearls that grew in the many offshore springs. The island interior is a little underdeveloped, which is why the best places to stay in Bahrain are on the coastline or in the cosmopolitan capital Manama. They are mainly luxury destinations with state of the art spas, palatial suites, and enormous lagoon-style swimming pools that emulate its crystal shores.
The hub of Bahrain's activity is centralised in Manama, where business visitors from around the world congregate and most of the best places to stay in Bahrain are centred here too. Manama has a skyscraper-spiked skyline, World Trade Centre, a wealth of night clubs, white sand beaches and reclaimed land being built on to cater for the very wealthy. Like Dubai and Abu Dabi, Bahrain has its share of glitz and glamour, though Bahrain has a much more liberal social climate; women can dress as they please and alcohol is completely legal.
Culturally too, there is plenty to keep you busy from Bahrain's National Museum and the UNESCO listed Fort to the traditional houses in Muharraq and the A'Ali burial mounds at Sar.
Outside the capital are some real gems worth exploring. There’s the coastline for its unique diving on the Coral Reef and then the Al Areen Nature reserve for wildlife enthusiasts. Also, the 4000-year old archaeological sites that pepper the island give an insight into the country’s rich history.
Then there’s Sakhir, very close by, famous for its annual hosting of the Bahrain Grand Prix, which attracts people from around the world.
On the West coast is Sitra, an island covered in date palm groves and fresh water springs. A focal point for its Coral Reef, it offers world-class diving and water sports. It’s an ideal spot for sportier beach enthusiasts.
Shopping is a must do if you're planning a visit here: check out the Bab el Bahrain souk or pick up some pearls for which the islands are so famous.
There is plenty for families to enjoy too including the Wahoo Water Park in Manama.
Best time to go: November to March. Summer temperatures rocket to 50 degrees between May and September.
Best to avoid: Muslim holidays. Eid and Ramadan; there’s an influx of Saudi tourists who take up every room.
Since the 2011-2012 protests the country is safe to visit and there are no government warnings not to travel there.
The Hotel Guru's selection of the best places to stay in Bahrain are mainly Five Star resorts located in Manama, Sitra, or Sakhir. Like Dubai, Bahrain lives up to its wealthy reputation. However, not all of it is surface deep, and the historical and sporting attractions around the island are its modern day pearls.
A fantastic resort on the beach front. Cabana-style rooms, suites, and family suites situated on a private marina. Direct access to the beach and many water sports, kids club, many pools, spa, and multiple restaurants. Ideal for families and sports enthusiasts.
A good four star apartment hotel ideal for families or long term visitors. Contemporary classic suites have up to three bedrooms, kitchens, and dining rooms. Swimming pool and health club. Good value too.
Bahrain's original Five Star hotel with rooms, suites, and serviced apartments. Enormous lagoon-style swimming pool, excellent business facilities, spa, and multiple restaurants. A great choice for families, groups of friends, and business visitors. Great value for money.
A great hotel with simple contemporary rooms in Manama. Contemporary classic interiors are filled with clean lines and creamy furnishings. Lovely pool, garden, health club and restaurant. Excellent value, understated, refreshingly simple.
A large Five Star hotel with all the facilities in central Manama. Huge modern rooms and suites with chic furnishings and state of the art technology. Excellent choice of restaurants, extensive spa, and close to lots of attractions. Ideal for business or leisure and very family friendly.
A stunning Five Star hotel members only club/boutique hotel. Stunning contemporary rooms and suites with unrivalled views and all the mod cons. Fine dining restaurants, state of the art spa, and designer chic living spaces. A grown-up spot for the luxury traveller.
Luxury resort hotel overlooking the Arabian Gulf with the only Thalassa spa in the region. Romantic bedrooms combine french style with Arabic influences. Huge swimming pool, tennis courts and water sports galore. Ideal for an active beach break or a spot of spa pampering.
A Five Star hotel in the central Manama but on its own private island. Tranquil gardens, day loungers, outdoor restaurants. Romantic rooms and suites & villas in contemporary classic style have private balconies and all the mod cons. Excellent spa and multiple cuisines. Completely luxurious.
An Arabian villa-style Five Star hotel close to the Al Areen Nature Reserve. Romantic rooms and suites have delicate furnishings, marble floors, high ceilings, and all the mod cons. Fantastic restaurants, state of the art spa, and enormous swimming pools. A luxury spot for couples and families.