Four Seasons Bahrain Bay, Manama, Bahrain
Rising dramatically above lushly landscaped lawns, gardens and pools, Four Seasons Bahrain Bay is a striking symbol of the country’s growing luxury hospitality sector. Can Faik speaks to Principal Global Design Director Pierre-Yves Rochon, the creative vision behind this amazing project…
Located on a man-made five hectare island, the focal point of a new urban oasis developed for the iconic Bahrain Bay, the design for the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay uses the elegant ambiance of a 1930s luxury passenger ship as a starting point for its inspiration. Guests are welcomed as though beginning a voyage, guided across water to the intimate settings and sanctuaries both inside the hotel and within the its gardens. Soft architectural elements matched with soothing colours and rich materials create an atmosphere of sophisticated elegance, meticulous craftsmanship and grandeur.”The hotel is literally a beacon for the city – commanding a visible when approaching the area; an unmistakable centrepiece” explains Principal Global Design Director, Pierre-Yves Rochon. “The hope was to spur the economy and tourism to help distinguish Manama in the Gulf region.”
The hotel’s public areas are modern and progressive, with Art Deco accents and the essence of Bahrain embedded through local motifs and artwork. Taking advantage of the resort’s diverse landscape of outstanding sea and city views, the double height lobby and tea lounge blur the line between outdoors and inside, offering seamless movement between the two, through floor to ceiling glass and easily accessible shaded terraces with low tables and relaxed lounge seating. The lighting scheme was given special care to create ambiance rather than mere illumination. Soft warm lights produce the appearance of a naturally bright space during day, while at night torch lights create a dramatic backdrop. Meant to feel as one with the surrounding environment, the spaces are circled by tall trees and lush potted greenery. A calming color palette of beige, green and gold and natural materials such as marble and mahogany complete the free flowing environment.
The light, calm colour palette continues into the ballrooms and meeting rooms, which are intimate versions of the ground floor public areas looking out to the oasis below. Oversized doors with intricate geometric patterns, large columns, tiered chandeliers and modern furnishings help give character to each room. The pre-function space and connecting corridors between the rooms display artwork from local artisans to provide guests with a visual experience as they move throughout.
Guestrooms and suites
The hotel’s 216 guestrooms and 57 suites are designed as residences, creating a home away from home for every guest. To provide privacy they include entry foyers; while spacious sitting areas enhance the residential atmosphere. Lounge chairs inspired by SS Normandie, considered one of the greatest luxury passenger ships, were created to echo the grand era of ocean travel. A color harmony of tan, beige, green and black, is matched with mahogany millwork and relaxed upholstered furniture. White marble in the bathrooms is offset by chrome and porcelain furnishing and mahogany vanity units.
Laid out like chic city apartments, the presidential suites include a living room, dining room, office and family room; and use colors such as light blue, royal green and beige, with warm white and black accents. Bespoke furniture has plush fabrics in shades of celadon, navy blue and tan.
Spa & fitness
The Spa is one of the largest of all Four Seasons’ properties. Guests approach the four linked pavilions through a series of modern mashrabiya that allow light, air and glimpses of the adjacent landscaping to guests while allowing them privacy and separation. The spa and fitness areas are focused on views of the gardens and Bahrain Bay, bringing light and natural elements deep into the spaces and enhancing the secluded, serene atmosphere. The landscaped gardens between them define the different functional areas, linked by bridges that provide direct paths through the spa and beauty areas to the pool and locker rooms.
The main entrance is through a pair of carved wooden doors, bringing guests to separate reception areas for men and women. The women’s areas are light and elegant, in white and beige harmony with light woods and finishes and touches of celadon. The men’s areas use a stronger harmony of terracotta, sea-green and darker wood tones, reflecting the Moroccan and Turkish influences throughout the space. The two harmonies are combined in the pool, tiled in a traditional terracotta pattern. A central pair of steps into the pool gives guests a place to sit and relax in the water.