Al Dana Resort 'to be family destination' By Kamleshkumar Desai

The Zytoun Coffee House, above. The windtower gives the resort a touch of Arabia.

The new Novotel Al Dana Resort to open later this year in Bahrain will add to the kingdom's efforts to position itself as an attractive family tourism destination in the region.

The four-star, deluxe resort is ideally located in Manama, being just five minutes drive away from the city centre as well as the airport.

"We are fortunate with our location," says Philippe Montaubin, general manager of the Novotel Al Dana Resort which is set to have a soft opening in December in time for the Eid holidays.

Located along the Shaikh Hamad Causeway on the southern side of the Manama-Muharraq lagoon near the National Museum and Marina Club, Al Dana Resort can be both a resort in the city and a business hotel in a resort, he said.

"We benefit both ways," said Montaubin.

The opening of the resort which was earlier flagged for September, has been delayed slightly due to technical hitches.

But the construction is now complete and finishing touches are being put to the complex for its soft opening in December, said Montaubin.

With 174 rooms including 36 suites, Montaubin said the resort will give a feel of Bahrain and Arabia with its architecture which include wind towers and other essentially Middle Eastern features.

The traditional look will combine with all modern comforts and amenities to ensure an authentic resort feel, promised Montaubin.

He said GCC visitors would be the primary market for the resort, making up 70 per cent of its expected guests with the remaining 30 per cent coming from Europe.

"There has been a keen interest in the product we are offering among major European travel companies," said Montaubin.

He said "several European travel agents came to us", signalling the interest in the new resort and top companies such as Kuoni will be promoting the hotel in their new brochure next year.

Novotel Al Dana will benefit from being part of the worldwide Accor group which has a portfolio of more than 3,700 hotel spread over several leading brands including Sofitel, Mercure, Ibis, Novotel, Coralia and Thalassa, he said.

Al Dana has this year been picked among 100 hotels within the group which are promoted by Accor through its extensive network which includes its online site.

The resort will offer a full range of water sports and leisure activities, fitness centre and gymnasium, four dining options including La Perle seafood speciality restaurant, Le Bellevue theme restaurant, Zytoun coffee house and poolside bar and terrace.

Montaubin said Al Dana will be offering an opening rate of BD45 ($119) net including breakfast.

He said Accor was looking at possibilities of introducing its other brands like Sofitel and Mercure in Bahrain.

The government is on the right track with its tourism promotion initiative and projects such as the Formula One track will boost the kingdom's appeal as a destination.