Banyan Tree welcomes guests to Bahrain


Luxury resort operators Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts have opened the doors to guests at their first Middle East property in Bahrain.

Sited in the heart of the Arabian Desert, the specially built $170-million Banyan Tree Al Areen is billed one of the most luxurious and extensive spa resorts worldwide.
The property is part of the Al Areen development, spearheaded by Bahrain-based investment bank Gulf Finance House.
“As a global luxury chain, representation in the Middle East is critical for Banyan Tree. The Al Areen development of which Banyan Tree Al Areen is a part, provides an ideal launch platform into the region,” said Ho Kwon Ping, Banyan Tree’s executive chairman. The group is opening eight Banyan Tree and Angsana properties in the GCC.
The property is positioned primarily as a spa destination, but is expected to appeal to the high-end MICE market, and to the honey-moon and destination weddings sectors, general manager Sami Ayari told TTN.
“As niche tourism becomes ever more popular, we expect the resort to meet the demand of the spa connoisseur and we believe it will firmly place Bahrain on the map as a spa destination. Until recently the Banyan Tree product was a long haul product for the Middle East and European markets. Despite this distance, these are still strong markets for the brand, we decided to create a shorter haul market for these guests and hence Banyan Tree Al Areen,” he said.
The resort’s extensive spa facilties include a spa and hydrotherapy area (11,000sqm), a first in terms of size, design and treatments, 12 spa pavilions, an indoor hydrothermal garden, vitality pool, rain mist shower, grotto sauna, ice igloo and the largest modern-day-built Hammam.
“Up till now there has been a limited choice for MICE business in Bahrain and we definitely offer a slightly different product in terms of service and location,” said Ayari. “Weddings and honeymoon retreats are another key market for us and the brand is known for its intimate retreat experience.”
Traditionally strong markets for Bahrain are the UK, Germany and the GCC, and Ayari expects these to contribute a large percentage of the resort’s business, the rest comprising emerging markets such as Russia and Asia.
In terms of the response from the travel trade, Ayari said most agents already know the brand in Asia, and are ‘excited’ about promoting the resort. “We have had positive feedback about the resort’s all-villa concept which is a  slightly different product for them to sell. GCC tour operators believe the product is ideal for their market as the villas offer privacy and exclusivity.”
A majestic silhouette on the Arabian horizon, Banyan Tree Al Areen presents a total of 78-luxuriously appointed villas, 56 one-bedroom desert pool villas and 22 two-bedroom royal pool villas. Each is designed to incorporate an intimate fusion of traditional Middle Eastern and contemporary Asian architecture. The resort offers fully-fledged five-star amenities including six international restaurants, extensive meeting and banqueting facilities and comprehensive fitness and leisure facilities. 
By Clark Kelly