Arabian Sophistication, French Art De Vivre, Fine Dining, Sea Views, And The Only Thalassotherapy Spa In The Region – All With A Dose Of Surety. Hadag Took A Well-Needed Luxury Break And Checked Into The 5-Star Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa To Experience Unmatched Hospitality And Service.

The drive up to the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa speaks volumes about what awaits: a property that is as palatial on the outside as it is inviting on the inside. A stay here is hardly utilitarian in nature. It is about the luxury of escape, even if for a night, at a time when our “new normal” still feels unrecognisable – but they can’t take luxury away from us.

Bright and spacious, Sofitel Bahrain is a contemporary oasis of sorts. The beach resort is reminiscent of a shell beside the blue waters of Zallaq’s coast, gently curving around the white-sand bay. Meanwhile, a preponderance of marble and light fixtures offers contrast to dark hardwoods, tessellated ceilings, and other Arabesque accents.

FACT checked into the sumptuous Prestige suite, where spectacular windows allow for the space to bathe in sunlight. It comes complete with a terrace, exclusive lounge access, ornate objects d’art, fantastic views of the Arabian Gulf, and (wait for it) Hermès amenities. The term ‘embarrassment of riches’ comes to mind.

Oh, and then there’s the ensuite bathroom of the Prestige suite, the grandeur of which is worthy of a quick mention. Two words that add to the appeal of that oversized oval bathtub? Mood lighting. However, we’d be remiss not to mention that each of the 262 rooms and suites comes with a private balcony, techie-friendly extras, and luxe furnishings that subtly add a sense of place – think: lanterns, trunks, and towering bedposts. You’re set, regardless of where you end up. Naturally, checking into a hotel – any hotel – in today’s world brings with it a bit of a novelty factor. But despite the pandemic still making headlines and rattling nerves, Sofitel Bahrain stands in a league of its own.

The property recently received the new ALLSAFE certification that is vetted by Bureau Veritas, becoming one of the first in Bahrain to achieve this feat. But let’s backtrack. Sofitel is a member of Accor, a hospitality group that considers the health and well-being of its guests and employees a key aspect of its DNA – long before face masks became the musthave accessory of 2020. To that end, Accor has established some of the most stringent cleaning standards and operational procedures in the world of hospitality to ensure guest safety as its properties reopen around the world.

These standards had been developed alongside the aforementioned Bureau Veritas – a global leader in testing, inspections, and certification – under the ALLSAFE cleanliness and prevention label. Here in Bahrain, Sofitel has been audited to achieve this label, which means you can be assured of things like frequent disinfection of high-touch areas, enhanced in-room cleaning using hospital-grade cleaning materials, temperature checks, contactless payment solutions, and more. A stroll through the sprawling grounds showcases such practices in motion. Signs remind guests to keep a safe distance, staff members consistently wear masks. It’s important to add that biosecurity protocols are also followed. Case in point: all of our bags were misted down with barbicide prior to entering the premises, while a partition at the front desk served to protect us during check-in. From the outset, it was clear that for Sofitel Bahrain, the safety of guests is no light matter.

Any foodie worth their salt knows that the hotel boasts some of the best eateries in the city, but as per government guidelines at the time of writing, restaurants can only accept dinein reservations for groups of up to 20 people. Don’t let that deter you, though, as the inroom dining has something for everyone. You access the menu by scanning the QR grid in your room – another noteworthy precautionary measure – to find a selection that pairs local traditions with global flavours while serving the usual suspects, too. Admittedly, the varying ambiences of the resort’s different restaurants is part of the experience of staying at Sofitel Bahrain, but the stunning views and creature comforts of your room sure will help – as will the indulgent Lotus Caramel Cheesecake that we can personally vouch for. It certainly set the tone for our afternoon of pure lounging on the private beach.

We were pleasantly surprised to see that sun loungers were spaced to allow for optimal social distancing, and an attendant helped secure our towels from an allocated hut before escorting us to a vacant spot, complete with umbrellas. The whole process felt slick and effortless, despite the introduction of additional safety measures. Somewhere between the sand, seawater, and obligatory round of sundowners, we momentarily forgot the realities of the outside world. Promise. And isn’t that the whole point of a luxury staycation?