The Palace of the Secret Garden

Fernanda Langhammer embarked on a staycation at Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain for a journey of luxury, nature and enchanting experiences.

Travelling has a positive effect on health, both mental and physical. It can improve your mood, reduce stress, boost your immune system and add a smile to your face. However, it usually requires time and planning. A staycation can offer the same benefits, without the hassle, and I can truly say that visiting Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain did just that.

The only all-villa property in the Kingdom, Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain boast 78 one-, two- and three-bedroom private villas, each with their own pool, taking sophistication to a whole new level. And, with 24-hour butler service, you can be pampered at any time of the day or night.

The hotel’s conservatory-style lobby is an expansive space reminiscent of a private living room with many potted plants and different seating areas with sofas, armchairs and pouffes as well as decorative elements such as lamps, vases and candles. Everything is tastefully chosen in a colour palette that goes from ivory and earthy tones to grey and black. The greenery and fresh flowers add natural scents to the ambience, meanwhile, water fountains take your hearing sense to relaxing mode.

The Arabic arches and doors between the spaces bestow a sense of palatial grandeur to the property. An iconic mashrabiya lattice covers the main hall’s glass ceiling inside the entrance and light passes through creating a feeling of enchantment. This geometric pattern has also been added to other areas for a regional touch.

I passed by Ycone Paris, the celebrated patisserie from French Chef Yazid Ichemrahen – if you have a sweet tooth, this is a must visit. Then, Win, the receptionist, welcomed me. My check in was smooth and we were sitting in the buggy heading to our private villa in no time. Esther, our butler, drove us to our one-bedroom accommodation. I must mention the privacy afforded by the villas. The big wooden door opened to a wide space, and the tall walls enclosing the area gave an incredible sense of seclusion. Inside the walls, you have the villa itself, with a living room, bedroom and incredible bathroom, forming a U-shape. In the middle of the U, there is a Jacuzzi which is attached to the large private pool. The temperature-controlled water allows it to be used year round, regardless of the weather. The arrangement of the villa allowed sight of and access to the pool from all areas, but the view from the bedroom was the best! I took great pleasure in watching the water and the small waterfall for long moments, enjoying the peaceful view.

Poolside, there is a large dining table and loungers for chilling while enjoying the outdoors. There is also an indoor dining room and living area with a TV to relax with your companions.

Nespresso coffee and a selection of fine teas were available in the room and we felt pampered with the care and attention to detail.

Dining Experience

During our stay, we had the opportunity to try Palma, the hotel’s main restaurant. With a by-the-table concept, we had a spread of cold and hot appetisers such as original and octopus hummus, taboule, labneh with caramelised beetroot and carrots, green salad, kibbeh, vegetable samboosa and a warm bread basket. What a great start! The mains were too many and we chose a selection of grills with giant prawns, lamb chops and tender beef ribs – everything cooked to perfection. Nazir, our waiter for the night, was extra attentive and asked the chef to prepare some vegetarian options to accommodate our diet preferences.

Our breakfast was served in the villa with a special touch: a floating basket. I love breakfast food, and the Raffles Breakfast Experience was more than I could have wished for (it was definitely my favourite meal). It had the best croissant ever and the local Peninsula goat cheese was spectacular. The Mezza, a halved eggplant with labneh topped with spring onions and pomegranate and Raffles Shakshouka, made with air-dried tomato, were the highlights of the savoury options. Lunch was also served in the villa, and we had the Lemon Thyme-infused Roasted Beetroot Salad, Spanish Water Scallop and Black Seabass, a light but filling meal that we all enjoyed for its freshness and well-balanced flavours.

Wellness Spa Villa

Not only does the calming environment of the hotel help you disconnect from the world outside, but the spa concept offered at Raffles takes you to a complete state of bliss. The Wellness Spa Villa is a three-bedroom villa transformed into a realm of peace, providing unique treatments. It is the only hotel in Bahrain offering the latest technology and procedures from the exclusive Dr Burgener Switzerland. It also embraces signature therapies that pay homage to the Middle East and Bahrain’s rich heritage. If requested, the treatments can be performed in the guest’s villa for extra privacy.

As part of the well-being programme offered at Raffles, I joined a yoga session in the garden with Anudeep, the instructor. He started the session by explaining that yoga is not only about flexibility but about balancing body, mind and soul. The smell of the grass and the sound of birds made the one-hour experience very pleasant – I left feeling lighter and somehow energised.

Highlights at Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain

The greenery. The variety of exquisite plants throughout the property defines its embodiment as the Palace of the Secret Garden. With an array of potted plants and meticulously landscaped gardens blending local flora and exotic specimens, the resort showcases its commitment to horticulture and the sensory experience it provides.

Incredible books. They are everywhere (thousands of them fill public areas and villas) and are amazing! As part of the Raffles brand, Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain has partnered with the Ultimate Library (a company that curates intelligent and stylish books for hospitality and residential spaces) for luxurious literary collections.

The Writers Lounge. This feels like a private members’ club with impeccable décor in muted tones and statement lighting. On the ceiling is a poem by Bahraini poet Ahmed Mohammed Al Khalifa about the country’s rich civilisation, which gives a sense of uniqueness to the space. The walls are adorned with captivating Arabic artwork and calligraphy, and the seating area comprises a large plush sofa, comfy chairs, chess and checkers tables.

The villas are equipped with Compoz Paris, a sophisticated aromatic diffuser that uses 100% natural-origin perfumes to enhance well-being. You can choose your favourite scent according to your preferences and wellness goals.

Last but not least, the Butler Service – an iconic testament to the brand. Esther, our lovely butler, organised everything we needed during our stay and even provided a special eye mask and chamomile tea before bedtime.

Book your romantic escape or celebrate a special occasion in complete privacy at Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain. You will indulge in memorable experiences and be transported to an exciting place without leaving the island.

For more information or to make a reservation,
please call Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain
on +973 1784 5000.