Liz O’Reilly finds that breath-taking views and an, almost, Mediterranean feel are on the menu at the chic new Vida Beach Resort Marassi Al Bahrain.
Arriving mid-afternoon, parking is easy and plentiful and reception has a definite edge of cool while, at the same time, feeling both calming and relaxing. A chilled colour palette of pale oatmeal and off-white with accents of Aegean and cerulean blue feels very Ibizan – reminiscent of those villas in the hills where the glitterati hide out during the day till the mega clubs open.
The welcoming staff are dressed in funky uniforms: white chunky trainers on bare feet, in lieu of the usual smart shoes, brightly coloured pocket squares adorning tailored jackets in a material that could easily be denim. But isn’t. They look as if they could be here to meet friends for an aperitivo but the service is impeccable.
THE WOW FACTOR
I head to my suite and am greeted by an absolutely breathtaking view as I open the door. It looks directly across to floor-to-ceiling windows facing onto beach and sea with Amwaj Islands in the distance. I literally stand and catch my breath before strolling over to see a hand-written message of welcome written on the glass – there are a lot of these around the hotel and they add to the fun ambience.
The space is light-filled and airy with two sets of balcony doors opening to the outside and the view, which from the distance is all sea but closer up, also encompasses the spotless beach and surrounding landscaped gardens. I begin to feel like I’m truly on holiday.
My suite offers a dining and living area with fullsized table and chairs as well as a deep-cushioned sofa and armchairs. There’s also a kitchen, with hob and fridge, and a guest washroom.
Leading from the bedroom is a large bathroom boasting a range of Brown Alchemist amenities, with just about everything thought of on a tray of travel extras, such as cotton buds and toothbrushes. There’s a separate shower and huge tub, which looks out over that fabulous view.
The bed, oh the bed! Big, deep, soft and comfortable with plenty of plump pillows and, again, looking out to the balcony and beyond.
SPOILT FOR CHOICE
I am honestly torn between drawing a bath and just surrendering to the call of the bed. But first, I must explore, since that’s what I’m here for.
I head to the beach and am delighted at the feel of warm sand between my toes, this could become quite addictive. On one side, Vida’s beach joins with the neighbouring public area, while, on the other, it is linked to the beach of the upcoming Marassi Galleria Mall, which is also connected to The Address Beach Resort Bahrain, due to open later this year. Altogether there is 2km of glistening sand and welcoming water and I have to resist the temptation to jump right in.
Heading through the lobby, we pass Origins, the all-day-dining restaurant, where the seriously popular Vida Friday Brunch is staged, and head up to the second floor to sample some other impressive features.
First there’s the temperature-controlled infinity pool. A gorgeous, chilled area which looks like a Hockney-esque daydream, all white loungers, sun-dappled blue water and, of course, a convenient bar, for cooling drinks.
The fitness centre is just down the corridor boasting plenty of Technogym equipment and available to guests 24 hours a day. There’s also a large terrace where you can do floor exercises or just cool down from your workout while enjoying, once more, the wonderful sea view.
And then, probably the most fun feature of the whole hotel, Qix Kids Club. Inside it’s like a kiddie wonderland. There’re toy cooking stations, tee pees, loads of soft toys and books galore. There are daily play and learning sessions all overseen by capable staff – though it’s encouraged that little ones are accompanied. There’s also a games room featuring PlayStation 5 with a large screen, where bigger kids can indulge in online gaming, and this area boasts a foot-played floor piano mat that I can’t resist trying.
The outdoor terrace, with its fully-padded flooring, offers a safe, fresh-air play space with an obstacle course, including a sizeable climbing frame – that I find seriously tempting. Kids Club staffer, Alfie, explains that all the games and activities are designed to be both fun and educational, so parents can feel comfortable leaving their precious little ones to have a great time while they make the most of Vida’s other facilities.
As the afternoon draws to a close, I head back to my room to make the most of the balcony before dinner, enjoying a sparkling drink with my book as the sun goes down. It’s been a busy day of both work and exploring and I am more than happy to just relax and take in my surroundings. Later, I head downstairs to Origins and enjoy a simple meal of beautifully cooked lamb cutlets with mashed potatoes and vegetables. The meat is tender, pink and more than plentiful, the veggies crisp and satisfying. I consider trying The Bistro by Origins for dessert having heard of the new menu, which boasts dishes such as Beetroot and Blackberry Salad, Tarte Fine Aux Pommes and Pineapple Carpaccio. I am tempted to linger… but my bed is calling.
After a quick shower and a longed-for cuppa on the balcony, watching the twinkling lights of Amwaj in the distance and the occasional seagoing vessel on the water, I finally get to sample that oh-so-tempting-bed. No TV for me, it’s lights out straight away and between those distant lights and the whisper of waves breaking gently on the shore below, I’m asleep in minutes.
The next morning, I am treated to an extensive breakfast from in-room dining, which arrives tiffin-style so everything is piping hot and fresh. I immediately tuck into smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, their colours as bright as the new day. The hash browns offer a satisfying crunch and there is a plate of bacon and sausage too. A dish of freshly sliced fruits acts as a tasty palate cleanser before I indulge in a pastry basket containing Danish, croissants and more with creamy butter from the individual butter bell.
I experience my very own little slice of heaven at the table, with its starched white cloth, placed in front of the window, the balcony doors open to admit the glorious morning air. Then, all too soon, it’s time to pack my overnight bag and head back to work – but the joy of my mini holiday stays with me throughout the day bringing little smiles to my face every so often. Vida Beach Resort Marassi Al Bahrain is the perfect spot for an intimate or family getaway with facilities that will keep everyone happy. But, it’s also great for some sneaky mid-week solo time and I’m planning my next stay already.
Call 7748 8100 for further information or to make a reservation.