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Thu 1 Feb 2007 12:00 AM

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Al Areen Bahrain to wow spa crowd

Banyan Tree’s first Middle East venture – Banyan Tree Desert Spa & Resort, Al Areen – is set to open its doors in Bahrain this month and promises a number of “firsts”.

Banyan Tree’s first Middle East venture – Banyan Tree Desert Spa & Resort, Al Areen – is set to open its doors in Bahrain this month and promises a number of “firsts”.

The 78-villa property, located close to the Bahrain International Circuit, will hold the following titles: the only all villa private pool resort in the Middle East; the largest spa in the Middle East (10,000m²); the world’s first garden hammam and the largest hammam to be built in modern times.

General manager, Sami Ayari, is pitching the luxury property as a spa destination, a conference and banqueting centre, as well as a pure leisure resort, and told ATN he expected to attract customers from both the Middle East and key international source markets.

“There is demand for the Banyan Tree product and demand for a spa destination,” he said, speaking to ATN exclusively.

“Until recently, the Banyan Tree product [in Asia] was a long haul product for the Middle East, Europe and the US. By investing in the Middle East we are making Banyan Tree a short haul destination for many [of these source] markets.”

While he is banking on a high percentage of leisure visitors staying for more than a weekend break, Ayari acknowledged that some clients would stop at the Bahrain property for a few days before travelling to another Banyan Tree property in Asia or the Indian Ocean.

Banyan Tree Desert Spa & Resort, Al Areen, is the first of many Banyan Tree properties planned for the Middle East, while the Bangkok-based brand’s sister company, Angsana, already boasts several day spas and plans to open resorts across the Middle East in the next few years.

Banyan Tree has confirmed several Middle East developments including Banyan Tree Ras Al Khaimah (2009), Banyan Tree Marine Reserves & Spa Al Gurm in Abu Dhabi (2009), Banyan Tree Esplanade in the UAE (2009), Angsana Resort & Spa, Abu Dhabi (2010), Angsana Fujairah (2010), Angsana Suites Dubai (2007) and an innovative projects in Morocco (see page 8). Projects for Sharjah, Oman and Turkey are also in the pipeline, not to mention those earmarked for numerous international hotspots.

The Bahrain project, which will open in time for the Bahrain Grand Prix in April, has already been signed up by several local and international tour operators.

It’s two key selling points are that it’s the only all villa private pool resort in the Middle East, boasting 56 one-bedroom Desert Pool Villas and 22 two-bedroom Royal Villas, and that its spa is arguably the most comprehensive in the region.

Divided into three key areas – the Banyan Tree Spa, Banyan Tree Spa Hydrothermal Garden (including a hydrothermal garden and a garden hammam) and the Banyan Tree Spa Health Club – the 10,000m² spa is expected to attract significant local business, as well as catering to in-house guests’ every spa requirement.

The spa treatment room concept is far from standard, encompassing eight deluxe spa pavilions, each including a relaxation area overlooking a fountain garden, a bath tub, double-bed spa treatment room, rain mist room and changing facilities. The four royal spa pavilions are even larger and include the aforementioned features, as well as an outdoor shower, private fountain courtyard and relaxation room.

Spa packages will be created whereby guests can stay overnight, making it a true spa destination, although spa treatments are also available in the property’s villas.

The spa also features a gentleman’s saloon and beauty garden primarily for women.

Standout features of the resort include Saffron restaurant offering Thai cuisine and also offering outdoor dining islands where diners can overlook the Bahraini terrain and the resort’s wildlife – camels, oryx and birds.

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