Affordable Luxury in the heart of Bahrain - Downtown Rotana, Bahrain

The newly opened Downtown Rotana brings some much-needed modernity to the downtown area in terms of hotels available. While there are several branded 5-star hotels in the area, they are showing their age. As I step into the hotel, it is more than the newness that catches my attention - the light. The lobby itself has floor to ceiling windows that extend around 4 levels. It is this use of natural light that serves as  a metaphor for the hotel's contemporary feel amidst some older properties in the area.

Thanks to Rotana's online check-in facility where most of the details are sorted out, my check-in at the hotel is even quicker and more effortless. That familiar warmth and friendliness that is much a part of Rotana is again in evidence here. There is a spring in the step of staff as I look around. It is to be expected when a property is new of course, but I would like to think the sincerity and engagement by staff run deeper than that - the hotel seems to have chosen its staff wisely, with an eclectic staff in evidence, always a strength. 

The Room

The light. This is a feature that permeates every aspect of the hotel. Our corner Premier Club Rotana Premium Roon is one of 249 rooms and suites and the corner room affords even more light and 270 degree views of the city. On my first morning, I woke up to sunlight and a view of the city - glorious! Space is cleverly used and although the living room and bedroom and are not separate, I have a sense of spaciousness. 

Quality L'Occitaine toilteries


The Bodylines Fitness & Wellness Club offers guests so much. The perfect escape from the heat was the generously sized roof top swimming pool; it in itself also gave us superb views of the city. The pool is family friendly with umbrellas all-round providing relief from the sun. There is also a gymnasium which will tempt even the laziest of people to spend some time in it - it too gives great views of Bahrain. 

Finally, the hotel has onsite massage facilities and trained therapists. I had a 60-minute Swedish massage. My therapist, Tyrine, is clearly well trained and was able to sense which pressure to apply during the treatment. Her warm and effervescent personality were wonderful aspects of the massage. She had a great balance between engaging and also just allowing me to drift in and out of sleep to enjoy my massage. My only regret is that I did not make it longer! Highly recommended!

As a city hotel, Rotana does not have a spa as such, but between the massage treatment rooms, jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms, it certainly makes sure that for your stay, wellness is never far away.

 Restaurants and Dining

You are unlikely to be disappointed! I had the pleasure of meeting some of the nicest Food and Beverage staff I could have hoped to meet - well trained, warm and blessed with an ability to give the guest enough space to enjoy him/herself without overwhelming him/her with service. 

During my stay, I tried the Friday brunch.  You can read my impressions here: Friday Brunch Flavours on 2 Superb value, some unique elements and an all round good time assured.

Flavours on 2 is the hotel's All day dining restaurant. We also tried breakfast here as an alternative to our breakfast in the Club Lounge. Breakfast is excellent.  Chef Rohainah Rahman oversees a lively breakfast with the usual breakfast stations. But the highlight was a fresh juice station  that offered juices that go beyond freshly squeezed orange juice. I tried a cocktail of beetroot, celery, mint and green apple - proof that healthy need not be bland!

Interestingly, the restaurant does not have a buffet at night - something I am pleased about. It offers, instead, an a la carte menu which ensures there is less wastage. Smart. I recommend the Sirloin - a very good return on your Bahraini dinar and also perfectly cooked. Paired with one of the by-the-glass wines, it is an evening that turns out so much better than if there had been a buffet. 

The hotel also boasts the third Teatro in the Middle East, the award-winning international restaurant. I cannot imagine a stay at Downtown Rotana without a visit to this restaurant - geat staff, varied dishes well prepared by knowledgeable chefs and probably the best wine list in the city in terms of value for money! My daughter and I dropped in for dinner. Read my review here: Teatro comes to Bahrain

While at the Sundeck Pool Bar we tried  a very exciting lunch concept - the hotel's Bento box lunch. It is fun and different. based on the Japanese lunch box idea of compartments, we order our dishes as usual and they are placed in a box. Be warned - the portions are huge, but that is a nice problem to have, isn't it?

Finally, We also tried Afternoon Tea in the hotel's lobby lounge, The City Lobby Lounge. It is set to the left of the lobby as you walk in. Ample light again contributes so much to the strengths of this venue. For my full experience, read here: Afternoon Tea at Downtown Rotana


It took us 23 minutes in traffic to get to the hotel from the airport. Going back took us around 18 minutes. Very convenient. The hotel is in close proximity to the Financial Centre and from a  tourist's point of view, it is in the heart of where it all happens. The Souk, an absolute must-visit on any Bahrain itinerary, took us 6 minutes by foot. In a  city changing to keep pace with the world, the souk is a very special place with old shops selling all sorts of souvenirs, electronics and traditional food. For that old taste of Bahrain, visit the souk. 

The Financial district
The souk 

Downtown Rotana is a wonderful hotel right in Manama where you can experience a nice slice of Bahraini culture. It is well located, rates are very reasonable and offers a nice selection of culinary experiences matched by good prices. But it is the staff that will make you want to stay again. Watching them from afar as they interacted guests, going the extra mile - so much care and love there. And who says no to a new hotel? A definite choice on my next visit to Bahrain. 

Downtown Rotana,
110 Government Ave,
Downtown Rotana
+973 1311 9999

They are seasonal of course, but during my stay
Standard room 45BD (approx US$120)
Premium Club room 60BD (approx US$160)

Brandon Stoltenkamp
Disclaimer: I am hotel and restaurant writer based in Abu Dhabi. I was at the hotel by invitation.