Middle East Trip 2013 travel blog

1 - Ritz Carlton Bahrain

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5 - Oceanfront pool and garden complex

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17 - Ned Capeleris, Hotel Manager

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19 - Lobby

20 - Reception team

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21 - Lobby lounge

24 - La Med restaurant

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31 - Indoor pool and spa reception

32 - Indoor pool

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34 - Pastry chefs

35 - Ritz Gourmet Lounge

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40 - Executive Lounge

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44 - Our suite - foyer

45 - Living room

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49 - Bedroom

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51 - Bathroom

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54 - Bedroom sitting area

55 - Welcome treat with our family logo in chololate

56 - National Museum of Bahrain

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111 - Ancient manuscripts

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117 - National Theater of Bahrain

118 - Qalat Al Bahrain Museum and Fort

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130 - King's palace

131 - King's camel farm

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133 - Rashid Rahman Khunji, The Ritz Carlton Guest Relations Ambassador

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139 - Sheik Salman Bin Ahed Alfateh Fort

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145 - Typical residential area

146 - Bahrain National Gas Company

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148 - Oil fields

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150 - Direction to Oil Museum and First Oil Well

151 - Oil Museum

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153 - Discovery of first oil well in Bahrain

154 - Rashid Rahman Khunji, Ritz Carlton Guest Relations Ambassador, and our...

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156 - Direction to the Tree of Life

157 - The Tree of Life

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Bahrain, officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, ‎is a small island country situated near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is an archipelago with Bahrain Island, 34 miles long by 11 miles wide. Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway while Iran lies 124 miles to the north across the Persian Gulf. The peninsula of Qatar is to the southeast across the Gulf of Bahrain. The population in 2010 stood at 1,234,571, including 666,172 non-nationals.

Bahrain is believed to be the site of the ancient land of the Dilmun civilization and later came under the rule of successive Parthian and Sassanid Persian empires. The country was one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam in 628 AD. Following a period of Arab rule, Bahrain was occupied by the Portuguese in 1521, who in turn were expelled in 1602 by Shah Abbas I of the Safavid empire. In 1783, the Bani Utbah tribe captured Bahrain from the Qajars and has since been ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family, with Ahmed al Fateh the first hakim of Bahrain. In the late 1800s, following successive treaties with the British, Bahrain became a protectorate of the United Kingdom. Following the withdrawal of the British from the region in the late 1960s, Bahrain declared independence in 1971. Formerly a state, Bahrain was declared a "Kingdom" in 2002. Since early 2011, the country has experienced sustained protests and unrest inspired by the regional Arab Spring, particularly by the majority Shia population. Oil was discovered in Bahrain in 1932, the first such find on the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf.

Bahrain has the first "post-oil" economy in the Persian Gulf because the Bahraini economy does not rely on oil. Since the late 20th century, Bahrain has heavily invested in the banking and tourism sectors. The country's capital, Manama is home to many large financial structures. Bahrain has a high Human Development Index (ranked 48th in the world) and was recognized by the World Bank as a high income economy.

RITZ CARLTON BAHRAIN

The Ritz Carlton Bahrain is located on a private island between Manama Bay and the city, with views to the turquoise Arabian Gulf.

Photos 1-4

Large oceanfront pool and garden complex

Photos 5-16

Ned Capeleris, Hotel Manager, was a true friend to us during our stay and made certain our every need and wish was fulfilled. “Thank you, Ned!”

Photo 17

Harman and Ned had a special bond.

Photo 18

Lobby and lobby lounge

Photos 19-23

We enjoyed our daily delicious breakfast buffet in La Med.

Photos 24-30

Indoor pool and spa

Photos 31-33

Ritz Gourmet Lounge for afternoon tea

Photos 34-39

Executive Lounge for evening drinks and appetizers

Photos 40-43

Our suite

Photos 44-53

Bedroom sitting area

Photo 54

Welcome treat. Everything on the plate is made of chocolate including the picture of the hotel and our family logo!

Photo 55

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF BAHRAIN

The National Museum of Bahrain possesses a rich collection of Bahrain's ancient archaeological artifacts acquired since 1988, and covers 6000 years of Bahrain's history. The complex includes three halls devoted to archaeology and the ancient civilization of the Dilmun, while two other halls depict the culture and lifestyle of Bahrain's recent pre-industrial past.

In 1993 a further hall was opened, the Natural History Hall, focusing on the natural environment of Bahrain. This hall features specimens of Bahrain's flora and fauna. Among the exhibits in the ancient history section is an actual burial mound which was transported from its site in the desert and reassembled in the museum. Another feature is a tableau which depicts a scene from the Epic of Gilgamesh (in which reference to Bahrain is made as the paradise of Dilmun).

Old Quranic manuscripts, notes on astronomy and historical documents and letters are exhibited in the Documents and Manuscripts Hall.

The National Theater of Bahrain lies next to the museum.

If you only had one day in Manama, this would be the place to visit.

Photos 56-110

Ancient manuscripts

Photos 111-116

The National Theater of Bahrain

Photo 117

QALAT AL BAHRAIN MUSEUM AND FORT

The Bahrain Museum and Fort is an archaeological site located only two miles from the Ritz Carlton Bahrain. It is a small museum plus the remains of the fort that can easily be toured on your way to another place you are visiting. Archaeological excavations carried out since 1954 have unearthed antiquities from an artificial mound of 39 feet height containing seven stratified layers, created by various occupants from 2300 BC up to the 18th century. It was once the capital of the Dilmun civilization and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

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TREE OF LIFE AND OIL FIELDS

On one of our days in Bahrain, Ned Capeleris, the hotel manager, arranged for Rashid Rahman Khunji, The Ritz Carlton Guest Relations Ambassador, to take us on a private tour outside the city of Manama to the oil fields with the destination being the “Tree of Life”, about an hour’s drive.

The Tree of Life is an approximately 400 year-old, 32 ft high tree located in the middle of the desert surrounded by oil fields. The tree is the only major tree growing in the area and is visited by approximately 50,000 tourists every year.

It is worth visiting for the sheer reason of everything about Bahrain and its culture you see getting there and back.

The King’s palace from a distance

Photo 130

The King’s camel farm

Photos 131-136

Royal Golf Club

Photos 137,138

Historic Sheik Salman Bin Ahmed Alfateh Fort

Photos 139-144

Typical residential area

Photo 145

Bahrain National Gas Company

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The oil fields

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Bahrain was the first place on the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf where oil was discovered, and it coincided with the collapse of the world pearl market.

Direction to the Oil Museum and the First Oil Well

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Oil Museum

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The First Oil Well

Photo 153

Rashid Rahman Khunji, the Ritz Carlton Guest Relations Ambassador, and our driver, beside the location of the First Oil Well

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Harman and Jan beside the location of the First Oil Well

Photo 155

The Tree of Life

Photos 156-159

This was a great way and a fitting end to our fantastic three weeks in the Middle East!

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