This was always going to be a special place, remarkable, unmistakable, both in its design and the experience when staying with us.” Justin Kim

Bahrain’s first five-star boutique hotel, The Merchant House, opened in February 2019. The award-winning contemporary hotel, which is located in a repurposed 1950’s government building in the heart of Manama’s old town, has just forty-six suites. Previously part of the Campbell Gray Hotel group, the now independently owned hotel has a central downtown location that makes it the perfect base from which to explore the local neighbourhood. The Bab Al Bahrain souk and other nearby historic tourist landmarks are easily accessible for tourists while business travellers favour staying here due to its close proximity to the financial district.

The lobby offers a vibrant welcome with its eclectic art and distinctive aesthetic which embraces bold colours, patterns and textures. The hotel’s extensive art collection, a collaboration with an anonymous VIP Bahraini collector, showcases local artists alongside international names such as Warhol, Picasso, Hirst, and Matisse (although I couldn’t find them all). As well as all the striking artwork of all shapes and sizes, the double height space features bright coloured furniture and textiles and a mezzanine level library with a glass balustrade and additional seating.

The hotel’s piece de resistance is Indigo, the spectacular rooftop restaurant with an outdoor garden terrace. Like the rest of the hotel, Indigo is decorated with an eye-catching palette and the space doubles up as a gallery filled with unique pieces of art and sculpture. The bar features a backdrop of recycled wine crates and the menu offers diners global flavours with fresh produce sourced from the hotel’s own terrace garden.

Café Gray is nestled amongst the art in the lobby offering guests a menu of small bites, sandwiches, homemade cakes, coffee and fresh juices. Other facilities include a rooftop pool, gym and spa. PureSpa has two treatment rooms and a spa menu of holistic treatments for the face and body. The sustainable spa uses a range of organic products and natural oils including Natura Bissé and local Bahraini brand, Green Bar. The hotel operates a non-waste policy with recyclable packaging where possible and biodegradable straws. 

We stayed in a stylish Urban Suite with an open-plan lounge, kitchen and dining area and sizeable bedroom area with an extra large comfortable bed. The adjoining bathroom had a walk-in shower and amenities provided by renowned British brand, Ren Clean skincare. The suite was spacious with a selection of art decorating the walls. Three other suite types are available: the Executive, the Corner and the Signature. 

The Merchant House is a great place for travellers, who like myself, enjoy the more intimate boutique hotel experience. This hotel is also a must for art and sculpture lovers who can discover works of all shapes, sizes and genres together with a series of photographs depicting Bahrain’s history. All in all our stay was good and apart from a few minor service issues we had no complaints, I would definitely stay again.

The Nitty Gritty

The Merchant House, 150 Government Avenue, Manama 304, Kingdom of Bahrain

Telephone: +973 1667 1000

Website: www.themerchanthouse.bh

Check-in: 3:00pm

Check-out: 12 noon

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The Good…

Unique design

Art Collection

Indigo restaurant 

Rooftop garden and pool

Free fast wifi

The Not so Good…..

Room service ordering process was a shambles and the food eventually delivered was awful. The issue was resolved and all items were removed from our bill.

Specific breakfast request was ignored

No full length mirror in our suite

All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2021. All rights reserved. Suite photos used with courtesy of www.themerchanthouse.com