Revamped Hawar island hotel set to open
Manama, May 22, 2014
A hotel on Bahrain's Hawar Islands will once again start accepting guests next week after being refurbished as part of a multi-million redevelopment of the tourist destination, which will include the addition of a seaplane service.
New water sport facilities are also due to be commenced by the end of the year - marking the end of phase one of a BD10 million ($26.4 million) upgrade, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Work will then move into a second phase, which involves construction of a new hotel wing, 50 chalets, a seafood restaurant and a multi-purpose hall within the next three years.
"The Hawar Islands development project will certainly put Bahrain on the international tourism map, as we have completed the first phase of the project that includes a 50-room hotel with all facilities along with water sport and other activities," said Al Namal and VKL Group of Companies chairman and managing director Varghese Kurian.
The company last year signed a lease agreement with the Southern Area Development Company (SADC), which is owned jointly by Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, the Social Insurance Organisation and Eskan Bank, to lease, operate and manage the Hawar Islands hotel facilities.
"The second phase of the project involves construction of another hotel wing with 100 rooms, 50 chalets, along with a seafood restaurant and a multi-purpose hall to accommodate more than 500 people," said Kurian.
"Work continues on the project and is expected to be fully completed in three years."
The Hawar Islands are home to more than 250,000 birds and rare marine species and wildlife, such as dugongs.
It will offer a variety of activities from beach buggy rides to water sport, including jet skis and paddle boats.
In addition to operating a seaplane service, there are also plans to add two luxury boats to take visitors on the 20km journey from Bahrain's mainland to the Hawar Islands, which are located on the southeast part.
"The idea is to allow visitors to select luxury boats or a seaplane to reach Hawar Islands," said Kurian.
"The luxury boats will help ferry about 75 passengers each and we have got clearance from authorities to buy a seaplane."
A reservation office on the Al Fateh Corniche, Manama, will be supplemented with two others at the Ad Dur jetty, near Sitra, and Durrat Al Bahrain.
"The day trip package includes using all hotel facilities and we are working to provide nightlife facilities, as we want to attract citizens and residents in Bahrain along with foreign tourists," said Kurian.
"People can also hire luxury boats or take their personal yachts to reach Hawar Islands and anchor them there."
Sixteen fully serviced apartments have been built for staff at the resort and talks are underway with Bahraini fishermen, who could sell their fresh catch to tourists.
"Bahrain's government has changed its policies and is keen on promoting tourism," said Kurian.
"We are working in co-operation with the Culture Ministry and other bodies to achieve these goals."
"It brings confidence to the travel and tourism sector and allows other players to invest in different projects."
Acting Under-Secretary for Tourism Shaikh Khalid bin Hamood Al Khalifa had said in February that Bahrain was keen on developing more hotels to increase available rooms to more than 12,000 by next year.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has reported that capital investment in Bahrain's travel and tourism sector increased by around 13.2 per cent last year and was expected to rise by 4.9 per cent per year to BD358.2 million in 2023. - TradeArabia News Service