Greg (the General Manager) & Bob (the Manager) feel like old friends now and the hotel has gone from strength to strength over the 15 months since it opened.
Four Seasons Bahrain Bay now exemplifies the best of Four Seasons in terms of service, F&B & facilities and I am so proud to be known as its 'first customer'.
The 'First Customer's' Journey 'Home'
I had an incredible journey from the Abu Dhabi Four Seasons to the Bahrain Bay Four Seasons by Four Seasons limo to Dubai and then Emirates Business Class.
Immigration in Bahrain was far quicker than on the last two visits & the Four Seasons Bentley was waiting for me.
I just wish the 15 minute journey to the hotel had been longer, as I luxuriated in the red leather seats playing with the excellent in car WiFi.
The 'Prodigal Son' Returns
Greg (the GM) and Bob (the Manager) were waiting outside the hotel with such a warm welcome and took me up to my State Suite personally.
"Call Me Si, Si Frew"
When the door opened the James Bond Theme soundtrack started playing & a bartender appeared shaking a Vesper martini for me.
I last tried this cocktail at Dukes Hotel in London, where Ian Fleming used to drink and got the idea for the line "shaken, not stirred". I liked this fragrant Four Seasons cocktail better.
The Welcome Gifts
In the dining room of the huge opulent suite was a chocolate Issy that was a true work of art and the same Ugari sushi I love at the Four Seasons Doha brunch.
My State Suite
I had been given the 'orange' State Suite and it blew my mind. Classy, large and the height of luxury. The Hermes bedspread, and Murano glass chandeliers, say it all.
I was once told the dark wood veneers in the hotel were aimed to look like the inside of a lacquered cigar box and, combined with all the 'black' Carrara marble, everything in the hotel gives a feeling money has been lavished over it, in a tasteful way.
You could have held a party in the massive marble shower, there were full size Hermes bath products, two TVs in the bathroom, a guest shower off the hallway and a full kitchen with false door to hide it.
A Friend from Doha
Muslem, who I know from being a member of the Doha Four Seasons spa for 9 years, was there to unpack my bags, send out my laundry and get me ice. It is always so good to see a familiar smiling face like his.
The CUT Lounge: More Friends from Doha
I was due to meet some friends from Doha that evening but they were in shorts & training shoes & wanted me to meet them at The Sheraton.
I said there was no way I could leave the Four Seasons & Wolfgang Puck Restaurant Director David was very kind and said there would be no problem with my friends drinking in any of the bars, despite their outfits.
CUT Lounge, on the ground floor of the hotel, is my idea of a perfect Four Seasons bar. Dark, classy, 'hidden' and with perfect professional bar staff. My friends agreed and adored the heavy beautiful glassware too. They stayed far longer than they intended and we had such a laugh.
After they left I talked to a fascinating Emirati customer who shared his shots with me. What a first night back.
Back at the suite I ordered room service and ate it in the elegant dining room. I could hear my father's disapproval of using Wagyu beef to make Bolognese but I had to try it.
It was odd not to use an iPad to order but the food was Four Seasons perfection.
You Get Spoilt
When I went to bed I missed the new 'bright white' Four Seasons linen & having a master switch to switch off all the lights. Four Seasons DIFC & Abu Dhabi truly spoilt me.
A Breakfast of Champions
I woke early and had a giant croissant filled with cheese & scrambled eggs for breakfast.
Then I lazed around watching Eastenders. I found this ironic as it was what I did on my first visit to Bahrain more than 10 years ago, when I stayed at the 'interesting' Gulf Hotel.
I then spent a few hours at the 'Adult' Pool. My almost 10 years in Doha left me a little shocked by all the 'petting' going on there. I just ignored all this and swam & worked on www.sifrew.com.
Manicure & Pedicure
Next it was off for my manicure & pedicure. The new small hair salon did an excellent job & it was fun talking to the Manager about his imminent wedding in Lebanon and my stay at the Beirut Four Seasons.
Lunch by the Pool
Back at the pool I enjoyed a nachos lunch with a margarita admiring my buffed nails.
The Spa's Indoor Pool
Then I went inside for a relaxing swim in the spa's beautifully tranquil indoor pool. I had the pool to myself & it was heaven.
Dinner in CUT by WolfGang Puck
That evening I returned to CUT Lounge for another perfect Grey Goose martini. The bar was deserted, the FA Cup was on TV and I was shocked by the aerial shot of Prince William's bald spot.
The doubling of some, already high, alcohol duties in Bahrain was the topic of conversation when David came to chat with me. Trade agreements mean American liquor is exempt from these increases.
A Dinner from the Gods
Having eaten in CUT Bahrain twice before, and more recently in CUT in 45 Park Lane, I was very excited about dinner that night.
The blue cheese bread to start was divine and the tortellini stuffed with sweet corn the chef sent me was sublime but it was the Japanese Wagyu that blew my mind.
I had to savour every mouthful of this buttery taste from heaven. It was the best steak I have eaten in my life and the high fat content meant the small portion was more than enough.
The steak worked perfectly with the organic egg with creamed spinach & creamed potatoes and my Kenyan waiter John made it such a perfect evening.
It was all so good that I ended up sending a message to Mr Sharp in Toronto about this exceptional Four Seasons restaurant.
I finished my time in CUT with a glass of Remy Martin XO. It was the smoothest cognac I have ever drunk and a brilliant way to end dinner.
Back to CUT Lounge
After dinner I returned to the empty CUT Lounge where I sat at the bar drinking a few more martinis talking to Stephan about Bermuda, my stay at Four Seasons Damascus etc
Final Day of the GCC Tour
I woke early and ate Eggs Benedict while looking at the worldwide readership of www.sifrew.com & being thrilled by this.
Having the Pools to Myself
Then I headed to the 'Adult' Pool again. It was Sunday, the start of the working week in the GCC, and so I had all the pools to myself.
I had a very productive time in the pools swimming and sending messages about lots of personal issues (eg the delivery of my new Dorchester Hotel bed to my place in London EC2), while Four Seasons Managers came to chat with me.
Lunch by the Pool
For lunch I got quesadillas and was thrilled they came in a Four Seasons pizza box, having eaten out of a Raffles Dubai pizza box the previous week.
A Last Afternoon
In the afternoon Manager Maxime came to chat again and, as I was going to the spa, arranged for my pool things to be sent to my suite. However, when I got to the indoor pool I found it was closed for women's swimming from 3 - 5pm and so I ended up going back to my suite instead.
In my suite I was thrilled to find the Weekend Financial Times, the concierges at Four Seasons Bahrain Bay are the best.
Dinner with the General Manager in Re Asian Cuisine by Wolfgang Puck
There could have been no better way to end my GCC Tour than with dinner with GM Greg on the 50th floor of the hotel with award winning chef Brian Becher cooking us his favourite dishes, while we sipped Veuve Clicquot.
Greg showed me a 10 Downing Street cardholder Tony Blair gave him and told me Wolfgang Puck even dictates the music played in his restaurants.
We chatted so easily about things like my Concorde flight from London to New York. I did not know Concorde's inaugural flight (in 1976) was to Bahrain.
It was a special night I will always remember and reading fortune cookies personally written by Wolfgang Puck was an incredible way to end it.
Saying Goodbye is Painful
After packing the last of my things, I checked out and Greg was there to say goodbye. I feel an extraordinary bond with this indulgent hotel where all the staff are so good to me.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻 (7 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - Four Seasons Bahrain Bay is clearly a '7 teddies' hotel these days and fully deserves this 'prestigious award'. I adore Greg, Bob, David, Muslem, Stephan & Maxime and will return to this hotel, for a fourth visit, as soon as I can. My tip:- if, like me, you prefer a quiet hotel, stay Sunday to Wednesday.