Friday, November 19, 2004Bahrain Centre for Contemporary Art is the sanctum that embraces me in time of need. It took BD 2 million to restore this old traditional house, but this figure doesn’t do justice to the sentimental value attached to the preservation and restoration of our architectural heritage. The one or two which the government has invested in restoring, such as the house of Isa bin Ali in Muharraq, have been turned into museum pieces, and there is only so many that we need of these. The ingenuity lies in trying to make money out of restoration to serve a dual purpose, for which BCCA gets 10 out of 10. Fatima Alireza, has not only managed to restore her father’s house, but also to make it a commercially viable endeavour by combining a restaurant, a spa, a pilates studio of exquisite class. Judging by the time it takes to get an appointment, it seems that Fatima, has succeeded in tapping into a niche market in Bahrain, and its not unusual to bump into the big names in the country here. On top of this, modern minimalist interior design perfectly complements the simple clay structure that is the signature of the classic abode of our ancestors. Many houses such as this one, still exist, but are in ruins and in a state of collapse.
I’ve been to many places around the world, but hardly anywhere compares to the thought of lounging in the sun next to the pool with a good book in the ladies spa, going for a quick Thai massage or facial and then being served an ambrosial meal on the patio in the privacy of beautiful surroundings. Not short of superb, this exclusive place is one of the few gems on the island where you can get away from prying eyes and enjoy a holistic experience .
PS, I didn't intend to sound like something out of a travel magazine :) But hey, if anyone wants to quote me, feel free!!