Manama, Bahrain: Bahrain Bay, a Four Seasons Hotel designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), has officially opened. A ribbon-cutting ceremony, attended by Bahrain's Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, Four Seasons senior officials, and other dignitaries, was held on March 1, 2015, to mark the occasion. Situated on a private 12-acre island, the structure rises 200 meters above Bahrain Bay, an expansive mixed-use development that is being master planned by SOM. The hotel’s striking form is a new visual anchor for this emerging waterfront district in Bahrain’s capital city.
“The completion of Four Seasons Bahrain Bay marks a key moment in this district’s transformation,” stated SOM Design Partner Roger Duffy. “The hotel’s bold architectural expression reflects the spirit of its surroundings—a growing city brimming with energy.” Pierre-Yves Rochon served as the interior designer for the project.
The 54,000-square-meter, 68-story hotel combines 273 guest rooms with extensive event and meeting spaces, a business center, spa and gym facilities, five pools, and a 2,200-square-meter “Skypod” restaurant. These programs are arranged strategically within the tower’s bold volumes.
The hotel is composed of two textured concrete piers that support a stack of 17 hotel floors at lower elevations and two restaurant and conferencing floors at the building’s summit. All of the suspended floors feature extensive, floor-to-ceiling glazing on the north and south facades, providing unparalleled views of the Arabian Gulf and surrounding Manama skyline. The shimmering glass expanses transform as the quality of light changes throughout the day. Viewed from a distance, the building’s dynamic form evokes a monumental gateway to a growing city.
Guests will arrive on the hotel’s private island by a bridge connected to mainland Manama or via boats pulling in from harbor. At ground level, an elegant composition of limestone pavilions with bronze mashrabiya screens are clustered within a lush resort landscape. To the east of the tower is a conferencing center whose 923-square-meter grand ballroom will be the new destination for Bahrain’s most fashionable events. To the west is the 3,500-square-meter Four Seasons spa, with five pool experiences, 17 treatment rooms, and two fitness centers. The spa is the second largest in the entire Four Seasons portfolio. The resort also includes three restaurants by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck. At the center of these pavilions is the iconic main entrance, defined by a grand, 12-meter-tall bronze porte-cochere whose ceiling extends inside to form the iconic hotel lobby.
Four Seasons Bahrain Bay is a significant milestone in the realization of SOM’s larger master plan for the district. Originally conceived in response to widespread economic development in the Middle East, SOM’s scheme for the waterfront neighborhood calls for a series of parks, residential and office towers, and cultural venues, arranged in strong radial organization. The 432,000-square-meter master plan positions Bahrain Bay as an engine of economic growth, seamlessly connected to the city’s international airport and the nearby Bahrain World Trade Center. The completion of Four Seasons Bahrain Bay sets the tone for this bold, transformative vision.
About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world, with a 75-year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with more than 1,700 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award — in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Abu Dhabi.