DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The 5-star Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa, located overlooking the Arabian Gulf on Bahrain’s west coast, was announced Best Middle East Hotel 2015 at the Middle East Hotel Awards last night.
Accor’s only Thalassa Sea & Spa in the GCC countries, other locations being France, Italy and Morrocco, beat tough competition from the InterContinental Dubai Festival City, a city landmark based on the edge of the Dubai Creek.
Andrew Rotteveel, Head of MENA Project and Development Services at JLL and Best Middle East Hotel 2015 judge said: “The Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa is set in a stunning location, ideal for a relaxing vacation away from busier parts of the Middle East.”
Judge Steven Charlton, Principal Managing Director at Perkins+Will added: “This hotel is setting standards for the hospitality industry in Bahrain.”
Basel Quabouq, Director of Marketing and Guest Experiences at Accor’s Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa said: “We are very proud to win the coveted Best Hotel award at the 2015 Middle East Hotel Awards. We have excellent ambassadors, our staff, and a unique facility with our seawater spa, and we hope that our hotel and the other unique attractions of the lovely island of Bahrain will be further put on the map with this new honour.”
The win will mark a positive start to the new Bahrain Tourism Strategy 2015-2018, rebranding the country as a “boutique destination”. Perched on the pristine beaches of Zallaq, the seawater spa hotel and resort blends French art de vivre with traditional Bahraini styles, with 262 luxurious rooms and 28 suites all boasting balconies and sea views.
In its 5th year, the prestigious Middle East Hotel Awards took place at the new Waldorf Astoria Dubai, Palm Jumeirah where over 400 hoteliers from across the Middle East gathered to hear the results for almost 50 hotels shortlisted across 21 categories.
The awards received its largest ever number of entries this year, almost double the number received in 2014. Judges noted particular surges in interest from hotels in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, and a higher level of applicants from Saudi Arabia.
The location of the ceremony, the Waldorf Astoria Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, won Best Hotel Suite. Its decadent Royal Suite described by Hilton as the ‘largest suite in Dubai’ occupies the entire top floor of the hotel and is accessible through a private VIP lift, with features including a TV room, his and hers dressing rooms, grand piano and spacious terrace overlooking the Dubai skyline.
Four new categories were added for 2015 including: Best Sustainable Hotel, won by the Banyan Tree Al Wadi in Ras al Khaimah, Best Hotel Refurbishment, won by the Manzil Downtown Dubai, Best Smart Hotel won by the boutique SUBA Hotel in Dubai, and Best Marketing Promotions, won by the Media One Hotel, Dubai.
Gordon Ramsay at the St. Regis Doha took the award for Best Hotel Restaurant, against a shortlist of nine hotels, in the most popular category for 2015.
Best Resort was won by Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, situated deep within Dubai’s dune and desert landscape in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Meanwhile, Best Outdoor Area, sponsored by outdoor furniture specialists Fiore Rosso, was taken away by The Address Downtown Dubai for its stunning terrace area with excellent views of the Burj Khalifa.
Other winners for 2015 included: Jumeirah Creekside Hotel (Best Lobby/Lounge and Best Community Engagement/CSR), Level 43, Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road (Best Bar), Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh (Best Conference/Banquet Facilities), Atlantis the Palm (Best Recreation Facilities), Savoy Park Hotel Apartments (Best Environmental Innovation), Ahsant Premium Hotel Suppliers (Best Hotel Partner), Eastern Mangroves Suites by Jannah (Best Hotel Apartment), Four Seasons Jumeriah Beach Dubai (Best New Hotel), Banyan Tree Ras al Khaimah Beach (Best Boutique Hotel), Centro Barsha Hotel Rotana (Best Budget Hotel) and JW Marriott Marquis Dubai (Best Business/City Hotel).
The award ceremony was attended by hoteliers from Armani, Palazzo Versace, Jumeirah, Banyan Tree, Four Seasons, The Address plus many others across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Doha and Ras al-Khaimah. Entertainment was provided by House of Pianos, a performance by Salha, and an impressive lazer show by by Matrix Lazer. Official Chocolate Sponsor, Patchi, treated guests and winners with luxurious chocolates, while Official Water Sponsor, Monviso, also gifted guests and kept them well-hydrated throughout the night.