My Bahrain

11 Oct 2017
2 min read
Dinara XX, co-founder of Ventus Lounge in Manama, reveals what she loves about Bahrain…

Local life

“Living in Bahrain has changed me as a person for the better. Changing from ‘megapolis’ rhythms to living on a smallish island has not shrunk my expectations or beliefs.

The standard of living in Bahrain is quite high. This island has warm to hot (ok, sometimes very hot) weather throughout the year and very warm people to match. It’s quite an urban environment with a very relaxing vibe. This contradiction allows me to be very active, while feeling less stressed.

I fell in love with Bahrain’s culture and people and even after seven years of living here I’m always discovering something. I have visited most of the gulf countries and even lived in some of them, too, but my heart chose Bahrain!

As a creative person I always like to find local talents and artisan shops. Some of the people who inspire me daily here in Bahrain include Hala Kaiksow, a gifted fashion designer who moves me with her process of creating clothes and patterns.

My beauty go-to is Green Bar founded by Reem al khalifa in 2006. With an extensive knowledge of botanical healing, Green Bar focuses on natural products for the skin. I adore artist Amina Al Abbassi and her brand of fashion accessories, home decor and art pieces; Noon by Noor, founded by Shaikha Noora bint Al Khalifa, which merges the east and west; Azza Fahmy, a talented local jewellery designer that inspires me to wear jewellery even for breakfast; Blackanaar, which is a very contemporary Arabia-inspired fashion brand has touched me as well. The fabrics and patterns are so forward-thinking, with a real ethereal quality. I’d also recommend Basics by Nature, an organic wear, accessories and home deco because of its simplicity and natural products, and a new brand called Turban Stories, which produces beautiful fashion turbans, which make you feel so elegant.

As for authentic shopping experiences, I’d recommend a visit to Manama and Muharraq souks — the two largest in Bahrain — for their colours, smells and vibrancy. I personally love the souks for their fabrics, Arabic perfumes, boukhours (oriental scents), herbal waters, hand-woven traditional baskets, souvenirs and oriental spices. I also adore everything organic, so I visit the Bahrain Farmers Market to buy my fruit and vegetables.

Bahrain has a wonderful foodie scene. I usually meet friends for coffee or lunch in the Adliya neighbourhood. Some of my favourite haunts include My Café for delicious coffee; Oliveto for top-class Italian cuisine in a stylish setting; Masso for fabulous Mediterranean dishes; The Foundry for beautifully-cooked meats; Mirai for a Japanese fix; and the Mexico-food joint Calexico. Adliya is also packed with galleries and public art installations.

Two of the newest cultural institutions in Bahrain are the stunning Bahrain National Theatre and Bahrain National Museum, but there’s also Muharraq, where I like to take my traditional Arabic coffee (known as kahua) or visit Al Jasra Handicrafts Centre, where I love to learn about Bahraini traditional crafts, pottery, hand-woven baskets and wood crafts.

I love Bahrain and the people here. I am welcomed here because I am so open to life and culture here. My motto is to love the place you live and its people will welcome you to become apart of it!”

Ventus Lounge is located at the Four Seasons Bahrain Bay. Lounge boats can be hired by the hour.