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THE kingdom’s hotels, cafes and lounges are all gearing out to warmly welcome football fans for the World Cup Finals and plan to tackle the celebration with their own special spins on the global showcase event.
It’s proving a challenge as the action kicks off tomorrow before Ramadan concludes which has meant a fine balancing act even the most talented football managers would admire.
The Gulf Hotel Bahrain Convention & Spa will be presenting its newly-renovated Sherlock Holmes from the first day of Eid for the highly-anticipated sporting fiesta whilst retaining its time-honoured Old-English feel.
The venue will now sport half a dozen cosy booth seating areas, each with viewing screens and match commentary language options, plus charging docks for smart phones and USB ports, revealed Kevin Rowe, Sherlock Holmes manager.
“The renovation work has taken around two months and we’ll be open with a completely fresh and different feel with new flooring and lighting,” he added. “We have screens by the counter, in the games area and big screens spread around so wherever you are seated you will be able to have a great view of the action.”
During the tournament, Sherlock Holmes will also theme its food and beverage offerings based around the teams playing.
Sunuj S. Dean, the hotel’s F&B manager, said: “With the tournament being held in Russia the timing is fantastic for fans here in Bahrain, you couldn’t have asked for anything better with just a one hour time difference. Most of the kick-offs will start at 3pm, 6pm and 9pm – peak times to watch games.”
The opening match tomorrow between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia will attract many fans as it kicks off at 6pm. Guests will be able to break their fast and watch the action at the same time inside the hotel’s Khaimat Al Khaleej Tent.
Fans are expected to flock the following days to Sherlock Holmes as a result of a promotion boasting the ‘lowest beverage prices in town’.
“We expect a particularly big crowd on June 15 when Spain play Portugal as the Spanish LaLiga is very popular here in Bahrain and some of the top players will be on show,” added Dean.
“We have timed the completion of the renovation to ensure it is back open with what we believe to be the best in audiovisual technology, plus an increase in the number of screens available to 23, of which four will be big screens.”
A ‘stadium style’ service will be introduced to keep in the spirit of the event, with special themed dishes priced between BD2 and BD3 such as England captain’s Harry Kane Battered Chippy, Argentina’s Lionel Messi Cheesy Tacos, CR7 Chicken Pops, named after Portugal’s Cristiano Renaldo who always wears the Number 7 shirt, and Mo Selah Fiery Shrimps in honour of the Egyptian striker.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain, will be transforming its stunning Masaya Pavilion into the World Pavilion.
It will be open daily from 2pm to 2am, with free entry with a minimum spend of BD10 per person.
Al Areen Palace & Spa will also be welcoming fans to its World Cup Tent to enjoy a tournament-inspired menu specially devised by the chefs for ‘forwards, midfielders, defenders and goalkeepers’ with fare from BD2 to BD5, plus FIFA Fever refreshments costing BD2 with apt names such as Dribbled by Nemar and Free Kick by Messi.
The Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay is also erecting its own air-conditioned ‘football stadium’ tented venue to show matches on a 4m x 10m high-definition screen, together with 160 LCD screens, offering 150 supporters a ‘perfect view’ of each game.
The aim is to recreate the ‘thrilling atmosphere’ of a packed football stadium, complete with grandstand-style seating, fan zone sections with bean bags and lounge areas with sofas. Spectators can take part in a range of activities too, from taking on friends in a table football tournament to honing their scoring skills with Play Station games, to add to the match day experience.
GM Richard Raab said: “For those unable to travel to Russia this summer, a visit to The Football Stadium at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay is the closest thing to actually being at the match. Four Arab teams have qualified for this year’s tournament, a historic achievement that has generated unprecedented interest across the region.”
During the early stages it will cost BD12 for entry with the cost rebated against food and drinks.
With so many World Cup venues popping up all over the kingdom, supporters won’t be too far from a giant screen, a great atmosphere and some fabulous football throughout the 2018 World Cup.