And the doll came too!

December 5 - 11, 2018

Gulf Weekly Stan Szecowka
By Stan Szecowka

Gulf Weekly And the doll came too!

ONE of Bahrain’s leading five star hotels staged a children’s party with a difference to launch a special promotion that will entice families to stay … with an extra special warm welcome for their daughter’s favourite doll.

The Westin City Centre Bahrain launched a partnership with American Girl on Friday and around 25 girls with their beloved American Dolls attended a tea party to celebrate the occasion at Furn Bistro.

A special spread was set up at the popular eatery and amongst those in attendance were the Khalfan sisters Zain, nine, Lulwa, six, and Fatima, four, with dad, Osama and little brother, Isa, who will be two in January, joining in the fun carrying his toy cat, Chris.

Bahraini Osama, Arab Bank’s head of retail, said: “My daughters absolutely love their American Dolls and were delighted to be invited to the tea party.”

They are so dedicated to the dolls that they even wear matching pyjamas at bedtime, dad revealed. And they are not the only ones. As reported earlier this year when the outlet opened in City Centre Bahrain hundreds of devoted fans queued outside in anticipation.

What started as a catalogue company selling 18-inch dolls with historical backstories to young girls has evolved over more than 30 years into a toy industry behemoth, with multi-million dollars in gross sales each year.

The Westin City Centre Bahrain has launched a Super Sleepover room package that will include a special gift, an American Girl doll-sized travel bed with turndown service.

In January 2019, it will also be launching a special menu where girls can bring along their dolls for a tea party just like Friday’s launch event which included cakes and strawberry juice with cream and marshmallows.

City Centre Bahrain mall owners Majid Al Futtaim teamed up with American Girl to bring the brand to Bahrain. The store offers an assortment of the popular historical and contemporary dolls, along with a selection of doll outfits, accessories, ‘Dress Like Your Doll’ clothing, and the company’s best-selling books. Also, for fashionable youngsters, the store features a boutique, where girls can create T-shirts for themselves and their dolls.

So how does American Girl maintain and grow its popularity? Experts point to several factors, including the exclusivity and personalisation of the brand. In addition, the fact that many millennials who are now parents grew up owning or wanting the dolls and reading American Girl books. They are eager to pass those experiences on to their own children.

“It’s almost a rite of passage for kids,” said Adrienne Appell, a trend expert for the Toy Industry Association.

Anna-Marie Dowling, complex GM of The Westin Bahrain City Centre and Le Méridien Bahrain City Centre, couldn’t resist popping by to witness the party, and Aisha Ameen, Majid Al Futtaim’s bnrand manager travelled from Dubai to join in the fun.

The success of the initial tea party is likely to set the stage for further birthday parties and other celebrations too, held in a similar style.

For more details and to book the Super Sleepover room package call 17171000.

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