I'm sitting in my room in The Golden Tulip, Manama, Bahrain. It is a five star hotel. I'm sure that rating is technically correct, but it really doesn't feel like a five star hotel. There's nothing really that wrong with it, it has all the relevant bits and bobs one would hope for - TV with lots of channels, a pool, gym, etc etc, but....none of it is really that good.
The gym, for example, is frankly a little grubby and the equipment is old, as is the changing area. The sauna and steam room are actually ok, but as there is only one of each (and one gym) there are strict rules as to when men may use it and when the women are allowed in. Men, naturally, get the better deal. The pool area is clean and pleasant, although they are short on sun-beds - from memory there are only about eight or ten. The floodlit tennis court and table tennis table have been well used during my stay, and they are a welcome chance to take some exercise in the open air.
My room is fine - it has a decent enough TV, for example - but it is big and old and bits are falling off both the box and the remote. Carpets, curtains and the like are also a bit tired, as is the bedding. The bathroom is fine, but nothing out of this world. Room cleaning is a little random - the bin is emptied intermittently and sometimes days dirty glasses have been left around for two or three days at a time. As I write this, there are seven dirty glasses around the room, only two of which came up with me last night. The complimentary water which was provided on the first night (of ten) has never been replenished.
The restaurant is arguably the best bit. The food is a little repetitive, especially the cold bits, but its tasty all the same. They do a good line in 'amuse bouche' at lunch and dinner - I recommend the tuna mousse personally. (Since writing that bit about a third of my group has come down with a dicky tummy, and as we are eating three meals a day here, i thought a cautionary note was advisable...)
As for 'stuff to do', well, there isn't that much. I get the impression Bahrain is not really a tourist destination - especially Manama and particularly not at this time of year, well in to the super-hot season. The grand mosque is worth a visit, as is the fort, but for tourist attractions I am guessing other bits of Bahrain are more appropriate. There is little within walking distance from the hotel apart from a mega expensive mall and a 24 hour costa coffee (with free Internet!). Which brings me on to my next point...
The Internet charges in this hotel are possibly the most absurd I have come across in the world - and I've been around quite a bit. In English money, it comes to about 50p per minute with a cap at about £20 per day. It bears repeating; £20 per day. I've stayed at about thirty or forty hotels this year and I think this is the first one that has charged us for Internet, and the most expensive one I have ever come across. Pretty scandalous I think and worth boycotting the hotel for, until this changes. (If you're clever though, you may find the free wifi that we found here - what seemed to be a loophole in the hotel system. It was not uncommon to find members of my company sat around in the corridor on one of the guest floors, harvesting free Internet while we could, fearful they would discover our secret and consign us to the misery of spending valuable beer money on a service that should, I think, be free.)
All in all, despite a bit of a gloomy review, the hotel is OK. I wouldn't come here on holiday, but I wouldn't be upset if work brought me back here again. However, my bedroom window affords me an excellent view of the Sheraton which is across the road. I think perhaps if I were given the choice, I'd rather have a view of the Golden Tulip than one from the Golden Tulip...
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- Also Known As:
- Golden Tulip Bahrain Hotel Manama
- Golden Tulip Hotel Bahrain
- Manama Golden Tulip
- Golden Tulip Manama
- Golden Tulip Bahrain Manama