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Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi's largest shopping destination, opens

The largest shopping and entertainment destination in Abu Dhabi, Yas Mall, opened to the public November 19, a few days ahead of the 2014 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, national security adviser and deputy chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, today inaugurated Yas Mall, situated on Yas Island.

The 2.5 million-sq-ft mall, which was developed by Aldar Properties, provides its visitors with an exciting range of leading local, regional and international retail brands and entertainment attractions with nearly 10,000 covered parking spaces. It includes more than 370 stores, 60 of which are international restaurants.

Spanning three floors, Yas Mall offers 83 unique-concept stores, which further enhance the mall's retail offer of local and international brands.

Yas Mall was designed to achieve a Two Pearl Estidama rating, Abu Dhabi's sustainable framework for design, construction and operation. It integrates a series of green strategies that make it a forerunner in the next generation of development in the Middle East. Some of these strategies include the use of regionally sourced and durable materials including modular limestone flooring and wall cladding and the use of shading strategies such as vertical glazing that is protected from direct sun via deep insets, canopies and a brise-soleil system, as well as improved outdoor thermal comfort through landscaping and shading devised over exterior parking and primary pedestrian pathways.

"Estidama", which means sustainability in Arabic, is Abu Dhabi's own green building guideline. All buildings in Abu Dhabi must meet a minimum of one Pearl; Yas Mall is a two Pearl Estidama building.

Yas Mall offers a shopping destination for both tourists and residents supported by its easy access from the centre of Abu Dhabi. Yas Mall's proximity to other exciting attractions such as Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Links, Yas Park and Yas Water World as well as its direct link to Ferrari World, adds further value to the leisure and entertainment offer on Yas Island.

The modern architectural design for Yas Mall combines natural and traditional themes. The exterior façade treatments for the parking structures and the mall buildings reflect a modern interpretation of nature-inspired pattern and colour. Conversely, the mall interior creates a series of urban spaces, with the streets, avenues, boulevards and squares expressed as modern interpretations of traditional urban spaces.

Yas Mall includes 20 Vox screens which bring even more excitement to Abu Dhabi, with the emirate's first 4Dx technology, as well as a family entertainment zone by Fun Works, with the region's first 60,000-sq-ft area dedicated to playful learning.

The inauguration ceremony included a tour by Sheikh Hazza and other senior figures around Yas Mall's spacious avenues, which distinguish Abu Dhabi's largest shopping and entertainment destination. The ceremony took place at Town Square, in which guests were surrounded by natural scenery and water features.

The ceremony commenced with the UAE national anthem, followed by an interactive video highlighting Yas Island's present and future. The last performance celebrated the launch of the Yas Mall with fireworks, as it showcased an extraordinary art installation of six falcons made from steel representing a symbol of force, courage, grace and pride.

Abubaker Seddiq Al Khoori, chairman of Aldar Properties, said: "We are meeting today under the patronage of the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, whose vision has paved the way for sustainable growth in business and commerce in Abu Dhabi. The retail sector in particular has grown significantly, and now Abu Dhabi enjoys the largest retail development pipeline across the GCC. We are very pleased to open Yas Mall today, which is set to add significant value to Abu Dhabi's many leisure and entertainment attractions."

Jumeirah Golf Estates open new clubhouse in Dubai

Jumeirah Golf Estates, one of the most prestigious residential golf communities in the UAE, has announced the official launch of its new clubhouse.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the president of Dubai Civil Aviation and chairman and chief executive of Emirates airline and group, opened the facility at a grand ceremony on Tuesday celebrating the arrival of superior food and beverages (F&B) options, events spaces and recreational facilities in the world-class residential golf community.

He was joined by Mohammed Al Shaibani, the director general of the Ruler's Court and chief executive of the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the emirate's sovereign wealth fund, and the world's top golfers including Henrik Stenson, the official brand ambassador for Jumeirah Golf Estates, Rory McIIroy and Justin Rose at the event.

The facility is home to the DP World Tour Championship, the final tournament of The European Tour's Race to Dubai. This year's tournament kicks off tomorrow (November 20) and will host the top 60 golfers till November 23.

Yousuf Kazim, the general manager, said: "Jumeirah Golf Estates are already a thriving community of families and international visitors, and the opening of the clubhouse is a milestone development that cements our status as the region's leading residential golf community."

"Given the extensive array of recreational facilities now on offer in the heart of the community, we anticipate increased demand for our growing property portfolio, especially our recently launched Redwood Park and Redwood Avenue developments," stated Kazim.

Ranging from informal to fine dining, the clubhouse has a host of delicious dining options. It is also set to become a popular venue for events of all sizes.

Facilities include the Race to Dubai Suite - an intimate private dining room for special events and celebrations, The Boardroom - a fully equipped meeting room for up to 16 delegates, and a tranquil 500- capacity outdoor events lawn with stunning views of the Dubai's skyline.

Speaking at the launch, Stenson said: "It is great to be back at Jumeirah Golf Estates to celebrate the opening of this fantastic clubhouse in time for the DP World Tour Championship - a staple tournament in my diary every year."

"The facilities are on par with the world's best, making the community a top choice for golfers, residents and visitors from around the world," he added.

Neal Graham, the general manager (club operations) at Jumeirah Golf Estates said: "The clubhouse will become the social focal point for members, residents and visitors, uniting first class food and beverage outlets, events spaces and golf facilities to enhance our already attractive membership package."

"This exciting development stands alongside our European Tour Performance Institute and two championship golf courses in promising golfers and members a valuable, world-class proposition," he added.

Dubai is moving towards green building solutions

Dubai Municipality is taking radical steps to ensure the city maintains its leading-edge reputation for sustainability, said its top official.

A tough new smart checking system is in place in the municipality, stated Hussain Nasser Lootah, the director general of Dubai Municipality, the keynote speaker at the opening of the two-day Sustainable Design and Construction Conference being held on the sidelines of The Big 5 construction expo in Dubai, UAE.

Addressing the gathering, Lootah said the municipality had implemented several key steps, including an emirate-wide move to using 'green concrete'.

He also unveiled the details of 'Desert Rose', its new Dh20-billion ($5.4 billion) Emirati housing development built around sustainable principles.

Lootah said Dubai was one of the world's fastest growing cities with buildings mushrooming across the city. "But it's about a lot more than just buildings, there's a lot more projects going on, in order to fulfil the needs of the growing city," the official stated.

"We already have the best standard of construction and materials in the region. Our Green Building Regulations Guide has 79 chapters, and we are working through these chapters to implement all of the directives," he said.

Lootah said three years ago, the municipality zeroed in on green concrete - produced without releasing or creating carbon dioxide - after examining a number of materials in the market, and now will insist all buildings are constructed using 'green' concrete by early 2015.

He said the municipality has implemented three 'quick-fix' sustainable solutions in buildings; insulation, solar heating and installing LED (light emitting diode) lighting. "Now, we are concentrating more on the issues surrounding electricity, water and waste," he added.

With the pre-Expo 2020 construction boom, the municipal chief expects to see a huge influx of new materials and technologies coming into Dubai. But Lootah said his department was well prepared.

"We have the largest laboratory in the region, ready to check new materials and technologies are sustainable. We are open to check any material, and happy to check if it fulfills our sustainability criteria," he added.

Some Saudi restaurants to ban single women

Saudi Arabia's National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has criticized the decision by some restaurants to impose a ban on women who are unaccompanied by their male guardians.

Arabic daily Al Hayat reports that NSHR has said signs erected in the windows of restaurants banning women are illegal and should be removed immediately.

One manager who puts up a sign banning women told Al Hayat: "We put up these signs because we have seen numerous incidents of flirting taking place inside the restaurant.

"We'll only remove these signs when we make sure such incidents never happen again on our premises because such type of behaviour negatively impacts our business."

Saudis have reacted strongly on social media, saying the signs were degrading to women and a step backwards.

A spokesperson for NSHR, Khalid Al Fakhri, said the restaurants cannot require single women to bring male guardians.

"These signs are against the law and reflect the personal opinions of the restaurant owners," Al Fakhri said.

No iqamas without fingerprints

The Passport Department has warned citizens and expatriates that it would not issue new or renew residence permits unless all foreign workers and dependents over 15 have registered their fingerprints.

Maj. Ahmad Fahd Al-Luhaidan, spokesman of the department, said on Tuesday that the public has until Jan. 21 to comply with the directive. If people fail to do so, the department would cut off all access to online passport and other services.

"The department is the government agency assigned to collect all the fingerprints of residents in the Kingdom. We have carried out this assignment systematically and gradually, by aligning the issue of iqamas for newcomers at the airports with the registration of their fingerprints," Al-Luhaidan told Arab News.

He said the department had introduced the measures gradually over the past three years because it did not want to disrupt the lives of citizens and expatriates. This is the final phase of that process, he said.

On Sunday, the department linked fingerprint registration with three services including the issue of re-entry visas, change of profession, and information transfers, he said.

On Tuesday, the department started sending out text messages reminding citizens about what they need to do.

Al-Luhaidan said the department has set up passport offices in all major cities and towns in the Kingdom, and deployed mobile units. Fingerprinting of female employees was first introduced on March 31, 2012.

He said residents can check whether they have registered their fingerprints on www.gdp.gov.sa

5-year residency permits for expats in Saudi Arabia

Foreign workers in Saudi Arabia are likely to have the validity of their residency permits extended to five years.

Currently, the permits are valid for one year and must be renewed, for a fee, annually.

Saudi media reported that the Directorate General of Passports is working on the final touches on the plan to introduce the five-year validity.

No time frame has been announced for the move, but passport officials told local daily Al Madinah that the application would start soon.

The move is expected to ease mental and financial pressure on the large expatriate community in the kingdom.

Around nine million foreigners, mainly Asians, live in Saudi Arabia, making up one third of the total population.

Most foreigners are unskilled workers in the construction and service sectors. Reports say that foreigners hold 90 per cent of the jobs in the private sector and that there is one Saudi national for every ten foreigners in the sector.

Sodic to launch major housing project in Egypt

Sodic, one of the region's leading real estate development companies, will soon launch the first phase of Villette, its integrated community project in New Cairo, Egypt.

The project, which has been mastered-planned by renowned American company SWA, will comprise 2,000 apartments and stand-alone villas in a vibrant downtown area of the new satellite city of Cairo.

As a first step, Soreal for Real Estate Investment, a fully-owned subsidiary of Sodic, inked a deal with the Egyptian ministry of housing officially handing over the company's newly-acquired 301-acre land in New Cairo for the project.

The agreement was signed by Ahmed Badrawi, Sodic's managing director and Magdy Farahat, the new urban communities authority's (NUCA) vice president at Sodic's Sheikh Zayed Sales Centre, in the presence of Moustafa Madbouly, the Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities.

The project, which will be developed at an investment of more than E£7 billion ($969 million), aims to create over 20,000 jobs over the span of its development.

Sodic is currently developing a number of large and diversified projects in Egypt. Its developments range from residential projects of different types to retail, commercial and large-scale mixed-use city centres in east and west Cairo.

Some Qatar expats eligible for visa on arrival to GCC countries

A recently introduced visa-on-arrival procedure for Gulf expats is making it easier for some foreign residents to travel within the GCC, but still falls short of the unified tourist visa that's been under discussion for years.

Earlier this year, GCC states brought in new measures allowing some expats who meet set criteria - including having a valid residence permit from a GCC country that shows they are one of 201 approved professions - can apply for an entry visa upon arriving at the airport or land border, as opposed to applying in advance of travel.

The aim is part of a wider initiative to make travel between the states easier for certain groups of people.

According to Brigadier Sheikh Nasser bin Abdullah al Thani, director of Qatar's Abu Samra border post with Saudi Arabia, there have been "a number" of designated expat professionals taking advantage of the new rules to drive to Qatar, The Peninsula reports from an article for an in-house police magazine Al Shurta.

The GCC-wide initiative covers not only visitors to Qatar, but also Qatar residents wishing to travel to other states in the region.

However, Saudi Arabia - which shares a Qatar's only land border - does not appear to have made any announcement regarding the loosening of visa-on-arrival formalities.


According to Qatar government's Hukoomi portal, the criteria for applying for an on-the-spot GCC Residents' Visit Visa include:

This list of approved professions is wide-ranging and covers many jobs in medicine and healthcare, animal welfare, law and academia, among other fields.

While some careers such as diplomat, financial expert and geologist are not surprising for the region, other permitted professions include journalist, earthquake expert, horse-breeding technician and author. You can see the full list here.

Tourist visa calls

The new visa requirements have been brought in as the GCC has been under pressure for a number of years to introduce one GCC-wide tourist visa, similar to Europe's Schengen system, which allows travelers to visit multiple member countries with a single visa.

While the latest system does not quite have the same openness as the European version, and still requires individual visas for each country visited, it is hoped it will start to ease travel for residents between the six GCC states.

Last year, amid rumors that a single visa system may come into effect during 2014, the GCC's business body said this was unlikely, as there was no unified electronic database linking the systems of the member states.

Abdul Rahim Hassan Naqi, the Secretary-General of the Federation of GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said:

"The major problem is the non-existence of an electronic link between the GCC member states".

"Whenever Gulf citizens or foreigners move between GCC countries, their data are recorded and updated only by the state they are leaving and the state they are entering. There is no full Gulf update. We do need to have an electronic link between the six countries of the Council in order to exchange data and therefore ease the implementation of the common Gulf tourism visa," he added.

Qatar minister: Labor law revisions expected by year-end

Changes to Qatar's Labor Law, including a provision to pay workers their salaries directly into their bank accounts, could be made by the end of this year, the nation's labor minister has suggested.

During a meeting with newspaper editors to discuss countering negative international criticism of Qatar, Minister for Labor and Social Affairs Dr. Abdullah Saleh Mubarak Al Khulaifi offered an update on the status of the much-awaited changes to the labor law.

He said that several proposed revisions to the law are expected to be discussed by Qatar's Advisory (Shura) Council at its next session, according to the Qatar Tribune.

If the council approves the changes, they then require the Emir's signature before coming into effect.

The e-payment Wage Protection Scheme is one of a number of measures the government has proposed in a bid to better protect the rights of expat workers in Qatar. Other revisions to the exit permit and no objection certificate requirements are expected to make it easier for expats to leave the country and change jobs.

Kafala changes

All non-Qatari workers are bound by the rules of the state's kafala (sponsorship) system, which has been heavily criticized by the international media and human rights organizations for being too restrictive.

In May this year, the government announced a series of reforms to the system and the Labor Law which they said would improve workers' rights, although many critics said the scope of these changes did not go far enough, and no timeline was given for the introduction of the new measures.

Before Eid Al Fitr in July, the labor minister promised that the reforms would be made "as quickly as possible," although he did add that a number of groups still had to be consulted on the changes.

Qatar's business community had initially voiced its concern over the new rules, which many of its members felt went too far. However, the Chamber of Commerce, which represents the business sector, finally gave its approval of the changes last month.

E-wage system

Missed and late wage payments are among the top complaints expressed by Qatar's blue collar workforce. In July this year, the Cabinet approved a draft law that would make it mandatory for all companies to pay their workers by electronic bank transfer at least every two weeks.

Duncan Smith/Corbis

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The new system, which would be created and handled by Qatar Central Bank, and supported by the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA), also makes it easier to track payments.

Fielding questions, Al Khulaifi also ruled out setting a minimum wage, saying that such a move would compromise Qatar's "free economy," which operates according to supply and demand, The Peninsula reports.

Finally, the labor minister said plans were underway to build five "labor cities." The huge accommodation sites would be dotted across Qatar, with the capacity to house some 25,000 workers, and be built in coordination with the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP).

He added that the plans were not in response to criticism Qatar has faced from international media over workers' rights, but rather part of a strategy devised five years ago to accommodate the state's rapidly increasing workforce, as it strives to meet looming deadlines for its numerous, big infrastructure projects.

Peter Kovessy

Barwa Real Estate has developed the first of these, the Barwa al Baraha complex in the Industrial Area. Expected to accommodate around 20,000 workers, facilities on the site will include four dining halls and two mosques.

Another 20,000 residents are expected to be housed in the next phase, which is currently under construction and is expected to be completed within 18 months.

A final phase in the 1.8 million sqm development will contain a medical clinic and accommodate senior staff in single-bedroom units.

Harb: New companies interested in telecoms

BEIRUT: New mobile companies expressed interest in bidding for the operation of the Lebanese cellular network, Telecommunications Minister Boutros Harb said Monday. "I have seen, within the framework of my visits to Dubai, South Korea and China, a great interest by some mobile operators such as Saudi Telecom, Orange, Zain and Etisalat to participate in the next bidding, which will take place in a few months for operating the cellular network in Lebanon," Harb told The Daily Star in an exclusive interview.

Harb stressed that some Lebanese political quarters did not believe that international mobile firms would have any interest in operating in a small market like Lebanon.

"They [companies] surely have a great interest in operating the Lebanese telecom sector for two years because this will allow them to get acquainted with this sector and hence increase their chances of participating in its privatization later on," he said.

In October Harb extended the contracts of the two current mobile operators, Kuwait-based Zain's touch and Cairo-based Orascom's Alfa, for six months to give the Telecommunications Ministry ample time to hammer out new terms and conditions for the next bidding process.

Harb said he had already completed the new terms and conditions, adding that they were slightly different from those adopted by former Telecommunications Minister Gebran Bassil.

"I had already completed the new terms and conditions by keeping those adopted by Bassil and doing only a minimal and necessary change with regard to incentives given to mobile operators, but he rejected them, saying that he changed his mind about them," Harb said. "I believe that the reason is political."

Harb said that one of Bassil's arguments is that the new terms and conditions would exclude small companies from the bidding process.

"But what we really need are big companies that add value and solve our technical problems without being affiliated with any political group," Harb said. "Small companies won't be able to work independently because they want to ensure their survival in the market."

Harb said that he would hold a meeting this coming Friday headed by Prime Minister Tammam Salam in the attendance of State Minister Mohammad Fneish and Foreign Minister Bassil to try and agree on a formula for the terms and conditions.

Harb believes that the best solution would consist of completing the next bidding process and having two new mobile operators manage the sector for two years until Law 431 is properly implemented.

Law 431 of 2002 stipulates the establishment of Liban Telecom, through merging the operations of Ogero (a government-owned contractor) and two directorates of the Telecommunications Ministry. According to Law 431, Liban Telecom would be an integrated telecoms operator providing services which include fixed and mobile telephony, local and international communication, voice and data access, pay phones, emergency call services, and dial-up and printed directory information services.

Harb explained that with the establishment of Liban Telecom, the government would bring a strategic partner with advanced technical capabilities, such as Vodafone or Orange S.A., with an ownership right of 40 percent, which would motivate the other companies to compete with the national company in providing better quality and prices.

"This is a very important step to improve the performance of this sector," Harb said, while arguing that previous ministers refrained from taking this step because it limits their power and gives more authority to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority over the telecoms sector.

Harb said he prefers that board members of Liban Telecom be selected based on professional criteria, which is not possible for the time being. "I prefer to either appoint people based on their professional capacity and skills or not to implement the whole project," he said.

Regarding the slow Internet connection in Lebanon, the minister argued that he is trying to launch the fiber optics project, which would increase the speed connections in a remarkable manner.

The fiber optic network would enable the country to finally catch up with the rest of the world and offer globally competitive Internet speeds and packages. The installation of the new fiber optics would dramatically increase the traffic load, distribution and reliability of the network.

"The project was delayed because it was implemented in a very bad way in some areas so I demanded that all the flaws be fixed before proceeding again," he said.

Harb acknowledged that the project is very expensive and costs between $500 million and $1 billion. "But there is no other way to improve the Internet connection," he said.

Harb added that he had already installed more active cabinets in various Lebanese areas, devices which aim at improving the Internet connection. "But they definitely cannot replace the fiber optics," he said.

Harb also emphasized the importance of organizing the work of Internet service providers and data service providers. He explained that ISPs are asking for more E1 lines than what they actually need.

"We found out that some ISPs have been buying the E1 from the government in $300 and selling it at $900 to match and Alfa, which are owned by the government," he said. "This means that they are selling it at $300 and buying it again for our companies, for $900, which is not normal at all."

Algeria prepares new law to improve business climate

ALGIERS, ( Reuters ) - Algeria is drafting a new investment law to improve its business climate to attract foreign expertise and edge the economy away from reliance on oil and gas, the head of the country's investment body said.

The measure is part of wider reforms intended to diversify the economy and better comply with international standards, Abdelkrim Mansouri, head of the National Agency of Investment Development (ANDI), told Reuters .

Government red tape, bureaucratic foot-dragging and an antiquated banking system are among the reasons foreign companies cite for staying away from the North African OPEC state.

Oil and gas account for about 96 percent of Algerian exports, and the government often calls for diversification. But now the new reform plans coincide with falling crude prices.

"After diagnosing the business environment, the government is now launching a vast revival program," Mansouri told Reuters . "A new investment law is under discussion."

Reforms include removing some existing provisions to ease business applications and reducing the periods for dealing with investment requests.

The current investment law includes restrictions on partnerships between private and state businesses and with foreign firms. But Mansouri said the government will maintain a rule that requires a majority stake in any partnerships.

The main hurdle to investment is excessive centralization of decisions regarding approvals of investment projects. Investors usually complain they can wait months or years to get feedback.

Mansouri gave no date for the new law's finalization, but said it will be implemented as soon as parliament approves it.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has repeatedly urged Algeria to liberalize its economy as the only way to lift it out of stagnation.

Mansouri said the banking sector would be among those seeing reforms. Officials also say a financial sector overhaul would be ready by the end of 2014, including a modernization of Algeria's small stock exchange.

A drop in the world's crude oil prices has been seen as a warning to diversify in Algeria. The government expects energy export earnings for this year to fall to around $60 billion, while the value of imports is projected at $65 billion.

Algeria has approved a $262 billion expenditure plan for the 2015-2019 period. However, experts say those investment plans may have little impact due to the likely slowness of reform.

Still, Industry Minister Abdesselam Bouchouareb has said the government aims to attract investments in sectors such as cars, petrochemicals, medicine, agribusiness and textile as well as public works and construction.

New conditions imposed on driving licenses for expats - License linked to iqama validity - Minimum salary of KD 600 needed

KUWAIT: Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al-Khaled Al-Sabah yesterday issued a ministerial decision with some amendments to the traffic law on driving licenses for non-Kuwaitis. According to the new amendments, a driving license's validity will be linked to the validity of holders' residency visas (iqamas). The new conditions also include age, health, fitness, passing driving tests conducted by the traffic department, holding a valid iqama for at least two years prior to application, holding a university degree and receiving a minimum monthly salary of KD 600.

The new amendments will exempt non-Kuwaiti wives, widows and divorcees of Kuwaiti men who have Kuwaiti children, husbands of Kuwaiti women, illegal residents (bedoons) holding valid security ID cards and students registered at a university or a PAAET institute in Kuwait.

Moreover, the decision also explained that housewives who have children and whose husbands already hold driving licenses, members of diplomatic corps, professional sport clubs' players, drivers, general representatives (mandoubs), passport and Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor representatives who already hold valid driving licenses from their respective countries, judges, members of the public prosecution, chancellors, experts, university and PAAET teaching staff members, journalists, members of the media, doctors, pharmacists, engineers, teachers, social workers, researchers, translators, librarians, imams working for the government and sports trainers would be exempted from the residency and salary conditions.

The decision also exempts private drivers who have been working for a minimum five years for the same sponsor (provided they change their profession to 'driver'), specialized technicians in the oil sector, nurses, physiotherapists, other medical technicians, pilots, captains, their assistants and washers of dead bodies. In addition, the decision exempts general managers, their assistants, managers and accountants from the residency visa condition.

It also cancels driving licenses held by drivers, mandoubs and passport and MSAL representatives on the cancellation of their residency or changing their profession based on which the license had been issued, and they will only be able to get new licenses after two years from the date of cancellation. - KUNA

Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain ready to welcome reservations

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has announced that Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain is currently accepting reservations for March 1, 2015.

General manager, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain, Greg Pirkle declared: "From that eye-popping first impression of our distinctive building rising from its own private island in the middle of the Bay to the incredible attention to every comfort and whim of our guests, we promise a true urban resort experience."

The property is located less than 15 minutes from the airport, and near to the two-lane causeway into the city centre and easily accessible to any number of commercial, recreational, shopping and historic locales.

The hotel tower rises 68 stories above the Bay on its own five hectare oval-shaped man-made island, and boasts 273 rooms, composed of 216 rooms and 57 suites. At its base the hotel features a layout of restaurants, meeting space, an enormous spa complex, and beautifully landscaped pools, terraces and gardens. Additionally, the hotel tower boasts a dramatic two-level sky bridge housing world class restaurant and hi tech event spaces.

Additionally the hotel offers in-room technologies, such as the fully customisable Four Seasons bed, to the fully-supervised Kids for All Seasons program and teens' game room, 24-hour business center, and the six prayer rooms located throughout the hotel.

The property includes seven unique F&B concepts, with menus overseen by two culinary leaders: international celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, and the hotel's own executive chef Stefano Andreoli.

The property additionally boasts five swimming options, including the nearly 1,000m2 family friendly free form infinity pool; a Kids' Pool; Azure Pool for adults only; Saltwater Experience - an enclosed swimming area in Bahrain Bay open to guests 16 years and older, as well as a 25m indoor spa pool.

Furthermore, the property features the 3,485m2 spa at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, which will reportedly be one of the largest in the global Four Seasons portfolio.

With more than 3,500m2 of event space, the hotel seeks to be destination for local and international business meetings and conferences, as well as a choice for weddings and other social occasions.

Two naturally-lit ballrooms include the 945m2 Bahrain Ballroom and large pre-function space, The more intimate Manama Ballroom offers 440m2 plus pre-function space divisible by two, accommodating up to 220.

Furthermore, four meeting rooms and two boardrooms are located in the Sky Bridge on the 50th and 51st floors, offering extraordinary views and exclusivity.

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