Routes World 2024

Bringing together the global route development community

Kingdom of Bahrain
6 – 8 October 2024

The Routes Guide to Bahrain

The Routes team undertakes site visits ahead of each event to plan and understand how to deliver the best possible experience for our community.

Bahrain might be the smallest country in the Arabian Gulf, but it has much to offer in terms of arts, culture and cuisine, and a compelling history that dates back a millennia. We have received a couple of questions regarding the destination, so we thought that members of our team with first-hand experience could provide you with more information.

Our top picks for hotels


If you want proximity to the venue, the Sofitel is the hotel for you. A self-contained beach resort, all the rooms have sea views and balconies or terraces. The food at the hotel is fantastic but there are no restaurants nearby, so a taxi will be required to venture further afield. 

Le Meridien 

If you want a base with easy access to the city and approximately a half an hour transfer to the venue, Le Meridien is a great option. The Routes team stayed here for one of their site visits and were impressed with the high standard of rooms and extensive breakfast offerings. 

Four Seasons

If you want to experience one of the finest hotels on the island, the Four Seasons should be on your list. With two restaurants by Wolfgang Puck, the culinary offering of this premises is on par with any leading luxury hotel in the world. 

“I spent two days personally visiting each of our Official Hotels with Abdullah from our host team. A delegate asked me at a recent event if women had to use a separate entrance and a separate desk to check in – that is certainly not the case! Unfortunately, I don’t have time at a Routes event to visit the spa. If you are one of the lucky few that do, like in many countries where Islam is the prevalent religion, some hotels have separate spa and gym facilities for men and women to respect the local culture.”

Rachel Millar

Rachel Millar

Travel & Hotel Event Manager, Routes

Our top picks for restaurants

It might surprise you how many delegates on-site ask our team where to head for dinner, here are a couple of our favourite restaurants that we have tried during our visits:

Lantern's Lounge and Restaurant
Rd No 3806, Manama, Bahrain

Choose from a variety of starters, curries, rice dishes, bread and desserts and sip on signature cocktails and mocktails. Their house specialties, including chicken makhani and mutton rogan josh, are must-tries. All this, topped with on-point service, makes dining here a real pleasure.

The Foundry
338، 1082 Rd No 3831, Manama

The Foundry is a cool industrial-style eatery in Bahrain. The menu is hearty and filling, with a selection of steaks, punchy vegetarian dishes, and mouth-watering starters. Add to the mix a cool ambiance inspired by industrial chic and superb cocktails, and you have a dining experience that’s as different as it is delightful. 

Fusions by Tala
The Gulf Hotel 

Fusions by Tala at the Gulf Hotel is led by one of MENA’s renowned female chefs, Tala Bashmi. The real point of difference here is that Tala herself hand-picks ingredients from local farmers ensuring the highest quality and freshness of her food, which is a contemporary take on traditional Bahraini food. 

The Meat Co
Rd No 3809, Manama, Bahrain

Serving a selection of premium cuts from Japanese Miyazaki wagyu meat to Argentinian Pampa Humeda-bred beef, the Meat Co is Bahrain’s best standalone steakhouse. It has a modern and stylish rooftop offering panoramic views of the artsy Block 338. 

Rd 3803, Building 98 Adliya Bahrain، 338

From California to Bahrain comes Calexico, a classic Northern Mexican eatery. The city of Calexico is just on the border between California and Mexico, meaning the food has an upbeat amalgamation reflecting the two countries.

110 Government Ave, Manama 973

Located on the 25th floor of downtown Rotana, this stylish urban lounge and restaurant offers panoramic views of Bahrain’s capital. The menu features a selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian bites such as fried calamari, pistachio kebabs with tomato salsa, and saffron chicken and leek skewers.

“When I told my family I was travelling to Bahrain, they had to get it up on Google Maps! As it is very close to Dubai and Doha, they soon got their bearings. The site visits are short but intense, so after a long day planning media strategies – like many people – I wanted to un(wine) and dine. I would recommend heading to Block 338 if you get a chance, there is an amazing selection of restaurants.”

Ellie Wells

Ellie Wells

Head of Marketing, Routes

Doing business in Bahrain 

We always provide the team with an overview of cultural etiquette when meeting our hosts. Here is some of the guidance that we have given the team for Bahrain.  

Shaking hands

When greeting Bahrainis of the same sex, you should shake their hand. When greeting someone from the opposite sex, men should not shake a woman’s hand unless she extends it first.

Getting down to business

Bahrainis are very friendly. Smiling and eye contact are important and, it is considered polite to make extensive chit-chat at the start of a business meeting before getting down to business.

Business cards 

Make sure you have plenty of business cards when travelling. It is important to receive a business card with both hands, as a sign of respect, and avoid storing it in your back pocket! 

"Ahead of Istanbul, I went to Bahrain to undertake the planning of the floorplan for this event. I was really impressed by the destination - it's relaxed vibe and the warm hospitality. Both the host and venue teams are fantastic, so our team is really excited about delivering this event.

Phil Mcloughlin

Phil Mcloughlin

Commercial Director, Routes

What other travel guides say

You might not want to take our word for it, so we have compiled some articles to help you make the most of your time in Bahrain at Routes World 2024: 

Conde Nast: 13 of the best things to do in Bahrain

A trip to this tiny Gulf kingdom should include island hopping, fine dining and a giant dose of culture.

Read the full article

The Telegraph: Discover the best of Bahrain

With amazing food, thousands of years of history and culture and year-round sunshine, the island nation of Bahrain is the perfect choice for a Middle Eastern holiday. 

Find out more

The Independent: Where to visit, stay and eat in Bahrain’s up-and-coming capital

Beyond the major business and economic elements, the city is also a magnet for tourists, welcoming visitors to a shopping paradise with excellent dining, arts and entertainment scenes. 

Find out more 

Wanderlust: 10 of the best things to do in Bahrain

Whether you’re diving for pearls, learning traditional crafts or exploring UNESCO-listed treasures, this tiny Gulf kingdom is big on history, culture and fun...

Read the article

"I attend several site visits in the lead-up to events to work with our hosts. Following an initial site visit to Bahrain, I took my young family on holiday there. As an island destination with a beautiful climate, it was the perfect choice for a week-long break to unwind from the stress of our events. I am really looking forward to heading back in the coming months to finalise preparations for this year's Routes World."

Sarah Caren

Sarah Caren

Head of Host & Event Management, Routes

Other travel tips

What to pack

The average daily temperature in Manama in October is 29.3 °C (84.7°F.) If you have ever been to Abu Dhabi or Dubai, you will have seen a mix of Arab and Western dress - this is the same for Bahrain. Although Bahrain has a liberal attitude, it is always wise to respect the religion and culture of the country by wearing appropriate and more modest clothing in public or religious places. 

Getting a taxi 

Uber is available in Bahrain and, from our experience, plenty of cars were available whenever we required them. Always wear your seatbelt when taking a taxi, as it's a legal requirement in Bahrain. 

The local currency

The currency used in Bahrain is the Bahraini Dinar (BHD). Most businesses in Bahrain accept credit cards, but it's always a good idea to have some cash on hand for smaller purchases or in case of emergencies. Tipping is common and expected in Bahrain when good service is provided.

Emergency information

Bahrain is considered a safe destination for travellers and the level of crime is low. As advised for any overseas travel, it is recommended to provide an emergency contact to your hotel and colleagues. For emergencies, the number to call is 999.

The country’s doctors and nurses are a mix of local and international talent and all have an excellent understanding of the English language. Visitors should ensure they have comprehensive medical insurance before leaving home as medical bills will have to be paid up front.

Useful phrases

The main language in Bahrain is Arabic.  English is widely spoken and signs/menus/etc are all converted to English.  But just in case, knowing these simple Arabic phrases may be helpful.

Hello Marhaba
How are you? Kaeef Halak
Good morning Sabah el Khair
Good evening Massa El Khair 
Goodbye Ma'a As-Salama
Thank you Shukran
Toilet Alhamam
Yes Na'am 
No La

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