Renovation for landmark Sheraton Bahrain
Sheraton Bahrain Hotel, an institution of Bahraini hospitality for almost 40 years, will close down for a full refurbishment starting October 1, 2019.
The entire property will be renovated, including all guest rooms, conference and meetings spaces, recreation facilities and public areas, and open to public again in 2021.
Sheraton Bahrain Hotel was officially opened to the public on December 16, 1981.
TTN’s sister publication the Gulf Daily News published on December 12, 1981: “Sheraton Hotel is a beauty which rose from the sea and the opening of the new hotel is another landmark and another magnificent achievement of people, government and all who contribute towards prosperity of modern Bahrain.”
A firm called Rader Mileto took one year to produce the design for the hotel and Taylor Woodrow International was appointed as a contractor to build the hotel. The land where the hotel was built was reclaimed from the sea in 1976 and the building of the hotel began in 1977. The construction was massive and the risks many, but Sheraton Bahrain was a lucky story since there were no major accidents.
The only potential disaster was the day a helicopter dropped a one tonne air fan on the top of an empty hotel room, which was being used by contractors who were out that time.
Carlo Perrochini was the first general manager for Sheraton Bahrain Hotel who was in charge of 380 staff and 328 bedrooms on 11 floors. “I arrived in Bahrain in October 1979 when the hotel was almost finished, there were no furniture yet and only a big empty shell, which I find a good time to make suggestions and small modifications,” he told Gulf Daily News.
Aziz Janahi was the first guest to register at the hotel few weeks before it was opened officially by late Amir Shaikh Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifa.
A week-long celebration before the grand opening of the hotel was held with historical painting and plastic art exhibition for public, a grand opening dinner with more than 1,000 invitees at Al Taj Ballroom, a gala charity dinner held in Al Layali Supper Club and a fashion show for top French Fashion House Louise Feraud.
Back in 1981, the hotel boasted the biggest swimming pool in Bahrain with 290 sq m. The hotel was also equipped with NCR computer, which employed a sophisticated telephone switchboard, drawing compliments from the media for being the most technologically advanced hotel in the Gulf at the time.
The hotel was a prestigious venue for some of the Gulf’s magnificent banquets and conferences and one of the greatest tasks back in 1982 was the GCC Head of Summit attended by six GCC leaders from Bahrain, KSA, UAE, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait.
In 1982, Sheraton Bahrain Hotel won the Hotel of the Year award after only one year of operation. In July 1983 Sheraton was the first hotel chain in the Middle East to introduce a computerised hotel reservation system when it opened its Worldwide Reservation Office in Bahrain.