Mar 17, 2021
The fascinating region around the Arabian peninsula and the eastern end of the Mediterranean, straddling the great continents of Europe and Asia, has long been a land fertilised by myth, folktales and legends, as befits the birthplace of ancient civilisations. Yet there are so many facets of the Middle East still to discover, easily accessible from select Frasers Hospitality locations in the region and ideal for day trips or staycations.
Here are a few journeys on roads less travelled in the Middle East, while living life to the fullest with Frasers Hospitality properties in Bahrain, Riyadh and Istanbul.
The Kingdom of Bahrain, comprised of 33 islands, is most often described as the more genteel, leisurely counterpart to its glitzier neighbour, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
It is true that in a similar vein to the Emirati city, Bahrain is also a beguiling mix of modernity with jaw-dropping skyscrapers punctuating its desert sands mingling with swish malls, museums and mosques. But there’s more to this desert kingdom than simply being a home for Formula 1 racing as the 2021 season kicks off with the Bahrain Grand Prix on 28th March (with proof of vaccinations mandated for ticket holders).
For such a tiny nation, however, (the Kingdom is only slightly larger than the island state of Singapore), Bahrain boasts three UNESCO World Heritage sites and they’re all worth leaving Manama for a few hours or a day in order to visit.
The Bahrain Fort (Qalat al-Bahrain) is an ancient tell and former Portuguese military fortification excavated on a 43-acre hill, built up as a result of centuries of continuous occupation dating as far back as 2300 BC. Only a quarter of the site has been excavated which reveals streets, residences, monuments and several sarcophagi from the fourth century BC Dilmun civilisation.
Learn about a way of life deeply embedded in Bahraini culture from the prescribed three-kilometre Bahrain Pearling Trail are where sea pearls were harvested from oyster beds and which sustained the local economy for centuries, long before oil was discovered. A testament to the significance of Bahrain’s pearling legacy globally, it focuses on a range of buildings, shipyards, local oyster beds and markets, populated by merchants, divers and pullers.
Your Home in Bahrain
The awardwinning Fraser Suites Seef, Bahrain offers 90 fully furnished Gold-Standard serviced apartments, ranging from chic studios and one-bedroom apartments to luxurious two-or-three bedroom as well as penthouse apartments. Located in the heart of Manama’s commercial Seef district, the property offers even greater convenience with its direct connection to posh shopping and dining at Seef Mall.
Exploring the Empty Quarter
For the ultimate road trip, it’s hard to beat exploring The Empty Quarter, the largest sand sea in the world, encompassing parts of the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
This unforgiving land is the stuff of legends, that so inspired the likes of intrepid writer Wilfred Thesiger and British adventurer TE Lawrence, characterised by vast, rolling sand dunes where the silence is punctuated at dusk by the bark of a desert fox or the grunt of a camel. Its Arabic name, Rub al Khali, signifies ‘the Abode of Silence’ and offers a unique experience for those who are hankering for a true getaway. Thesiger, who knew the area well, termed it “a cruel land that can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match.” Any visitor to this place will understand the old Arabic adage: ‘Rise early, for the hour after dawn is borrowed from paradise.’ The morning light falling across an epic landscape of dunes is one that will endure in the memory. It is also the time of the day when the heat is most bearable, while at night, the mercury plummets as a canopy of stars provides as dramatic a sky as you will ever see.
The Empty Quarter can be accessed from within the borders of Saudi Arabia.
Your Home in Riyadh
Strategically located in one of Riyadh’s most desirable addresses, the sleek financial and commercial core of Olaya, Fraser Suites Riyadh features a collection of 95 fully furnished, Gold-Standard luxurious studios, one-and-two-bedroom serviced apartments.
Hiking the Lycian Way
Turkey, at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, is home to the Lycian Way, a breathtaking 509-kilometre trail that runs from the popular Mediterranean resort of Fethiye along the ‘Turquoise Coast’ to the urban mass of Antalya, skirting several ancient Lycian and Roman sites and stunning stretches of deserted coastline on the way. It’s a land of craggy limestone peaks, sheer cliffs plunging into azure seas, deep valleys and secluded coves. This was once home to the Lycians, one of the earliest peoples of the ancient world, whose sophisticated culture was the envy of many larger and better-known civilisations.
From Istanbul, depart for either Antalya or Fethiye to access the Lycian Way trail.
Your Home in Istanbul
Fraser Place Antasya, Istanbul
With sweeping views of the majestic Bosphorus strait and lush forests, Fraser Place Antasya Istanbul is nestled within the upper storeys of the upscale Antasya Residence, located in the Umraniye neighbourhood in the city’s Asian side.
Open-plan and fully furnished, all 80 chic Gold-Standard apartments are beautifully finished with designer touches, such as oak flooring and floor-to-ceiling windows. Beautifully illuminated with plenty of natural light and space to move around, the one-and-two-bedroom residences feature well-equipped kitchenettes, the latest home entertainment systems and modern conveniences such as washer/dryers. Along with 24/7 room service, concierge and security, guests can enjoy complimentary high speed Wi-Fi and parking too.
Fraser Place Anthill, Istanbul
Occupying a privileged position within the 39th and 52nd floors of the Anthill Residence complex in Sisli on Istanbul’s European side, Fraser Place Anthill Istanbul offers Gold-Standard luxury residences with soaring views of the spectacular Bosphorus Strait bisecting the city into Asia and Europe.
Fully furnished with kitchens to state-of-the-art entertainment systems, each of these chic serviced apartments, ranging from stylish one-bedroom apartments to opulent four-bedroom penthouses, in Istanbul is beautifully decked with oak flooring and full length windows creating a home that dazzles inside and out. Guests of Fraser Place Anthill Istanbul get to enjoy 4,000 sqm of health and wellness in a superbly equipped Fitness Club. Meantime, kids can get their adrenaline going at the outdoor playground and indoor ski slope.
Is the wanderlust kicking in? Try being a tourist in your own country! These guides to Singapore, Barcelona, Leipzig, Tokyo, Guangzhou and Shanghai will help kickstart your journey to rediscovery.