Starwood Hotels & Resorts positions each of its properties as the hub to unlock the destination in which the hotel is located, through the discovery of local culture, the art scene, and inspired cuisine. Le Méridien Bahrain City Centre is a brand that’s all about stimulating the curiosity of its guests. FACT finds out exactly how the hotel does this through its connection with art…

At Le Méridien Bahrain City Centre you’ll find timeless design that pays homage to the brand’s Parisian heritage of locally inspired art, inviting the curious and open-minded to unlock a series of rewarding discoveries at the hotel about Bahrain and local culture. The initiative is dubbed Unlock Art – which gives unique access to an array of forward-thinkin galleries and institutions for the culturally curious traveller, in partnership with Al Bareh Art Gallery. During a recent visit to the hotel, we discovered a number of the culturally-inspired artworks that take this hospitality brand above and beyond.

THE DHOW

A beautiful, large Dhow sculpture by Syrian artist Lutfi Al Romhein takes prime position in the hotel lobby, by the entrance to the hotel’s Baharat restaurant. Titled Sky Ship, and measuring 400 x 333 x 75cm, the artwork is inspired by the traditional dhows that have been used by the Bahraini population for fishing and pearling for hundreds of years. The dhow sculpture’s contours and curved areas are reminiscent of the mellowness of the sea and the excursion of the fish within. The illustration of this work’s element, “Inox”, was used to describe the boat taking the light around it, opposing to all directions, as if dancing with the lot around it, viewing it as fixed yet mobile. This creates movement within the work.

FOLLOW ME

A 24-hour visual journey that takes guests through the lens of international photographers, designers and artists to experience their visions in the brand’s hotels. Located on the left side of the lobby, close to the lifts, a screen depicts images by the chosen photographer. Upon our visit, we viewed the world through the lens of Gray Malin. Inspired by the spontaneity of travel, Gray captures moments imbued with playful adventure. Embark on a voyage through the viewfinder with Follow Me, Gray Malin’s 24-hour visual journey, artfully synced with the day-tonight transition of Le Méridien Hub. This travel-obsessed photographer will also bring the voyage to life through a series of shoots through some of the worlds most alluring destination.

THE PEARL WORLD MAP

You’ll see this stunning piece as you enter the lobby, located behind the check-in desks. It was produced by Thaier Helal and is called The Silk Road. A staggering 40,000 acrylic pearls were used on canvas, on wood, for the piece to be complete. The artwork, which measure 300 x 600cm, illustrates the abstract path of The Silk Road as a way to emphasise the importance of this historical path for the exchange of culture and trading. It exhibits a pattern of the Silk path, from Far East Asia, all the way to “Delmon” Bahrain, where the world recognised this divine beauty.

The white pearl refers to the harmony that covers the water area within the map, showing its purity and source of happiness and prosperity. The green pearl composes a semblance of the world’s fields as it refers to occupied areas, since human interactions underlay hidden secrets, with rich contradictions. The red pearls represent the land silk road that cuts across ancient Persia, through Europe, heading towards the Eastern Mediterranean. The blue pearls refer to the Asian marine tracks, East to South India, and across the Arabian Gulf, Oman and Bahrain “Delmon”, then towards the South of Iraq, South of Yemen, the red sea and the coast of South Africa.

ART LINK – MAPPING BAHRAIN

Discover Bahrain in over 24 hours – the Art Link has been unveiled featuring 1440 series of time lapse photography of the island to ignite the curiosity of what this destination is like as you walk through the hotel corridor. Artist Roberto Leopardo took the first photograph on the beach at sunrise, proceeding to capture a photography every minute, continuously, for a 24-hour period, moving through the country. A collection of 1,440 images are presented here in sequential order.

BURNING RIVERS

Moroccan artist Mohamed El Baz’s creation, The Rivers are Burning, is intricate golden thread embroidery on velvet, with six artworks at 100 x100cm, depicting the Mississippi, Danube, Tigre & Euphrates, Amazon, Congo, and Indus rivers. The artist questions the notions of borders, territories, belonging and difference, as many labels that create barriers between individuals.

By nature, all streams are linked, El Baz makes these connections visible by giving us fragments of the global aquatic mapping. He then turns these pathways into abstract and precious lines through the artificial act of the golden embroidery, questioning the notion of cartographic convention created by humans. The embroidery reflects the Kurar Embroidery – an important cultural aspect of Bahrain’s heritage.

The hotel also has unique, handembroidered calligraphy art as well as the one-of-a-kind shadow art in guest bedrooms, with each piece depicting a Middle-Eastern scene. With so many creative and innovative artworks being championed at Le Méridien Bahrain City Centre, you’ve got more than one reason to visit for your next cultural fix!