It’s getting on for 6pm and the blazing sun is sinking languidly towards the horizon. Out on the water, a large mixed group of western expats looking for a bit of weekend rest and recuperation away from their base in Saudi Arabia, are perched on a floating platform telling jokes and taking in the final few rays of the day.
Beside me, a long-haired gentle- man with a bandito moustache and a bandana grins enthusiastically, lights another roll-up cigarette, raises his glass and proposes a toast. ‘Welcome to Al Dar,’ he says as the lilting sound of reggae music pours out of the stereo and into the balmy evening air.
It would be pushing the constraints of reality to liken Bahrain’s hippest new island resort to any commonly held perception of paradise. A tiny and somewhat scruffy speck of sand separated from one of the less attractive tracts of the mainland by a mile or so of sea, this is no Thailand.
What it is, however, is a microcosm of what makes Bahrain such an ap- pealing place. Compact, friendly and imbued with a refreshing joie de vivre that puts visitors at ease immediately, this unassuming little destination is the perfect place to put your life on hold for a few hours. The island’s burgeoning popularity is attributable
to a range of factors. Families appreciate getting the opportunity to let their kids splash around with impunity in the shallow waters. There’s also peddle boats, kayaks and a range of junior-friendly boat excursions available including a dolphin watching tour and trips to some of the nearby islands.