The Merchant House is a celebration of traditional arts and architecture while vividly embracing modern statement design through bold art, bright colours, fun textiles and creative textures.
Located next to the vibrant Bab Al Bahrain souk in the small island nation’s capital, Manama, this striking boutique hotel is a grand statement for design and culture. As a Campbell Gray Hotel, original design is a signature focus of its appeal and The Merchant House is no exception. Vibrant touches of colour and beautiful fabrics energise the hotel’s interior spaces, while a vast collection of exquisite artwork can be seen all over the property. In fact, the hotel houses a collection of more than 300 pieces of original artwork from both international artists, ranging from the likes of Gauguin and Chagall to contemporary artists such as Damian Hirst and Andy Warhol, as well as established and emerging Bahraini artists including Abbas Al Mosawi, Mariam Fakhro and Lulwa Al Khalifa, featured across the lobby, public spaces and suites. The original art even follows you into the bathroom! Nasser Al Zayani is the Bahraini-American artist behind the artwork that is featured in the showers of every suite. So it’s fair to say that the art collection and representation of international and local artists is a key design element for the property. Gordon Campbell Gray, the creative entrepreneur behind the Campbell Gray Hotels collection, was personally involved in every element of the design – including curating the impressive art collection – supported by Bahrain-based studio, Summit Interior Design.
Velvets, florals, geometric patterns – it seems a wildly eclectic combination of colours, patterns and textures, but there is a vibrant harmony across the interiors. Or at least the clashes are all stylish, well-designed pieces that somehow sing together. Much of the furniture has been specially designed for the property to create a bespoke design aesthetic, working within the framework of this unusual building. The original structure was built in the 1950s and used for government purposes until it was acquired in 2011, and underwent approximately eight years of renovations to become The Merchant House. The original concrete columns in the lobby area a vestige of old Manama, as are the antique photos of the country and its people adorning the hallways, adding a layer of cultural history to the décor.
Another nook to escape to is the carefully curated library that overlooks the lobby from a first floor balcony. A literary lovers’ dream with a collection of more than 1,000 tomes, the warm space features backlit shelves and plush furnishings for a cosy, quiet retreat, where you can even order afternoon tea.
The rooftop – another Campbell Gray speciality – is reminiscent of an English garden with a bold floral décor. The indoor and outdoor bar and restaurant feels like a secret escape looking out over the city.
A special hospitality gem created for art-loving and individually-minded cosmopolitan guests, The Merchant House is a sophisticated getaway with 46 chic suites. Each suite also features two to three artworks that are unique to it. So, it’s safe to say that no two guests will have the same experience at this exciting new addition to Bahrain.
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