Bahrain’s landmark Gulf Hotel tower block is in the midst of an extensive facelift – the first such major makeover since the structure was completed almost three decades ago.
The 13-storey building, which features a steel frame structure with a concrete façade, is now being dressed in green curtain-walling while the interiors are being transformed to bring the hotel in line with the latest standards in the hospitality industry.
Work is currently under way on the cladding of the structure, which will feature a green-tinted curtain walling and stone-finish composite cladding panels. Ahmed Omer Manufacturing, the only licensed fabricator in Bahrain of the Netherlands-based Euro Façade Products, is engaged in the fabrication and erection works for the project.
Composite panels from Mitsubishi Chemical Functional Products branded as Alpolic-Fr are being used for the project as a particular pink marble stone finish was specified for the project, says Vijay Ghorpade, general manager of the manufacturing unit of Ahmed Omer.
Alpolic is an aluminium composite material composed of a thermoplastic core and aluminium skins, which has been on the market for 30 years. The fire-rated material owes its popularity in the external and internal cladding of buildings to its light weight, high rigidity, excellent flatness and long-lasting coating qualities.
Ahmed Omer Group, which is involved in contracting, trading and manufacturing, introduced Euro Façade Products to the Bahrain market a year ago.
The double-glazed units will comprise Sunguard Silver 20 on green glass from Guardian Glass.
“We are using a double-glazing unit system that was pioneered by Dr Bruno Leon, managing director of Bahrain Engineering Bureau, which comprises 8 mm tempered Sungard glass on the external pane and 8 mm clear glass on the internal with a 16 mm air space in between,” says Ghorpade. “This system ensures a totally flat façade, unlike the conventional 6 mm-airspace-6 mm counterparts which suffer surface distortions because of the expansion of the high-performance glass. These thicker glazing units also offer better thermal and acoustic insulative properties.”
Ahmed Omer has already completed a number of other projects utilising these double glazing units including the Hasawi residential complex along King Faisal corniche, a residential building near Mega Mart in Manama and another such facility in Juffair.
The ISO-9001 certified company is currently erecting a new factory in response to the severe shortage of glass in the market. Following the completion of the facility by March next year, Ahmed Omer will be the first aluminium fabricator in Bahrain to have its own glass line for the production of tempered glass and double glazing units, says Ghorpade.
The factory will feature the latest tempering line imported from a European firm. The double glazing line will come from Lisec.
“We will operate three shifts, each with a capacity of around 400 units per shift. In six months time, we see this capacity meeting our own requirements with a surplus of one-and-a-half shift catering to the market requirements,” he says.
Construction work on the Gulf Hotel tower block started in May, involving a total built-up area of 18,200 sq m and is scheduled to be completed next month at a total cost of BD8.5 million ($22.5 million). The facelift is being carried out by main contractor Almoayyed Contracting.
The rooms of the hotel will be enlarged and totally refurbished to meet the demands of today’s discerning guests.
Following the facelift, the Al Waha Café Restaurant, the hotel’s 24-hour dining restaurant will have a complete new look with modern décor, stunning murals, state-of-the-art buffet display and an open kitchen with several live cooking stations. The Palace Lounge and Al Andalus Lounge will also sport a bright new look with vibrant carpets and rugs, and will include enlarged windows and new furnishings.
The all-new Platinum Lounge, on the 13th floor, will offer executive floor guests a modern lounge, with stunning views over the city. This exclusive area will feature a dining room lounge, meeting room, complimentary bar, internet stations, and flat screen TVs.
A new 12-storey car-park and offices, adjacent to the Gulf Executive Residence, will create eight floors of parking with 600 additional parking bays, and four floors offering 6,400 sq m of office space.
The tower block was opened way back in 1980 – becoming the first of Bahrain’s then new-generation luxury hotels – as an expansion of the original Gulf Hotel which opened in 1968.