What seemed to be a grey urban jungle steadily raising its concrete head in the heart of the island around a decade ago, Juffair is now a colourful, vibrant arena, having acquired its own distinct character over the years. It attracts people from all walks of life, for the varied residential, commercial and recreational options on offer.
Believe it or not, it once used to be a typical suburban village, but has been integrated into ‘downtown’ Manama due to the extensive land reclamation and commercial developments that have taken place over the years.
At the very periphery of this bustling vicinity is the Al Fateh Grand Mosque, its majestic dome and minarets adding magnificence to Manama’s skyline. Built in 1987, it is touted to be one of the largest in the world, said to be able to hold up to 7,000 worshippers. It’s impressive marble, glass and teak wood interiors instantaneously provide cool respite to the spirit and tours offer non-Muslims a chance to learn about Islam.
Moving further down into the neighbourhood on its central spine, Awal Avenue, one is greeted with a smorgasbord of hospitality, business and recreational hubs, residential buildings and health and wellness venues.
BOARDING, DINING AND NIGHTLIFE
Juffair has no dearth of choices for accommodation – from boutique to budget options. Four-star property, The K Hotel, is a reputable name amongst tourists who prefer to stay in this area. Its Kolors Restaurant is a popular hangout for a relaxed Friday brunch, as well as various theme nights through the week. Part of an international hospitality chain, the Wyndham Garden Manama has made a mark, not only for its professional service and well-appointed rooms, but its dining outlets, like Jashan for authentic Indian fare, Via Brasil for Brazilian cuisine and [email protected] for its Belgian and German delicacies along with panoramic views of the city.
The Arch Hotel Bahrain is one of the new entrants in the area, and is quickly gaining recognition for its snazzy selection of clubs, pubs and lounges. While E11even Club is known for bringing in international DJs, the just-launched Beats Lounge is being recognised as a haunt for party hoppers. Atiram Premier Hotel is a well-known property that adds to Bahrain’s night-life scene with Coda Jazz Lounge, Wembley Sports Bar and Cavallo Club.
The Ramee Group has several properties in Juffair, ranging from four-star options to economical apartment suites.
When it comes to stand-alone restaurants in the locality, the list is endless. American Alley, close to the American naval base, is tightly packed with an array of food and beverage outlets. So, whether it is Middle Eastern flavours, Texan tastes, Mexican bites, Indian, Thai or continental food that you are seeking, you will find it on this often-chaotic street. Just outside the mouth of this ‘eat street’ is Dome Café, serving great food for breakfast, lunch and dinner to loyal patrons. A relatively quieter patch of ‘newer’ Juffair, alongside Al-Najmah Club, has recently sprouted dining outlets like Tony Roma’s, Wingman, everyone’s favourite – Lanterns, as well as a branch of Jasmis and a drive-through Starbucks.
HEALTH, BEAUTY AND WELLNESS
Juffair being a remarkable catchment area for both residents and tourists, a number of wellness establishments, big and small, have made it their home. The most renowned is the Bahrain Specialist Hospital, trusted by many to offer comprehensive medical care and aesthetic cosmetic procedures. There are a number of conveniently located gyms to help you feel and look great, the one at the new Swiss-belresidences, Fitness First and Reps, are amongst the most notable. The district is teaming with massage parlours and salons, but Joz Salon on American Alley is one of the trusted names for beauty and spa treatments. With two separate spaces for men and women, you can count on Joz to have an enjoyable, pampering experience. Gloss Salon and Spa at the Marriott Executive Apartments is another high-end spot for beauty needs, hairstyling, makeup and massage therapy. If you are looking for authentic ayurvedic solutions to relax, detox or cure an ailment, the Kottakkal Ayurvedic Centre in ‘old’ Juffair offers various therapeutic treatments, some of which need to be prescribed by one of the certified doctors.
Several commercial arcades have sprung up in Juffair in recent times, offering international and home-grown stores and fast food brands. The newest, and probably also the largest, of the lot is the Oasis Mall, located right opposite the Grand Mosque. Besides offering popular clothing and lifestyle brands under one roof, it also has Fun City for children, Cineco for lovers of the big screen, and a Carrefour Market, for those quick and convenient grocery store trips. New food outlets such as Noodle Factory, Joey’s Pizza, Texas Chicken, Jasmis Café, have lately opened up, besides the existing Giorgio Italian Barista, Senor Pacos and Ice Cream Lab.
Across the road, Juffair Mall has a number of local shops selling everything from silver ornaments and artefacts, to mobile phones and accessories. The greatest crowd puller is the expansive Lulu Hypermarket and Mukta A2 Cinemas. The mall also has a gaming zone and a bowling alley close to its food court. Al Raya Mall, Al Murjan Centre and ABC Mall house indigenous shops, cafés and food outlets in Juffair. Ramez, the household name for cost-effective shopping of everyday utilities, apparel, accessories, fresh produce and groceries, school supplies and home electronics has a branch here as well.
SCHOOLS AND CLUBS
Modern Knowledge School, New Generation Private School and Bahrain School are convenient centres of primary and secondary education located here. As the neighbourhood is home to young expat families as well as locals who have lived here for generations, there are a number of hobby and sports clubs in Juffair, such as the Bahrain Garden Club, Bahrain Cinema Club and the Bahrain Tennis Club. A number of sporting activities for kids and adults are available at Al Oruba, Manama and Al-Najmah clubs.
In short, you could live in Bahrain without ever leaving Juffair and find, pretty much, everything you need.