No matter the occasion, The Alto Lounge carries the charm of Arabia throughout its hospitality offerings, which made it very hard for the social butterflies at FACT to leave. Jayne Houghton visits to experience it first-hand…

Alto is enviably positioned on the 25th floor of the Downtown Rotana. It takes its name from the Italian word for ‘high’ which has a series of significance where this lounge is concerned. It’s lofty location, the condition of your general spirit and the level of expectation when you visit, as well as the standards maintained by the knowledgeable hosts. Alto’s essence is Arabian rather than Latin, with the décor, elixirs and menu reflecting its position globally and locally.

Both the interior and exterior maximise the breathtaking views across the expanse of the city, whether viewed from inside or as a panorama from the outside terrace. The lounge draws inspiration from the Middle East, and the clever use of statement fabrics in bold and vivid shades add a sense of luxury, modernity and comfort. A variety of seating options allows you to perch or nestle and everything in between, making the setting as formal or relaxed as you would like it to be. Everything at Alto is elevated, there is nothing demure or low key about its mode of operation or its image.

I defy you to visit Alto without being drawn outside by the enticing views. The vast terrace with its shady canopies and inviting booths are perfect for intimate al fresco rendezvous’ and an assemblage of your nearest and dearest or colleagues and clients. Whatever your motive or requirements, this setting will surpass your expectations. Each time of day offers an alternative version of the view, whether that be the warm hues of sunset against the skyline or the twinkling cityscape at night. The setting is perfectly complemented by the signature elixirs which are mixed and muddled to perfection.

The Arabian Mojito is a revelation. It combines fresh dates, date syrup, lime, mint and ginger ale. The presentation adds another dimension to the experience, stimulating the senses in every way. Every other concoction references the location and surroundings of the lounge. For example, Saffron Mist is indicative of the aromas of the nearby souk and City Heat is evocative of the lounge’s vicinity in the heart of downtown Manama. This theme continues with Levantine Sparkle, Island Vibes and many more signature spritzers and fruity fusions.

Whilst taking the opportunity to mix-and-mingle, Alto ensures there will be no need to venture further in order to satisfy your appetite. The menu is a marvellous mix of mezze staples such as hummus, mutable and muhammara and the best of casual dining favourites. The shrimp popcorn and jalapeño poppers afford the opportunity to graze and share with your companions. Pulled lamb sliders and lamb kofta or shish tawook wraps accompanied by delicious, delicately spiced harra fries are sufficient to satisfy hunger pangs or equally turn your visit into a dining event. Alto’s aim is to take you to greater heights literally and metaphorically and this is achieved unequivocally in all aspects. Great sounds, sensational signature offerings and modish styling will not fail to impress with the most stunning backdrop for any event or occasion. ✤


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