Categories
Information Kuwait

Guide to Pools in Kuwait with Day Passes (2024)

There are plenty of public beaches in Kuwait but not that many swimming pools you can access without being a member or staying at a hotel. But, some hotels do offer day passes to their pools so I called as many hotels as I could until I had enough to put a list together. This is the 2024 edition list so the prices are current.

All the pools on this list are singles friendly except for Seashell Julaia Resort which isn’t. None of the pools require you to be invited by a member except for SVN. SVN gets an exception for this list because it’s the nicest place with lots of very cool facilities. So for a very premium members only club, it’s actually great value compared to a lot of other places, so find a friend with a membership.

The list below is arranged from least expensive to most expensive:

Al Jahra Copthorne Hotel & Resort
Telephone: 24590000
Price: 10KD


Seashell Julaia Hotel & Resort
Telephone: 1844444
Price = 15KD

Crowne Plaza
Telephone: 1848111
Weekday/Weekend: 20KD

Symphony Style Hotel
Telephone: 25770000
Weekday: 20KD
Weekend: 25KD

Holiday Inn Salmiya
Telephone: 25760000
Weekday: 20KD
Weekend: 29KD

Hyatt Regency Al Kout Mall
Telephone: 23931234
Weekday/Weekend: 25KD
Ladies only on Monday and Wednesday

Millennium Hotel
Telephone: 22050505
Weekday/Weekend: 25KD

Mövenpick Hotel Resort AlBidaa
Telephone: 22253100
Weekday: 25KD
Weekend: 30KD

Hilton Resort
Telephone: 22256222
Weekday: 30KD
Weekend: 35KD

SVN Club (member invite required)
Telephone: 1876777
Weekday: 30KD
Weekend: 40KD

Marina Hotel
Telephone: 22230030
Weekday: 35KD
Weekend: 40KD

Four Seasons
Telephone: 22006000
Weekday/Weekend: 40KD (70KD Couple)

Waldorf Astoria
Telephone: 24774444
Price 1: 40KD (Inc. 1 Mocktail)
Price 2: 50KD (Inc. Food + Mocktail)

If I missed a place where you can access a pool with a day pass, let me know in the comments.

Categories
50s to 90s Interesting Kuwait

Saving the Ahmadi Cinema and Market

I’ve always been fascinated with Ahmadi because of how different it looked to the rest of Kuwait. Most of it hasn’t changed since it was originally built in the late 1940s, but over the decades, some important landmarks, including the Ahmadi Cinema and Market, fell into disrepair. Now, the National Council for Culture, Arts, and Letters has a very cool project to save them.

I was given a tour of both sites, but the first we visited was the cinema. It was designed by the renowned architect Sayed Karim in the 1960s. The ground floor has shops and restaurants which are still used today, but the upper floor where the cinema was is closed off from the public and empty. The large hall that used to hold over 1,200 cinema seats is now empty and derelict. But, a lot of the interior is still intact and original, which is why it was interesting to explore the building. The cinema stands as one of the last cultural centers in Kuwait, and is the only remaining building of its kind in the country. The rehabilitation project aims to restore it to its original state and function while supporting and enhancing the local performing arts industry.

The second location we visited was the market. Similar to the cinema the aim will be to restore the market to its original state. The market is in pretty bad shape and so will be a more difficult project for them to restore. But, one building has already been refurbished and I got to tour that as well. One thing I only discovered while on the tour was that the metal beams on the building facade are actually functional. They open and close to control the amount of sunlight that comes in. That must have been so ahead of its time back when it was built.

This restoration project is the pilot model for the NCCAL, which aims to create policies and procedures to preserve and protect heritage sites throughout Kuwait. The Ahmadi Township is also being considered for designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site which would a huge benefit to Ahmadi and Kuwait if that happens.

I feel relieved knowing that there are now people working on preserving Kuwait’s history and I can’t wait to see their future projects. Follow @ahmadi_township if you want to stay updated on the Ahmadi project.

For more photos which I took on the tour, click here.

Categories
Information Kuwait

Inside the Bayan Palace Botanical Gardens

Some of you might not know this but the Bayan Palace has a botanical garden inside. It was designed by Dutch architect Peter van der Toorn Vrijthoff from the firm ALLDESIGN, and it was officially opened in 2015.

The botanical garden is composed of 3 large glasshouses containing 6 different gardens with 4 different climate zones and exhibiting tropical, dry, Mediterranean and European plants. It’s one of the main attractions for official state visitors and until a couple of years ago, was actually open to the public.

I passed by for the first time back in 2016, and looking at my notes from my visit it seems I had mixed feelings about the place. The garden was smaller than it looked but it was still pretty interesting with most of the exotic plants inside labeled with their names. One thing I didn’t like about the place was the limited accessibility; the gardens were only open to the public on Thursdays, from 9AM to 1PM. So if you had a day job you wouldn’t be able to visit the gardens unless you took time off work.

For reasons unknown to me, the botanical garden closed to the public a couple of years ago and hasn’t opened again since. I even passed by last week to double check and it was indeed still closed.

If you’ve never been to the gardens before, check out my post on Instagram where I have more photos up plus a couple while it was still under construction @248am.

You can also follow the botanical gardens instagram account to be notified once/if they reopen again @botanicalgardenkw

Categories
Kuwait People Videos

Sprinkles & Spice Podcast

Sprinkles & Spice is a locally produced and recorded podcast by two girls, Zainab and Mia. They’ve been doing it now for around 6 months and it’s mostly either just the two of them talking about girly stuff, or they have a guest on to interview.

Their most recently episode with Ali Al Khudhair (above) was fun to watch, but then again Ali is pretty entertaining himself. I think the first time I saw him on TikTok he was selling banak at a roundabout at night, or at least I think it was him, I thought it was pretty funny. Anyway, if you’re looking for a fun and light hearted local podcast to listen to, check the girls out on Instagram @sprinklesandspicepodcast or on YouTube.

Categories
Apple Apps Kuwait

How to Translate the Sahel app to English

A couple of years ago I posted about the issue with getting the Sahel app translated to English. Everyone was assuming it was just about getting the app translated, but in reality that wasn’t the issue.

According to a source back then involved in the project, the app had the English option available for a while now but they couldn’t launch it because some of the entities that are in Sahel had not finished adapting to English and English data. So until they do, the app has to remain in Arabic.

But, someone on Reddit posted a loophole that forces the app to display the English version of the app. Here is how to do it:

iPhone
– Launch Sahel app then exit and go to the phone settings
– Under settings go to Keyboard and add Arabic. If you already have the Arabic keyboard, remove it
– Go back to the app, it should now be in English

Android
– Same as the iPhone version except instead of getting to keyboard settings, go to language settings and change your default language to any other form of English (for example UK or US)

You’re going to be limited with what you can do in the App and what you can read, but at least it could help you navigate around and learn where everything is.

Categories
Art Information Kuwait

How Kuwait’s Public Art Scene is Getting a Shake Up

Last week artist Jad El Khoury was brought back to Kuwait to create a new mural in place of his erased one, that project was just one of many that the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters have in the pipeline.

NCCAL recently underwent a leadership transition that is instigating significant changes. They want to transform the public art scene starting with a commitment to providing increased opportunities for both local and international artists. By fostering trust between artists and the public sector, they hope to cultivate a vibrant public art community in Kuwait.

Their first project launched earlier this year and they called it “Al Fenn Al Thalith Murals Project” (roughly translates to “The Third Art Murals Project). The project is an open platform for artists that streamlines the process of obtaining permits to create murals on public property and spaces. They launched the project with an open invitation for people to submit their designs and if chosen, they’d then be able to paint them onto the electrical substations in that area.

With their first projects out of the way, NCCAL are now working on the next ones. One of the future projects targets what they call “trouble zones” all over Kuwait, breathing life into them with mural art. They also want to collaborate with a variety of entities such as Jedareyat, the Australian Embassy (future project in the works), and various private sponsors/collaborators.

I also found it interesting that NCCAL supports all local artists, regardless of where they’re from. Additionally, they aim to continue inviting international artists so they could bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the local scene.

NCCAL are currently in the process of setting up social media pages and an official website that will encompass all these projects, but for now, if you’re interested in obtaining a permit to create a mural on public property, you can do so through the NCCAL website, nccal.gov.kw

Categories
50s to 90s Information Kuwait

The Oldest Continually Occupied Residential Building in Kuwait

As you’re probably aware by now, a few weeks ago I got access to Tareq Rajab Museums’ (@trmkuwait) private photography archive. While going through the photos I found ones of the British Embassy under construction, as well an aerial photo showing the embassy with two large buildings in the background. The other two buildings were the Sheikh Khazal’s Palace (Bayt Al Ghanim), and Diwan Sheikh Khazal (Sheikh Abdullah Al Jaber Palace).

The three buildings are still there today, but only the British Embassy is not falling apart and is still being used today. So, I reached out to @ukinkuwait for some information on the building, and what they shared was very fascinating.

The embassy was commissioned by the political agent Colonel Harold Dickson, and designed by architect Robert T. Russell, chief architect to the Government of India. The building construction was completed in 1935.

Harold Dickson and his wife Dame Violet Dickson (Umm Saud), were the first residents of the embassy. There have been 15 political agents and 21 ambassadors that have lived in the current residence.

The Residence was built with Basra Bricks and steel girders from Scotland. It was the first building in Kuwait built with steel girders which allowed rooms to be bigger than the height of a tree. At the time it was built, the building was really stunning for guests because they had never been in such large rooms.

The house originally was heated in the winter by 12 wood/coal burning fireplaces. All but three have been enclosed and are no longer used except as a decorative piece. The main terrace is designed in an arc to help catch the sea breeze and that a portion of it will always be in the shade to help create a natural breeze when the wind is not blowing in the summer.

Originally the embassy did not have AC and at that time it was normal in the middle east for people to sleep on the roof during the summer. Colonel Dickson and his family did that as well. But, the colonel was a bad sleepwalker and his wife Violet was scared he would walk off the roof since there were no railings. Initially, she tied his toe to the bed to keep him safe. Later she had a custom 2-inch-deep bath made that was the size of his bed. When he went to get out of bed, he stepped into the water and woke himself up.

On the first day of the 1990 Iraq invasion, the Ambassador then, Michael Weston calculated the embassy had 30 days supply of food and water for himself and his head of the Political Section Larry Banks. More than 5 months later, surviving on a little more than canned food and stagnant water (they drank the swimming pool), Ambassador Weston and his head of Political, locked the Embassy and climbed out a window and made their way to Baghdad until the coalition forces assisted in liberating Kuwait a little over a month later.

Today, the British Embassy residence is still used as the ambassador’s residence, and so is considered to be the oldest continually occupied residential building in Kuwait.

Note: The colored photo is by Verity Cridland and taken in the early 60s.

Categories
Information Kuwait

Kuwait is the 13th Happiest Place on Earth

This year’s World Happiness Report is out and Kuwait has moved up the list and is now the 13th happiest country in the world. This is the highest spot I’ve seen Kuwait since I started following the report back in 2012, and now outs Kuwait ahead of countries like the UK, US, and Canada.

Kuwait was out of the rankings last year for lack of surveys for a three-year period, so this year’s ranking is based only on the 2023 survey.

The happiest country in the world is Finland, while the unhappiest place is Afghanistan in 143 with Lebanon right behind in 142nd. Here is how Kuwait compares with some other countries:

1 – Finland
13 – Kuwait
15 – Canada
20 – UK
22 – UAE
23 – USA
28 – Saudi Arabia
32 – Oman
62 – Bahrain
126 – India
127 – Egypt
142 – Lebanon
N/A – Qatar

The results are based on surveys from people in more than 140 countries who are answering questions regarding their overall satisfaction with their lives. The study also takes into account six key variables including GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity and corruption.

For the full list head to the website worldhappiness.report

Categories
Information Kuwait

Second Phase of Waterfront Project has Begun

Last month the first phase of the waterfront refurbishment was completed from Green Island to the Kuwait Towers, and now they’ve started the second phase which is from SVN all the way to Green Island.

They’ve already started bulldozing all the greenery and it’s really sad to watch. It didn’t really show much when they did it in the first phase because that strip wasn’t that green to begin with, but the strip from SVN to Green Island is actually very green with dense trees in some areas. The refurbishment although looks really nice lacks much greenery and so it’s going to be a pretty grey view on my way to work once the second phase is completed.

One thing I’m worried about is the wall of peace sculpture by Jafar Islah which is located next to Burger King. I saw them working in that area today, hopefully they’re not planning to remove it.

Update: Looks like a lot of people are up in arms about the removal of all the trees so TEC issued a statement about it which you can read here.

Update2: According to TEC, the Wall of Peace will NOT be demolished.

Categories
50s to 90s Kuwait Photography

Photos of the First Flood – Kuwait, 1934

Last week I was given access to the Tarek Rajab Museums’ private photography archive, and over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing my favorite finds. But, since it’s raining today I figured I’d share the first batch of photos taken after “The First Flood”.

I posted about the first flood back in September, but the photo I had found then was low resolution. That’s why I was pretty surprised to come across three high resolution photos in the Tarek Rajab Museum’s archive.

In Kuwait, the year 1934 is sometimes called Sanat Al Haddamah (the year of destruction) since torrential rains caused a lot of destruction to the old town of Kuwait.

Within only an hour, Kuwait witnessed unprecedented torrential rains that reached 300mm and caused raging floods and waters that swept away a third of the mud houses in Kuwait.

These three photos show the aftermath of the flood.

Categories
Data Kuwait Travel

Kuwait Airport Makes the “World’s Worst 10 Airports” List

According to an article on Arab Times, Kuwait Airport is ranked the 7th worst airport in the world according to Skytrax, the airline and airport review and ranking site. I tried to figure out how Arab Times got their top 10 list but I couldn’t figure it out, on another list also by Skytrax, Kuwait is ranked the 6th worst airport.

6th or 7th, it doesn’t matter really. Previously another airport and airline review site, AirHelp, had ranked Kuwait Airport the 2nd worst in the world, but suspiciously after that ranking, Kuwait stopped appearing on their list.

I’m traveling tomorrow with British Airways from Terminal 1 and not really looking forward to it, although truthfully, since Terminal 4 and the Jazeera terminal opened, Terminal 1 has been pretty chill. It’s just visually an ugly terminal with nothing to do once inside.

While on the subject of airports, I remember reading online somewhere that the fee for long term parking at Terminal 1 got increased from 2KD per day to 5KD per day, can anyone confirm that?

Categories
Kuwait

Gulf Road Waterfront has been Completed

The first phase of the new refurbished waterfront has now officially been completed. The first phase stretches from the Green Island all the way to the Kuwait Towers and has been given a complete facelift with new sidewalks, dedicated jogging and bicycle paths, as well as new lights, bins, benches and more.

The second phase of the project is from Green Island to Al Shaab slipway and is expected to be completed in October.

Runners will be glad to know that the running track is cushioned so it will be easy on your knees. Both the running and bike paths have distance markers so you can also tell how far you’ve run or cycled. For more pictures, click here.

Categories
Art Kuwait

1,329 Roses at Al Shaheed Park

On the occasion of National Day and Liberation Day, @alshaheedpark in collaboration with @martyrskuwait created a light installation composed of LED roses. There are 1,329 roses in the garden, each representing a Kuwaiti martyr.

The installation is located in Al Shaheed Park Phase II, and if you want to take photos, I’d recommend visiting during sunset so that your photos don’t end up very dark.

Categories
Kuwait

Is there anything happening on National Day?

I know it sounds weird that I’m asking whats happening instead of telling you whats happening, but I can’t seem to find any information on National Day. There have been fighter jets flying daily so I’m assuming there will be some kind of airshow, but I can’t find any information on it. Maybe one of the Arabic newspapers published something?

I’m looking back at last year’s schedule and there were surprisingly a lot of things happening from the light drone shows, to fireworks and the Saudi Hawks Air Show. Along with the ban on water balloons and water guns this year, it looks like there might be zero things going on.

Categories
Data Information Kuwait

The 7 Most Powerful Kuwaiti Women (2024)

Forbes Middle East revealed their annual list of Middle East’s 100 Most Powerful Businesswomen and 7 Kuwaiti businesswomen made the list for 2024. Even more impressive is that 3 of the top 5 most powerful businesswomen are from Kuwait.

Here are the most powerful Kuwaiti women and their position in the top 100:

2. Shaikha Khaled Al Bahar
National Bank of Kuwait Group (NBK Group)

3. Wadha Ahmad Al-Khateeb
Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)

5. Dana Nasser Al Sabah
Kuwait Projects Company (Holding) – KIPCO

18. Henadi Al-Saleh
Agility

28. Nadia Bader Al-Hajji
Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC)

67. Donna Sultan
KEO International Consultants

86. Nadia Akil
United Projects for Aviation Services Company (UPAC)