She stood smiling at the door in a chocolate brown dress. Her black coat matched her black heels. “I am your butler. You asked for me,” she enquired in a polite voice. She was part of The St. Regis Doha’s butler service that is available round the clock. Your butler can make tea or coffee and unpack your bags on arrival, iron your garments, source what you may require during your stay and pack your bags when you check out.
While my butler prepared tea, I watched the mesmerising Arabian Gulf view, which is visible from all 336 rooms and suites of the hotel. Feeling jet lagged, it was time for a quick power nap before getting ready to explore Doha. A visit to the capital of Qatar, which is one of the richest countries in the world, would be incomplete without experiencing its desert adventure.
While I have experienced sand dune bashing in the Middle East before, I found this activity more luxurious and enjoyable in Doha. The surprise gem turned out to be Khor Al Adaid or the inland sea where I happily indulged my aquatic side. The waves of the gulf splashed alongside the towering sand dunes that we had just crossed.
My driver told me that there are only two places in the world where the sea and the sand co-exist: Qatar and Namibia. I didn’t realise that we had covered almost 30 km of the desert before we got to Khor Al Adaid. During the drive, my emotions fluctuated from having my heart in my mouth seeing our land cruiser on the edge, dune after dune, to settling for an adrenaline high as we drifted down the dunes.
On the way back, though I was mentally and emotionally charged, physically I was feeling fatigued. I headed to Remède Spa at The St. Regis Doha to experience their signature sound therapy. As I sank them into a heated waterbed, my therapist eased my body’s knots and kinks by massaging with frankincense essential oil. The soothing rhythm of gongs, cymbals, Tibetan singing bowls and bells helped balance my body’s energy centres, and I left the spa feeling rejuvenated.
The next day, after breakfast at The Vine restaurant of the hotel, I headed for some retail therapy. Alhazm welcomed me to its glitzy world. This shopping mall pays ode to olden Italian arcades with its architecture and attention to detail. Original marble from Tuscany has been used to design it. Exclusive brands vied for my attention and I was spoilt for choice among the fashion boutiques of Bugatti, Tardini, Aldo Coppola and Margaret Dabbs London. A few hours later, feeling famished, I headed to Opal by Gordon Ramsay at The St. Regis Doha. Open for both lunch and dinner, this fine dining restaurant offers modern cuisine with the Gordon Ramsay experience. Probably one of Doha’s finest restaurants, its Opal Wagyu burger is a hot favourite.
Golf is not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Doha, but golfing enthusiasts and many professional golfers from all over the world have enjoyed a game or two at the prestigious Doha Golf Club. Located at the posh West Bay area, it has been designed by Peter Harradine, a prominent golf course designer. The Championship Course challenges your putting skills with 18 holes spread across 150 hectares. With 21,000 shrubs, trees and cacti sourced from Arizona, a scenic driving range, inviting putting green and artificial lakes, this golf club makes golfing unique in the Middle East. It also has a 9-hole completely floodlit Academy Course and is the venue for the annual Qatar Masters golf tournament.
For the final leg of my visit, I booked myself at Banana Island Resort, Doha by Anantara which is an exclusive haven of luxury with it’s over water villas, surf pool, cinema, bowling alley, spa and golfing options. Exclusivity is maintained as only those guests who have pre booked the resort’s accommodation, dining or spa facilities can visit. The resort’s private catamaran that comes equipped with all modern amenities and hostesses to steer guests to the resort. I spent my time along crystal clear waters, soaking in the serenity of the island and its rich ecology and indulging in the sophisticated hospitality that Anantara is recognised for.
Doha, looks like I will be back for more.