- 1 Qatar Airways and the Qsuite
- 2 Pre-Flight
- 3 The Qatar Airways Qsuite
- 4 Qatar – Arrival
- 5 Our Lodge – the Shangri-La Doha
- 6 Issues to Do in Qatar
- 7 Kayaking
- 8 Legacy Pavilion
- 9 Dhow Cruise
- 10 A Camel Journey
- 11 Dune Bashing
- 12 A Stop at Regency Seaside Camp
- 13 The Museum of Islamic Art
- 14 Breakfast on a Helipad
- 15 The Royal Stables (Al Shaqab)
- 16 The Halal Qatar Pageant
- 17 Katara
- 18 A Camel Race
- 19 Souq Waqif
- 20 The Meals
- 21 Departure
Qatar Airways and the Qsuite
Last month Qatar Airways invited me to fly from Los Angeles to Qatar with them. I often turn down airline invitations since I fly enough anyway. One other 30+ hours of flying for the only function of flying? No thanks. But this was totally different. Qatar Airways had just lately launched the Qsuite business class and I had heard great things about it. Plus I had never been to Qatar, and the three-day itinerary seemed enjoyable. So I accepted, and in early February I headed to LAX to see what the hype was about.
Verify in at LAX was normal – a line for enterprise class and a line for financial system. However then it acquired fun. I started at the Oneworld lounge with a superb lunch, and then went downstairs to the Petrossian Caviar Bar with my fellow journey individuals. This can be a particular this month – for those who’re flying business class with Qatar Airways, you possibly can head to Petrossian at no cost champagne and caviar with any purchase. I’ve never been an enormous caviar fan, however I actually enjoyed all four varieties that we have been served, and the champagne was wonderful as properly (it wasn’t only for Instagram, I promise!). Before we knew it, it was time to stroll a couple of minutes to the gate.
The Qatar Airways Qsuite
The Qsuite is deserving of the hype. I’m used to flying in enterprise class (it’s the primary approach we redeem airline and bank card miles), and in simply the last yr have flown in enterprise on United, American, Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, ANA, and SAS. Some business courses are barely higher than coach, one was truly worse than coach, and some are excellent, with snug flat beds, storage, and even on-board cooks. Qatar Airways blew all of them away – and I promise I’m not saying that simply because this was a sponsored journey. It truly is one of the best business class that I’ve ever flown. Specific things that impressed me:
- The seats are suites! They have doors and are relatively personal. The working area is superb, there’s a ton of storage, and the sleeping area is bigger than I’ve seen earlier than. I might truly flip over, and didn’t have to sleep straight as an arrow.
- By decreasing limitations, the seats within the center of the cabin (it’s a 1-2-1 format) can combine with nearby seats to type double seats/beds or even quad seats. I might see utilizing the double if traveling with my wife (although I’m guessing critical mile-high romance is frowned upon), and in concept the quad seats can be good for a family. Except that my youngsters love being on their very own in business class, and would actually love having their own suites without having to work together with us or their siblings. So I don’t assume we might use the quad seats even when we might.
- There’s a menu with quite a bit of eating choices and NO set meal occasions. No need to keep awake by means of take off so that you simply don’t miss the meal, and no need to have breakfast once you feel like dinner, or vice versa. You can order anything, anytime – with 10-15 minutes lead time.
- There are a LOT of entertainment choices – like a whole lot of films. My solely grievance was that they have been censored.
- The loos are wiped down after every utilization. They have been pristine. Examine that to how the loos in your final flight taken care of 10 or 15 hours.
- The Qatar Airways pajamas are probably the most snug I’ve ever had, within the air or on the bottom. So I stored both pairs! They match completely and have been far better than pajamas I’ve acquired on other airlines.
- The WiFi was wonderful, and it’s free for one hour, or only $10 for the 16-hour flight. I often don’t log on once I’m flying, but these have been lengthy flights, and I was in a position to keep on prime of e-mail and social posting.
- The business class was quiet. For my Doha to Los Angeles flight I was subsequent to the galley and heard nearly nothing.
Qatar – Arrival
After a superb flight where I slept nicely and acquired work carried out, we landed in Doha and headed to immigration… and walked proper previous the primary immigration strains and went into a personal lounge, full with espresso and immigration officers! That is only for enterprise class passengers, and was easily the perfect entry into a country I’ve skilled anyplace. And since Doha is essentially a transit airport (a mistake, which I’ll get into shortly), there weren’t many of us from our flight who have been even going via immigration. In only took a couple of minutes of leather chair lounging earlier than we all had our passport stamps (my 91stcountry!) and have been at baggage declare. And the luggage from our flight have been already being delivered.
Our Lodge – the Shangri-La Doha
We acquired into a shuttle and headed to our lodge. It might normally be a 20-minute drive or so, but Qatar’s soccer staff had gained the Asian Cup the night time before, and there was partying within the streets, and a large quantity of streets have been blocked off for the victory parade. Just dangerous (or good) timing. It took roughly an hour to reach our lodge, the Shangri-La Doha. Once we lastly arrived we have been greeted with dates and Arabic espresso (of course).
My room was on the 28thfloor – a corner suite. Every part over the course of 4 nights was great. I can’t examine the lodge to any others in Doha, but no complaints in any respect. I slept properly. The shower was good. Housekeeping was wonderful. And once I requested the place I might photograph sunrise, I was given entry to the club lounge – despite the fact that I wasn’t staying in a club room.
Issues to Do in Qatar
I mentioned above that most individuals simply transit by way of Doha. And we had earlier than as nicely. Qatar Airways flies virtually in all places, and each one of their flights goes by way of Doha, so you’ll be able to journey from any level to any level with only one cease – in a stunning airport. However next time you’re flying Qatar Airways, stop for a pair days in Doha. The airline and tourism authority even make it really easy, with extraordinarily discounted five-star lodge rooms for layover passengers.
Over three days I skilled as a lot as attainable in Doha and throughout Qatar (it’s a nicely small country). And per the itinerary, it was indeed rather a lot of fun. Under are all 13 issues that we did, and my ideas on every. Notice that I used to be going to give itinerary ideas for one, two or three-day stopovers, however given how small Qatar is, you may mix and match virtually any of these, in any order, depending on how lengthy you’ve got within the nation.
I’ve been kayaking in six continents, but had by no means before gone within the Middle East. We drove over to The Pearl, the man-made island off Doha, and rented kayaks from Blue Pearl Experience. It was an overcast, barely wet day, however the water was calm, and we kayaked across the coast and through the marina space for over an hour. The view of the Doha skyline made the trip worthwhile.
Qatar is hosting the World Cup in 2022. You’ll see signs and under-construction stadiums throughout the country, however for the entire picture of Qatar’s bid, the stadiums, the new metro, and what the World Cup shall be like, head to the Legacy Pavilion. The stadiums are unimaginable, with a number of stadiums designed to be taken aside after the World Cup and used for different issues. And the film on the end is worthwhile. I attended the World Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2018, however given how far the stadiums have been from each other, we have been limited to seeing one recreation. It is going to be great to have the opportunity to attend this World Cup and see multiple video games at a number of websites, all while basing out of the same lodge.
Dhows are the original Arab sailing vessels. You can exit on an analogous boat for a one-hour cruise round Doha’s harbor. An ideal, enjoyable pre-dinner exercise, and the town views from the water are excellent.
A Camel Journey
Truthfully, skip this one. I imply, for those who’ve by no means been on a camel and need to examine it off your listing, go for it. But I’ve completed superb camel rides by means of deserts in a number of nations and liked the experiences. This wasn’t one of those – really just a touristy 10-minute experience (if that) throughout a parking zone and again.
However the camel experience was just a prelude to the dune bashing, which was extremely enjoyable. For hours our guides drove us via the desert close to the border with Saudi Arabia, powering up steep dunes and taking place even steeper dunes. We obtained out several occasions to stroll around and climb dunes, and as soon as to decide up seashells. Add in a western and Arabic soundtrack and much of great conversation and laughter and it was a really memorable morning!
A Stop at Regency Seaside Camp
After dune bashing we stopped by the Regency Seaside Camp for swimming, enjoyable and lunch. Next time I would like to spend the night time, or several nights, here. A perfect base for exploring the desert, or just enjoyable.
The Museum of Islamic Art
Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art is a must-see. The constructing, designed by I.M. Pei, is spectacular, and the collection is superb. We went proper at sundown and had the museum nearly to ourselves.
Breakfast on a Helipad
My favourite breakfast ever! The Shangri-La set up an early-morning feast for us on the lodge’s helipad (not presently in use), 50+ tales up. It was just a little chilly and windy, but we barely observed. We enjoyed the view, took pictures, and loved breakfast in a very unique setting for roughly an hour. The lodge may also organize personal dinners on the helipad.
The Royal Stables (Al Shaqab)
We’ve horses, and I’ve been to horse amenities all over the world. Al Shaqab is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Take a tour, meet the Arabian horses, see the arenas, and take a look at the training areas – complete with a horse swimming pool, a horse treadmill, and automatic horse-walking areas.
The Halal Qatar Pageant
The Halal Pageant takes place annually, in February/March, showcasing animals from all through the GCC nations. There are additionally flower and vegetable distributors, as well as ladies who make yarn and weave spectacular materials. We had fun roaming round for over an hour, and entry was free. If the Halal Pageant isn’t happening if you visit, see what other festivals are. There’s sometimes one thing happening.
Katara is a reasonably new area of Doha that showcases Qatari arts and culture, with an amphitheater, mosque, seashore, pigeon houses (I really like pigeon houses!), an opera home, and so much of restaurants. We had a superb Palestinian lunch at Ard Canaan.
A Camel Race
Camel racing in Qatar goes back centuries and is large. There’s even a tv channel dedicated just to displaying races. We drove out to Al Shahaniya to see two races – they usually have been nothing like I used to be picturing! First, there are not any human jockeys. Second, you don’t watch from grandstands. Instead, there’s a 10km monitor, and the camels have little robot jockeys, and followers and camel house owners drive their own automobiles alongside the camels as they’re operating at 40-60 km/hour. A lot enjoyable watching the camels run, and watching the other spectators yelling and honking as they drive.
We closed out our three days in Qatar with a night at Souq Waqif. This is one other must-visit website, even should you’re only in Doha for a day. The souq has a really traditional really feel – tons of slender passages the place you should purchase spices, rugs, garments, handicrafts and souvenirs. And it doesn’t really feel touristy. Get dinner within the souq (Parisa is beautiful, and the food was wonderful), and simply wander. There are additionally a couple of resorts and guesthouses. I’m very tempted to keep there the subsequent time I go to – in all probability my favourite area/website in Doha.
I discussed a couple of eating places above. Every (sure every meal) we had was wonderful. We switched among Qatari, Lebanese and Palestinian delicacies, however they’re all comparable – assume hummus, baba ghanoush, pita, hen, beef, lamb, fish, rice. I can extremely advocate Al Mourjan, Spice Market (W), Ard Caanan, and Parisa. And I would like to attempt extra eating places next time.
Whereas check-in in Los Angeles was regular, check-in in Doha was anything however. For business class there’s a separate section of the terminal, you’re met on the drop-off curb, your luggage are taken in for you, and then you definitely stroll up to a counter with no strains and no wait. And after you’re checked in, you head via personal passport and security strains, into the primary part of the airport, and up to the lounge. So peaceful!
So what are you waiting for? If your subsequent journey can undergo Qatar, I highly advocate stopping over for a couple of days and doing the above, and more. And make sure to fly to the Qsuite. Or don’t – it should destroy all different airlines for you!
And please let me know what I missed!