From the Maldives, we were on the opposite side of the planet from home, and it was a long trip. Fortunately or not, depending on the view, it just couldn’t be done in a single day while trying to fly Qatar QSuites (their business class), which we wanted to check out. No way we could’ve afforded this without using airline points we’d stocked up. We flew Maldives to Doha, Qatar, and there’s no way to arrive in time for our next flight, so we had to stop for the night.
I had a crazy headache that morning, took a nap, and woke up just to eat before we started descending into Doha.
From here, since we had flown in business class, there was a special lounge with drinks and showers and whatnot PLUS immigration cops to stamp your passport. I was impressed.
Leaving the airport was easy. Our bags weren’t coming out, since we had 1 ticket continuing on for another flight the next day. With just a backpack for a change of clothes, we caught a taxi to our hotel.
Everything in Doha looks new. It was difficult to find anything that seemed more than 10 years old, most just 5 years at best. I had a free hotel night certificate, so we cashed in for the most expensive hotel possible: the St. Regis.
I also had a ‘suite upgrade’ night in my account, so we slapped that on. We wound up The Empire Suite, and ohhhhh boy was it fancy.
In emailing back and forth with the hotel to confirm all of this, I mentioned we were celebrating my wife’s birthday in Maldives, and that somehow turned into them thinking it was her birthday this night. They sang ‘happy birthday’ and did all kinds of stuff for her birthday. We were glad they never asked for her ID to realize there’d been a date mix-up.
We caught a ride over to Evergreen Organics, the first vegan cafe in Qatar. It sits in the brand new “The Pearl” neighborhood. We were impressed by how cheap taxis were in Doha. I guess that’s what you get when your country is rich from oil fields.
The food and service were amazing here, and we noticed that there are NO WORKERS ANYWHERE who are Qatari. The Qataris have so much money that none of them work at the mall or restaurants, etc. All of those people are foreigners, so everything is done in English. Crazy that you need to use a foreign language anywhere you go in your own country, but that’s life where there are rich locals being waited on by foreign work force.
Anyway, the food was awesome.
From here, we caught a ride down to Souq Watif traditional market area. Again, look at the development of the city!
We passed the famous government center and clock tower
then into the market. It was impressively labyrinthine.
After exchanging some money we had left from other countries and talking to a guy we met who was a jiu-jitsu instructor from Brazil hired to teach the Qatari soldiers, we’d missed closing time for the famous Museum of Islamic Art.
We spent some time walking along the famous Corniche street and its walkways along the bay. Even at 8pm, it was still SUPER HOT and quite humid. Amazingly, we kept thinking a Coke would really hit the spot, but no one was selling anything but bottled water. I’m going to open a soda vending business in Doha if everything in my life falls apart.
We flagged down a taxi and headed back to our hotel after we’d seen everything we wanted.
It was time to explore the opulence of our 2BR / 2.5-bath suite the the vastness of a hotel with 7 restaurants.
The room was amazing. It was a bit of overkill to just stay in something this great for 1 night, since we didn’t really soak it in.
We had a great sleep that night but were up early. We had a 7am flight, so we were at the airport by 5:30. Even at that time of morning, the sun was already up and burning.
With already being checked in from the day before, not needing to fuss with suitcases, and ‘fast lane’ access for business class tickets, we were through security and into the airport pretty fast. We got some breakfast at the insanely packed lounge and then headed to our flight.
Funny enough, we got there about 5min after the “boarding starts” time on our tickets, and they were already doing “last call”. Weird.
The amazing thing about these is that you can remove the dividers in the odd-numbered rows and have a twin bed.
There’s a locking door with ‘do not disturb’ sign, super comfortable bed when you lay the seat down flat, comfy pajamas…and the biggest airplane TV I’ve ever watched something on.
The food was really good, and I liked that they added a fake candle to set the mood during meal service.
I was surprised that the official government airline from such a conservative & religious country had some of the songs they had in the music selections, just given who the people are. I realized later on how they made it work: movies and music were heavily censored. All swear words or sexual jokes were heavily edited. It was like watching those 6pm movies on TV, where you know the guy didn’t say “forget you”, and the words don’t match the shape of his mouth.
Doha was impressive. Qatar Airways was impressive. The St. Regis was super impressive.
We can’t wait to come back here for the World Cup in 2022. Already marked it on my calendar.This entry was posted in asia, Doha, Qatar