Qatar, not on everybody’s bucket list but it is gaining momentum on the tourist front especially through layover/stopover offers with Qatar Airways. I have lived in Qatar for over three years and have discovered that people’s perceptions of the country are limited and many people even expats don’t really head off the beaten track. So here are my hidden and not so hidden gems of Qatar!
BEACHES KNOWN GEM
Most people when they think of the Middle East think of swanky 5* and luxury hotels where expats can sun themselves all year long. One of my favourite hotel beaches at the Intercon – you can read about our recent staycation here
I have never really been one to stay in my own country for holidays. Something that I actually regret now we live in a country that is only 11,000km. But when I hit the point of no return mark – aka the airlines will not let you fly anymore, Wandermust Daddy and I decided that we would do a Doha staycation to enjoy one of our last baby-free weekends!
Before being pregnant, I would never have considered staying in the place I live for a stay cation but it was amazing how relaxing it was. No airport queues, no travel tiredness, no worries about hospital or travel discomfort – third trimester stay cations in your hometown i think are a definite winner!
For our staycation we decided to spend the weekend at the Intercontinental Doha Hotel using a buy one get one free Entertainer Qatar Voucher . The first nice surprise when we arrived was that they upgraded us to a suite which was bigger (significantly) than our flat in London.
The Intercon boasts a lovely pool, plenty of shaded seating and a beautiful beach. Being so close to popping, we made use of the pool and covered beds to provide me with some respite from the Middle East sun.
You are not short of food and beverage options at the Intercon. Our favourite place to have lunch being the Greek restaurant Mykonos which overlooks the pool and has a tasteful Santorini inspired décor and a reasonably priced menu. I would thoroughly recommend the calamari and the mousakka! The vast mocktail menu also meant that I had something more interesting than fizzy pop or water to drink.
Despite, being under refurbishment – the spa provided a lovely prenatal massage which provided welcome relief from the aches and pains of pregnancy. I look forward to returning when the new spa is opened.
The benefits of a staycation towards the end of pregnancy mean that you can get away right before the baby is due, without worrying about being away from your hospital of choice and means you can get away really close to your due date.
The Intercon Doha is definitely a family favourite and I can’t wait to return to test the children’s facilities in the Autumn.
We love a staycation. A chance to get away without the hassle of traveling especially now we have a baby. When we noticed that we had a buy one night get a night free at the Grand Hyatt Doha that had to be used by the end of the year we jumped at the chance to get away.
So how was our stay?
The service we received was excellent. From our check in with Maha to staff at the pool, we were made to feel welcome and taken care of. Staff around the pool were always ready to help carry the pram and the staff at majlis were particularly good.
Our room was upgraded so we got to experience the Presidential Suite. The suite was large and beautifully decorated. There was plenty of room for baby e to roll around.
Our bathroom – one of the things I love about top hotels is their bathrooms and gran Hyatt was no exception. It had a lovely big bath for me and baby E to relax in and an amazing shower for Wandermust Daddy. You know the shower will be good when it comes with its own set of instructions.
The pool is excellent for families. It is heated to a beautiful 29 degrees which meant we could take the baby in at any time of day and be guaranteed it would be comfortable for her. Despite what people think about the Middle East, it can get cold so finding a heated pool is a must for winter staycations.
The breakfast in the club lounge is a lovely addition and is available from 7-11am. We also loved the all day drinks and snacks.
The cot – I have stayed at many lovely hotels where design has been at the fore. Then you ask for a cot and everything goes to pot! Now this is only a small thing but I always think that it seems strange that you would spend so much time on design and then plonk a luminous cot into the centre of the room. What I loved about the cot at Grand Hyatt, was it seemed very comfortable – Baby E had a great nights sleep but it also was quite attractive.
We made reservations through the concierge on both nights of our stay and unfortunately both nights we had issues. The first night at Issaan the reservation couldn’t be found and the second our request hadn’t been sent through correctly. Now the staff at each of the restaurants were great and rectified the issue but it’s not what you expect particularly when you are in a suite.
The club lounge wasn’t as friendly as it could have been. On our first fight it took half an hour to get our luggage which unfortunately contained our baby food. When we went to grab a banana my husband wearing tailored shorts was told off because of the evening dress code. It was done in a polite but firm way however could have been approached width a more apologetic manner. It was also unfortunate that due to Qatari law you can’t take children into the lounge between 6-8. This meant that we couldn’t fully use the services of the suite and that groups of children would congregate on the bench outside the lift. It seems like perhaps table services instead of an open bar would make for a more inclusive atmosphere.
I have to say the hotel is particularly beautiful. When you visit a chain hotel you can feel detached from the place you are staying however The Grand hyatt seemed to be embedded with regional touches that we loved.
We all had a lovely relaxing weekend. It was well set up for families and was a truly luxurious weekend.
Keep coming back to the blog to see more about our Doha Staycations
Have you had a staycation at the Grand Hyatt? What did you think? What are your favourite things about staycations?
Fearless Family Travellers! Embracing luxury and adventure around the globe. On a mission to prove that travel with a baby is not only possible but fun!