I am lucky that in the past ten years of my travels I have only had one luggage mishap. Of course it had to happen in the worst place that it could of – Uganda! Not a country exactly known for it’s shopping! Our plan had been to trek to see chimps and gorillas in rural Uganda which obviously requires certain types of clothing. The night before our flight we had a sudden change of heart about the clothes we would wear from our flight from Cape Town to Entebbe! Waterproof trousers, fleeces and walking boots are not the most comfortable attire for a flight but we thought if the worst should happen it would be good to have at least one set of trekking clothes. Thank God we did! View Post
I am not usually a complainer. I am not usually a ranter BUT …
We all have our favourite airports right? Pre-parenthood me picked these largely to do with lounge access (I’m looking at you Doha and Heathrow!), perhaps a nice bar or cafe for a little pre-flight drink but no more. Parenthood has changed me! Now I am a parent I look for different things – friendliness and helpfulness of staff, speed of security, availability of nice and clean changing facilities etc. So why was it so bad?
Firstly let me say. I thought we had it all planned. I thought we would get through no problems. I had timed going through security between feeds when I knew Baby E was going to be happy. Well where did it all go wrong?
I am not going to name the airport in question but first things first… I’ll admit I didn’t buy a fast track security pass. I didn’t think we needed it and the airport really didn’t seem that busy. How I wish I had bought that pass! You can’t actually see the security queue until you are well past the point of no return! Next time I am buying a fast track no matter what! The queue on the day in question turned out to be long. My worries started. Baby E is not a great fan of the baby carrier but for the forty minutes we were in the queue she was a little angel. Things were looking good as we arrived at security. THEN
Of course our bag got pulled to one side. We are formula feeders (no debate necessary 😉 ) so obviously we had liquids, properly packed I might add. We had researched several feeding options before we decided on Aptamil Ready Feeds. These are bought in the Aptamil Starter Packs for Hospitals but at 70ml each, don’t contravene any flying regulations. I understand they have to check, I really do – I have no problem with security – none whatsoever! What I do have a problem with is the speed in which the checks are carried out. Checking and stopping for a five minute chat (with friends about non work related stuff) so there is a fifteen minute gap between bags – I definitely have a problem with! I also have a problem with you dropping my carefully packed milk on the floor!
But of all things, I have a problem with you taking half an hour before you check my bag, while my baby screams for her milk! A little more compassion and common sense would go a long way!
As soon as we were through security – one of the rudest experiences I have ever had at an airport – we decided to find a quiet spot to feed Baby E and get us parents some much needed caffeine. We settled on Girrafe! I’m a big fan of this chain. I use to take my visiting nieces and nephews all the time to the one in Richmond so thought this would be the family friendly option! All was going well until I realised I needed to sterilise a dummy. I asked for some hot water to be told for Health and Safety reasons this couldn’t be given to me. I wonder if I asked for a cup of tea with the teabag on the side if they would have had the same reservations? In fairness, our waiter was very apologetic and offered to do it for us! I politely accepted his offer. On his return he told us that he had sterilised the dummy and had dipped it in cold water so it wouldn’t burn my child! Obviously this dummy was now useless! At this point, I was at the end of my tether! I just wanted to get on the plane.
So this is my plea to airports – I’m not asking for special treatment, I’m not asking for less checks. What I am asking for is perhaps a little more efficiency, a bit more compassion and a little more common sense!
My parents were in town and afternoon tea has always been on my mum’s bucket list so we decided that this was the perfect opportunity. With so many great 5* hotels in Doha we had plenty of places to choose from. We settled on the Four Seasons as it was one of the few that could cater for diabetics!
We were shown to our table quickly, given a sofa in front of the large window, with plenty of room to manoeuvre the pram.
We opted for a mixture of Earl Grey and English Breakfast tea but there were plenty of more exotic teas on offer for the more adventurous. Our boring Britishness with tea did shine through!
The afternoon tea was plentiful with a combination of sandwiches including some of a more local flavour including Cucumber and Mint Labneh and Lamb pittas as well as more traditional sandwiches. This was accompanied by a tier of cakes, and my personal favourite – a tier of scones! The scones were accompanied by cream and jam but perhaps the best thing was the jam for the diabetic. This came out warm as the chef had freshly prepared it and it was truly delicious. Often when you go to places with a diabetic, their plates can look a little miserly by comparison. This was not the case with the Four Seasons who were committed to providing an outstanding experience for all.
Overall this was a great experience for everyone and something I would not hesitate in returning to do again.
Last night we had a rare baby-free evening so decided to check out Hunters Room and Grill at the Westin Doha. Steak, rare steak is one of my all time favourite foods so having nine months of being forced to eat my steak well done, I was desperate for a ‘properly’ cooked steak. So did it live up to our expectations? Read our Hunters Room and Grill Review!
We started at the bar for some pre dinner cocktails. The theme of many of their signature cocktails seems to be the element of grilled fruit. I ordered the Grilled Citrus Margarita while Wandermust Daddy ordered the Grilled Peach Whisky Sour which he said was one of the best whisky sours he has ever had. The atmosphere was great, especially with the live saxophonist.
The setting of the Hunters Room is split into two – the non smoking and smoking area. The smoking area is set in a bright indoor garden and the non-smoking in a more traditional dark NY steakhouse fashion. Both lovely, depending on the kind of atmosphere you are after. As a rare romantic night out and being non-smokers we chose to sit in the more traditional area.
We started with sourdough bread with three flavoured butters including strawberry and sumac. Both of which were delicious but our favourite was the sumac. We then opted for the tomahawk steak. This came with three sides. We chose asparagus, button mushrooms and confit potatoes as our sides. All of which were outstanding. The worry with a steakhouse is always whether they will be able to cook the steak correctly. Hunters did not disappoint with a perfectly cooked rare steak throughout! The portions were large so we regretted having starters. We had ordered the crab cakes and Mediterranean Lobster and both were delicious however because of this we could only manage a pudding – creme brûlée to share! In conclusion, we found each course to be outstanding, and we can’t wait to return to try more.
On top of the outstanding food, the service has to be mentioned. The restaurant manager is affable and visible at all times running a tight ship. The waiters have obviously been trained to fine dining standards. A particular shout out goes to our waitress Anna who was attentive and very knowledgable about the menu.
We can’t wait to return to try more restaurants at the Westin if this is a standard and have a feeling this may become our go-to steakhouse in Doha!
Have you been to Hunters Room and Grill – what did you think?
We vowed that travel wouldn’t stop when we had a baby and we are lucky that, now as parents to a 9 month old (where did that time go), we can still say that travel is a big part of our lives
Baby E’s 9 month Stats
- 11 flights
- 10 cities
- 7 countries
- 1 cruise
- 1 Christmas in the Countryside
We think we’ve done pretty well but there are definitely things we have learnt from our first 9 months of travel with our daughter