A Wonderful Overnight Stay in Doha, Qatar to Check Off the 49th Country

Jordan and Turkey have been on my bucket list for a long time and what triggered us to go was the 40% bonus transfer from Amex points to British Airways Avios and Qatar Airways joining the Avios point program so we can redeem just 57,200 points (normally 80,000 Avios) for a one-way business class ticket from Boston to Amman, Jordan on Qatar Airways’ famous QSuites – often rated as one of the best business class. We flew business class before on KLM from Boston to Amsterdam but it was not long enough to enjoy the flight so my rule of thumb is the flight needs to be over 10 hours to splurge on business class with points. Qatar’s business class was superb from the service when we stepped on the plane to the spacious and luxurious suites and the fine dining quality food! There are so many reviews of Qatar’s QSuites so I won’t be spending too much time on every detail of the flight 😉

I picked the two suites that can open up and transform into a double bed since that’s one of the highlights of QSuites no other airline’s business product is designed like that. The only downside was that those suites were backward facing and due to my motion sickness, I was concerned. I did take a motion sickness pill, I felt weird during take-off but after that, I didn’t feel any difference so phew! The suites in the middle looked more spacious than the ones with windows in which Peter and Jeffrey were seated. I really appreciate the door that provided privacy. The seat was super comfortable and spacious; the whole suite design and decor felt very luxurious.

The flight attendants were mostly Thai, I was surprised, she came to greet us and took our dinner order and our dinner was served after take-off. Qatar has the dine-on-demand concept but since our flight was late at night, we want to get over with dinner and then have a long sleep. The 3-course meal was delicious, the rack of lamb was tender and juicy for someone who doesn’t eat lamb 🙂

Right after dinner, the flight attendant came and set up our “beds” with a mattress cover and a full-sized pillow. The flight was 11 hours and I slept for 7; I woke up briefly in the middle due to the temperature (I don’t know why the temperature fluctuates so much in each flight, same as with KLM).

After I woke up, I let the flight attendant know that we are ready for breakfast and made our choices. Breakfast in “bed” up at 35,000 feet was quite special 😀

We arrived in Doha at around 5 PM and we have an overnight stay due to the long connection; our flight to Amman was the following day at 9:10 AM. We have 5 family/friends traveling together, a total of 7 of us, on this trip and Qatar Airways only releases 4 business class seats so Judy decided to arrive 2 days early so she can fly business as well LOL. Thanks to her tips, right after we got off the plane and walked to the immigration area, instead of joining the regular immigration line, we turned left to Qatar Airways’ business arrival lounge. They have a dedicated immigration line for business-class passengers in the lounge with almost no wait! They really make you feel like a VIP!!!

After we got through immigration and got our luggage, we used Uber to get to our hotel at the St. Regis Marsa Arabia Island, The Pearl Qatar. The 30+ minute ride was less than $12 for 6 of us in a minivan; I was surprised at how inexpensive Uber was considering Qatar is a really rich country! On the ride to the hotel, we saw modern skyscrapers, and the roads were lit up by solar LED lights with lots of lighting and decorations. It really made us feel how outdated the infrastructures in the US are!

We arrived at St. Regis and the first thing that caught our eyes was going through a security scan….apparently this is the norm in the Middle East (same as in Jordan) that every hotel has a scanner.

The service was top-notched where the staff greeted us, guided us to the reception area to check-in, and offered us drinks. The only hiccup was they mixed up my room and Judy’s because of our same last name. We met up with Judy at her hotel room, she got an upgrade to a two-bedroom suite while the rest of us stayed at a one-bedroom. This St. Regis was newly opened last year and only one of the eight/nine towers is for the hotel while the rest are luxury residences, thus, the suites are like an apartment. The design and decors are very modern but added warmth with the wooden furniture. Once enter the suite, the open living and dining area where the dining table has 6 chairs:

Next to the entrance is a restroom:

A huge kitchen with lots of water than we can all drink!

Behind the kitchen is a room for the maid with its own bathroom, this was the first time I see that in a hotel! I guess rich Qataris bring their maid on vacation to take care of the kids which makes perfect sense!

One of the bedrooms with a king-sized bed and its own separate bathroom.

The 2nd bedroom with two double beds and it also has its own separate bathroom.

All the rooms have access to the large balcony that is connected. This was the marina view:

The suite was so comfortable that we decided to order delivery, they have an app like Uber Eats to make ordering easy. After we placed the order, we went down to the lobby to take pics of its beautiful chandelier!

Can you believe that this whole table of food only costs $93? We got lamb, chicken, and fish as well as stews, all spiced except for the fish since Jeffrey can’t handle the spiciness. The stew reminded me of curry and it was great to serve with rice!

After dinner, we took Uber to Souq Waqif where it was still lively at 10 PM at night! Strangely, Uber is limited to max 3 people per car, larger party would need a minivan or SUV and that is limited to 6 people. We always need 2 cars for 7 of us, it wasn’t an issue since Uber is so inexpensive. The trips were around a few dollars only.

The souq is divided into sections for souvenirs, fabrics/textiles, and even a bird market I heard. Unlike the markets in Morocco, the souq here is clean and the shops are in beautiful buildings. Those were the typical souvenir items:

Then, we walked over to the gold market but everything was closed by 10 PM. So we took Uber to Atrium, the dessert place inside the Sheraton. The design of the hotel looked like a huge atrium.

We were seated under this dome with a huge chandelier.

We ordered the Karak Tea to share, it tasted like milk tea:

Ghazliya, the texture reminded us of the Cantonese “dragon beard candy” but was less sweet.

Umm Ali with raisins and dates; it tasted like a warm pudding.

Plus other drinks total $66.50.

We got back to the hotel past midnight and it was time for a good short sleep before heading to the airport the next day at 6 AM. Our one-bedroom suite, the same layout as the 2 bedrooms but without the 2nd side of the 2nd bedroom and no maid’s room.

Our kitchen has a washer+dryer combo but no laundry detergent though.

Little welcome treats:

Fruit basket:

Our room facing the pool:

Good morning Qatar!

The spacious balcony:

This was how Doha looks like in daylight 🙂

The skyscrapers in the far background are the city center. The skyline wasn’t as crazy as Dubai with some of the world’s tallest buildings but each building is modern and uniquely designed.

We took the Uber to the airport and have the driver drop us off at “Terminal 1” for business and first-class passengers. Qatar Airways really make business and first-class passengers special, exclusive on everything from check-in to arrival! Our flight to Amman was marketed as first-class; there was no business class on flights within the Middle East! Thus, we got access to Qatar’s famous first-class lounge. It was huge, the design looked like a museum!

We had a wonderful breakfast at the lounge with made-to-order food and mango juice!

We have no idea how far our gate was from the lounge so I went up to a staff to ask and then found out that we have special boarding right from the lounge…what??? She showed me exactly where to line up at boarding time. The “gate” agent scanned our boarding pass, we took the elevator downstairs, and the first-class bus was there waiting for us. I have never seen a bus configured like this with 13 seats only, plenty of room!

The first-class seat was really a business class. Not as luxurious nor has privacy as the QSuites but I have no complaints for a short 3 hours flight to Amman. The first-class cabin wasn’t even full and they couldn’t change Peter and Jeffrey’s flight to the same flight as us due to the booking was made by points so no change. We flew to Venice via Amsterdam on points too and KLM was able to change us to an earlier flight since we arrived early so I couldn’t believe they can’t do that on Qatar Airways. Thus, Peter and Jeffrey hang out for a few more hours at the lounge where they were shopping and eating.

We sat on the left side of the plane and the views taking off were awesome.

Look, this is the St. Regis Marsa Arabia Island, The Pearl Qatar where we stayed! It was an artificial island thanks to modern engineering technology.

The short 3-hour flight, we were also served a 3-course meal, I thought this early flight would be just breakfast. I ordered the jumbo shrimp with rice Jason ordered a mixed grill dish. Both weren’t as great as the meal we had on the previous long flight but better compared to other airlines.

Our short overnight stay in Doha, Qatar was surprisingly great! One thing that really shocked us was how inexpensive Uber and food were for a rich country. We all enjoyed our stay and we don’t mind staying an extra day in Doha on our next trip flying with Qatar Airways.

2 thoughts on “A Wonderful Overnight Stay in Doha, Qatar to Check Off the 49th Country

  1. Definetly the way to fly.If only the cost was not so crazy.Getting 7-8 hours sleep on a flight makes the trip go a lot more smoothly.If u like the sheikh lifestyle I have a brass pot set that was owned by king ibn Sad of Saudi Arabia.

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