Good news from Qatar today: Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara has opened its doors, with the first (and, so far, only) over-water villas in Qatar as well as a dedicated wellness center, which we hear is unique in the Middle East. Sitting right off the coast of Doha, the resort has an 2,500-foot-long private beach where guests can relax and swim in the sea.
The 141 guest rooms, suites and villas include 54 Premier Sea View Rooms, 16 Deluxe Sea View Rooms, eight Sea View Suites, 18 Anantara Suites and 34 Sea View Pool Villas with a personal pool and poolside cabana. The eight two-bedroom Over Water Villas and trio of three-bedroom Anantara Over Water Villas cover 3,800 square feet and include a 667-square-foot personal pool.
The resort has its own marina with 30 berths and a fully equipped dive center with a practice pool (good for beginners). Water sports range from kayaking, pedalos and stand-up paddle boarding to wakeboarding, banana boat, triple tube and donut rides, water skiing and jet skiing, to fishing trips and luxury yacht cruises. In the resort’s two-lane surf pool, the waves can be controlled to suit different skill levels, making it easier to master surfing techniques than out at sea. Guests can choose between the lagoon pool or the children’s pool complete with water slides.
Want to stay on land? Guests can choose from tennis, beach volleyball to an entertainment center with a nine-hole putting golf course, eight pin bowling alley and VIP cinema theatre. With dedicated facilities and professional child minders, families are welcome at the Cool Mint Kids’ Club and Pepper Mint Teens’ Club, where they can and socialize, play games and run around on the obstacle course and in the adventure zone.
Want some wellness? The Balance Wellness Centre is reportedly the first and only facility of its kind in the Middle East within a resort, offering holistic programs for relaxation, detox, de-stress and radiance, fitness, weight management, yoga and alternative therapy, as well as pre- and post-natal and anti-aging therapies. Unique facilities include an indoor botanical garden, oxygen fern room, and female only hydro pool, along with nutritional wellness cuisine with menus crafted by specialist chefs. The over-water Anantara Spa includes separate male and female Turkish hammams and Jacuzzis.
Eight dining options serve Middle Eastern, Italian and international cuisines all around the island from the marina, poolside, by the shoreline and on over water decks. Al Nahham, offering a blend of Arabic Mediterranean cuisine, is the flagship restaurant of the resort, serving signature creative juices and exotic mocktails at sunset, shisha with ambient soundtracks, and fine dining under the stars overlooking Doha’s dramatic skyline. Specialty dining outlets include an American-style diner and an organic café to complement the Balance wellness offering. Want something more exclusive? Try Dining by Design, which includes a selection of crafted menus and intimate settings and the services of a personal chef and butler. Those who want to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty can learn to recreate traditional Qatari cuisine with a master chef in a Spice Spoons cooking class.
Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara is a 20-minute ride by luxury ferry from Al Shyoukh Terminal, located in the city’s downtown area, or a 10-minute helicopter ride directly from the airport with (bonus!) a bird’s eye views of the coastline. Good to know: The resort is offerng a special opening rate that includes a 15 percent discount and daily breakfast for stays booked 21 days in advance.