Amid much hype of this new hideaway resort in Doha, I decided to give a little surprise and gift to my family. We celebrated a 15-year wedding anniversary this March. Wow! Such a journey it has been.
Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara opened its door since 2 Jan. Located just less than 3km northeast of Hamad International Airport, this man-made island offers 141 rooms, suites, pool villas and over water villas, 800-m beach and a range of island activities for those seeking hideaway in true Arabian luxury.
Our one-day stay in Two-Bedroom Sea View Villa with Private Pool started with booking the villa. Contrary to my belief it turned out that booking.com and the resort’s direct website reservation offered much higher price than booking through a travel agent. Later I found out that my company has an agreement with the resort that offers the same price. I booked through Regency Tour in Landmark. Non-refundable price for the above villa is QR2845.
On the day of check-in, we went to Al Shyoukh Terminal by the dhow harbor (opposite Souq Waqif) and close to Oyster statue in Corniche. We dropped our car to valet parking then had our names checked by the staff at valet parking counter. They had a list of all visitors to the island on that day. They gave us luggage slips and directed to check-in counter in terminal building.
Without much hassle we checked-in, in a four-desk check-in area. Bring your ID with you including your children. The check-in staff then gave us boarding passes. As the closest departure was within few minutes we’re in hurry going down the ramp to the boat.
A 25-minute trip ferried us to the island. The 51-seat boat sailed through dhow harbor before exiting Doha Bay to the island 3km offshore. Inquire from the terminal for departure times. It is normally available hourly though they may provide half-hourly departures like during weekend after 2pm.
Once we arrived at welcome center, I checked-in by giving my ID and luggage slips. Official check-in time is 3pm. We wandered around the island for more than an hour as the villa was not ready when we reached the island at 13:35. We went to the beach, checked public pool with usual slides, tried a bowling game, before finally checked-in. Next to Welcome Center are Dive Center, Riva Italian restaurant and Balance Wellness Center that houses several other restaurants, a gym and wellness-centered services, and indoor botanical garden.
We met an Indonesian Duty Manager who then kindly drove us using a buggy to our booked villa passing through a lush garden confining golf course and on a dirt track along villas. We learned that the resort open for public visitor during weekday only as it gets crowded or fully booked during weekend. There are many version on how much a visitor should pay to visit the island that I urge you to contact its reservation directly (was informed that it was QR200 before (QR80 for boat trip plus remaining credit to use in any restaurant but it was raised recently)).
We found our villa was nice, brand new, and all functioning and nicely decorated with tropical plus Arabian mix. This two-bedroom villa has a foyer leading to dining room then main bedroom. There is also a direct door access to the second bedroom. A pantry with a door access to front yard also available and has a microwave, fridge and tea and coffee making facility. Plenty of water supply provided as well as a generous welcome fruit.
The main bedroom has sea-view and pool view. When you wake up you can use automatic button by the bed to open window curtain. Ipod docking station and Bose soundsystem is also provided. A mix of English, Arab, sports and lifestyle channel is available.
The bathroom is really huge with a standalone tub, a long mirror, rain shower and toilet. The second room does not come with tub.
Our private pool measures 4x10m with around 1-m depth. A nice feature is that it is temperature-controlled.
Later in the evening we spent exploring the island by walk; went to Teens Club and Children Club and dined at nearby Ted’s American restaurant. We also met an Indonesian chef from Bandung who personally came and greeted us after being informed by one of the waitresses. I think he has done an excellent job in preparing our dinner: surf and turf (meat skewer and fried prawn, onion ring), cheese fries, and chicken steak. We admitted that this is our tastiest burger/steak/fries ever. To his nice gesture he added a nice dessert – free of charge! Total damage cost was QR276 for above menu plus beverages just so know.
Teens club and children club are housed in the same building featuring air hockey table, fuss-ball, playstation, movie room and obstacle course for small children. The island also has bowling (QR50 per game per person), and free cinema (check its listing at cinema/bowling counter). At the time of our visit, surf pool was in operation offerings artificial wave to learn surfing.
Being close to Hamad International Airport, the island is subjected to noise from a plane revving up for take-off. However a view of this plane taking-off, sea, and Doha skylines is an added experience in itself.
The following morning we spent our breakfast at Q Lounge as it is closer to our villa than Azraq, all day dining restaurant, near Welcome Center. In addition to dining, Q Lounge has a nice jacuzzi, and shisha lounge. Close to it is a Spa building and over water villas.
While my kids wanted to take another plunge to the pool I spent exploring the island 800-m beach. The crescent shaped beach has many umbrellas dotted along the beach and beach staff would kindly offer you to prepare for your beach chair.
Throughout our stay we fortunately met helpful and attentive staffs in general. We were warned that a request for buggy could be long before it came but we found out that they came in less than 10 minute when we checked-out. Case may be different at night or a busy period; anyway the island is small you can opt for walk in a pleasant season.
We left the island with a stronger family-bonding and a wonderful quick escape from Doha.
I let the pictures below speak themselves. Check two videos at the end of this post: a buggy ride and villa tour.
Surroundings & Facilities
Departure and Boat Trip
How Much Is It?
Buggy Ride from Welcome Center to Villa
Villa Overview Tour