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Banana Island Resort Doha gears up for Jan. 2 opening

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All images courtesy of Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara/Facebook.

Qatar’s latest luxury hotel is getting set to open its doors in just a few days, as Banana Island Resort Doha has announced plans to welcome its first guests on Jan. 2, 2015.

Operated by the Thailand-based Anantara Group, the resort is located on an island near Hamad International Airport and can be accessed by private boat from Shuyoukh Port; a 20-minute boat ride at the dhow harbor near the Museum of Islamic Art; or by helicopter.

The 141-room resort includes the main hotel building with 96 bedrooms, as well as 34 two and three-bedroom poolside villas. Additionally, there are supposed be 11 Maldives-style villas, built above water on stilts.

Banana Island - golf course - facebook
Banana Island golf course

Its outdoor facilities include a private beach stretching 800m, a 100m lagoon pool and a surf pool, and snorkeling and scuba diving.

A private marina will have berths for 30 boats, while the resort also has a nine-hole putting course.

Inside the complex, there is a VIP cinema, bowling alley, indoor botanical garden, kids’ and teens’ clubs and a spa and wellness center, according to the hotel’s website.

Q Lounge
Q Lounge

There are numerous eating and drinking options, including all-day restaurant Azraq which offers Western, Asian and Middle-Eastern dishes; Italian restaurant Riva; Arabic-Mediterranean restaurant Al Nahham; Zest wellness and organic cafe; the pool-side Q Lounge and restaurant, which will serve international tapas and mezze as well as shisha; Ted’s American-style diner; Lagoon pool bar and Tanzerin beach pool bar and grill.

The resort is not expected to serve alcohol.

It is not clear which facilities and restaurants will be open in time for the Jan. 2 launch. A spokesperson for the resort was not available for comment.

Delays

The resort has missed several previously-announced opening deadlines since construction began in mid-2012.

Last year, UrbaCon General Contracting – the firm responsible for building the resort – told Construction Week Qatar that the resort would be completed in the summer, and that there would likely be a soft opening by the end of 2013.

Then, in January of this year, an Anantara official told Doha News the resort should be open by April, adding that it was hiring staff and construction was nearly complete. However, the facility did not open as planned and the reason for the delays are unclear.

Banana Island countdown

For the last few days, Anantara has been holding a countdown on Facebook, posting pictures of different facilities within the resort.

The hotel’s website is now advertising rooms available to book from Jan. 2, although Anantara has not specified whether it will have a soft opening, with its restaurants and facilities coming live in stages, as is customary with many hotel openings.

An Anantara official previously told Doha News that the resort was primarily geared toward attracting GCC visitors, especially Saudi and Emirati guests, as well as Europeans.

Tourism within the Gulf is big business, and attracting Gulf nationals and residents to spend some of their leisure time in Qatar one of the key aspects of the nation’s tourism strategy, which was launched by the Qatar Tourism Authority earlier this year.

Saudi guests make up a significant number of Qatar’s tourists, with QTA estimating that more than half of all GCC visitors to Qatar come from the Kingdom.

A promotional video on YouTube features a virtual tour of the resort in graphics, to give visitors an idea of what they can expect. It is not clear if the film was made by Anantara.

Do you plan to check out Banana Island? Thoughts?

72 COMMENTS

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Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
5 years ago

Yeay, more luxury hotels. Just what is needed.

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Deepak Babu

There is definitely a demand for that from Qataris

dubious
dubious
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Are you suggesting that Qataris are demanding luxury hotels as a sort of pokemon type collection game?

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  dubious

This is a resort, how many of those do we have in Qatar?

Althani
Althani
5 years ago
Reply to  dubious

Gotta catch em all, I’ve only collected 3 resorts so far 🙁 Can’t get to the the elite resorts league

Bornrich
Bornrich
5 years ago

Wow. And such a super location next to the airport. Don’t forget to pack your earplugs. : )

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

Earplugs, yeah, but not from the planes. Expect every jetski rider to be out in force showing off their ability to be loud and annoying to anyone within earshot. At least it will give the residents of The Pearl a reprieve.

Althani
Althani
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Oh my god, You made me realize how great this place will be for jet skiing

Mary Hutchins
Mary Hutchins
5 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

Haha! I am sorry but I just can’t seem to picture the large amounts of matching luggage we often see at Hamad International Airport loading onto a helicopter to go over to Banana Island??…. and not forgetting the entourage as well of course.. but s’pose if you can afford minimum QAR1200 a night, you can always order a fleet of ‘copters! LOL!

But seriously… what would possess a development company to build a 5+ star resort within cooee of an airport with possible thundering and disruptive loud noise overhead periodically interrupting your quiet sojourn on a posh expensive island if the wind changes direction? Not my idea of a winning holiday… And no alcohol for a resort? and if westerners do visit, what would the rules about bikinis around the pool be? there doesn’t seem to be any mention of dress codes!

Oh well good luck Anantara Resort… I am thinking you might need it!

johnny wang
johnny wang
5 years ago

Nice. A Banana Island but without a banana in sight.

Althani
Althani
5 years ago
Reply to  johnny wang

That would be so cliche to have banana themed stuff in an island that’s already shaped into a banana and it’s name lol

dohadude
dohadude
5 years ago

Hmm – the Facebook page has 75 5-star reviews for a resort that isn’t even open yet? Even the 1-star reviews are stellar: “Its amazing really….. I like it….if you need to relax & take all your stress out, you must visit it……don’t miss it…..” Sounds like the marketing campaign is in full swing for this modern day Fantasy Island. Since you can fly to it (as well as being so close to the airport!) I wonder if Tattoo comes out of a tower to warn guests of ‘da plane, da plane’…

Althani
Althani
5 years ago
Reply to  dohadude

This isn’t something new, A lot of apps and movies already do this :p

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  dohadude

soft opening… they have been taking guests since nov or earlier this dec…

Enceladus
Enceladus
5 years ago
Reply to  dohadude

I believe Blatter is managing the campaign.

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
5 years ago
Reply to  dohadude

And your point being ? Are they the first to employ such marketing means ? If not .. why the bias ? Or…are you commenting for the sake of commenting ?

Althani
Althani
5 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

yes +1

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

The point being it is misleading and dishonest conduct, which if occurred in say Australia the company would be charged with misleading conduct under section 52 of the trade practices act. Its dishonest and corrupt, but its Qatar so no big deal.

Jaded
Jaded
5 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

The company should be charged for a random person commenting on facebook? So what about all the products on amazon that get reviews when they are still in the pre-order stage? Maybe amazon should be fined as well, and just about any website that hosts reviews

KingOfKings
5 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

No one reviews something that does not exist yet. Amazon actually has very strict rules concerning reviews and products are reviewed based on the prototype releases or beta versions. You just can’t claim something is great if you never had it, used it or been close to it!

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Well TripAdvisor has recently been fined for not doing enough to prevent fake reviews on its site. Suggesting that a website that hosts fake reviews and that deceives customers be punished isn’t such a bad idea:

===

Italy’s antitrust authority has fined the travel planning website TripAdvisor €500,000 (£392,000/US$600,000) following complaints of improper business practices lodged by a national hoteliers’ association and a consumer protection agency.

The antitrust authority said in a statement that TripAdvisor had failed to adopt controls to prevent false reviews, while at the same time promoting the site’s content as “authentic and genuine”. It has given TripAdvisor 90 days to present a remedy.

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/dec/23/italy-fines-tripadvisor-500000

===

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

look who woke up from his xmas hang over… yay

KingOfKings
5 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

Next time someone robs you or acta with dishonestly towards you, you should not be upset because somewhere in the world this is also being done.

Jaded
Jaded
5 years ago
Reply to  dohadude

The real mistake is reading facebook reviews

KingOfKings
5 years ago
Reply to  dohadude

People who rely on a Facebook page for a review deserve being scammed.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Good for GCC residents but a no go for most high spending European or Far East tourists.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

seriously doubt high spending European or asian would want to visit.. even if it served alcohol.. they would probably opt for the real thing down in Maldives or Seychelles.. or skip to dubai…

Peter Pickle
Peter Pickle
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

true that.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago

yet another project by UCC.. world’s most suspicious construction company…

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Nothing suspicious about the Al Khayyat brothers. They were given Qatari citizenship for services to……….now let me think.

Rose Thorne
Rose Thorne
5 years ago

How lovely. But why does it have to be BANANA??

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
5 years ago
Reply to  Rose Thorne

Why does it have to be the ‘Big Apple’ for NY ? At least this island has some resemblance even if it looks like a mutated banana .. no ? How does an apple in anyway relate to New York ? Help me connect an apple…to New York state and horses ? When you can … we can then discuss why it is called Banana…fair ?

Althani
Althani
5 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

LOL and why is it the city that never sleeps if there is someone sleeping and the stores do close at night

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
5 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

Take a chill pill mister. You will give yourself a hernia getting wound up about other people’s opinions.

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
5 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

hahaha ….

Rose Thorne
Rose Thorne
5 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

Here you are, a multitude of answers:

http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/summary_why_is_new_york_called_the_big_apple/

http://gonyc.about.com/cs/atozinde1/a/bigapple.htm

http://salwen.com/apple.html

The island looks like “a mutated banana”? Is this the best you can do? 🙂

Peter Pickle
Peter Pickle
5 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

So are single men allowed to the mutated banana town?

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  Rose Thorne

i think a bunch of expats from the late 70’s called it that.. used to be a popular weekend hang out for folks to go boating and bbqing

Masboro
Masboro
5 years ago

I have flown over the island when returning from offshore and it looks amazing, but can’t imagine who will use it? No alcohol will deter most tourists from outside the GCC, and the women from the GCC area will be unable to use the pools, beaches etc. which begs the question exactly what will they do other than eat all day? Another ‘white elephant’ which could actually be fantastic with a bit more ‘creative’ thinking.

Althani
Althani
5 years ago
Reply to  Masboro

Umm.. I don’t know, Lets see..
Actually enjoy the beach and the views and the foods and the pools and the mini weekend vacations and the actual rooms and more i can’t think of right now :p

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
5 years ago
Reply to  Masboro

To answer your first question…GCC citizens and their families …. 2nd statement … their target guest are GCC families and not lager consuming wanna be pretending bourgeois who were taking the tube before they arrived in Qatar … and why will they not be able to use the pool ? Just because you have a ignorant idea about GCC families or just because you believe what you think to be true… it does not make what youthink to be true !! And yes… they might eat all day …. and what is wrong with that ? Maybe .. you should comment about drinking alcohol all day as well…no ?

KingOfKings
5 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

Ignorant idea about GCC? Hmmm so enlighten us please..what is the right idea? The only things people remember after visiting any GCC country besides Dubai is that people are ignorant, arrogant, racist, treat women like garbage, lazy, and just hypocrites. Making a banana island will not change that picture and even though it is obvious you are trying to sck local Butts in here, it won’t change a thing..people will think and talk.

Mary Hutchins
Mary Hutchins
5 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

If they eat “all day” they will be contributing to the undeniable seriously bad overweight and obese problems here in Doha & many of these problems are with the locals.. or will you deny that too? 🙁

Blue
Blue
5 years ago

Can’t wait to get a good ‘deal’ and check out this resort……..the previous choice of Ghariya and Sealine – both rubbish….. Will take the boat though – passing 2 active runways by helicopter ain’t my thing.

That said I’d prefer the Virgin banana island – will miss the trips made there. Good fishing too….

Nw back to the resort – the new rule of only male to male massages, oh well the Saudi and Kuwaiti fellas like it that way……and with a name like ‘Banana’ island, it will sell itself!!!

(If only they knew the shape of da island is like a banana)

Blue
Blue
5 years ago
Reply to  Blue

Birds eye view – weird a$$ banana shape though, look more like a snail or a boomerang now.

Althani
Althani
5 years ago
Reply to  Blue

Looks like something else i have in mind

Peter Pickle
Peter Pickle
5 years ago
Reply to  Althani

nah….it’s too boomerangish

Peter Pickle
Peter Pickle
5 years ago
Reply to  Blue

looks like a dead millipede…

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago

“an Anantara official told Doha News the resort should be open by April, adding that that it was hiring staff and construction was nearly complete.” ‘that that’?? Aren’t you proof-reading your stuff before you publish it?

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago

I mean, are you banana?

Althani
Althani
5 years ago

i’ve got a banana for you

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
5 years ago

Why the hatred ? A hotel that caters to a select clientele will open soon….so what if it does not cater to my or your expectations ? Criticism is promoted but it must be reasonable. Whether the hotel makes a profit is another topic all together.

Althani
Althani
5 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

Criticism is good, Mindless negative whining is bad.

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
5 years ago
Reply to  Althani

I stand by my principles and belief. Qatar needs to improve in many areas but so does many other countries. But since this forum is about Qatar; I openly criticize and compliment Qatar when due. Nothing more…nothing less. For me personally … in this case….I just donot see a need to criticize. The resort is primarily targeted for families GC and not expats in general…hence…the concept of no alcohol makes sense in line with regional religious sensitivities and customs.

Althani
Althani
5 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

SO true

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

I agree. It is what it is and it targets particular clients, just like the Torch and the Hotels in the Souk. Its the decision of the company. Just like the say, W, targets western expats.

Angelika Lancsak
5 years ago

Oh YES! Will check it out for sure!

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

I have checked it on booking.com. The cheapest rate is 1200 per night. If they give me a 50% discount I will book straight away 🙂

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
5 years ago

Reading all the negativity here is a little disheartening. Yes, it wont serve alcohol, which for many Westerners will just mean no holiday, so clearly it is not targeting western tourists. To be honest, if I could go on a high quality beach holiday, it would be outside the region, otherwise it wouldn’t feel like getting away. Dress code isn’t mentioned at all, so one can only make assumptions about sunbathing and poolside relaxing for women. Having said all of that, the positive thing is that at least it is a hotel in Qatar with a beach, not just yet another business venue. The future needs of the Tourist Industry here will steer the resort into the most profitable route, but I’m sure they have done their market research into the needs for a family venue for Saudi and GCC nationals. After all , if alcohol and scantily clad women is what you hope for, you can always go away on business elsewhere without the family.

igmanza
igmanza
5 years ago

No plan to check it out at all – would rather suffer six strokes on the back with a blunt axe. Should be a nice smell of jet fuel in the mornings though!!!

Althani
Althani
5 years ago
Reply to  igmanza

“would rather suffer six strokes on the back with a blunt axe”
Sounds like you need a resort 😀

igmanza
igmanza
5 years ago
Reply to  Althani

lol – yes , but with a few beers to go with it!!

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

Great place to relax by the pool withy a beer – oh hang on no alcohol allowed on the island. The competition for GCC tourism is really ramping up with more island and coastal resorts in the pipeline in a number of countries despite all the feasibility studies proving that there’s simply not enough jam to spread. It will be interesting to see how the website prices move in the coming years.

Cerebus
Cerebus
5 years ago

The makers of the video got so many things right! The Audi SUV (which is the wrong type – no self respecting GCC male would drive that footballer mom mobile) swerves across two lanes and into the emergency lane without singling before speeding into the car park. Then the family pool has the ladies in black walking in a circle around the fountain in the front while the kids play with the nannies in the park. The spa has the obvious blonde “Russian” friend getting a massage then strolling the beach while the men drink coffee and smoke shisha around the pool that has a total of one person in it. Yep…..about sums it up. They even got the jet ski crowd in there.

Myrddin
Myrddin
5 years ago

“Saudi guests make up a significant number of Qatar’s tourists”

However, many Saudi guests like to bring their families to Qatar so that they can slip out to the bars, while the chattels visit the malls. In which case, Banana Island fails to tick a particular box with the neighbours?

80% of male Saudis, who can afford to head across their border, use vacation time for a mix of Booze & Birds, and it’s certainly not only the single guys. Probably only their bragging, but there will be a substantial truth within?

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  Myrddin

Is that what the call women now? Birds? Used to be chicks. : )

Mary Hutchins
Mary Hutchins
5 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Birds, chicks, sheilas, babes, dames, bridezillas, Lots of other unmentionables as well! LOL!

Edward
Edward
5 years ago

I don’t understand the “Maldives-style villas” or beach appeal in general. The attractiveness of the Maldives is that the water is clear, clean, and refreshing and you can see a lot of tropical fish. The water at Banana Island is hot, salty, opaque, and not interesting at all. And there are no fish. Can’t imagine donning my snorkeling gear and jumping into the water from my villa.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago

If I had the money that the guest staying here would obviously need why wouldn’t I just take the 3 hr flight to the Maldives and relax in real splendor with cool, clear water with loads of fish, and peace and quiet instead of A350s roaring overhead and hot, brackish water with no fish to swim in?

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago

Monkeys like bananas. Banana Island must be paradise for them. Let them go there if they want. What are you complaining about?

greg turnbull
greg turnbull
5 years ago

I see they mention ”pedestrain” 56 seconds into the flashy promotional video – is this some sort of foot condition which comes from walking too much? And there is something called a ”Retaurant” 2’06” into the video. Maybe this is an attempt at a clever play on words – you can’t ”rest”, you have to ”eat”. Or something.

Coco
Coco
5 years ago

Today is the 5th…any update? I’d really like to have a look at it.

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