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.
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.
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.
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.
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?