Banana Island Resort Doha is Anantara’s new fantasy island in the Persian Gulf.
Why Go: An alternative to staying downtown, Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara is convenient to the city but feels worlds away. The man-made island is strategically placed just offshore, with regular ferry service to and from Doha’s Corniche promenade. The tourist destination, geared for Qatari families, features an impressive range of amenities. Some will be familiar to Western travelers and others will be quite novel. The island destination is equipped with a 30-slip marina, PADI dive and water-sports centers, swimming pools, waterslides, and sandy beaches. There is also a surf pool that caters to all skill levels and is run by a professional surf instructor.
What to Expect: Each of the 141 rooms, suites, and villas (from $375) has an ocean view, thanks to the island’s narrow banana shape. All but the overwater villas have direct beach access. The poolside Q Lounge and Restaurant serves specially designed tobacco mixes in custom Desvall shisha pipes, but no alcohol. The policy is resort-wide, mandated by the Qatari government. Among the resort’s eight dining options, try Ted’s for a U.S.-style hamburger or Al Nahham for Arab meze, seafood dishes, and Zam Zam water that has been blessed in Mecca. Twenty-four-karat-gold manicures are on the menu at Anantara Spa, which has eight treatment rooms along with separate hammams and hot tubs for men and women. At the Balance Wellness Center, guests choose among six wellness retreats and access facilities including 14 treatment rooms, an indoor botanical garden, and the Zest café, serving meals and juices made with organic ingredients.
How to Get There: From Hamad International Airport, guests can fly directly to the island by helicopter in 10 minutes. By ferry, the resort is a 20-minute ride from Al Shyoukh Terminal on downtown Doha’s Corniche promenade. (anantara.com)