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Raffles Doha vs. Xigera Safari Lodge: Which New Hotel Is the Best Place to Go Big?

The new Qatar and Botswana-based properties, respectively, offer grand amenities and surreal vistas—but which is best for a splurge?

Raffles Doha Courtesy of Raffles/Xiagera Safari Lodge

This summer might be the first time in a while that you get to think big and make it happen. Two recently revealed hospitality heavyweights will offer very different takes on the luxury experience: Raffles Doha in Qatar will have the bold architecture, style and service that have turned the Middle East into a top travel destination, while the Xigera Safari Lodge in Botswana is everything you’d want for that once-in-a-lifetime safari experience. So which will it be?

Raffles Doha

Xigera Safari Lodge

DEFINING ARCHITECTURAL FEATURE

The hotel’s extraordinary curve looks like something from the props cupboard of the Avengers—perhaps a device that opens a wormhole to the next galaxy—but it actually symbolizes the crossed scimitar swords on Qatar’s national seal.

DEFINING ARCHITECTURAL FEATURE

Suites and walkways are built on steel stilts, raising everything above ground and preserving the ecosystem of the delta. It also means you won’t step on the hippos (or vice versa).

ACCOMODATIONS

132 suites on the Doha waterfront along with butler service, shopping, restaurants, movie theaters and a cigar lounge.

ACCOMODATIONS

12 suites with private access to 15,000 acres of the Moremi Game Reserve.

BUT THE ROOM YOU WANT IS

The two-story, 10,000-square-foot Royal Duplex Suite has its own gym, plunge pool, billiards table and hammam. And a private butler, of course, in case you have no one to play billiards with.

BUT THE ROOM YOU WANT IS

To access the Baobab tree house, you must climb up to the open-air bedroom and observation deck, where you can watch wildlife and sleep under the stars. It’s like your childhood dream tree house, but with actual giraffes.

WHAT MIGHT KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT

Doha’s all-hours nightlife at the city’s rooftop bars and clubs, located in the international hotels.

Nightlife in Doha, Qatar

Adobe Stock

WHAT MIGHT KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT

Just those lions. But they’re miles away, aren’t they? Aren’t they?

Lions on Safari

Stock Adobe

BEST AMENITY

The Royal Duplex Suite has its own hair salon. Which you’ll need before heading to the suite’s private cinema.

BEST AMENITY

Human-size woven nests on the decks, by South African artist Porky Hefer, that you can sit in and channel your inner weaver bird.

YOU’LL BE EATING

Italian, oddly (though peppered with local produce and spices). The hotel’s main restaurant is run by Michelin three-star chef Enrico Crippa.

Chef Enrico Crippa

Chef Enrico Crippa.  IPA/Alamy

YOU’LL BE EATING

Outdoors. Enjoy bush breakfasts and alfresco open-fire spreads at the Boma with a menu that would inspire any Michelin-star chef. Think tamarind fish curry and rooibos panna cotta.

AND DRINKING

The Royal Duplex Suite has a private wine cellar that will be stocked in advance with your requested selections.

AND DRINKING

This is a safari lodge with wine game. Enjoy some classic Bordeaux from Xigera’s cellar—Château Pétrus 1998, anyone?

Château Pétrus 1998 for Xiagera Safari Lodge

Akira Suemori/AP Images

YOU’LL BE WEARING HEADPHONES FOR 
Paratriking, where a small dune buggy with a giant fan and parasail slapped on will surprise you by actually flying-up to 1,000 feet high.
Paratriking in Doha, Qatar
YOU’LL BE WEARING HEADPHONES FOR 

Helicopter safaris, where you pay a lot to make all those huge, majestic creatures look really small—but the vistas are worth every cent.

WHAT’S THAT IN THE WATER?

That’ll be Privee, the hotel’s 24,000-square-foot private floating island, complete with a saltwater pool, sundecks, a bar and a restaurant.

WHAT’S THAT IN THE WATER?

That’ll be a crocodile. Hop into a glass-bottomed mokoro (a dugout canoe) and get (uncomfortably) close to the aquatic party that’s happening beneath the surface.

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