Escaping from it all

A spur of the moment decision, it was just around mid-day when I decided to pursue the long overdue visit to Banana Island. With a few simple phone calls, all was confirmed. Driving to the terminal with nothing else but the clothes on my body, I called my best friend, my confidant, my partner to collect a few belongings and head over to Banana Island and meet me, for a much-needed reconnecting staycation on the island.

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As I sat at the terminal’s VIP lounge thinking when was the last time I had acted so impulsively, I suddenly felt the excitement – at the prospect of spending quality time, enjoying nature, long walks on the beach, the catchups, late breakfast – and, it all became so real.

On arrival at the island, I was greeted by the traditional sound of the drums; I stood for a few minutes taking in the sight and sounds.

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At the welcome desk, Abdul welcomed me. Check-in was seamless and soon enough, I was on my way to our room. Abdul assured me that he would facilitate my husband’s arrival.

Soon after settling in, I was taken on a tour of the island to familiarize with the awesome facilities available in the island.

No sooner, I was taken to the spa, for our first ever “couple’s massage”.

Husband: At this time of the year, it was just perfect timing to board the boat from Doha at 5 pm.  The 30 minutes boat ride meant that as I reached the island, the sun was just about to set.  And what a sight to behold!  The spectrum of the colours of the sunset reminded me of the colours of the rainbow. And, like the proverbial “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”, our stay on the island, was simply, fabulous, to say the least.

I arrived late, having had to go for an appointment that I could not afford to miss, thereafter rushing home to collect some of our belongings as per my wife’s request. As I arrived at the Welcome Centre on the island, I was warmly greeted and quickly whizzed by Abdul, a South African who had been working on the island for the last 2 years, towards the Spa where we had booked a “Couple’s Massage”. “

We have both gone for massages before, but this was a completely different experience, having my significant other just next to me undergoing the same treatment. The room’s lighting and Zen music in the background, set the mood and the tone.  It was calming and soothing. And, before you know it, we were simply relaxing having our tensed muscles being relieved and the frenzied pace of the past weeks, slowly but surely going away with every smooth stroke being applied by the well-trained masseuse.  As in life, however, time passes by very quickly when you are enjoying something.  And so, what was supposed to be a 2-hour session seemed to be over in minutes.

While waiting for the golf buggy to take us back to our room, we were greeted by Jessica, the Spa Manager who had been on the island for just over 6 months.  She was explaining to us the variety of massages they offer (I guess, that is part of her job) and before you know it, I was signing up for the “Royal Moroccan Hammam” experience (one more off my bucket list). More of that later.

Back in our room, and what a pleasant surprise.  Obviously, the housekeeping team has been briefed of our arrival and went out of their way to decorate the room and displaying their creativity.

As for the room itself, it was very spacious; they even had the bathtub in the room for guests to soak themselves in while looking over the balcony and the sea.  The shower facilities with a rain shower was exceptional.  My only wish was that the water pressure was stronger, and it would have been perfect to get the real rain shower feeling.

After a bit of rest, we went for dinner at Al Nahham Restaurant.  The mezze platters were great especially the Muhammara and Khebez (Lebanese bread) were fresh and warm.  Suffice to say, I could just survive on the bread and mezze platters alone. In any case, we had ordered main courses and were certainly, not disappointed as well.

The staff were very attentive, ensuring our dining experience would be well remembered.

We made our way back to our room, a leisurely walk through the gardens after our indulgence during dinner.

Husband: The next morning, we woke up feeling calm and relaxed. We sat for a while on the balcony, catching up, taking in the view, the cool weather with a slight breeze provided the perfect elements to start our day.

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We then headed to Azraq Restaurant for breakfast.  They had a great selection and we were spoilt for choice.  After last night’s dinner, however, we could not do justice to the sumptuous offerings.


We opted for the outdoor seating, watching the birds helping themselves to whatever was available as guests left something behind for them.

After breakfast, we went on a Pontoon Boat ride and toured some parts of the island.  Unfortunately, the wind picked up speed, and we could not go around the whole island.  Regardless, it was an enjoyable tour with great company as little Sophie, shared more information about the island.

I headed back to the spa for my very first Royal Moroccan Hammam experience. Inspired by an ancient but integral part of Moroccan life, I was seated on a hot marble table, while the masseuse patiently explained to me about the processes involved and the products being used.

I was then shown to this beautifully created bath, where I soaked for a few minutes whilst beams of sunlight filtered through the glass ceiling.

After being doused with water, she covered my body with traditional black soap and scrubbed with a kesse mitt to sweep away dead skin cells, before I was gently cocooned in a ghassoul wrap infused with rose water, then whisked away to an overwater treatment room for a pampering back massage.

Techiques used:

  • Exfoliate:  Kessa glove scrub technique
  • Massage: Effleurage, Friction, Wringing
  • Benefits & Effect:

–        Deep cleansing the body
–        Renewal the cell regeneration
–        Release the muscle tension
–        Detoxification

It was a good hour and half well spent, being pampered from head to toe and worth every Riyal.

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Such a rejuvenating and unique experience.

And then, it was time for a light lunch at Q-Lounge, a nice pool-side restaurant just off the beach.

After a relatively short lunch, we decided to take a leisurely walk along the beach towards the jetty as it was time to go home.

How the time passes by so quickly when you are having fun, I really don’t know.  It just seemed like I was on a non-stop, whirlwind experiential trip, doing one thing after another. No regrets though, for a visit that left us both feeling relaxed and rejuvenated But, I know now that the next time I go to Banana Island, I would plan for more than just an overnight trip.  I did not manage any of the water sport activities or the golf putting course or even try my hand at scuba diving!

Banana Island, we will be back!
For more information on Banana Island Resort,
please click https://www.anantara.com/en/banana-island-doha 
For all their offers https://www.anantara.com/en/banana-island-doha/offers
Follow @bananaislandresort

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A South African currently living and working in Qatar always striving to contribute towards the “change” where emails will be short, love letters brave and every “thank you” note be hand written! As I move through life, I want to share my experiences - the interesting places I am so fortunate to visit, the amazing people I meet and the profound moments I am blessed with. When I am not working, you can find me watching Pretty Woman or Devdas for the 101th time, I watch obscene amounts of television without a trace of shame, surf the net, visit main stream or boutique hotels, restaurants and street food vendors, specialized coffee shops or the local karak drive through stores, High end stores to 5Riyal stores, Home Interior Stores or drive aimlessly looking for inspiration for my next post, the ultimate photo opportunity or simply write about what captures my imagination.

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