Doha, Qatar hadn’t really been on my radar for leisure travel, but when the invitation arrived from Qatar Airways to attend their media event announcing their chef ambassadors and new premium cabin menu, I couldn’t say no. The experience itself was unbelievable for me because 1. I never even thought of traveling to the Middle East for pleasure, and 2. Qatar is a country that truly surprised me with its marriage of old and new.
During my visit to Qatar, I was introduced to various attractions, museums, the culture, and many of the luxury hotels dotting the skyline. My last evening, at the end of the night, found an intimate group of us enjoying adult beverages at the Vintage Bar in the St. Regis Doha.
A few nights previously, our group took a tour of this luxury accommodation near The Pearl, enjoyed the atmosphere of the Presidential Suite (the largest in Qatar), and we dined at Opal by Gordon Ramsay. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for the luxe life and enjoyed looking down from the second level of the Presidential Suite, with Champagne in hand listening to the murmuring of conversation drifting up from the lower area guests. Every once in a while, a high giggle could be heard or deep rumbling laughter.
I meandered around this three bedroom accommodation, wondering what notable residents had graced these rooms before me. Who slept in those luxurious beds?
Who enjoyed a hot soak in those gorgeous bathrooms?
What dignitaries dined in private in the stately dining room?
Dinner later that evening was a multi-course meal sampling many of the culinary offerings of Opal by Gordon Ramsay. I was so busy sipping the wines and tasting the dishes I almost forgot to snap any photos. It was THAT good.
For me, the last night, sitting at Vintage Bar was a time for reflection and remembering. I ordered a signature cocktail and settled into the plush couch and let out a sigh. I looked up towards the chandelier, which was graced with golden bubbles slightly swaying in a dance while the pianist played Elton John’s Tiny Dancer. My eyes teared up a bit, I must admit.
It made me smile, to think about the craziness of my life. One day I’m folding laundry, shooing my daughter out the door to catch the bus for school, heading off to my job at the fire service. The next day, I’m on a flight to the Middle East for travel and food writing and find myself sitting in such opulence, thinking of sweet moments in my life that have passed, and the excitement of what magical adventure the future will bring my way tomorrow.
Special thanks to Qatar Airways, The St. Regis Doha, and other host partners involved in making this experience possible. For more information on booking your flight to almost anywhere in the world on Qatar Airways, visit the official Qatar Airways site. Follow the airline on Twitter: @QatarAirways and on Facebook for news updates and flight deals.