Sometimes the Best Vacation is a Staycation – Here’s Why…

Recently our kids had their mid-term break at school and this time, it was for a week (normally it is just a couple of days). As soon as us expats hear about upcoming holidays, we pack our bags for either a quick trip back home or a holiday somewhere close by. A number of Qatar expats would usually plan a short trip in the region, which has been affected by the current political situation. Taking a 6-7 hour flight to reach a destination which we used to reach within an hour, frankly feels like a hassle especially, when you only have a few days to spare.

Plus, if you have a kid you would probably understand that traveling with even one child is quite a challenge, let alone 3 of them! Especially, if you are visiting a new country, the stuff we need to pack for one kid is more than the combined packing for me and my husband. In our case, multiply that by 3! From swim gear to medicines, from toys to snacks (for my fussy eaters) – I tend to always over-pack and a lot of effort goes in it.

This midterm break, we decided NOT to travel anywhere and stay in Qatar. Instead of taking long flights and going somewhere, we decided to have a staycation at one of the hotels in Doha. This decision was well received by both, my kids and my husband. Kids were happy because we would reach our holiday destination in 15 minutes! (Why they got excited over this was they take long-haul flights to North America every summer- which is a 24 hours door to door journey- poor them!). The husband was happy because he saved up on the airfare! (lol!) And I was happy because we were still going on a vacation and I won’t have to deal with the normal household routine and chores. A WIN- WIN -WIN situation for us as a family! So, we planned a staycation at the newly renovated The Ritz-Carlton Doha hotel. DSCF4229Although the hotel has been there for almost 16 years, it recently went through an amazing makeover! The interiors of the hotel are so chic and modern, that I often find myself (almost) drooling over their bang-on-trend furnishings, beautiful wooden floors or the Tuscan white marble baths! The decor of the rooms also has my current favorite color for interiors – Navy Blue! (I recently painted one of the walls in my new home Navy as well! I love it!)Lobby

DSCF2733The Ritz-Carlton Doha is one of the very few hotels that were already there in Doha when we moved here back in 2004. At that time Doha was so small that our ‘long drives’ meant a drive on the Corniche, leading up to The Ritz. It has been part of our story in Doha and therefore holds a special place for us. The iconic building standing tall, helps us reflect on our own journey in Doha.

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The reflection of the building in the pool at night.

Here is a quick look at the things we loved doing while staying there (I will go into details later in this post).

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Now let me take you through the details of our experience. Below is a visual account of our staycation at The Ritz Carlton DohaKidsatRitz

Thursday 3:00 PM – Check-In

Since we had Club Lounge access with our suite, we were escorted to the lounge on the 23rd floor for the Check-In. IMG_0704Guests of the Club level enjoy access to a 24-hour business lounge with culinary offerings available throughout the day, along with a number of other facilities and services. The concept is ‘a hotel within a hotel’ for exclusive guests.
While the very courteous staff took care of the check-in procedures for us, we were served some lovely afternoon tea. CheckinRitzThis entire time, the kids kept themselves busy with the magnetic chess board (In fact, the chess board kept them entertained every time we visited the lounge, while I found a quiet corner to catch up on my work). DSCF3977

Thursday 4:00 PM – Exploring the Suite

After the formalities were done, we went to our suite and I was just blown away by the hospitality of the hotel for catering to my little ones. The kids were thrilled to see such a special welcome. The little, personalized touches by the hotel staff, made us instantly feel at home.SuiteRitz

DSCF3963The Ritz-Carlton Doha has taken luxury to another level, altogether! The 1205 Sq. Ft. suite was equipped with the state of the art technology controls, a contemporary living room, a stunning white Tuscan marble powder room, a luxurious bedroom, a well-lit dressing room, a glamorous bathroom with a double sink, shower and a luxurious sensor bath. SUiteRitz2

DSCF2745DSCF2746The suite also had a balcony that offered breathtaking views of Doha’s skyline

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Thursday 6:00 PM – Dinner at the Club Lounge.

We then headed again to the Club Lounge for Dinner. The Chef prepared some made to order pasta for my fussy eaters, while we enjoyed the buffet spread (when there is sushi, I don’t need anything else!)DSCF3970DinnerAtClubLoungeAnd after putting the kids to bed, we enjoyed some quality time in the balcony that offered stunning views of Doha.DSCF4383

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Friday 7:00 AM – Breakfast at The Club Lounge

Who would want to come out of this plush bed, but the kids are used to waking up early and hence we headed to the Club Lounge again (the kids wanted to play on the chess board again!). The Club Lounge had a breakfast buffet and the signature Pearl Breakfast Omelet station as well. Fancy anything else, the Chef will make it to order.BFatClubLounge

Friday 11:00 AM – Pool Side Fun!

DSCF4235The kids had a great time at the pool (as usual) while we relaxed. There is a kiddie pool with a slide along with a beautiful lagoon pool and a jacuzzi. My daughter was delighted to find some of her school friends  (in-fact 3 families from our kids’ school were staycation-ing that weekend) staying at the hotel and then my little mermaid wasn’t spotted for hours! MermaidspottingatRitzChillingatthepoolThe poolside is designed in a way, that there are some quiet corners where people who need some privacy or want to read – would absolutely love!DSCF4226

Friday 12:00 PM – Some Me-Time at the Spa!

Needless to say, the kids spent the whole day at the pool, while I sneaked out for a lil Mama Time at the Spa! DSCF2735The spa at The Ritz-Carlton Doha has been totally renovated and as they call it ‘re-imagined’. It provides the city’s most modern and innovative luxury spa experience inspired by the secret of the seas and the pearls of the Arabian Gulf. DSCF4187It was one of those massages that you wish would never end! But alas, even the good things must come to an end! (but that doesn’t stop me from going back, and which btw I am going to do very soon with my girlfriends). It is undoubtedly one of the BEST spa experiences I have had here in Doha.RitzSpaAfter the treatment, I enjoyed some alone time in their relaxation room while sipping on some ginger tea. I kept questioning myself, why I don’t do this often! (lol)DSCF2732DSCF4215

Friday 1:30 PM – Lunch by the Pool!

From Salads to Burgers, Grills to Kids meals, the Flamingos Bar serves from 10:00AM to 6:00 PM by the pool. Since the kids were swimming since morning, they were hungry and enjoyed their meal right by the poolside.DSCF4117
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Friday 8:00 PM Dinner at Porcini

After resting for a while in our luxurious suite, we then got ready for a dinner we had booked at Porcini and enjoyed some fine Italian food. The restaurant has a very intimate and warm ambiance along with a very welcoming staff to accommodate their young guests. We had a great night!DSCF4347Dinner

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Saturday 7:00 AM – Breakfast in Bed

Since I was feeling a little lazy to go up to the Club Lounge, we feasted on some perfectly poached eggs and other breakfast goodies, delivered to our suite by the In-Room Dining service. Breakfast2Ritz

And then after packing up our bags, I enjoyed some post-breakfast lying in bed and reading – bliss! (p.s. my daughter and I have been reading the same book these days! and it’s a MUST read)BedRitz

Saturday 10 AM -The Culinary Academy

Every Saturday, The Ritz-Carlton Culinary Academy arranges cooking and baking lessons with their team of international chefs. The class I attended was on Super Foods, and it was a wonderful experience to learn from the Chef who threw in some useful tips of Do’s and Don’ts of cooking certain foods.CluniaryAcademyRitz

Saturday 3 PM – Check-Out

Though the check-out was at 12:00 PM, we requested for a late checkout and they were very accommodating to our request.  We enjoyed the luxury a bit more before heading back home. The kids didn’t want to leave and wished to live there forever, and I kind of secretly agreed with them! 🙂 DSCF4021


It was definitely one of the best, hassle-free vacations we had! We were back in a snap, restored and renewed ready to take on the school routine to start again.

As they say,

“A true classic never goes out of style”

and The Ritz-Carlton Doha is a testament to that!

Not only the interiors, food and facilities of The Ritz-Carlton Doha are world class, the hospitality of their staff is what won our hearts!

 


Disclaimer: I was a guest at the hotel but as always the views, pictures, and the experiences are very much my own.

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