Banana Island, Doha – the Maldives of the Gulf

IMAGES: The region’s newest man-made island resort revealed.

EDGAR staff April 2, 2015

Man-made islands aren't something we're short of here in the UAE. There's Abu Dhabi's Nurai Island, home to luxury resort Zaya; Dubai's World Islands, which are slowly progressing again after a halt in operations in 2008; and, most successful of them all, the Palm Jumeirah, which is now an indelible mark on the Dubai landscape.

But now there's a new kid on the block to rival the UAE's luxurious holiday hideaways: Banana Island, Doha. After a catalogue of delays, the Anantara-run resort finally opened its doors at the beginning of this year, taking up the entire 13-hectare, banana-shaped island in what is without doubt one of the region's most eagerly awaited developments.

A mere 20-minute boat ride (or even shorter helicopter flight) from the heart of the Qatari capital, the island has all the convenience of an inner city hotel, with all the isolation of an desert island hideaway.

Of course, everything a holiday-maker needs is right there on the island. Nine dining options, a 100-metre lagoon pool, a spa, a cinema, a kids' pool with water slides, a private 800-metre beach, a helipad and a private marina equipped to handle up to 30 boats are all present.

And for the more active guests, there's a fitness centre, a tennis court, a nine-hole putting course, a beach volleyball court, a surf pool, a fully equipped diving centre, a range of water sports options and even a bowling alley all on-site.

The island's main clientele is expected to be from the GCC, especially Saudi and Emirati guests, and as such the resort will not be serving any alcohol. But with a list of facilities and activities that long, who needs it?

The resort is a clear sign of Qatar's ambitions to become a major player in the tourism sector, and after the property's general manager dubbed it "the Burj al Arab of Doha", it's clear that one thing they certainly aren't short of is ambition.

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