5 star hotels.
As far as the eye can see.
Imagine if Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne got into a prosperity pissing contest. One-upping each other. Seeing who could go more over the top.
You’d have The Pearl in Doha, Qatar.
Biddulph Birthday Bananas Bonanza
Kelli and I spent my birthday – February 8th – in this bananas bonanza of a creation in Doha. The Pearl is a man-made island dedicated to opulence. Immense wealth. Paul Allen type wealth. Larry Ellison type chedda.
Spending a few hours on the Pearl makes Larry Ellison’s spending seem modest. Paul Allen seems subtle in dese parts. Because The Pearl is a brilliantly eye-popping, over the top, full on commitment to the finest in everything. Like if Gordon Gecko’s and Scrooge McDuck’s collective imaginations ran wild.
First we spent 20 minutes cruising the promenade. Deck hands scrubbed and polished and shined glorious mega yachts, doing their best Gilligan impersonations, sans white hat.
Imagine breath-taking, panoramic views of the emerald and turquoise Persian Gulf delighting your senses. A light, cool breeze lowered the temperature just a wee bit as we made our way north and south by the harbor, enjoying the boats and Pearl skyline in the distance.
We migrated to the other side of the strip to grab refreshments. Kinda hot on the island that day.
KC and I made a quick stop at the Maserati dealership to ogle the showroom floor.
While lazing around I saw more super cars than I spied at the New York Auto Show a few years back. Porsche GT3s. Bentleys. Aston Martins. More Mercedes. More Mercedes. More Mercedes. All custom-made. V-10. V-12. One seemed to be V-46. You can never have enough horsepower.
All super cars. All the time.
I took a seat to observe a handful of Qatari chow down at a local eatery, only to hear the voice of Satan himself come howling through the building canyons, echoing its beastly, barbaric, brutal, ear-splitting wail, as some monstrous super car barreled down the alley leading up to this grub spot.
Obviously, it was a place to be seen. And heard. I spotted 2 Westerners amid the throngs of Qatari men, all wearing their traditional thoub, and a red and white checkered ghutra to shield themselves from the sun. Each was plastered to their smart phones. No doubt waiting for the latest update on Blogging From Paradise. Or maybe following the stock market. Or maybe checking espn.com.
Kelli and I had lunch at Eggspectations. Delightful breakfast and lunch menu. I had the Greek Salad. Kelli an egg-themed brekky dish. Both delicious.
Service was tight. I enjoyed the high ceilings, ample space and overall ambiance of this chain. I also dug the air conditioning.
Post lunch we did a digestive dance across town, soaking up the immense beauty in this man made paradise.
Uber Tour Guide
Our Nepali Uber driver played the part of tour guide well, dropping da 411 on all things Qatari. He has lived here since 2008 so has seen a metamorphosis of Kafka-esque proportions in this Middle Eastern country.
He pointed out 3 Al Thani palaces as we crossed over from The Pearl to the mainland, each being big enough to warrant its own zip code.
He also noted a few neat facts about Qatar:
- all Qatari households receive enough money from the government to live REALLY large (knew it was a welfare state but had no clue they could accumulate sick cars and stuff on government checks alone)
- all Qatari families receive a house from the government (and these are not haha shacks)
- many Qatari households have 15 to 20 cars….or more….which may just contribute to the legendary traffic oft seen in Doha
After a day spent living in the lap of luxury and getting a Doha dossier from our Uber driver, Kelli and I retired to the villa, our heads spinning with visions of Ritz Carlton’s and Maserati’s dancing in our brain boxes.
Have you been to Qatar? Or The Pearl?