Winter escape to Doha (Qatar)

What´s a better way than spending some days in sunny Doha during a cold European winter?

With our business class trip to the Azores last year we accumulated a lot of Flying Blue miles. Flying Blue´s October special allowed me then to book DUS-AMS-DOH for 10k miles + tax and DOH-AMS-IST for the same amount. It made no difference if I´d just fly DOH-AMS or extend the routing to IST. The price remained the same. Ex Istanbul I used my Turkish Airlines miles and flew in business class back to Frankfurt.

The day started early with a 6:10 am departure out of Dusseldorf on board one of KLM Cityhopper´s Fokker 70. The crew was lovely and invited me to the flight deck before departure.

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Early in the morning at Dusseldorf before departure to Amsterdam

We left DUS with a slight delay due to de-icing.

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Departing Dusseldorf

Nevertheless we reached Amsterdam on time. We landed on the Polderbaan, the runway which is most far from Schiphol centre so our taxi time was almost as long as the flight itself.

After deboarding I proceded through the passport control and visited the KLM Crown Lounge. It´s hugeee, with more than enough seats. The only negative aspect is a lack of food selection. The boarding for my connecting flight to Doha was well on time. Once every passenger was boarded, the captain told us that our departure would be delayed due to the weather (freezing fog, snow) and a long queue at the de-icing pad.

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Airside boarding for the flight to Doha

We left Amsterdam with about 1 hour delay. The flight itself was very relaxed. Only 130 passengers were booked on this flight; I had a row for myself.

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Overflying a snowy landscape

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Witnessing a beautiful sunset

About 30 minutes after our scheduled arrival time we landed in Doha. The immigration took about half an hour before I could collect my baggage. My driver was already waiting outside and drove me to my hotel, which was located in West Bay.

After a good sleep and breakfast I started the first day with a walk to the Corniche. From there you get a nice view of Doha´s skyline. I explored the surrounding area and spent some time in the malls.

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Doha skyline

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Doha skyline

In the afternoon I ordered an Uber for a quick drive to Souq Waqif, the old Doha. Many small restaurants and shops can be found there. Most of them sell self-made handcrafted items and souvenirs.

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Souq Waqif, the old Doha

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Restaurants and shops are located in old buildings

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Souq Waqif

For that evening there was some kind of an event as several dressed up groups walked through the small alleys and performed dances as well as music.

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Dressed up group singing and dancing

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Dressed up group singing and dancing

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Strolling around Souq Waqif

For sunset I went back to the Corniche Promenade near the Amiri Diwan of Qatar (government office).

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Traditional boats (called dhows) in front of the modern skyline

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Dhows with the Amiri Diwan in the background

As the sun had set I walked back towards my hotel and enjoyed the stunning view of the skyline.

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Blue hour in Doha

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My hotel complex in West Bay at night

The next morning I spent some time by the pool and enjoyed the sunny weather. Around noon I decided to walk along the Corniche again towards the souq as well as the Museum of Islamic Art.

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Splendid morning walk along the Corniche

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Splendid morning walk along the Corniche

The Museum of Islamic Art is located inside an iconic building, which offers outstanding view of the ‘new Doha’. Not only the view but also the architecture of the building is amazing.

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Museum of Islamic Art

A huge park is located next to it. With a lot of green areas it is perfect for some relaxation. Therefore I stayed there for a little while, before I walked all the way back to West Bay.

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Traditional boat returning from a ‘cruise’

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West Bay skyscrapers

The next (and also last) morning was quite cloudy. It was a perfect day to visit some malls and do some shopping. I arranged a late check out so I had my room until I got picked up in the evening again. It was time to leave.

The drive from the hotel to the airport took about 20 minutes. I checked in and proceeded through security and passport control to make my way to the lounge. KLM uses the Oryx Lounge, which was quite nice.

Boarding began on time and to my surprise the flight was only half loaded again, so plenty of space for every passenger on this red-eye flight back to Amsterdam.

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Leaving Doha shortly after midnight

The flight was smooth and we arrived about 30 minutes early. My connection time in Amsterdam was just over 5 hours. The first thing I did in the lounge was taking a refreshing shower – well needed!

I spent the time with editing pictures of the trip and searching the internet for some new flight deals, haha.

For the onward flight to Istanbul the flight was fully booked. That meant that there were more passengers on this B737 now than on the A330 from Doha. I slept most of the time, as the night before was way to short. But at some point during the flight I also enjoyed the views of the snowy landscape beneath us.

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Overflying snowy landscape on the way to Turkey

After landing I got surprised by an interminable queue at the immigration, which took about 45 minutes. Once I arrived at the baggage carousel, my suitcase was already waiting for me to get picked up.

My hotel was located in the district next to the airport. The metro ride took about 10 minutes.

The next morning started early again. At 6 am I hit the road. The plan was to have plenty of time for Turkish Airlines´ incredible business class lounge. Right after I had checked in, I went through security and passport control again. Business class guests and Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Elite Plus members are entitled to use a separate control section which directly leads into the lounge. The business class lounge itself is absolutely amazing. My expectations were exceeded. There are two huge floors with plenty of seating and food areas as well as stuff like a golf simulator, a slot car racing track, two PlayStation 4, etc. A separate lounge report will be uploaded soon.

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Turkish Airlines Business Class Lounge

The reason for flying back to Frankfurt instead of Dusseldorf or Cologne (both airports are near my home) was the aircraft equipment. Frankfurt is served by an A330 in the morning whereas Dusseldorf only gets them in the evening and Cologne only for special occasions.

An outside parking position offered some good views of our Airbus during boarding.

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Good morning, TC-JNA!

The business class reminded me of the one Garuda Indonesia used for my flight to Jakarta. It made a good impression, although it was the older version.

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Turkish Airlines Business Class

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Turkish Airlines Business Class

Likewise there will also be a separate post about the flight, as it would be too much now. Just a quick note: amazing experience!

We left Istanbul slightly delayed. The comfort and service as well as the views outside were stunning.

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Enroute to Frankfurt on board a Turkish Airlines A330-200

With an on time arrival my short trip ended again.

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After arrival at Frankfurt

 

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