(CNN) — Nothing a lot lies on Qatar’s border with Saudi Arabia. A couple of sunbaked outposts and miles and miles of huge, empty desert in all instructions.
Then, earlier this yr, one thing very completely different appeared in the course of this nowhere: An enormous, gleaming luxurious lodge advanced, full with its personal theme park.
The Hilton Salwa Seaside Resort & Villas is clearly no unusual lodge.
Seen from the air it resembles a whole coastal city. Pristine twin seashores peel away from a central harbor. Above the sands, shiny white villas and buildings cluster round blue swimming swimming pools. Behind them, oasis greenery. It is one of many Center East’s largest resorts.
So what occurs, when a big upscale lodge seems miles from wherever simply as a pandemic freezes international journey?
It will get actually busy, in keeping with Etienne-Charles Gailliez, the resort’s common supervisor. On opening its doorways in February it turned a staycation hit with locals, he says. Extra lately it has been a well-liked vacation spot for guests and enterprise vacationers from the broader area.
There’s loads of room. Hilton Salwa Seaside has 84 villas, starting from two to 4 bedrooms, with non-public swimming pools and direct entry to the white-sand seaside (costs from US$1,500-a-night). There are 31 Arabian village-style residences and villas, whereas the principle lodge has 246 rooms and suites.
The massive grounds additionally comprise greater than 20 food and drinks retailers, together with seven gourmand eating choices, a high-end spa with VIP suites, sport courts, swimming swimming pools surrounded by landscaped gardens, company services and a marina.
On high of that, there’s Qatar’s largest theme park, that includes dozens of sights, together with “King Cobra,” an exciting twin tube journey that sends riders into the mouth of a large snake-like construction.
Well being and security
The luxurious advanced has been constructed on 320 hectares of sandy land some 100 kilometers southwest of Doha, strategically located to welcome guests each from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Development started in 2015 and the ultimate stage earlier than opening was centered on adapting it for the improved well being and security measures according to Qatar’s mobility guidelines and hygiene protocols.
“Due to the impact of Covid-19, we had to accelerate the requirements for the opening of the resort and identify new unique selling points, which focused on staycations,” Gailliez advised CNN.
That was excellent news for Sama Jamali, a 21-year-old Doha resident, and her associates. “Since it was unsafe and difficult to travel, we decided to have a staycation at the resort,” she advised CNN. “The room was lovely and very spacious and comfortable — with advanced technology and very Covid-19 safe and clean.”
Gailliez mentioned the introduction of journey tips and restrictions led to the adoption of a phased opening method, with quite a few retailers and services corresponding to a diving middle and a state-of-the-art sports activities academy anticipated to be purposeful within the coming months.
“We are a new resort and are more than just rooms. We have villas and a water park which makes our structure quite unique,” mentioned Gailliez.
Alongside efforts to combine new contactless know-how, Gailliez recognized logistics and staffing as key issues. “On peak days, across the resort we welcome up to 2,500 guests, with a workforce of around 1,200 team members,” he mentioned.
Motion and adrenaline
These friends, once they’re not lounging or strolling on the cotton-soft sands alongside the resort’s 3.5-kilometer shoreline, can maintain busy by selecting from an extended listing of fun-filled actions.
On the coronary heart of all of it is the Desert Falls Water and Journey Park.
The adrenaline-packed attraction options a number of youngsters’s swimming pools and water playgrounds, in addition to practically 30 rides and slides, together with a spinning rapids journey that at its start line — on the peak of the park’s 32-meter mountain — presents panoramic views of your complete resort.
Right here, mat-racing friends also can zoom down tubes — face to face and aspect by aspect — right into a speedy splashdown, or check out a surf simulator.
The park can be dwelling to what’s billed as the primary man-made canyoning construction within the Center East. There’s an out of doors go-kart race observe — absolutely outfitted with stands for spectators — and an indoor laser tag course.
Inevitably, given its measurement, the lodge has a variety of eating choices, together with Center Japanese, Italian and Chinese language cuisines.
Levantine serves signature Arabic dishes with a twist, together with The Qattinah, a scrumptious mocktail that consists of crafted botanical spice syrup, citrus kaleidoscope and flakes of pure gold. Principal course and dessert highlights embody scorching kebabs with Mdakhan (smoked hummus, roasted garlic puree) adopted by Knafeh nabulsiyeh (pistachio cream).
Golden drinks and foosball
At Miss Wong, the sound of a gong ushers friends into a non-public Chinese language eating expertise that kicks off with an elaborate tea ceremony. Suggestions embody the hen and vegetable soup (Enoki mushroom, dried shiitake mushrooms, greens, hen & turmeric wonton), numerous dumpling choices and crispy Peking duck. A refreshing Orange Sundown mocktail (recent orange/recent watermelon/recent lemon/grenadine syrup/oolong tea/egg-white) stands out on the drinks menu.
The resort’s Dante Cucina Italiana restaurant serves Tuscan wines and pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven. One other, The League, is a sports activities and leisure bar the place friends can watch soccer matches and play video games of pool and foosball. Cocktail pitches and beer buckets can be found right here, together with a gastropub menu that includes a collection of burgers, steaks and smoked ribs.
After all, there isn’t any scarcity of luxurious resort choices in Qatar, particularly because the nation gears as much as welcome guests for soccer’s World Cup Finals on the finish of 2022.
The already busy line up consists of the W Doha, the Mandarin Doha, Ritz-Carlton’s Sharq Village and Spa, plus Antara’s offshore Banana Island Resort, all of that are extra handy for downtown and airport.
So is the journey out to the desert value it?
“We enjoyed the selection of restaurants, especially the continental buffet. Top-notch food with excellent presentation,” mentioned Jamali, who’s already wanting ahead to a different keep.
“It was an exquisite expertise and there was no uninteresting second as a result of enjoyable and completely different actions obtainable