Yes, after a series of unfortunate events with our birthday celebration, I am yet writing another experience with Banana Island. You may remember from my earlier post that we negotiated hard about availing the Suhour buffet (which is included in the Ramadan package) for another day? Well, this was what happened at check-out.
So the resort crew, Ms. A, who was manning the check-out counter, and who was the same lady who brought me to my room which was not yet ready, was initially adamant to give in to our request to come back for Suhour. It was really not possible, in the normal world, since we are already checking out. We justified our reason for not getting up to partake the Suhour. The stress and the loooong hours we wasted to be checked-in which could have afforded us a power nap to last us through the night. And Suhour. Took its toll on us. I offered that we will be paying for the ferry transfers just to be back for the experience. Nobody in my group has experienced Suhour yet and we were all so disappointed to have let it slip. But our flesh was so weak then, that we just gave in to the comforts of our bed.
Let me have a pause first to define Suhour. It is the pre-dawn meal taken before the fast starts for the day during Ramadan. Hotels/restaurants in Qatar usually open for Suhour from 9pm to 2am.
Going back to my story… So Ms. A went to speak to her Manager, as she knew we really had a lot of stressors staying in the resort. The management agreed on condition that we should avail of it within 4 days and that we would pay for the ferry transfers. We took the conditions. We reserved a table for the day after next, which was a Monday. Ms. A took our details, our room number and gave me her calling card and personal number and with strict instruction to call her on the day of our arrival just to reconfirm.
Around lunch time I called Ms. A to confirm our reservation. She assured us that she will be coordinating with the ferry terminal check-in counter regarding our transaction. Our reservation was at 9:30pm, but we wanted to have a short stroll in Banana Island so we decided to arrive a little bit earlier.
At 7:30pm, we were already in the ferry terminal to check in. I confidently made my way to Ms. B who was manning the ferry check-in then. Taking much time than we thought and asking me several questions, we knew then that our arrival wasn’t coordinated properly. Our names weren’t found in the reservations, and the lady was unaware of “our deal” with Banana Island. She finally thought to give Ms. A a call and so the whole thing was sorted out. We paid the 100QR ferry transfer for each person and made our way to the lounge to wait for the 8:00pm ferry’s departure. We whiled the time drinking Arabic tea and special dates from the cart. It was also a good time for us to take groufies as we didn’t have the time when we first came here.
Ferry transfer was uneventful.
At the Reception, Ms. A was there and she asked us to be accompanied by another crew. We were led to An Nahham Restaurant, a stand-alone Arabic/seafood restaurant just beside the Wellness Center building. We were one of the firsts to arrive in the restaurant as instead of our 9:30pm booking, we were allowed to go at 9:00pm. We were seated and were brought the menu after which we were told the dinner set that will be served for our Suhour.
We got confused as we were expecting a dinner buffet although we have been told last time that it will be in a different restaurant. Not quite the suhour that is offered in downtown Doha restaurants, we raised our thoughts with the management. They told us that iftar was ongoing in Azraq Restaurant (where we had Iftar last time) and we can move there if we wish to.
Our group decided to move.
Arriving a bit late for dinner (iftar) and with just about an hour to enjoy our faux suhour, the restaurant was almost empty, with just one or two other tables occupied. In fairness, a different set of menu was served although the usuals were there.
We were seriously disappointed (as can be seen in the lifeless photos I took below). Coming back and spending extra100qr for the ferry ride just to get the same experience like last time.
Right now, our Banana Island experience is one big joke when me and my friends get together. A bittersweet laugh that cost us what could have been a fun birthday(s) and a memorable iftar and suhour dining experiences. A very expensive price to pay for a disappointing memory.
There was no Suhour. Not that time, at least…