Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ramadan 2015, Day 5 – Hotel Ramadan Tent

Last night I met a friend at the Sheraton hotel. I hadn’t been in the hotel since the renovation. The lobby had not changed much, only it looked a bit cleaner, or maybe the colour scheme was lighter than before, I dunno. I’m going to guess much of the renovation work was done on the rooms. The hotel is over 30 years old so needed an upgrade.

We were there because my friend wanted to go to a real estate showcase. A developer is building homes on a man-made island in the new Lusail development and potential buyers have the option of putting down a deposit to reserve a spot. If there is more demand then plots then at some point a lottery would be held to see who gets first chance to purchase. My friend was interested in buying a place so we went to check it out.

Nice homes. In fact the villas were huge.

Beautiful big villas are not cheap. It turns out the villas were really expensive, starting at something around QAR 20m+ ($US 5.4m+), more if you want beachfront. Needless to say that was more than my friend expected and the price was out of his league. C’est la vie. I’m sure it’ll be a very nice (and very exclusive) island when it’s all finished as I think the development covers the entire island.

From there it was off to meet more friends at the St. Regis for the Ramadan tent and sohour buffet. We arrived around 10:30, relatively early by Qatar standards (the tent doesn’t even open until 9:30). Of course it’s not an actual tent but the main ballroom decorated in Arabic style. While this one did not look like a tent it is common for hotels to use an Arabic tent decorative motif so everyone calls these events “Ramadan Tents” regardless of what they actually look like.

The St. Regis had decorated a hallway leading to the tent.

And decorated the ballroom like an old Qatari village, complete with pigeon towers.

So we hung out chatting, eating, and in some cases smoking shisha while in the background an Egyptian band played Arabic music. Years ago some hotels would also have a belly dancer as entertainment but I believe the Government found that a little too much for what is supposed to be a religious occasion and banned it. [I’m not 100% sure that’s exactly what happened but I have not seen belly dancing at a Ramadan tent, or anywhere in Qatar for that manner, in maybe the last 6 years or so].

We left close to 1am as most of us had to work the next day. The place was still pretty busy though.

Now I was unsure what to do about my 2:45am meal. I was full when I left the Ramadan tent so do I still wake up at 2:45 to eat a little bit or just go to sleep and thus wind up fasting even longer? I decided on the latter, why force food into my stomach?

Thanks to an invitation I’ll be going to at least one more hotel Ramadan tent this month. They are a nice way to spend an evening, albeit expensive and not good for your waistline. Definitely worth doing at least once during Ramadan.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember the belly dancers way back then in the early 2000's when we lived in Doha. How time flies...
Enjoyed reading through your blog, lovely memories and great developments.