Indoor air-conditioned tennis courts
Health clubs in hotels are expensive in Qatar. They usually cost above US$6000 a year in membership fees. Despite the hefty prices, memberships are still extremely popular as it provides a useful getaway for a day of sporting activity, spa treatment, relaxation and some good food and wine for expatriates who are able to afford the fees.
A friend of mine is a member of the health spa club in Ritz Carlton Hotel, Qatar. One day, she invited me to spend a weekend day with her at the club. I was glad to accept her invitation without hesitation.
The Ritz Carlton Hotel is located at the edge of Doha, the main city of Qatar. It is located very close to The Pearl, a spectacular luxury residential, commercial and marina development that has recently risen out of the Persian Gulf in the shape of a palm leaf . The spa club is located on the ground floor the Ritz Carlton hotel.
We first registered at the reception counter and then made our way to the changing room. Located within the changing room is a sauna, steam room and relaxation corner. We then made our way out and my friend offered to show me the various sporting facilities.
There is an indoor squash court, 2 indoor tennis courts and a fully equipped gym – all in air-conditioned comfort. I’m really impressed… many health clubs in the hotels in Qatar has good facilities but I believe Ritz Carlton has the best sporting facilities. I believe they are very popular because the whole time I was there, the courts were fully occupied.
We then made our way to the indoor, temperature-controlled swimming pool.
I really like the pool. Most hotel pools in Qatar are free-form pools but this pool is a full 25m lap pool. It even has lane markers so one can swim laps in peace and not be knocked into by casual swimmers or kids all the time. We spent sometime doing laps in the pool.
We then made our way to the outdoor free-form pool which is located just beside the indoor pool to sun-tan and enjoy some beverages. As a member, we are entitled to a 10% discount.
We were deliberating to ourselves whether we should get a massage. The spa has a good choice of facial and massage treatments and as a member, we are again entitled to a 10% discount on massage treatments. Before we could decide, a call came in and we were invited for dinner with friends and massage plans will have to be postponed.
I can see why health clubs in hotels are popular. There are not much leisure activities in Qatar and the hot weather prevent one from spending a lot of time outdoors. One cannot simply spend time in shopping malls all the time and health clubs in hotels are really an oasis of sporting and leisure activity to escape from the outside busy traffic, harsh heat and fine sand.
I think I’ll really need to examine my budget and see if I can find a budget-price health club membership if I need to spend any more time in Qatar. Otherwise, I may need to talk to my boss about a pay increment…
Pix credit: http://hotels.lonelyplanet.com
Location of Ritz Carlton Health Spa Club PO Box 23400, Doha, Qatar
Size: Large indoor club
Facilities: Sauna and steam rooms, private massage treatment rooms, tennis and squash courts, indoor and outdoor pool, gymnasium, workout studio
Friendliness: Polite and helpful
Pricing: Annual membership starts at US$5500