“Instead of being lazy by the pool and the beach, I want you to try something else. Have you ever done SUP?” was the message I received from Intercontinental Doha’s PR Manager a day before we were supposed to visit their hotel for a pool and beach access review. She was talking about Stand-Up Paddle boarding which I have been wanting to try for the longest time, my answer of course was YES! Though I know that it’s going to be so hard for me to do it as I’m the most non-active person in the face of the earth. I was up for it, I was pretty sure though that I won’t be up on that paddle board for long.
We arrived at Intercontinental Doha at around 9:45am and I was immediately impressed by what I’ve seen. If there’s one thing I’m an expert of, it would be judging how beautiful a beach is. Being a Filipino – I grew up seeing the numerous beautiful, tropical beaches of the Philippines. This is the reason why I have never spent a day on any beaches here in Middle East even if I have lived in this region for almost a decade now. I was convinced that I will always be disappointed, until I’ve seen the one at Intercontinental Doha.
It’s stunning, huge, with a real beach sand (not the muddy ones you’ll normally find in different resorts/hotels here) and the most important thing of all is, the view is an endless sea! No buildings nor construction sites at the horizon. I also love the cottages dotted all over the beach, it does make you feel like you’re in a tropical island and not in the Middle East.
Qatar Expat Women’s Positive Support Group organized an event in partnership with Intercontinental Doha and Surf and Soul, the company specializing on Stand Up Paddle. The group organizes a lot of outdoor and indoor events around Qatar for all the expat women living here, it was a delight to be with them and I’m grateful that they let us crash this one particular event they organized.
Surf and Soul instructors gave a quick introduction and the do’s and dont’s of SUP before we were split into two groups and hopped on our paddle boards. They made it look so easy which of course I learned right away is not the real case. As soon as I was up kneeling on my paddle board, balancing was already a problem – what more if I stood up?
I do love the instructors of Surf and Soul as they kept encouraging us (or just me?) to try and stand on the board. I was the first one to fall into the water (and they applauded me for that) and that’s when I realized that the water is very shallow. Knowing this, I mustered enough courage to try and do it again and again – I managed to stand on the board a couple of times but never had the chance to actually paddle while standing.
By the time our time was up I realized that I was basically just playing around – having a good time, trying to balance myself on a moving paddle board the whole time. Little did I know that the time I spent doing all those things is equivalent to an hour’s worth of a full body workout, my shoulders, thighs and stomach are aching right now as I write this blog post. (Am I skinny yet?)
My friend AM, who is very pregnant tried it as well. She didn’t try to stand on the paddle board which I thought was good for my pride. I would’ve been devastated if she was able to stand on it for a longer period of time, pregnant and all, while I can’t.
We were extremely hungry afterwards, we went to Coral Restaurant for lunch. We had caprese salad and a huge burger to share, all those calories burned were immediately consumed – story of my life. I’m not sure if we were both just extremely hungry or if that was indeed the best burger we’ve ever had. It had fried eggs and a pineapple which I thought would be weird but it added up so much flavor in it. I wasn’t a big fan of caprese salad on the other hand but that’s because I’m generally not a big fan of caprese salad.
We spent the rest of the day by the pool which for a weekday was crowded. It didn’t feel congested though as the grounds of Intercontinental Doha is huge. Not a big fan of crowds to be honest but I think the pool area became livelier, more active and had a more fun ambiance compared to the other properties we’ve visited because of the crowd. It was definitely a welcome change for us.
It was a long, active and a very enjoyable day. Definitely the most fun pool and beach access we’ve ever tried. I’m seriously considering enrolling myself on a series of SUP classes as it’s definitely the kind of workout I know I would enjoy. I should probably do it before the dreaded summer season of the Middle East start.
And here’s a short video to make you want to try it even more! 🙂
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Intercontinental Doha Day Pass
Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays : Adult QR200; Child QR100
Tuesdays and Wednesdays (Ladies’ Days: Adult Lady QR100; Adult Gent QR200; Couple QR200; Child QR80
Saturdays and Public Holidays: Adult QR350; Child QR150
Fridays: Members and in-house guests only.
Children under 3 years of age are free of charge.
Children between 3 and 12 years old, child rate applies.
Children of 13 years old and above, adult rate applies.
Children under 18 years old have to be accompanied by an adult.
Facilities: Free form swimming pool and 500-meter sandy private beach considered as the longest private beach in Qatar.
Food and beverage outlets: The Pool Bar, Mykonos and Coral All Day Dining Restaurant.
Contact Details: +974 4484 4852
My friend and I were guests at Intercontinental Doha during this visit to try out the Stand Up Paddle Boarding class and the pool and beach access. As always, photos are my own and opinions stated are genuine and in no way influenced.