When I received an invite from Qatar Airways to join them in launching their inaugural flight from Doha to Durban, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. This would be my first time flying with Qatar Airways and I was curious if it would live up to the hype of being named 2015’s World’s Best Airline by Skytrax. It exceeded my expectations and the experience was everything I imagined it would be and more.
I flew business class from ORD to the airline’s hub city of Doha and then took the inaugural flight from Doha to Durban. In between flights, I was able to spend a few hours of solid rest at The Airport Hotel in the Doha Hamad International Airport. Located conveniently inside of the airport, the hotel is a convenient place to rest during long layovers and a stay here is well worth it. I felt refreshed and ready to go!
An airport that cost nearly $16 BILLION to build is surely not an airport you will be bored in. Hamad International Airport features over 70 shops, 30 restaurants, an upscale spa, hotels, many lavish lounges and more. But the biggest perks: WiFi is free and fast.
Since the airport is essentially a hub, the airport offers a complimentary 2 hour city tour of Doha. Note: the tours are on a first come, first serve basis so once you deplane, be sure to go straight to the kiosk to snag a spot.
My long layover flew by and before I knew it, I was ready to board the inaugural flight to Durban, South Africa. Much to my surprise, we got to share the same flight with Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways’ CEO. Once we arrived to the city of Durban, we were greeted by an army of press and even a red carpet.
The service on Qatar Airways exceeded my expectations. Every member of the flight crew that I personally encountered made me feel welcomed, taken care of and even took the time to sit down and chat with me about my trip. I felt like I made friends with some of the flight crew after I departed the plane! The food was excellent with tons of tasty options. What I loved most about the menu was that it is À la carte which means you can choose what anything on the menu at anytime you’d like it served. Many of the items are also crafted by world class chefs such as the famous Chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
Upon arrival to Durban, we checked into the beautiful and tranquil Fairmont Zimbali Resort, The resort is situated inside the gated Zimbali Coastal Estate area on its own private beach.
We began our Durban City Tour with our wonderful and knowledgeable guide, Khetha Mkhize of Durban Tourism and explored Moses Mabhida stadium with its 360 degree views from the top, experienced a ricksha ride and a segway tour and ended the day greeted by a sandcastle built especially for Qatar Airways and watched the sun go down at Durban’s beach promenade. To view more of the photos from the talented individuals I met on the trip, browse through the #durbantogether hashtag on Instagram!
Tala Private Game Reserve
The next day, we spent time at the Tala Private Game Reserve to experience a mini safari. We got to see rhinos, hippos, zebras, giraffes, and many kinds of antelope!
I was invited by Qatar Airways to join in on this inaugural flight. All opinions are my own and I did not receive financial compensation to write this post.