Luxury Hotels


Girlahead admires quality and a desire for perfection in the entire lifestyle spectrum.  Take air travel, the subject today.

Qatar Airways does not get the level of public mention that its near-neighbour Emirates does, but it deserves high acclaim.

Start with the London Heathrow send-off.  The lounge is spacious, full-width windows over the tarmac, plenty of world-access sockets and easy no-password wifi. Servers are immaculately groomed (they only seem to employ girls who never have a single hair out of place, but Girlahead does hate that dull maroon that is the airline signature colour).  Good food – a served buffet, served or DIY beverages.

Welcome onboard the A380. Champagne? Brut (Billecart-Salmon) or Rosé (Laurent-Perrier Grande Cuvée Alexandra Rosé 2007)? Really cold, in a tall flute. The seat is among the industry’s most advanced, but impossible to work out. There’s a half-size cushion with a white linen cover embellished with Love Work Travel Repeat, English one side, Arabic the other. There is also a full-size pillow with patterned cover, and the blanket, almost full size, is cotton-feel duvet one side, maroon faux-fur the other (it is rolled, as a sausage, in plastic). Diptyque toiletries in a charming patterned box.

Food is where Qatar stands out. Big hemmed-edge cloth and napkin. Real stainless and clear mills for black pepper and pink salt. A tiny candle-look nightlight sits in a church window-like container. Full size cutlery. Start, say, with Arabic mezze, three small bowls, warmed quarters of pita bread. Go on to beef duo, a full-size Narumi plate with over-cooked fillet and truly delicious beef cheek. Finish with an icecream sundae. Drink Rosé, Moncigale, L’Originelle Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence.

Big black marks for the Doha transit. Staff meet VIPs but no-one to help with transit information. An escalator out of order, hunk Rimowa downstairs, find a (rare) indication board, walk it to stated gate, of course at the far end.  Down escalator, crowd around gate. Economy boarded first. Finally, Business. Bussed to far end of airport.  Up A350 stairs. Same seat layout – 1-2-1 – as A380. Same welcome.

Hours of much-needed sleep. Breakfast set up. Wide choice, say berry smoothie, small yoghurt parfait, beautiful long fruit plate (mottled black china), another beautiful long plate (white) with an artistic array of cold cuts, including Balik salmon. As the plane descends, wrapped Diptych scented towels are brought, on little black dishes.

The transit smudge is matched with an absence of anything classic on the music channel and an inability to get on line.  But there are so many good marks for Qatar Airways..