Press Trip Part 2
Zagreb Airport. Photo Credit: Suraduik via Wikimedia Commons.
Qatar Airways launched flights linking Zagreb, Croatia, with its hub at Doha in 2012. It was the airline's 30th European travel destination.
In May 2012 I was flown Business Class by Qatar Airways from Hong Kong to Zagreb on the airline's inaugural flight to the Croatian capital.
We changed planes at Doha International Airport, which is the airline's hub. We had access to the airline's Business Class terminal, which was spacious, comfortable, and full of complimentary food and beverage stations.
I was told that some passengers actually schedule longer than needed stopovers in Doha so that they can enjoy the facilities.
Our flight also made a stop at Budapest, Hungary, on its way from Doha to Zagreb,but this is no longer necessary.
The airline now operates non-stop service between the 2 travel destinations.
Because we were on the inaugural flight, our plane was greeted with the traditional water canon salute. It was quite exciting!
In the VIP Lounge, there was ethnic folk dancing by children followed by a few short speeches.
We were then taken to the Regent Esplanade Zagreb, a luxurious five star hotel in the centre of town. It dates back to the 1920s and was beautifully renovated a few years back.
We were thoughtfully given the rest of the afternoon at leisure so I took the opportunity to explore the city on foot with the help of a map supplied by the hotel concierge, who pointed me in the right direction.
What a lovely town!
There were large plazas, street markets selling flowers and fresh fruit, attractive street cars (or trams) running every couple of minutes, beautiful churches and cathedrals, leafy parks, broad stretches of lawn, and a gaslight district with sidewalk cafes and charming boutiques.
There were lots of people in the streets, the occasional bicyclist, and very few cars.
And what luck! The weather was absolutely gorgeous – warm, dry, and not a cloud in the sky.
Contemporary Croatian Cuisine
We had a site inspection of the hotel at 7 pm. Dinner followed at 8 pm in the appropriately named Zinfandel restaurant, which serves contemporary Croatian cuisine in elegant – but comfortable – surroundings.
The food was sumptuous (more on that in a future post), and our hosts were charming.
All in all, a very pleasant first day in Croatia!