Last night, I went to the beautiful iftar at Madinat - the Majlis iftar.
It's lovely, in the spacious events hall, with gorgeous decor, and decent food.
But that was all quickly forgotten when we were leaving the iftar (at 9.03 and not a minute later - we were shepherded out of the tent to make way for suhoor), and the swarms of people were milling about outside waiting for their cars.
An hour passed, and no sign of any of the cars; one couple had a tiny baby that clearly needed to go to bed.
An exhausted pregnant woman was collapsed on the couch, clearly bothered by the heat. And hundreds of people waited around while waiting for their cars - hoping theirs would be next as the minutes ticked over.
To no avail.
The issue was, hundreds of people were coming into the space at this time for suhoor
With hundreds trying to get out from iftar. There was no buffer time between the incoming suhoor and outgoing iftar, and given Madinat's notoriously difficult parking situation and ridiculously small roads, it made for gridlock.
Valets couldn't move the cars, patrons couldn't get in or out. It was hot, slow, and miserable.
It's clearly an infrastructure flaw
Madinat is notoriously difficult for traffic during events, but this was ridiculous. Cars were valet-parked in all different areas so there was no way of retrieving the car without a valet staff member getting it out - and then the cars would sit in the queue for 20 minutes just to get out of the driveways for the owner to take it.
It got to 11pm...
We only got the car after more than two hours (and it took about 45 minutes to get INTO the Madinat prior to iftar) thanks to one of the senior staff stepping in to help us find the car.
And still it was slow. It was nothing anyone could do, but wait, with cars just everywhere, the roads gridlocked, and nothing moving.
It wasn't until 11pm, with the help of a manager, that we were able to get the car, exhausted and frustrated.
The Madinat really needs to fix its parking problem, or at least stagger timings of events so it's not a bottleneck of traffic both in and out.
So yes, the iftar is nice, but I highly recommend if you're going - to take a taxi.