Discover Qatar; a must visit destination on 2021
Qatar, one of the safest and most cosmopolitan destinations in the Middle East is rich in art, culture and tradition. As the host of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, with its world class hotels, restaurants, incredible water sports, stunning beaches, a bustling atmosphere and accessible geographic position to the world, Qatar is waiting to be discovered.
Discover Qatar – WHERE TO STAY
The ultimate playground for adults and children alike, the Four Seasons Hotel Doha is ideal for a beachside retreat in the heart of Qatar’s capital. With 10 restaurants, three grotto-style pools, two family-friendly pools with slides, a private beach and wellness centre, the hotel is an oasis offering guests a relaxing retreat for an action-packed holiday.
Bordering the Arabian Gulf, The St. Regis Doha is perfectly located on West Bay, offering guests magnificent views across the Arabian Sea and Pearl Island. The hotel, which combines bespoke Arabian-influenced decor and state of the art technology, has 336 luxury rooms and suites with sea views, a 1,850 square metre Grand Ballroom, a world-class Remede Spa and direct access to the beach where private cabanas and water sports await.
Located on Qatar’s golden coastline and only a stone’s throw away from the National Museum of Qatar and the Souq Waqif, the Sharq Village & Spa from Ritz-Carlton is the perfect setting for a memorable stay in Doha. Designed to emulate an elegantly marbled Sheikh’s palace, guests can unwind from a long day of perusing the capital’s museums in the hotel’s infinity pool or private beach.
Guests will also be able to enjoy the five star hotel’s Sharq Village Spa, which is spread across 6,500 metres and features fully equipped exercise facilities, 23 treatment rooms before discovering the traditional souq which includes boutique stores selling everything from high end fashion, cigars, oud and jewels.
An architectural wonder, the five-star Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel is located in Doha’s West Bay. Those interested in modern architecture can view the city’s iconic skyline from the private beach or room balconies.
Gastronomes will be spoilt for choice with seven restaurants, four of which are award-winning including the beautifully decorated Al Hubara and the impressive Nusr-Et Steakhouse; both offering a range of international cuisines as well as bars and lounges. It’s an ideal location to stay with outstanding resort facilities and high-end dining options.
The seventh Hilton hotel opening in the region, the Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas, is located 84 kilometres from the capital, Doha. With no expense spared, the resort is set across 3.5km of picturesque private beaches and features beautiful and spacious beach villas, each with private pools and gardens for a luxurious yet secluded getaway.
Guests can enjoy a range of exclusive features and spectacular restaurants during their stay. From the locally inspired Souk Kitchen to the stylish Octa seafood restaurant, there are over 20 eateries on site with a cuisine to fit each and every palate.
Located in the dunes of the Arabian Desert, Sealine Beach, A Murwab Resort, offers families and thrill seekers a haven of comfort, luxury and diversity. Qatar’s first leisure destination, Sealine Beach, A Murwab Resort, has unique state-of-the-art recreational facilities including water sports, desert safari, camel and horse riding. With over 58 luxurious villas equipped with modern facilities, and opening on to a rear patio, leading directly to the beach, Sealine Beach Resort reaches new heights in hospitality.
One of the best hotels in Doha offering guests superior hospitality, unique facilities and refreshing culinary experiences, Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels by Tivoli is a must-stay when in Qatar. With only nine exquisite boutique hotels around the world, the hotel is located in Doha’s historic and cultural shopping precinct. Offering just nine uniquely elegant rooms, all decorated differently, embracing the rich Qatari heritage, guests will have a truly memorable stay.
Discover Qatar – WHERE TO EAT
For an al fresco dining setting with unparalleled views over the Arabian gulf, travellers should opt for Nobu at The Four Seasons Hotel, Doha. Run by Chef Andrew Bozoki, who trained under Chef Nobu himself, the restaurant serves the best fresh fish and seafood in Doha. Start the day with Nobu Doha’s specially curated brunch menu; popular amongst the locals.
With a menu inspired by Chef Izu Ani’s travels around Spain, France, England and the Middle East, IZU is an oasis of calm amidst the bustling streets of Doha. Situated within the Mandarin Oriental Doha, dishes are ideal for sharing and showcase a modern interpretation of distinct Mediterranean culinary styles to create simple and honest tastes.
Situated at the top of the beautiful National Museum of Qatar and overlooking Doha bay, diners will enjoy contemporary Qatari cuisine in Jiwan’s carefully crafted seasonal sharing dishes, which are all made with delicious local ingredients. The perfect way to end an afternoon exploring the cultural treasures of one of the most fascinating museums in Qatar.
An awe-inspiring location to enjoy sea views right from the dining table, Orient Pearl Restaurant has forged a reputation as a top restaurant. The unique fine dining experience combines luxury with location, quality food and service and is the largest single restaurant venue in the country. With a bustling yet warm ambience, thanks to the live music and great food, it’s a great location to end the day exploring Qatar.
Situated in Downtown Doha, guests can expect nothing less than the famous Middle Eastern hospitality when dining at one of the nine gourmet restaurants in Mandarin Oriental. One of those restaurants, Liang, translates to the beam of light reflected by the moon in Chinese. Emphasising the Moon as a key symbol in both cultures, the restaurant’s name aims to celebrate the connection between Qatari and Chinese tradition. Visitors can experience traditional experiences such as the creation of Beijing La Mian which is performed live by the master chefs.
6. Cut, Doha
A restaurant that exudes culinary finesse and service excellence, CUT by Wolfgang Puck is the perfect venue for a date night feast. Guests are invited to pass by the ‘floating staircase’ of the Mondrian Hotel and choose from dishes such as Grilled Arabian Sea King Prawns and locally farmed lamb chops. This restaurant is a cut-above the rest, offering prime serves of the land and sea, in a setting unlike anywhere else in the world.
Nestled next to the magnetic Souq Waqif, this opulent restaurant offers the perfect break during a cultural shopping trip. Take a break from perusing the shops for spices, garments and local handicraft to enjoy some local delicacies available exclusively at this iconic café. Open every day until 2am, serving the best of Arabic, Ukrainian and European cuisines.
- Shay Al Shoomos
Located within the Souq Waqif, Shay Al Shoomos, one of the most famous restaurants in Doha, is the perfect spot for a traditional Qatari meal. Owner and entrepreneur, Shaima, offers diners the best of Qatari hospitality and food. A trip to the shop next door, also owned by Shaima, allows shoppers to purchase home-made and locally sourced produce like spices, cheese, herbs, desserts and pickles.
Discover Qatar – WHAT TO DO
1. Desert Safari
Qatar is the ideal location for a desert safari, giving travellers the chance to explore the 11,437 square kilometres of desert located less than an hour from Doha city centre. Visitors will enjoy an exhilarating experience speeding, gliding and bashing across the Qatari desert in air-conditioned 4x4s. For a truly unique dining experience, foodies can end their Desert Safari dining by candlelight in the wide-open desert, alongside the stunning dunes.
2. Jet ski around The Pearl-Qatar
Ride alongside family and friends and feel the rush of zipping around Doha’s marina on jet skis, taking in the stunning views of The Pearl-Qatar against the city‘s majestic backdrop. Qatar’s flat, glassy waters are the perfect playground for thrill seekers who enjoy the ocean.
3. Kayak through the Al Thakira Mangroves
Experience the natural formation of Qatar’s Al Thakira Mangroves, home to a wonderland of salt-encrusted tree branches and pencil roots. Travel through the calm waters off Purple Island by kayak, spending the day exploring the mesmerising mangroves and spotting the unique flora and fauna, including migratory birds such as herons and flamingos, as well as a number of fish and crustacean species.
4. Explore Dhal Al Misfir Cave
Gypsum deposits in the centre of the Qatari peninsula have given rise to the geological phenomena known as ‘desert roses’ – clusters of roughly rose-shaped gypsum crystals. These desert roses can be seen up close in a 40-metre deep cave located south of Salwa Road. Head to Dhal Al Misfir Cave to cool off and watch the moonlike phosphorescent glow from fibrous gypsum crystals shine into the cave.
5. Tour the city with the Dhow cruise
Discover Doha by water by taking a cruise on a traditional wooden Dhow boat. Qatar has a proud history of seafaring and exploring the coast by Dhow boat is a perfect activity to unwind and absorb Qatari culture from a different perspective.
6. The Barzan Towers
Discover a piece of Doha’s past with a visit to the Barzan Towers. Built in the late 1800s as a vantage point for both tracking incoming invaders and observing the stars, these beautiful watchtowers dominate the desert skyline. The two towers, which can be climbed and offer some of the coolest temperatures in the country due to their thick walls, are accompanied by a mosque and a reception room.
Reconnect with nature and discover the breadth of natural beauty sites in Qatar at Ras Abrouq Rock Formations. The rock formations are a series of cliffs and ridges created by the monolithic mushroom-shaped rocks, which are located an hour’s drive from Doha. The rocks provide the perfect setting for coastal camping, while the unspoiled beaches add to the natural beauty of the site.
Nestled on the promenade of the Doha Corniche, the Museum of Islamic Art shows Islamic art from across three continents. The extensive collection of artefacts includes metal work, ceramics, jewellery, wood work, textiles and glass, dating back to the 7th century, and is well worth a visit for anyone with an interest in Arabic heritage.
For discounts in museum restaurants and gift shops, visitors should apply for a free Qatar Museums Culture Pass. To gain free admission into the Museum of Islamic Art and a range of other museums and galleries as well as access to all of the discounts, Plus and Family Qatar Museum Culture Passes can be purchased for 200 QR and 300 QR, respectively.
9. Souq Waqif
Take in the vibrant atmosphere of the city by heading to the Souq Waqif, Doha’s bustling marketplace, for a stroll through the hundreds of alleyways and stalls. Visitors will stumble across traditional Qatari delicacies, discover the Falcon Souq – home to dozens of the country’s revered birds of prey, or be entertained in one of the several art galleries, events or local concerts on each day. A perfect place to pick up a beautiful Qatari keepsake. The Gold Souq, which is next to the Souq Waqif, is an extensive gold market offering a range of beautiful jewellery, which in true market style can be haggled down in price.
Entry to the Souq Waqif is free, however be sure to take cash to make the most of the stalls.
Along the waterfront of Katara Beach lies the enigmatic Katara Cultural Village. The village is an extensive arts venue that comprises an amphitheatre, art galleries, workshops, theatres and performance venues, as well as exceptional restaurants, all nestled in a maze of cobbled alleys. With dozens of events on offer each day, the Katara Cultural Village is one of the most popular locations in Doha.
Whilst Qatar has a range of ancient and historic sites to explore, it is also a hub for sustainable development. Msheireb Downtown Doha is the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project. Buildings and structures in the area partners a unique fusion of modern design with traditional Qatari architecture. With an aim to revive the old commercial district in Doha, the redevelopment utilises the latest in sustainable technologies and highest standards in green building for some breath-taking sights.
12. The Pearl-Qatar
A mixture of commercial and residential properties, The Pearl-Qatar is an idyllic location which looks out onto the Arabian Gulf some of which has been designed to mirror Venice, with jewel-coloured apartment blocks rising between the canals. The man-made island is located 350 metres offshore of Doha’s prestigious West Bay District making it a must visit when in Doha.
Qatar has a long list of awe-inspiring architecture and a thriving art scene, the pinnacle of which is the National Museum of Qatar. The building is inspired by the petals of desert roses making it one of the most striking buildings in the world. The museum houses no less than 11 galleries, which challenges the senses to give travellers a unique perspective of its impressive contents.
For discounts in museum restaurants and gift shops, visitors should apply for a free Qatar Museums Culture Pass. To gain free admission into the National Museum of Qatar and a range of other museums and galleries as well as access to all of the discounts, Plus and Family Qatar Museum Culture Passes can be purchased for 200 QR and 300 QR, respectively.
The largest shopping mall, dining and entertainment destination in Qatar, Doha Festival City is a 600,000 square metre shopping mall based in Qatar. Home to more than 400 stores of carefully selected international and local brands including Charlotte Tilbury, Dior and Harvey Nichols and the country’s only IKEA and over 100 dining outlets, it’s a great place to spend time with loved ones.
Tucked away on Qatar’s Northern coast, this relaxation haven offers the highest international service standards, rooted in traditional Qatari hospitality. The resort, which won the ‘World’s Best New Wellness Retreat 2020’ at the World Spa Awards, has a range of treatments to allow guests to fully immerse in true serenity, surrounded by its natural and picturesque landscape.