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Doha encapsulates the duality of the Gulf, pitting the heritage of the desert-dwelling Bedouin against heady new wealth from oil and gas. Once the preserve of stopovers and business trips, now holidays in Doha open up a whole new world in the desert. With temperatures soaring in the summer but settled in the mid-twenties in winter, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor pursuits to enjoy.
Disembarking from flights to Doha, you’ll find the expected skyscraper architecture and luxury malls, but scratch the surface and you’ll find thriving traditions of souks, sociable coffee houses and desert falconry. The ritzy West Bay district is where many of the biggest hotels cluster, though the city’s heart beats louder at Souq Waqif, Doha’s oldest traditional bazaar, now newly revamped and updated but still retaining its buzz and atmosphere. Off the waterfront Corniche, Doha’s world-class Museum of Islamic Art could fill an absorbing half day. As host city for the FIFA World Cup 2022, among many other major events, Doha is a metropolis with plenty to prove.
For a holiday in the Middle East that has substance behind the glitz, go for a city break to Doha. This precocious young city has big plans to become a cultural capital. It’s already made an impressive start.
The conference centres and flashy hotels certainly mean business, but it’s also a city of leisure and beauty. Whether you like sport, culture or luxury shopping, you’ll find it all, with a helping of heritage too. Drift in the heat along the promenades or explore the cool museums. For a seaside holiday, stay on a private beach at the Marsa Malaz Kempinski on The Pearl.
Grand Hyatt Doha
InterContinental DOHA - THE CITY
The Ritz-Carlton, Doha
Grand Hyatt Doha
Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world and Doha is its treasure chest. With a burgeoning art scene, an impressive cityscape and luxury hotels, the capital city showcases the best of Qatari culture and hospitality.
West Bay is a contemporary neighbourhood, with everything from designer shops to formidable five-star restaurants. The district is recognised as Doha’s futuristic business centre, having undergone rapid technological advances. Its impressive skyline encompasses towering skyscraper buildings and a variety of decedent resorts, which offer excellent Doha holiday package deals.
Your Doha holiday wouldn’t be complete without visiting The Corniche. This waterfront promenade extends along West Bay, providing incredible views across the Persian Gulf. A shuttle bus runs frequently from the city centre to all the top sights. The majestic InterContinental is the tallest hotel in Qatar, boasting a breathtaking panorama over the glistening skyline.
Dine like a Sultan, sampling traditional Qatari cuisine. Doha’s delicacies are a fusion of Indian, Persian, Lebanon and North African influences. Majboos is a traditional rice dish, prepared with lamb or chicken and slow-cooked with infused spices. If you’re a foodie, you’ll adore the St Regis Doha, it hosts The St Regis Grand Brunch at the Vine Restaurant, every Friday. Or grab a drink at the elegant Vintage Lounge, Doha’s most exclusive club. It pays homage to Arabian culture, with its opulent red leather furnishings and dark polished wood.
The Pearl is a small neighbourhood on Doha’s east coast. It features a luxurious Mediterranean-style, yacht-lined marina and is surrounded by glamorous boutique shops and stylish restaurants. Feeling hungry? Yasmine Palace is Doha’s finest multi-themed restaurant. Dishes combine Andalusian, Levantine and Qatari influences, in a palatial setting.
Al Waab is a residential district, positioned between the cities of Doha and Al Rayyan. Its greatest attraction is the Venetian-inspired shopping mall, Villagio Qatar. This is a dream spot for any shopaholic, where you will be spoilt for choice with the gargantuan array of enticing designer shops. For a unique gondola shopping experience, use the indoor canal to travel along one wing of the mall.
1. Want to experience the first ever World Cup in the Middle East? Doha has transformed its deserts into deluxe sports stadiums in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The metro system allows visitors to explore the rich cultural sights, whilst soaking up the electric atmosphere of the football.
2. Spend a day at Souq Waqif, a vibrant marketplace, bursting with fragrant spices, handcrafted opulent jewellery and bespoke Arabian antiques. Its open squares are entertained by street performers, costume parades and frequent exhibitions – which display art by talented local Qatari artists.
3. Visit The National Museum of Qatar. This multi-sensory gallery uses film and images to explore the fortunes of Qatar. Don’t miss the ornate carpet of Baroda, commissioned by the Maharajah of Baroda in India. It’s decorated with over 1.5 million pearls and sparkling jewels.
4. Looking for the ultimate Arabian adventure? Visit Qatar’s hidden jewel, Inland Sea. This UNESCO World Heritage site is located beyond the golden sand dunes of Mesaieed.
5. Immerse yourself in Doha’s Middle Eastern Culture at the beautiful cultural village of Katara, home to Katara Mosque – which is embossed with ornate turquoise and purple Islamic mosaics.
Read our guide of top things to do in Doha for Doha activity ideas.
Preparations for the 2022 World Cuphave brought this fascinatingcapital into the spotlight