Doha, in Qatar, is a dynamic, fast growing city I had the pleasure of spending a few days in early last year and, WOW, was I super-impressed with the place! This booming city has grown considerably in just a short number of years and is now one of the wealthiest places on earth, thanks to its rich reserves of gas and oil. Doha is simply amazing!
Everything here is shiny new, ultra-modern, clean and well-planned out. Buildings are popping up at a fast rate everywhere. This city appears to be in a mad rush to establish itself as the new luxury tourist destination, maybe to outdo Dubai. Anyway, the city skyline is definitely impressive, as the country seems to be sparing no expense building its infrastructure to put the city on the world map in glamorous fashion.
I was blown away by the view of the city buildings at night time. What a beautiful spectacle of colour, light and shapes. Every building is lit up and some even change colours. This makes it easy to find your way back to your hotel late at night.
The Mövenpick Hotel West Bay was where I stayed with my family, and what a fabulous stay it was. Our room was upgraded to a huge and luxurious suite with a large lounge. Thank you very much Mövenpick. We had lovely views of the water and the city. A big plus for me was ‘chocolate hour’ every afternoon in the foyer, for free, with an array of bite sized desserts on offer to tempt you. Which it did. The buffet, available for all meals in the ForKnife Restaurant, is sensational and includes various types of cuisines, which our tastebuds thoroughly enjoyed.
If you like a bit of retail therapy, there is plenty of outstanding shopping centres here to keep you entertained. One has a Venetian theme boasting canals with gondolas to ride in! My Dad is from Venice, so I’m not sure how I feel about this place. The whole indoors resembles the outdoors, with sky and clouds on the ceilings and fake balconies on the walls.
Across the road from our hotel was the Corniche promenade overlooking Doha Bay which is seven kilometres long. A wonderful place for long strolls and enjoying the parks along the water. There was a band playing and a big screen on the grass area in the evening when we were there with lots of people having picnics and hanging out.
There are lots of interesting structures along here such as the pearl shell fountain and the teapot; both symbols of the country’s history and culture.
Naturally, I had to check out the Souq Waqif, a huge market selling all sorts of local wares like ornaments, artwork, spices, clothing, jewellery and swords! Yes, swords. Oh, and also falcons! They are a much revered bird here and sold for $3,000+ (in case you are interested in buying one). There are of course plenty of restaurants and cafes to feast at, including Italian and Thai restaurants. Lots of tourists flock here, as you can imagine. I loved just roaming around browsing at all the interesting items and buying the odd trinket, of course. What’s a holiday without shopping?!
We decided to visit the Museum of Islamic Art and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Entry to this grand establishment is free. It showcases art pieces from all around the world in a fabulous modern setting. A very popular place indeed and well worth a visit.
Tours you may enjoy
Other interesting things that captured my attention in the amazing city of Doha:
- less than 20% of the population are local Qataris (in other words, mainly foreigners live here);
- 3/4 of the population is male (where the heck are the women?);
- no alcohol is allowed to be consumed in public places, including restaurants (this could be a problem for the foreigners, I’m guessing); and
- the pedestrian crossing symbol is a figure in arab dress.
The new Hamad International Airport in Doha is also very impressive. My goodness, it sure is massive. But you can’t help notice ‘the elephant in the room’, or more accurately, the gigantic yellow teddy bear in the middle of the departures hall. I’m not sure why it’s there, but it definitely attracted a lot of attention, probably because it was purchased by a royal Qatari for a few million dollars! This also is simply amazing, because why would you want to spend that much on a stuffed toy!
We chose to fly Business Class with Qatar Airlines, the best Airline in the world, so we got to experience their Business Class Lounge. OMG, it is humongous! The lounge has a vast assortment of different seating areas and two large dining halls with a grand staircase leading to the upstairs section of the lounge which is the dining room.
A huge water feature the size of an olympic pool (jaw drop) is in the middle. Yep. The decor is modern and luxurious and certainly provides more than a comfortable stopover. By far the best airport lounge I have ever been to in more than fifteen years of flying business. I didn’t want to leave the lounge.
But sadly, I had to catch a flight. Not to worry though, because on the plane there is a bar. Crisis averted. Cocktails served 35,000 feet in the air. It’s the only way to fly.
I hope you enjoyed reading about Doha. If you would like to leave me a comment, you can do so below.
Till next time.
Check out Abu Dhabi for another great travel destination in the Middle East.