Doha, with its glistening coastline and majestic skyline is an alluring destination. Even though Doha is an ultra-modern city, glimpses of its past are still visible. This juxtaposition of old and new makes for a fascinating visit.
Its proximity to the desert makes Doha a great destination for those seeking adventure. Therefore, desert safaris, dune bashing, camel rides and camping are all popular activities. Doha is also one of the only few places in the world where the sea encroaches on the desert. The ‘Inland Sea’ (Khor Al Adaid) is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. It’s recognised as a natural reserve with its own ecosystem. As a result, it is a remarkable landscape that leaves a lasting impression.
From the barren desert to the bustling beaches, water lovers are in for a treat. In Doha, the water temperature doesn’t dip below 20°C/68°F. Therefore, you can swim comfortably all year round. The soft, sandy beaches are very family friendly too. You can try lots of fun activities, for instance, waterskiing, parasailing, kneeboarding and speed boat rides.
Need some respite from the sun? There is a wealth of indoor attractions for people of all ages. Culture vultures will love the many museums that give a fascinating look at Islamic Art and Arab heritage and history.
At Doha’s mega-malls you can shop till you drop, or till you max out your credit card. Malls also have highly enjoyable attractions including restaurants and cafes, cinemas, arcades, indoor play areas, ski slopes and live entertainment. For something more traditional, wander around the labyrinthine alleys of the Souq Waqif. This central market sells everything from shoes to spices and harks back to a bygone era. This slice of traditional street life is a wonderful contrast to the modern city that lies outside the mud-dubbed walls.
With its intoxicating mix of old and new and desert and sea, Doha is a fascinating destination with something to offer all types of travellers.
This utterly unique hotel has incredible design: it’s a whimsical, modern take on the Arabian Nights tale. The lobby has giant white lamps and a black spiral ‘staircase to nowhere’, while the The swimming pool area is covered by a stained-glass dome. There’s 270 rooms and suites, all with lagoon views, and ESPA spa and fitness centre.
For dining, you can enjoy locally sourced ingredients at Walima restaurant, sip cocktails at Smoke and Mirrors, and see panoramic views over Qatar at the rooftop bar.
The Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara is a private luxury island resort just a 20-minute catamaran ferry ride away from the city centre. It feels a world away here, with the very best of Thai and Qatari luxury. There’s 141 sea view rooms, suites, and beach and overwater pool villas to choose from. The overwater pool villas are the most popular, with open floor-to-ceiling doors to enjoy the views of the Arabian Gulf.
There’s lots to do for the whole family here, including a surfing pool, dive centre, cinema and a bowling alley. Plus, the world-famous Anantara Spa. Note that Banana Island is a dry property, so alcohol is not allowed.
Best known as the ‘Pyramid of the Gulf’ for its unique architecture. The pyramid-shaped hotel is an iconic part of the city skyline. There’s 371 luxury rooms and oceanfront suites, most of which boast spacious balconies with sea or city views. Excellent facilities include an outdoor swimming pool and infinity jacuzzi, 24-hour fitness centre and tennis, squash and Padel tennis courts. There’s also a wellness spa and private beach.
There’s seven restaurants, bars and lounges, including local Qatari flavours at Al Hubara restaurant and authentic Italian at La Veranda.
Famous for its fun ‘n’ funky atmosphere and design, the W Doha Hotel doesn’t disappoint. You’ll get instant New York vibes here, with tech savvy rooms and eclectic cuisine. There’s 289 hotel rooms and suites, as well as 153 hotel apartments. Rooms have either sea or city views and a signature W bed with 400-thread-count sheets.
For dining, take your pick from three-Michelin star restaurants from celebrity Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, authentic Italian fare, a Peruvian restaurant or pool cocktail bar. The hotel also has a Sisley spa and fitness center.
Mandarin Oriental is in the historic heart of Doha (in Msheireb Downtown), within walking distance to top attractions such as Souq Waqif and the Museum of Islamic Art. The hotel has all the modern luxuries, but with a distinct Qatari design influence.
There’s 249 rooms and suites, no less than two rooftop pools and nine bars and restaurants (don’t miss the Instagrammable dessert bar!). A highlight here is the white marble 32,600-square-foot spa and rooftop pool cabanas.
With its very own private beach, a stay at the Four Seasons Doha never disappoints. There’s five indoor and outdoor pools, tropical gardens and nine restaurants and lounges (including the world’s largest NOBU restaurant. All rooms have a view of the Arabian Gulf or the Doha skyline, making sunset here unforgettable.
For families, there are spacious suites and adjoining rooms, as well as an excellent kids programme with daily activities.
Al Jasra Boutique Hotel has just 24 rooms, ensuring an intimate and memorable experience. A hotel butler will be on hand for anything you may need throughout your stay. The location is just 2-minute walk from Souq Waqif, so you’re right in the heart of the city. Rooms here are Arabian in style with sophisticated amenities.
Al Jasra is also home to Doha’s only Anantara spa and the traditional Royal Moroccan Hammam Ritual.
In general, it is slightly more expensive than traditional vacation spots, the average price of a 7-day trip to Doha is $1,296 (solo traveller), $2,328 (couple), and $4,364 (family of 4).
Yes, alcohol is available at licensed hotels and restaurants, although it is an offence to drink alcohol or be drunk in public.