Doha's rapid development into a commercial and entertainment hub will undoubtedly change its poor reputation as one of the world's most boring capitals.
Enormous malls, purpose-built tourist attractions, comprehensive residential developments and the mass expansion of the capital's residential and commercial property sectors, funded mostly by oil and gas money, means Doha looks, and smells, like a gargantuan construction site. However, once construction is complete, Doha may become the region's biggest tourist and business attraction.
Due to the nation's ostentatious wealth, Doha is one of the only capitals in the world to have remained relatively unscarred by the world economic crisis. Today, analysts predict Doha may surpass Dubai as the region's commercial and financial hub.
Hotels in Doha
The Doha hotels below have been grouped into three pricing categories: Luxury (over QAR 1,800) Moderate (QAR 1,000 to QAR 1,800) Cheap (up to QAR 1,000)
Four Seasons Hotel Doha
This luxurious addition to Doha's 5-star hotel scene offers 232 rooms, a state-of-the-art spa and excellent food outlets.
Address: Al Corniche, PO Box 24665 Doha, Qatar
Grand Hyatt Doha
Located close to The Pearl development on Doha's West Bay, the Grand Hyatt Doha is in the heart of the new city. The luxury hotel offers 249 guestrooms, and has a host of reputable restaurants and bars.
Address: West Bay, PO Box 24010 Doha, Qatar
This fully equipped 5-star hotel sits on Doha's waterfront. It offers a choice of six restaurants, a gym, outdoor swimming pool, two tennis courts and two squash courts, as well as a private 500m (1,640ft) stretch of beach, the longest private beach in Doha.
Address: Al Istiqlal Road, 6822 Doha, Qatar
Oasis Hotel and Beach Club
If it is cheap and cheerful you are after, then this Doha hotel is the place. The Oasis Hotel and Beach Club boasts 154 rooms, two ballrooms and three meetings rooms, as well as a swimming pool and other sports facilities.
Address: Ras Abu Aboud Road, Doha, Qatar
Rydges Plaza Doha
The Rydges Plaza is a brand-new, 4-star hotel in Doha with 136 rooms, including two purpose built for travellers with impaired mobility. The Royal Suites have their own suites and whirlpool baths. With a gym, swimming pool and three function rooms, the Rydges Plaza is equally equipped for both business and leisure travellers.
Address: Abu Firas Street, Doha, Qatar
Sharq Village & Spa
Built like a traditional Qatari village, Sharq Village & Spa - part of the Ritz-Carlton chain - is a 174-room luxury hotel, complete with its own souk and a stunning Six Senses Spa. Unfortunately, the hotel is under the airport's flight path.
Address: Ras Abu Aboud Road,
Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel
The self-styled 'Pyramid of the Gulf' boasts 353 rooms and a waterfront setting in 70 acres of grounds in the West Bay area of Doha. The conference and incentive facilities are amongst the most impressive in Qatar.
Address: Al Corniche Street,
The Ritz-Carlton Doha
One of Doha's finest hotels, the Ritz-Carlton has 374 rooms and a spot-on location overlooking the Arabian Gulf with many of the rooms in this tower offering sweeping views. There are nine restaurants, a spa and modern fitness centre, two ballrooms, a business centre, marina and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
The Mall, D Ring Road, and the Landmark Mall, Al Shamala Road, are two of the most popular malls in Doha. Other malls to look out for include The Royal Plaza, Al Sadd Street, the Hyatt Plaza, Al Waab Road, and the Villagio Mall, Al Waab Street. You can find designer names at the Alfardan Centre, Grand Hamad Street, while City Centre Mall, C Ring Road, claims to be one of the biggest shopping malls in the region and easily swallows up a half day.
Malls in Doha tend to be open Saturday to Thursday 1000-2200 and Friday 1400-2200, while the souks keep more irregular hours.
As Doha is an Islamic city, many locals do not drink alcohol, at least not officially. Consequently, Doha's nightlife is nothing to boast about, and it rarely changes. That said, there are a handful of hotspots residents frequent.
Cultural performances and venues tend to be thin on the ground in this increasingly bustling modern city. The most interesting for tourists are usually those arranged ad hoc at hotels and by tourist companies. Live music can often be found in the city's sprinkling of 5-star hotels. Hotel concierges can be the best point of contact for more information.
Bars in Doha
The Ritz-Carlton Doha
The Ritz Carlton is home to a number of lively venues, including the waterfront Admiral's Club, which boasts a live DJ. Shisha Diwan at the same hotel serves only non-alcoholic drinks, but the highlight is smoking one of the fruit-flavoured water pipes, while Habanos keeps the cocktail and cigar crowd happy.
West Bay Lagoon,
DOHA EVENTS 2012
30 Jan - 5 Feb 2012 (annual)
The PGA European Tour visits the Persian Gulf for the Qatar Masters. While the tournament is growing in importance every year, few of Europe's big guns make the trip, providing the perfect...
Run The World
Dec 2011 - Mar 2012 (annual)
A track marathon, multicultural dance performances, DJ stands and graffiti artworks are just some of the events held at Katar duiring Doha's Run The World. Organised by the Youth Company, the festival supports youth development in the region.
Qatar Class I Powerboat Championship Race
Mar - Apr 2012 (annual)
The stretch of water along the Doha Corniche in Qatar hosts one of the eight races that make up this Class 1 offshore powerboat competition. The boats reach speeds in excess of 160mph, giving...
Emir GCC Camels Race Final
Apr 2012 (annual)
The final of the long-established Emir GCC Camels Race is held at Alshahaniya Race Track in Doha, attracting a select crowd of wealthy camel owners to compete against each other every year.
Festival of the Senses
May 2012 (annual)
Doha's annual Festival of the Senses examines the essence of various sporting disciplines through interactive displays and activities that affect the human senses.
Doha Tribeca Film Festival
Oct 2012 (annual)
Doha Tribeca Film Festival comes to Qatar, screening 35 films at Katara and other venues across Doha. International film makers and lovers unite to generate awareness and understanding of Arab...
Run The World
Dec 2012 - Mar 2013 (annual)
A track marathon, multicultural dance performances, DJ stands and graffiti artworks are just some of the events held at Katar duiring Doha's Run The World. Organised by the Youth Company
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