Pembury Partners Travel Diaries: Qatar
If you’re a follower of football (or, as our American friends call it, soccer) you’ll be sure to know that the world cup is once again almost upon us. Exciting times lie ahead for many, as the biggest competition in one of the world’s favourite sports gets underway in Qatar.
As a peninsula jutting into the Persian Gulf, Quatar has long shoreline of dunes and beaches, and an arid desert landscape in the interior. Doha, its capital and by far the largest conurbation, is known for its combination of skyscrapers and ancient-Islamic inspired design. It’s an extremely modern city by any standards, with 5G network connectivity and while the official language is Arabic, English is widely spoken.
Thousands upon thousands of people will be travelling to Doha from all over the globe, and whether or not you’re one of the majority who are tremendously excited about the beautiful game, Doha (and indeed the rest of the country) has a lot more to offer.
There is a wealth of cultural, architectural and commercial attractions to be found in Doha, far too many to list a comprehensive must-see guide. However, highlights include the Museum of Islamic Art, which has the largest collection of Islamic art anywhere in the world, and the National Museum of Qatar, which opened in 2019, and as well as housing almost a mile of galleries is a desert-rose inspired architectural marvel. For local atmosphere the Souq Waqif is built on the city’s ancient marketplace and remains one of the most exciting places in Qatar to visit.
The St Regis Doha offers no fewer than 12 destination restaurants, an Olympic-size swimming pool and 24-hour butler service. Its superb spa leads directly onto the beach.
Al Khafji St, Doha, Qatar https://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/dohxr-the-st-regis-doha
Located on the man-made island of Pearl-Quatar, the Marsa Malaz Kempinski has a private beach, tennis courts, outdoor pools and water sports and activities for everyone, combined with the highest standards of service.
The Pearl – Doha Costa Malaz Bay, Marina Drive, Doha, Qatar https://www.kempinski.com/en/marsa-malaz-kempinski-the-pearl-doha
For the ultimate in interior design, the Mondrian Doha is art-installation-like with both ancient and modern Arabic influences, designed by the renowned Marcel Wanders.
Mondrian Doha, West Bay Lagoon, Doha, Qatar https://www.sbe.com/hotels/mondrian/doha
The recently-opened Le Royal Méridien Doha is located in Lusail, regarded as Qatar’s second city, just 14 miles north of downtown Doha. It is directly connected to the luxury mall Place Vendôme Qatar with its shops, theatres and restaurants.
Place Vendome, Lusail, Qatar https://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/dohmd-le-royal-meridien-doha/
The Mandarin Oriental Doha is in the heart of the city and offers rooftop swimming pools, nine restaurants and bars, marble bathtubs and a Royal Suite with its own lift and pool.
Barahat Msheireb Street, Doha, Qatar https://www.mandarinoriental.com/en/doha/msheireb
Gaia is brand new in Doha, opening in November 2022 (i.e. now), adding to its outlets in Monte Carlo and Dubai. The quality can be expected to be every bit as high as in those cities, and the décor features blooming bougainvillea.
Street 801, Building 138, Zone 61, Doha, Qatar https://gaia-restaurants.com/home-doha
Jiwan is located inside the National Museum of Qatar and is the perfect place to sample contemporary Qatari cuisine. The interior is just as impressive as the Jean Nouvel designed exterior of the museum.
National Museum of Qatar, Museum Park St, Doha, Qatar https://jiwan.qa
Another excellent place to enjoy authentic Middle Eastern cooking is Walima, located in the highly impressive aforementioned Mondrian Hotel.
Mondrian Doha, West Bay Lagoon, Doha, Qatar https://www.sbe.com/hotels/mondrian/doha/dining/walima
Hakkasan is a one-Michelin-star Cantonese restaurant serving some of the finest Chinese food in the country.
Al Gassar Resort, St. Regis Doha, Doha, Qatar https://hakkasan.com/doha
Sora is a Japanese Michelin-starred restaurant and bar, with a unique rooftop location offering perspectives of the city not to be found elsewhere.
Park Hyatt Doha, downtown level 21, Sikkat Wadi Msheireb, Doha, Qatar https://www.hyattrestaurants.com/en/dining/qatar/doha/japanese-restaurant-in-msheireb-sora