Kempinski Blog Article
Not all that long ago, Doha would have been called a 'city in the making'. However, rapid and stylish development over the past decade has ensured one thing: Doha has well and truly arrived. Embrace Doha's modernity, respect its roots - and whether you are here for business or pleasure – we are certain that you will find a special place in your heart for this bustling Persian Gulf metropolis.
With one of the busiest airports in the Persian Gulf region, you should have no problems flying into the city. Hamad International Airport, formally known as Doha International until 2014, has a fantastic network of routes, with flights regularly landing from the USA, Europe and beyond.
Once you are in the capital, many choose to use taxis to get around the city. There are a couple of bus services, but taxis are still considered more reliable. Along with marked taxis, you will be able to request private vehicles from the reception of your hotel. Car hire is also a popular choice, but be warned - street names are often not given in an address, so finding your destination can be a little tricky if you are not used to the city's roads.
In terms of visas, the rules and regulations are always changing, so ensure you check with your home government's website before travelling to get the latest advice. As a general rule, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and many other international countries (including most of Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and Japan) will issue a tourism visa that lasts up to one month for a small fee. Most visas need to be sorted in advance of your arrival, so be sure to arrange this well ahead of travelling.
Once you have sorted all the paperwork and have arrived in Doha, you can be sure of a wonderful time - especially when staying with Kempinski. Our staff at both Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl and Kempinski Residences & Suites, Doha are sure to give you a warm welcome.
The capital of Qatar has a great respect for its heritage, but there is no denying the fact that Doha is a thoroughly modern city, and home to some architectural and engineering triumphs. From the man-made island of The Pearl-Qatar, to the Al-Corniche - a spectacular crescent-shaped promenade that looks out over the Persian Gulf, with the Doha skyline in the distance - modern construction has given this city entirely new ground on which it can build.
Head into the centre of Doha, and you need only look up to see the full extent of the city's architectural prowess. Aspire Tower, Tornado Tower and the World Trade Centre Doha are all among the tallest in the city, but their design is as awe-inspiring as their height.
In Qatar, food is where a blend of history and culture comes into play. Taking influences from Arabic and Levantine dishes, there is no doubt that you will find plenty of delicious, local treats to enjoy while visiting Doha.
Along with locally grown delicacies such as dates and almonds, the Qatari diet includes plenty of seafood, lamb and beef. A firm western favourite, hummus, is readily available here, make sure you venture outside of your comfort zone too.
Tabouleh is a perfect side dish, comprising cracked wheat with mint and parsley seasoning, and ghuzi is ideal for those with a good appetite - expect a whole, roasted lamb served on top of rice and nuts - delicious!
Sweet treats are also enjoyed here in Doha. Particularly the mehalabiya, which is a tasty rose water and pistachio dessert of a custard-like consistency - ideal after a hearty main course.
Doha is a popular connection between the east and west. It is a common layover point, however it is very much a city that deserves to be enjoyed within its own right.
Similar to Dubai's Palm Jumeirah, The Pearl-Qatar is a purpose built island, which combines great feats of engineering with true luxury. On the island, you will find an exquisite range of restaurants, shops from high-end brands, glorious beaches and, of course, the Marsa Malaz Kempinski.
While you are here, enjoy a peaceful boat ride, or explore on foot to really examine the architecture on this stunning island. The Pearl-Qatar is as beautiful at night as it is during the day, so if you are not staying on the island, plan your time to allow dinner at sunset – there is no better way to see all facets of the island.
Stretch your legs, and enjoy the open air with a wander along Doha's crescent promenade, the Corniche. Not only will you be greeted with spectacular views of the Doha skyline, you will find a range of places to enjoy a bite to eat, or even the opportunity to hop on a boat and explore the coast.
Amongst all the modernism of the bustling city, Doha's Souq Waqif can offer you a more traditional afternoon. Literally translated as 'standing market', the Souq Waqif is the go-to location for traditional clothing, spices and handmade crafts for locals and visitors alike. Recent restoration works have seen an art centre added to the souq, and it is even home to festivals throughout the year.
Museum of Islamic Art
There are few institutions that can boast a collection as thorough as Doha's Museum of Islamic Art. With pieces from three continents, created over 1,400 years, there is a lot of art and history to enjoy within the walls of this museum. Outside, however, there is beauty to explore too - take a walk around the gardens outside of the heat of the day in order to truly appreciate your surroundings. The museum is open every day except Tuesday, and is free to enter - but bear in mind some exhibitions will be ticketed.