WHY TO GO
If pressed, most of us UAE-ites would admit to making snide remarks about Doha – deeming it not as exciting, not as glam, not as fun-filled as our own vibrant cities. However, a quick trip over to Qatar’s bustling capital reveals this view to be pretty outdated. And it seems we’re the last to know – recent tourism industry reports show that the number of tourists visiting Doha is rocketing. So the question isn’t why we should go, but why shouldn’t we?
WHERE TO STAY
If you’re looking for modern comfort in the heart of the city, the Amari Doha (www.amari.com) is spot on. This new boutique hotel offers spacious rooms with touches of Arabic design fused with state-of-the-art facilities. Amari hotels are known for their spas, so squeeze in a visit to Breeze Spa for a Mood Massage. Room rates start from 340 Qatari riyals (Dh343).
WHAT TO SEE
From the hotel, take a five-minute stroll down the Doha Corniche for a picturesque view of Doha Bay. Next, jump in a taxi and head to the nearby Museum of Islamic Art (www.mia.org.qa), which houses a collection of Islamic art spanning 1,400 years. Admission is free.
Yet more culture awaits at Katara Culural Village (www.katara.net), where you might be able to catch the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (www.qatarphilharmonicorchestra.org).
WHERE TO SHOP
If you’re looking for a local hangout, head to Souq Waqif. The stretch features traditional Qatari buildings converted into shops and restaurants offering local food and shisha with alfresco seating and Arabic entertainment. Further down the stretch is the mini bazaar, where you can buy authentic Qatari items and souvenirs. For some custom bling, head to the Gold Souq along Ali Bin Abdullah Street and get your name engraved on a gold or silver necklace for 100 riyals.
WHERE TO EAT
You can’t leave Doha without checking out the award-winning Al Mourjan (www.almourjan.com), where you can enjoy a delicious Lebanese buffet and great views of the West Bay. The food, the view, the service… trust me, it’s definitely worth a visit. Afterwards, head to popular nightspot The Jazz Club at the Oryx Rotana Hotel (www.rotana.com/oryxrotana) for some live music and a welcoming vibe.
HOW TO GET THERE
Flydubai offers daily flights to Doha. Prices start from Dh333 return. For details go to www.flydubai.com