Doha is a quiet and extremely safe and clean city. Most of the people working in Qatar are foreigners, it’s a big multi-cultural country and all the people I met were very nice.
The first impression I got was when we arrived at Hamad International airport. It’s a big airport like others but I was surprised to see there were almost more security guards than passengers. Lots of staff everywhere ready to help you.
Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA world cup and the country is in full expansion. Buildings are growing like mushrooms and there is sometimes a big contrast with traditional mosques surrounded by tall glass buildings.
There is a large choice of hotels in Doha but I decided to stay at the “Golden Tulip Doha hotel” and I wasn’t disappointed.
The service of the hotel started at the airport where their driver was waiting for us. From the reception to the housekeepers, everybody was very polite, helpful and very nice. They really do their best to make your stay as easy and as comfortable as possible.
I had a nice Executive room with Persian Gulf’s views.
This hotel has a coffee shop, a restaurant with very good breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. If you prefer they also have a menu and even their snacks are quite big. On the top floors, they have a big fitness centre with modern equipment, a spa offering massages and saunas and a rooftop swimming pool.
Look at this video done during my stay:
Golden Tulip Doha is located downtown which was also the reason why we chose it. It was easy to walk from the Museum of Islamic Art to the Souq Waqif and to the small stores and markets around. And if you don’t want to walk, it’s always possible to catch a taxi or private driver from the hotel. But what attracted our attention were those glass buildings which all have a different style.
The museum of Islamic Art is on the Corniche, Doha’s famous waterfront promenade and it’s opened daily with free entrance.
The architecture is very interesting and inside you will find a library, a coffee shop, a restaurant on the last floor and a permanent gallery which was very interesting.
Close to the museum is a small dhow harbour. Dhows are the traditional wooden boats that are proposing day and night cruises.
By day you can go up to the Pearl-Qatar, a huge artificial island with its luxurious buildings, villas and its marina. By night the buildings will turn to multi-coloured towers, and from the sea, it’s a beautiful show to watch. You can have a dhow just for you and share it with other people, it depends on what you are willing to pay but it’s quite cheap.
At about 15 minutes walk from Golden Tulip Doha or 3 minutes by car, you will find the famous souq Waqif.
Life starts just before sunset and after 5.00 pm shops open. It’s a big labyrinth with shops everywhere. You can get everything, clothes, jewellery, souvenirs, spices, candies, cooking appliances, gardening accessories, everything is at the souq. The souq is very clean, you won’t find a paper on the floor, and sellers are very friendly, trying to get you inside their shop. It’s a very nice atmosphere.
There is an area with good restaurants where you can spend the rest of the evening.
You can’t go to Doha without visiting Villaggio shopping mall. This place is very big, with more than 200 stores and surprising decoration.
Once inside you will be transported to Italy. There is a 150 meters long indoor canal with gondolas, wide walking streets, stores walls look like monuments and even the fake sky seems real. Everything has been taken from Italian architecture.
Inside this mall, you will find a movie theatre, an ice rink, a fun park, Carrefour hypermarket, a food court and of course stores like Virgin Megastore, H&M, Decathlon, Adidas, GAP, MANGO, Zara, DunHill but also Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Armani, Lacoste, Mont Blanc, Rolex,… You got it, it’s a luxurious shopping mall.
Time flies very fast when you are on holidays and there are still lots of things to do and to see in Doha, like desert safaris, visit the historic town, the Grand Mosque, museums,… It will be for next time.
My trip ended as it started with the Golden Tulip Doha’s driver bringing us back to the airport early in the morning.