Have a free weekend? The urge to do some day trippin’? Then check out the MdM guide to 24 hours in Doha.
Arrive fresh and early in Doha for your Gotham City getaway (yes that is how one of the MdM team described the futuristic skyline of one of the world’s fastest developing countries – note the photography!). Jump into one of the cabs and head into West Bay – the ‘Manhattan of Qatar’ – for some fuelling up.
Here is the fave Aussie outpost of Jones the Grocer, where you can sample an array of breakfast delights. Highlights include the poached eggs on corn and zucchini fritters and the classic eggs benedict. After lusting at their cabinets displaying piles of pastries and shelves packed with other gourmet delights, grab your bag and head to the hotel.
We stayed at the Renaissance, which is a few steps away across the street. It is centrally located, has good size rooms and friendly service. We heard the pool was great too – but with only 24 hours in town there was no time for us MdMers to take a dip (who can believe!?). Other close by options are the Kempinksi and the Grand Hyatt. After checking in your bags, its time to head to Doha’s iconic museum, the Museum of Islamic Art. Sitting grandly on the waters edge, this I.M.Pei designed museum is a remarkable sight.
The building is modern yet reflects the local Arabian heritage, and here you will be able to wander around the various rooms, even catching one of the big exhibits like the recent Damien Hirst retrospective. Make sure to stop by the gift shop for the perfectly curated selection of books, jewellery and homeware goods – ideal for souvenirs.
Unless it’s the peak of the summer you’ll want to enjoy the views and take a walk along the waters edge. From the museum head to the adjacent MIA Park where on any given day you can see families picnicking, children playing and even a live music event or street fair. Aim for the café at the edge of the water where you will be able to catch some of the best views of Doha and . Grab one of the funky geometric designed chairs, a refreshing drink from one of the friendly staff and sit back to enjoy the fresh air.
As night starts to creep in you should head back to your hotel and get ready for Doha in the dark. The place to see and be seen is W Hotel, and with a range of restaurants inside it is a great please to start your evening off. From the newly opening La Spiga by Paper Moon or the classic Jean-Georges restaurant Market, all tastes will be catered for.
We headed to the Spice Market, which focuses on East Asian food and has a dark and richly intense atmosphere, made even more ambient by the warm lounge music. Highlights of the meal included the chicken satay in a spicy peanut sauce, the tandoori salmon and the delicious duck red curry.
After dinner it’s time to work off that meal, and the best place to be doing that will be the St Regis for their weekly beachside Reggae Nights event. Here talented and award winning Barbadian singer Buggy Nakhente and his band perform some fantastic reggae tunes, which are perfect for dancing the night away. (Stay tuned for an insider MdM interview with Buggy very soon!). Whether you choose to lounge back on the beach chairs or kick off your shoes and dance the night away, you’ll be sure to have a jammin’ night.
MdM Top Tips:
- If you have to pay for a visa on arrival, remember they are only taking debit/credit cards. Cash won't do.
- Don't bring any booze in Qatar; it will get taken away at customs
- Friday mornings can be quiet in Doha, with many places shut until lunchtime. The Museum of Islamic Art included, which opens at 2pm on Fridays.
- If you are longer in Qatar check out the famous Souq Waqif, perfect for a stroll in the evening for dinner, shisha and a ghahwa.