Qatar is a peninsula surrounded by the Arabian Gulf in the heart of the Middle East, with 80 per cent of the earth’s population within a six-hour flight. Ranked the safest country in the world in 2020 by Numbeo, the country is set to reopen and welcomes all travellers, and guests from over 85 countries visa-free.
Qatar has an incredible variety of easily accessible tourist attractions, a plethora of fauna and flora, including Whale Sharks and the majestic national animal the Arabian Oryx; most experiences are a unique combination of cultural authenticity and modernity. From iconic museums to high-rise restaurants, from thrilling desert adventures to world-famous events, including none other than the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, there is something for all types of travellers and budgets.
* Astro-tourism packages (launched 2021)
Visitors can now enjoy the breathtaking night sky of the desert with Qatar’s astro-tourism experiences. The immersive desert experience includes a magical moon-lit camel safari and a traditional Bedouin BBQ, followed by a deep exploration into the starry desert skies, in a one-to-one stargazing session with an astronomer.
* Quest Doha (launched July 2021)
Home to over 30 rides, including the world’s tallest indoor rollercoaster and indoor shot & drop tower, Qatar has just opened the ‘Quest’ theme and amusement park at the Doha Oasis. The Park takes visitors on a quest through three time-based dimensions that represent the past, present, and future.
* Banyan Tree Doha (2021)
A five-star luxury property, elegantly designed by renowned interior designer Jacques Garcia. The hotel has five opulent dining options, 341 rooms, suites, and residences, and a Rainforest Hydrotherapy spa that creates a sanctuary for the senses, featuring a vitality pool, herbal sauna, steam room and unique rain walk.
* Jouri, a Murwab Hotel (2021)
A boutique hotel fusing modern and high-tech features. Designed for the needs of the busy modern-day traveller, the hotel offers 110 luxurious rooms and 26 suites. The hotel is in close proximity to Doha’s iconic visitor attractions; National Museum of Qatar, Museum of Islamic Art, souq waqif and Doha corniche.
* Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas (2021)
The seventh Hilton in the region, the resort offers 3.5 km of picturesque private beaches and over 350 rooms. The resort is also home to the Desert Falls Water and Adventure Park, one of the largest theme parks in the Middle East, featuring 28 slides and rides, including torrent rivers, surfing dunes and Whizzard mat racing.
* Zulal Wellness Resort (upcoming 2021)
Set to be the largest wellness destination in the country and the first well-being resort in the region, Zulal will become a must visit in Qatar. The resort was awarded the ‘World’s Best New Wellness Retreat 2020’ at the World Spa Awards and will offer a range of treatments to allow guests to fully immerse themselves in true serenity, surrounded by a natural and picturesque landscape.
New dining destinations:
* COYA Doha (2021)
An award-winning contemporary Peruvian restaurant, COYA has opened its doors at the W Doha. Food enthusiasts can now sample Peru’s distinctive delicacies in an authentic Peruvian atmosphere, where gastronomy and Incan traditions combine perfectly under one roof. After a sterling success in London, Monte Carlo, Paris and Mykonos, COYA is now ready to set the culinary scene ablaze with the colours and flavours of Latin America in Qatar.
* Reberu (2021)
A unique multi-culinary Japanese experience in Msheireb Downtown Doha at Reberu. The restaurant is a modern and iconic take on fine dining.
* Dante Cucina Italiana (2020)
Located in the newly opened Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas, Dante Cucina Italiana brings the best of Tuscan cuisine with a fully immersive and interactive journey through the open kitchen.
* EL&N London (2021)
London’s most Instagrammable cafe has landed in Doha. This all-pink cafe has graced the neighbourhood of Msheireb Downtown Doha with irresistibly chic perfection. Guests can experience the iconic flower walls, pink interiors and alternative lattes that are taking social media by storm.
* MYLK (2020)
Visitors can now take a guilt-free bite of the sweet life at Doha’s newest vegan dessert destination. MYLK offers customers a gluten-free, plant-based menu with items ranging from ice creams and chocolates to pastries.
Recent FIFA World Cup Qatar Stadium openings:
* Education City Stadium (June 2020)
The stadium is designed to reflect a diamond in the desert, appearing to change colour as the sun moves across the sky. The faeade transforms into a colourful light show at night.
* Al Rayyan Stadium (Dec 2020)
The facilities surrounding the stadium mirror the country, with sand dune-shaped structures recalling the beautifully wild lands to the west.
* Al Bayt Stadium (Feb 2020)
The world’s first Arab designed stadium, in the form of a traditional “House of Poetry” tent.
* Al Janoub Stadium (May 2019)
The stadium is elegantly designed by Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, who was inspired by the nature of Qatar’s coast — sailing, maritime trade and fishing.
* Khalifa International Stadium (May 2017)
Built in the Doha in 1976, this stadium was completely refurbished ahead of the tournament.
Upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar Stadiums:
* Lusail Stadium (scheduled to open end of 2021)
Designed by British architects Foster + Partners, the stadium is designed to mirror the ancient Arab craft of bowl weaving, with the interplay of light and shadow that characterises the fanar lantern. Lusail Stadium will host the opening and final, along with matches during every stage of the tournament.
* Ras Abu Aboud Stadium
Designed by FIA Fenwick Iribarren Architects, the Ras Abu Aboud Stadium will become the first fully dismantled stadium in the history of the FIFA World Cup, designed in a unique way using 974 shipping containers and demountable building units. This will echo the nearby port and Doha’s long maritime history.
* Al Thumama Stadium
Designed by the Arab Engineering Bureau, this is the first FIFA World Cup venue to be designed by a Qatari architect — Ibrahim M. Jaidah. The inspiration for the stadium stems from gahfiya (traditional woven cap) worn by Arab men.