Myth Busting Trip to Qatar

Myth Busting Trip to Qatar

I was fortunate to visit Doha Qatar as part of a Myth Busting Trip with Qatar Tourism and Travel Weekly. The purpose of the visit was to showcase what Qatar has to offer and to see the real Qatar and hopefully walk away with a different perspective than what many people would have following the press received on the run up to the World Cup. I can honestly say I was made to feel very welcome every where I visited and the hospitality from the locals was incredible. They were genuinely happy for us to visit their country. I would definitely go back!


I flew with Qatar Airways direct to Doha (Business Class both ways) and the flight was fabulous. The cabin crew were very attentive and there was a great selection of food and beverages to choose from. I was surprised to learn Qatar airways have received many awards for their wine selection but this is not something they will shout about. There was a great choice of movies and series to watch including the latest blockbuster releases. There was also wifi onboard. It was free for the first hour but cost $10 if you wanted unlimited wifi. They also provided a blanket and pillows and a toiletry gift which included eye mask, socks and moisturisers etc.

On arrival at Doha airport, I was taken to a private lounge where I was offered food and beverages and told to relax whilst my luggage was brought to me and we exited via a private passport security desk. This service is offered to Business class customers at a cost of approx £100pp.

Waldorf Astoria in Lusail Doha

I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria for my entire stay. The hotel offers a tranquil private beachfront setting in the heart of Lusail with spectacular surroundings and Arabian hospitality. Lusail is known for it’s shopping and has an impressive designer shopping mall just 4 minutes walk away. Rooms I stayed in the leading room which was a Deluxe Room which was immaculate. It was very spacious with its own walk-in closet. The room was attended to twice per day. The room had a balcony overlooking the pool and private beach. The bed was a king-size bed and it was really comfortable. Concierge can arrange lots of different tours for the guests to enjoy. Breakfast was provided and offered a great selection of fruits, pastries, waffles, pancakes, cereal items, yoghurts and vitamin drinks. It also offered al a carte cooked breakfast.

The hotel has a variety of different room types to suit all budgets. For those wanting the ultimate experience in luxury then the hotel has 9 sky villas. The villas are from 460sqms and offer two or three bedroom accommodation. They are situated on the roof terrace with 360degrees views and a rooftop private jacuzzi. It has a separate living and dining room with a fully equipped kitchen.

Pool Area

The hotel has 2 private pools next to each other and a number of private cabanas and plenty of sun loungers. There is also a small waterpark featuring waterslides, play areas and adventure trails for little ones. I would say this would be perfect for toddlers up to age 8.

For older children there is a surfing area (similar to the flow rider on the Royal Caribbean ships) where they can learn to surf or practice their surfing skills.

Beach Area

The hotel has its own private beach. It is on the small side but is one of only xx hotels in Doha to have a private beach. Spa The hotel has a beautiful spa offering guests a choice of spa, alternative therapies, fitness (a gym) and holistic treatments. The spa is spread over three floors with 18 treatment rooms, a couple’s suite and includes a private spa suite and sleep pods.


The Waldorf Astoria has 2 restaurants; SushiSamba and Scarpetta. I was fortunate to eat at SushiSamba which is a celebration of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian culture and cuisine. The food was amazing and such a variety. They also do Friday Brunch which includes food and unlimited alcohol over 2.5 hours. This is very popular. I was pleasantly surprised at the cost of eating here as it was much more reasonable than I expected. Scarpetta is a modern New York Italian Restaurant. I didn’t eat here but the menu looked incredible.

I would recommend this hotel to business customers and families. Whilst we were there the hotel hosted the Prince of Saudi Arabia.

Other Hotels Visited

The InterContinental Doha Beach Resort & Spa

A 5 star property located on Doha‘s longest private beach and nestled in landscaped gardens, the InterContinental Doha features 14 restaurants and bars including the famous La Mar Doha, a range of recreational facilities, a free-form swimming pool, and the exclusive Spa InterContinental. The hotels lead in room is the classic room and it offers 9 different suite categories. Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to explore the rooms as we visited the property to eat at the famous La Mar restaurant.

La Mar By Gastón Acurio

The restaurant is very much a seafood restaurant but there were members in our party who did not eat seafood and they were catered for no problem. I would highly recommend this restaurant. The service was impressive. Again I was surprised how reasonable the food and drinks was. We had a set meal which also included unlimited alcohol for the duration of the meal at a set price.

The Ned Doha

A 5 star property located in the former Ministry of Interior building, The Ned Doha offers seven restaurants, 90 bedrooms, event venues, and Ned’s Club, a private members’ club that gives access to spaces including a rooftop terrace, a health club with spa, gym and 30m outdoor pool. The hotel was renovated prior to the World Cup.

Throughout the hotel you will see an extensive collection of original artworks created by close to 100 artists, more than half of whom are based in Doha and nearly three quarters of whom are female. I had a tour around the hotel and looked at the cosy room which were quite small, suitable for a short stay, but had all the amenities and a generous bathroom. The furnishes were beautiful. I also had a tour around the Large room which was impressive and perfect for a longer stay.

We ate at one of the 7 restaurants, Cecconis’. This is an Italian restaurant and nothing was too much trouble for the chef. He prepared gluten free pasta and bread for some of our guests. There was also a very modern American dinner called Electric’s and the average main meal cost approx £18. I would recommend this hotel for high end business customers and couples.

JW Marriott Marquis Doha

Centrally connected to the expansive destinations of the West Bay area and downtown business district it provides the perfect balance of best in class business amenities and revitalizing personal and social experiences. It is located next to the City Center Mall where you will find endless options for shopping, dining, entertainment including a cinema.

We didn’t get to see the rooms in the hotel as the purpose of our visit was to experience a unique private dining at the helipad. This truly was a once in a lifetime dining experience in a spectacular location that gives you sweeping views of Doha’s skyline. The Helipad at JW Marriott Marquis City Center Doha combines prime location with a gastronomic culinary adventure to deliver an unforgettable experience. Spend an extraordinary evening with family and friends, or treat your loved one with a romantic dinner under the stars.

Fuwairit Kite Beach (FKB) Resort (By Hilton)

This property is a new hotel situated in the North of Qatar approximately 40 minutes away from Doha. It is a very cool and chic property and I would recommend this for young adults (approx 18-30). The location is stunning, situated on a stretch of beach and hosts some of the worlds best kite surfing competitions (the main one held in December). The interior of the property has a very young and chic vibe. The rooms are very modern and have all the amenities you would expect from a Hilton. The hotel has a fantastic gym and a yoga facility where you look out onto the golden sandy beach. The hotel is very secluded and is very much a destination hotel with little surrounding it. I would say this would be perfect for a weekend stay for a group of males or for those insta posts.


Museums and Culture

Whilst in Doha I visited the National Museum of Qatar. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the National Museum of Qatar draws inspiration from and recreates the naturally occurring crystal formations known as the desert rose. It is a wonderful site to see.

The museum is a series of interconnected galleries which take visitors on a visual journey through Qatar, telling the story of the country, from the pre-historic to the modern era. There is an interactive area in each gallery for children. It is definitely worth a visit.

I also visited the Cultural Heritage Centre where we watched how Arabic Coffee was made and also tried some. We learnt about Islamic customs and traditions and got to speak openly to 2 Islamic ladies about their culture and it was a safe place to ask any questions. At the centre they hold many events such as rug making and could try on traditional dress. It was an opportunity to really divulge and learn about.

During the evening I visited the Souq Waqif which is a traditional market. There was so much to do and see here from seeing the camels, to retail therapy, to holding a falcon to eating at one of Doha’s most famous restaurants Parisa. It is a definite must do. I felt really safe and unlike when I have visited other Souq’s like in Egypt or Tunisia it was refreshing not to be hassled to buy or go into shops etc. It was a pleasant experience.

Adventure Activities

I was surprised to learn there is so much to offer in Qatar for those adrenalin seekers. If you have a need for speed and the wind in your hair, get your adrenaline pumping with everything from racing over dunes to zipping along the water. Wakeboarding, dragon boating, parasailing and scuba diving – take your pick! 

Kayaking through the Mangroves

One of the activities I did was kayaking through the Al Thakira Mangroves. It was a fun activity and children would love this. The scenery was beautiful and there was time to relax on a little island. It was a very hot day so my suggestion would be to do this early morning.

Dune Bashing/Desert Safari

The impressive 'Inland Sea' or Khor Al Adaid, a UNESCO recognized site, lies to the south of the city, and is one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches into the desert. Here I had the opportunity to experience a desert safari in a 4x4 vehicle. It was very similar to the Safari in Dubai for those who attended conference. It is also possible to ride a camel and do some sand surfing. Highly recommended.

Qatar as a Transit Destination

A lot of our customers will transit through Doha airport on their way to their final destination. However if your customer has a long wait at the airport then why not consider organising a tour for them. Discover Qatar have a number of trips available from the airport such as a tour around the Souq Waqif, a round of golf or a desert safari. All tour guides are English Speaking.

An example of such a tour is ‘Discover Doha’ and costs approx £30pp for 4 hours. Highlights are - Experience the unique heritage, storied history and realized aspirations of Doha with a city tour that takes you around Souq Waqif, Dhow Harbour, the Museum of Islamic Arts, Katara Cultural Village and The Pearl.


Doha Port, now a turnaround hub, is fast emerging as a prominent luxury cruise destination in the winter cruise season. The cruise terminal can welcome 12,000 passengers per day.

The Port welcomes leading international cruise lines, such as MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises, TUI Mein Schiff, Emerald, Silversea and more during the cruise season, which runs from November to April every year.

General Comments

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip. I was surprised how reasonably priced food and drink was. As in Dubai you can drink alcohol in hotels and most of the hotels have nightclubs etc. No alcohol will be served during Ramadan even in hotel bars. Dress – you can wear vest tops and shorts but when in public places like museums and the Souq please have a scarf to cover your shoulders. I covered my shoulders in restaurants but it is fairly relaxed. Best area to stay is West Bay. There is an all inclusive hotel the Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha which is great for families. Transport – there is a really well connected tram service which costs approx 45p per journey with a cap at approx £2.20 per day. Uber’s are everywhere and are so cheap! About 1/5 of the cost back home.        

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