More than a convenient stopover en route to Europe, Qatar is a world-class destination in its own right.
Travelers seeking out the last word in luxury and culture have much to look forward to in Doha, the vibrant Qatari capital. Football fans can watch the Club World Cup matches held between December 11–22 and get a sneak peek at the fan experience for FIFA World Cup 2022. Purpose-built stadiums with designs rooted in local tradition promise a novel experience, along with fan zones and a plethora of winter activities. There is much to enjoy outside the stadiums as well, with the National Museum of Qatar, a cutting-edge masterpiece by Pritzker Prize–winning French architect Jean Nouvel. Opened in March, Doha’s newest landmark is defined by interlocking sand-colored concrete disks that take their cues from the desert rose, crystal formations of gypsum that naturally occur in arid regions around the world. The 52,000-square-meter museum was built around the restored Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, once the home of the royal family.
You can also visit The Pearl-Qatar, a man-made island whose Venetian-inspired Qanat Quartier district is the perfect backdrop for a coffee session or a gourmet meal. The variety of dining venues at The Pearl are sure to suit the globe-trotting traveler, with options ranging from Italian to Turkish, Middle Eastern, and South American fare. The Pearl is also a high-end retail haven: Hermès, Balenciaga, Chloé, and Missoni are just a few of the luxury brands represented here.
Stroll along the Corniche, a wide waterfront promenade that stretches seven kilometers along the length of Doha Bay. It’s the perfect place to see traditional dhows with Doha’s ultramodern skyline as a memorable backdrop. Gourmands will find another reason to linger on the Corniche. Inside the Museum of Islamic Art, IDAM—the Middle Eastern flagship venue of renowned chef Alain Ducasse—serves French Mediterranean haute cuisine with most ingredients sourced locally in Qatar. Over at the Four Seasons hotel, contemporary Japanese-Peruvian food takes center stage at the world’s largest Nobu restaurant, which occupies a sleek nautical structure perched above the Arabian Gulf.
Stays in Qatar are no less indulgent. Just a 25-minute ferry ride from the Corniche, Banana Island Resort Doha is a 13-hectare offshore sanctuary run by the Bangkok-based Anantara brand. It offers the ultimate in relaxation, with spacious sea-view rooms, suites, and pool villas, complemented with a seamless blend of Thai and Qatari hospitality. The private-island resort also has its own marina and 800-meter beach, no less than seven restaurants, alongside a signature Anantara spa, where a diverse range of treatments capture Qatar’s ancient tribal traditions and cultural heritage.
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This article was brought to you by Qatar National Tourism Council.