A friend and I decided to book a trip to Doha. Neither of us had been to Qatar before and my friend is leaving the region soon so wanted to visit before she leaves. We booked through Etihad and set about planning our short trip. We had been told by a few people that Doha is a small city so we decided on a short stay. We booked to stay in the Double Tree by Hilton which is located in the old town.
After a short ride from the airport to our hotel the first stop on our agenda was the Museum of Islamic Art. The concierge from the Double Tree gave us a map and highlighted some things for us to see so off we went.
The museum has a very impressive entrance lined with date palm trees all coming into season.
Inside the building itself is beautiful with high ceilings and a large window facing the ‘city’ or the new town area. The museum has four floors in total, the ground floor has a cafe, gift shop and a special exhibits room. The second floor focuses on science, patterns and calligraphy and then the third floor houses the early Islamic art from Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Syria and India. The fourth and final floor is reserved for temporary exhibitons.
We spent about 2 hours in the Museum and then decided it was time to brave the heat of the outdoors in search of the souk. It took us a little while to find the souk but its actually not that far from the Museum and its a really pretty walk if you walk along the waterside.
When we got to the souk a lot of the shops and stalls were closed as it was the middle of the day but it was so nice to walk around and see people going about their daily routines, some of which included taking a ‘siesta’ on a bench outside their shop!
The souk itself is really lovely. Much more authentic than any in the UAE and much cleaner and easier to navigate than the souk in Marrakesh!
We walked around the souk for about an hour and peeped into the shops that were open but we didn’t buy anything in the end. Well apart from ice cream that is!
After being out in the heat of the day of so long we decided to head back to the hotel and grab a drink at the bar before going for dinner. As we walked back along the waters edge, there were lots of dhow boats for hire. A boy approached us and asked if we wanted to go for an hour long boat trip, we said no as we were tired and wanted to get back to the hotel so then he asked if we wanted to buy some water. We bought the water and then he asked, ‘are you sure you don’t want to come for a boat ride? We can do half an hour and the boat is all yours’. We appreciated the hustler in him and decided to go for it! We had the whole dhow to ourselves and the little guy even put on some music for us! It was actually a really nice break from the heat and the sun.
After the dhow trip we walked back along the corniche desperate to get to the hotel at this stage, it was about 5.pm and we had been out in the heat pretty much the whole day.
The walk is nice and there is lots to see but we were glad to get back to the Double Tree. We decided to go upstairs and check out the pool bar, Pure. We had quickly looked at Pure when we checked in but there was no one there and we weren’t sure if there would be much of an atmosphere at night time. We were wrong! When we walked in the place was buzzing and has 360 panoramic views of the city. We found ourselves a couple of bar stools and promptly ordered two glasses of white wine. There was a BBQ station set up in the corner and we decided very quickly that this would be our spot for the night. It seemed silly to go and look elsewhere for dinner and drinks when we were clearly staying in one of the hotspots of town!
We spent the evening soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the very warm hospitality of the staff at Double Tree by Hilton and the beautiful views over the city as nightfall approached.
I really loved my trip to Doha and I’m glad I took the opportunity to visit when I had the chance because the UAE have recently cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and Etihad have ceased flying there for now.