Refined and Culturally Rich – Qatar
A refined and culturally sophisticated destination is an apt way to describe Qatar to travellers contemplating a visit. Just over ten years ago, Qatar was described by Lonely Planet as one of the most boring places on Earth. Since then, this tiny Persian Gulf state has transformed itself. The city of Doha has become its showcase and has developed into a world-class city with a great deal to offer discerning visitors.
Doha’s Rapidly Growing Skyline
During my stay in Doha, a sandstorm engulfed the city and gave the skyline a surreal apocalyptic look. As sundown approached, the sun turned an almost white colour and the sky became a beautiful warm yellow. Through the haze, and in every direction, the construction cranes were prominent and bore testament to the unprecedented building boom. By the morning the dust had settled and the sky was clear once more.
What I love about Doha is that, despite a burgeoning number modern skyscrapers, heritage and culture remain strong. The relevant authorities have insisted that traditional Qatari and Persian architecture continues to thrive and forms an integral part of the rapid expansion.
Refined Global Leader – Qatar Airways
Even before arriving at Doha’s Hamad International Airport, you are given a taste of the quality of service that is to follow. I have never been disappointed when I have flown on Qatar’s national carrier. Qatar Airways has once again been voted the World’s top airline by SKYTRAX. The service, quality of aircraft and food are always exemplary.
Refined Modern Airport – Hamad International
Hamad International Airport was opened in mid 2014 and has continued to develop and improve facilities ever since. It is the first airport in the Middle East to achieve the SKYTRAX’s prestigious 5-Star Airport rating. Positive changes to visitor visa requirements has made customs and immigration a seamless exercise.
Refined World Class Hotels – Mondrian Doha
World class hotels have been sprouting up everywhere in Qatar’s capital Doha. International chains have been encouraged to showcase their latest and most luxurious creations and this is clearly evident when driving through the city. A recent addition to the line-up is the luxurious Mondrian Doha. The hotel is situated in the West Bay Lagoon area and opened its doors in October 2017.
Both the exterior and interior of the Mondrian Doha are works of art. The hotel features a unique interior by renowned Dutchman Marcel Wanders. His whimsical designs are fascinating and the effect is very much like being in the fantasy world of Alice in Wonderland. The facilities are outstanding, modern and state of the art.
Refined Cultural Attractions
Qatar is committed to becoming a world-class centre of culture. The kingdom has been pursuing this ambition at breakneck speed and already has the following to offer to art and culture buffs:
1) The Museum of Islamic Art
2) Arab Museum of Modern Art
3) Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum
4) The Fire Station Artist in Residence
5) Orientalist Museum
6) National Museum of Qatar – This state of the art museum is currently under construction.
Classical Outdoor Adventures
Visiting Qatar would not be complete without a trip to the desert. A safari to the Khor Al Adaid (or Inland Sea) is both exhilarating and beautiful. Riding though the dunes is thrilling but the drivers are highly skilled and experienced and at no time did I feel as if we were in any danger.
Quality Shopping in State of the Art Traditionally Designed Malls
New shopping malls are opening on a regular basis in Qatar. Souq Waqif, Villagio Mall, Lagoona and Katara Plaza are gaining in reputation with discerning shoppers. I particularly enjoyed the Katara Plaza. It comprises of shops, departmental stores, office spaces, service apartments, and a unique mall for children.
Refined Internationally Renowned Restaurants
Doha has attracted some of the most celebrated restaurateurs on the planet. I visited a number of outstanding eateries during my visit. However, the pick of the bunch was Morimoto, Doha. The Mondrian Hotel is home to Iron Chef Morimoto’s first restaurant in the middle East and it is a winner. Before you even sit down for a meal you will be dazzled by the restaurants interior design. The journey starts at the entrance, where you will be amazed by a golden hall of mirrors. This leads through to the kitchen area which serves to tantalize your taste buds with a multitude of sumptuous aromas. Finally, you arrive at the exquisitely designed dining section which is both elegant and cosy.
This is just a start of a delightful journey exploring fine Japanese cuisine!
Morimoto – Mondrian Doha
One of a number of sumptuous platters shared by my group.