Wish You were Here: Doha

Happy National Day Qatar! As the Middle Eastern state celebrates its founding on 18 December we take a tour of country’s capital Doha to see what this glitzy city on sand has on offer.


Even if you are not a Qatar national, Qatar’s National Day is one thing you definitely ought to experience as it’s one of the biggest, most exciting and fast growing in getting bigger and better by the year – sounds like a fun experience, right? And to add to the allure, Qatar has added yet another record to Guinness World Record with the biggest flag in the world. The flag of gratitude and loyalty has been created to mark Qatar National Day 2013. Nothing says patriotism like a gigantic flag, right?

Now while you’re in Qatar and not seeking a way to end up with a Guinness World Record under your belt, there’s plenty to do. From celebrations on every corner commemorating Qatar National Day to film screenings and photography exhibitions to high end hotels offering up to 50% off on suites, spa deals and dining (yes that includes weekend brunch too)! Now aren’t you wishing you were here?


In celebration of Qatar’s National Day, Qatar Tourism Authority has set up a traditional tent, located in front of Doha Exhibitions Center featuring a range of entertainment inspired by Qatar’s culture and heritage. If you’re visiting and looking for a traditional yet non-Qatari friendly experience (you know to ease you in) check out The Pearl-Qatar which will boast three days of celebrations showcasing Qatari patriotism while still introducing non-Qatari citizens to the local culture and traditions. Get into the spirit and try out the traditional ‘Al Arda’ dance and falcon display.

The whole celebration is also catered to everyone, so worry not about the kids who will undoubtedly be entertained by the Dora show that will be put on, alongside entertaining cartoon characters and clowns plus tons of games. Have a teen that’s hard to impress? The high tech tower and water screen projections should keep them mesmerised for a while before the fireworks display in the evening which will be fantastic for the whole family.


What more reason do you need to visit Doha other than the fact that it is the hosy city for the 2022 FIFA World Cup? If the magnetic pull of South Africa and the predictions for the thousands of tourists expected next summer in Brazil is anything to go by, Doha will be the destination in 2022, but we suggest you check out the pearl of Qatar far ahead of the crowds.

If you’re more of an arts fanatic and want to fully engross yourself in the city’s artistic and historic side of things visit the photography exhibit at the Gate Mall, a tribute to Qatar National Day; ‘Qatar My Country’ which reveals previously unseen, rare collections and uncovers images of life in Qatar stretching across the 1950s through to the 1990s. Or to keep it simple and please everyone yourself check out the ‘Made in Qatar’ screenings which will be presenting a special screening of a new animation film ‘Abtal w Mahama’ (Heroes and a Mission) courtesy of the Doha Film Institues. There will be three screenings so you have no excuse to miss it, unless you’re absolutely busy meaning you’ll have to catch it on Qatar TV and Al-Rayyan Channel while you’re in your hotel room.


Of course, Dubai offers more than arts and history. For the shopahoic abroad, the destination to head to is Souq Waqif – a wonderful place to explore, shop, have dinner or simply idle time away in one of the many attractive cafes and home to the Al-Tawash Restaurant in a beautifully restored Qatari building where you can sample the local dishes.


photography exhibit room suggestion

Speaking of hotels, where to stay? Well we did mention that a few hotels have some amazing deals on, and seriously we weren’t joking, check these out. The Doha Marriot is offering some amazing deals, and believe me you do not want to miss them, including 50% off en-suites, 30% discounts on spa treatments and 20% off in all their restaurants, including weekend brunch – who’s say you can’t live in the lap of luxury with deals like this? With the hotel situated in the heart of the city and with rooms that offer luxury, comfort and spectacular views you can’t go wrong #wishyouwerehere