Doha is a high-powered business and cultural centre, while the nearby desert presents numerous recreational possibilities. We asked Shadi Suleman, Hotel Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Doha, to share recommendations for how to experience the best of Doha – from where to find the most authentic local cuisine to camel rides through the desert.
Must-try Arabic dishes
Graze on Arabic meze, a selection of appetiser-sized delights that typically include delicious dips including hummus and moutabal (smoky aubergine purée), and tangy salads such as fattoush (lettuce, tomato and cucumber tossed with fried pita chips and sumac). Kabsa, a dish of steamed basmati rice and varied meats commonly prepared using ancient techniques of mandi (burying and barbecuing the dish) or mathbi (whereby the meat is grilled atop flat heated stones), is a delicious regional delight flavoured with a variety of exotic spices and garnished with a mixture of nuts, onions or tomato sauce.
Doha’s best dining and coffee
For traditional cuisine, head to Damasca One at Souq Waqif. Inspired by the Syrian capital, Damascus, the restaurant uses fresh ingredients to create some of the best dishes in the city. Nobu Doha, located within the Hotel, is the largest Nobu in the world. Take your pick of seven different stylish dining areas, including a chic rooftop lounge, to sample Chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa’s famous new-style Japanese cuisine.
For the ultimate Arabian experience, head out to the desert to ride camels across Champagne-coloured sand dunes, dine around a blazing bonfire and enjoy some stargazing before retiring to your fully furnished tent. If you’re looking to do more than loll around a Bedouin camp, then tackle the dunes on a quad bike or sandboard. Water-lovers can stick to the coast where snorkelling, diving, jet skiing, kayaking, windsurfing, fishing and parasailing are all possible through a variety of local recreation companies. Ask the Concierge for recommendations of tours and other activities.
For less active outdoor activities, visit The Pearl at Porto Arabia, the renowned man-made island offering indoor and outdoor designer retail shopping and enchanting views of luxury yachts sailing the Arabian Gulf.
Still more, the cultural village of Katara invites guests to take part in the mores and traditions of Qatar as they visit the Opera House, Drama Theatre and stunning Islamic Amphitheatre overlooking the sea. Temporal art and handcraft exhibitions are found throughout this cultural city.
Authentic Doha souvenirs
Scour the scores of cluttered shops at atmospheric Souq Waqif for quality keepsakes, including polished prayer beads, colourful cone-shaped Yemeni baskets, boldly striped Bedouin cushions and camel blankets, traditional water pipes known as “hookahs,” or a gem-encrusted kaftan-like abaya (the national dress of Qatari women). The timeless handmade pearl jewellery is not to be missed.
Can’t-miss cultural experiences
Learn about the Islamic world’s rich artistic heritage as you browse the dazzling collection of textiles, carpets, calligraphy, manuscripts, ceramics, glass and precious stones at the Museum of Islamic Art. Make sure you take in the striking building too—designed by celebrated architect I.M. Pei and stunningly set on the waterfront, it has quickly become a monument of global significance.
Looking for a deeper understanding of Islam and its traditions? Visit FANAR, the Qatar Islamic Cultural Center, inspired by the oldest lighthouse in Alexandria, where you will be invited to discover and learn the meaning and diffusion of the culture, ethical values and principles of Islam.
Unwind in Doha
Spoil yourself with luxuriant scrubs, wraps and aromatherapy treatments at the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Doha, or simply unwind as you soak in a steamy plunge pool, lie back on a heated laconium bed or balance your chakra in the colour therapy room. For the ultimate indulgence, pamper yourself with the Royal Arabian Asrar, a Qatari-inspired treatment incorporating locally sourced ingredients such as dates in the date scrub and frankincense drops in the massage oil. The 120-minute treatment celebrates pure sensuality and Arabian beauty. Begin with an exfoliating body polish containing date seeds to eliminate dry, dull and flaky skin, revealing even, smooth and more radiant skin below. The journey continues with a wonderfully refreshing body mask that cocoons you in milk and honey to rejuvenate and hydrate tired skin, followed by the timeless luxury of a milk bath. The treatment concludes with a traditional foot mint ritual and an application of moisturiser.
Not relaxed enough? Chill out with an exotic cocktail at the Hotel’s beachside Pool Grill during happy hour, held from 6:00pm to 8:00pm every Sunday through Wednesday.