Since starting this blog I’ve discovered that Actually people know very little about Qatar, and certainly isn’t on a lot of people’s bucket lists so I thought I would share something I love about Doha – that’s all the great restaurant you can chose from in this town. From High End to Cheap Eats, Doha is full of unusual and interesting restaurants. So here are my favourite restaurants in Doha from A to Z! Continue reading Doha’s Best Restaurants from A-Z
Qatar, not on everybody’s bucket list but it is gaining momentum on the tourist front especially through layover/stopover offers with Qatar Airways. I have lived in Qatar for over three years and have discovered that people’s perceptions of the country are limited and many people even expats don’t really head off the beaten track. So here are my hidden and not so hidden gems of Qatar!
Most people when they think of the Middle East think of swanky 5* and luxury hotels where expats can sun themselves all year long. One of my favourite hotel beaches at the Intercon – you can read about our recent staycation here
Today we went for Saturday brunch at Nozumi. It was a more low key affair than Friday brunch and had a dedicated a la carte dim sum menu!
On arrival the staff were friendly and I was impressed with the modern interior overlooking the Persian Gulf! The waiter was happy to explain the menu set up and suggested we let him order for us which we were only too happy to do. When the food arrived he was able to knowledgable explain what we were eating.
The menu is laid out in vegetable, fish and meat dumplings but each serving brought out offered a little of everything.
I have been a big fan of Westin Doha since I first went to Hunters Grill and am always eager to try their offerings. I am not a huge desserts fan, as regular readers will know, so when I read about the afternoon tea buffet I was very excited. An opportunity to have afternoon tea where I could have more sandwiches and scones and less cake. My ideal afternoon tea; that’s why what we had was even more disappointing.
My parents were in town and afternoon tea has always been on my mum’s bucket list so we decided that this was the perfect opportunity. With so many great 5* hotels in Doha we had plenty of places to choose from. We settled on the Four Seasons as it was one of the few that could cater for diabetics!
We were shown to our table quickly, given a sofa in front of the large window, with plenty of room to manoeuvre the pram.
We opted for a mixture of Earl Grey and English Breakfast tea but there were plenty of more exotic teas on offer for the more adventurous. Our boring Britishness with tea did shine through!
The afternoon tea was plentiful with a combination of sandwiches including some of a more local flavour including Cucumber and Mint Labneh and Lamb pittas as well as more traditional sandwiches. This was accompanied by a tier of cakes, and my personal favourite – a tier of scones! The scones were accompanied by cream and jam but perhaps the best thing was the jam for the diabetic. This came out warm as the chef had freshly prepared it and it was truly delicious. Often when you go to places with a diabetic, their plates can look a little miserly by comparison. This was not the case with the Four Seasons who were committed to providing an outstanding experience for all.
Overall this was a great experience for everyone and something I would not hesitate in returning to do again.
Last night we had a rare baby-free evening so decided to check out Hunters Room and Grill at the Westin Doha. Steak, rare steak is one of my all time favourite foods so having nine months of being forced to eat my steak well done, I was desperate for a ‘properly’ cooked steak. So did it live up to our expectations? Read our Hunters Room and Grill Review!
We started at the bar for some pre dinner cocktails. The theme of many of their signature cocktails seems to be the element of grilled fruit. I ordered the Grilled Citrus Margarita while Wandermust Daddy ordered the Grilled Peach Whisky Sour which he said was one of the best whisky sours he has ever had. The atmosphere was great, especially with the live saxophonist.
The setting of the Hunters Room is split into two – the non smoking and smoking area. The smoking area is set in a bright indoor garden and the non-smoking in a more traditional dark NY steakhouse fashion. Both lovely, depending on the kind of atmosphere you are after. As a rare romantic night out and being non-smokers we chose to sit in the more traditional area.
We started with sourdough bread with three flavoured butters including strawberry and sumac. Both of which were delicious but our favourite was the sumac. We then opted for the tomahawk steak. This came with three sides. We chose asparagus, button mushrooms and confit potatoes as our sides. All of which were outstanding. The worry with a steakhouse is always whether they will be able to cook the steak correctly. Hunters did not disappoint with a perfectly cooked rare steak throughout! The portions were large so we regretted having starters. We had ordered the crab cakes and Mediterranean Lobster and both were delicious however because of this we could only manage a pudding – creme brûlée to share! In conclusion, we found each course to be outstanding, and we can’t wait to return to try more.
On top of the outstanding food, the service has to be mentioned. The restaurant manager is affable and visible at all times running a tight ship. The waiters have obviously been trained to fine dining standards. A particular shout out goes to our waitress Anna who was attentive and very knowledgable about the menu.
We can’t wait to return to try more restaurants at the Westin if this is a standard and have a feeling this may become our go-to steakhouse in Doha!
Have you been to Hunters Room and Grill – what did you think?
Now that 2016 has come to an end it’s hard not to look back. We’ve had an amazing year – becoming parents, travelling around Europe doing city breaks and a Mediterranean cruise aswell as plenty of flights home to see the new grandparents. But as exciting as our adventures were in 2016, 2017 looks to be even better. So here’s what we have coming up so far: Continue reading Coming up in 2017
We have lived in Qatar for almost three years and think we’ve got to know it pretty well so in honor of Qatars national day we have compiled our a-z list of things to do in Qatar!
A is for al Khor & Purple Island
One of my favourite places to go outside of the city. Purple island is located in al Khor and is called purple island because of the small snails found there which are said to create the color of the Qatar national flag when crushed. You can read our post about why Purple Island is the perfect desert experience for kids here! In the winter you can see flamingoes but it is a great spot for bird watchers all year round.
It’s also worth remembering that Al Khor has a great public park for children.
B is for Barzan Towers
I love history. Qatar has some great forts located in the north but Barzan is even closer – right near IKEA in fact. Definitely worth a visit.
C is for the Corniche
Anyone who visits Doha has to visit the Corniche! You can walk around the whole corniche from the Museum of Islamic Arts to West Bay with great views of each. Al mourjan is a good place to stop to have lunch right on the water front. I love walking by night where you can get great views of the city.
D is for Dhows
Dhows are a great way to see the skyline and catch some rays. Qatar international adventures offers trips from the dhow port opposite the souq. You can do a day or night trip and have a BBQ on the boat. We even enjoyed jumping in the salty sea to cool down.
E is for East meets West
The famous Richard Serra sculpture in the desert at Zekreet. It’s size in such a barren landscape is such an awe striking scene. Nb you will require a 4×4 to visit
Nearby you can enjoy a beach day at zekreet and see the amazing mushroom rocks.
F is for Fuwarit
Fuwarit is a beach to the north of Qatar. One of the few powdery beaches in Qatar it also is a breeding site for turtles.
A beautiful structure in the center of Doha. It’s worth a drive past at night to see it in its full splendor.
H is for al Hazm mall
Although not open quite yet, the mall is a great architectural nod to the malls of Milan and Naples.
I is for the inland sea
A remarkable geological feat. The inland sea is a great place to go dune bashing. We went with Arabian Adventures and had an amazing day. The driving was safe but exhilarating. I would recommend doing only with a recommended company as driving the dunes is tricky and not something to undertake on your own.
J is for al Jassasiya rock carvings
Comprising of 874 petroglyphs, you can see carvings showing boats, stars and rosettes amongst others. A great site for the archaeology lover!
K is for Katara
The cultural village of Doha. It has lots of great restaurants, (one is on my list of dohas best restaurants from a-z), is a great space for art with and exhibition space run by Qatar museums, and performance space. There is also a stamp museum specializing in stamps from the region and is a lovely place to go for a walk. In the winter, katara hosts a series of festivals the most well known is the show festival which takes place in November.
L is for lusail
A must see for sports enthusiasts. At the moment it is a city under dvelopment but it is worthwhile to try and get an event at the lusail arena.
One of Most iconic buildings in Doha, designed by I.M. Pei. It has a great collection comprising of jewelry, astrolabes and carpets amongst others and home to great temporary exhibitions such as the recent Treasures of China exhibition containing five terra-cotta army.
The park is also a beautiful place to go for a walk and has the cafe with the best views in Doha.
The park also has the al Riwaq exhibition space which houses exhibitions such as the Damien Hurst retrospective. Check the QM website for current exhibition details.
N is for the National museum
Although not open yet it is worth driving by the museum. An architectural gem in the making. Designed to resemble a desert rose, a geological feature of a Qatar, it will reopen to show the history of the country.
O is for Oryx
Qatar’s national animal. Unfortunately I’ve only seen as statues at the st Regis or on the tail of a Qatar Airways plane but there are apparently some in the wild. I would love to see one.
P is for the Pearl
Doha’s answer to the Palm. Great shopping and even better restaurants (see my a-z of Doha’s best restaurants for more information). We love strolling around the marina and looking at all the boats.
Q is for the qanat quarter
A largely residential area of the Pearl made to look like Venice. It even has its own Rialto bridge. A great place to walk around especially now more shops and restaurants are opening. I personally can’t wait to try the Breakfast Club.
R is for al ruwais
A town in northern Qatar. Known for its port, it has a lovely park and is a great jumping off point to see the forts of northern Qatar. You can read about our experience of al ruwais and forts here.
S is for Souq Waqif
Meaning standing market Souq Waqif is Doha’s main souq. It is a great place to experience local culture. Don’t miss the gold Souq and handicraft market.
Why not check out our Souq waqif series to find out more about visiting with a baby and our favourite restaurants in the Souq!
T is for the Torch
A striking building in the aspire zone. You can have dinner and view the city from above. Then why not take a stroll around the aspire zone park!
U is for under the stars kayaking
Ran by the company Entalek, kayaking under the stars is definitely on my Doha bucket list.
V is for villagio
A mall modelled on Venice with gondolas running through the center. Can be visited at the same time as the torch.
W is for al wakra
The old pearling center of Qatar. Today, it is known for having the second souq of Qatar, located on the waterfront.
Z is zubarah
Qatar’s only UNESCO world heritage site. A fort and museum that is worth the drive out of Doha to visiti! You can read all about how to get there and out experience here.
How many have you done? And what else do you think should be on the list?
I have never really been one to stay in my own country for holidays. Something that I actually regret now we live in a country that is only 11,000km. But when I hit the point of no return mark – aka the airlines will not let you fly anymore, Wandermust Daddy and I decided that we would do a Doha staycation to enjoy one of our last baby-free weekends!
Before being pregnant, I would never have considered staying in the place I live for a stay cation but it was amazing how relaxing it was. No airport queues, no travel tiredness, no worries about hospital or travel discomfort – third trimester stay cations in your hometown i think are a definite winner!
For our staycation we decided to spend the weekend at the Intercontinental Doha Hotel using a buy one get one free Entertainer Qatar Voucher . The first nice surprise when we arrived was that they upgraded us to a suite which was bigger (significantly) than our flat in London.
The Intercon boasts a lovely pool, plenty of shaded seating and a beautiful beach. Being so close to popping, we made use of the pool and covered beds to provide me with some respite from the Middle East sun.
You are not short of food and beverage options at the Intercon. Our favourite place to have lunch being the Greek restaurant Mykonos which overlooks the pool and has a tasteful Santorini inspired décor and a reasonably priced menu. I would thoroughly recommend the calamari and the mousakka! The vast mocktail menu also meant that I had something more interesting than fizzy pop or water to drink.
Despite, being under refurbishment – the spa provided a lovely prenatal massage which provided welcome relief from the aches and pains of pregnancy. I look forward to returning when the new spa is opened.
The benefits of a staycation towards the end of pregnancy mean that you can get away right before the baby is due, without worrying about being away from your hospital of choice and means you can get away really close to your due date.
The Intercon Doha is definitely a family favourite and I can’t wait to return to test the children’s facilities in the Autumn.