Qatar is One Big Immersion into the Past and the Future
More than epic landscapes, luxury, and architecture, Qatar is also home to world-class equestrian racing and some serious shopping.
Rapidly growing Doha, the main city and capital of Qatar, has made this country more than just a place to come for stunning sand dunes and the shimmering Persian Gulf. Don’t get us wrong – those are just as beautiful as ever. But this is now a land bursting with world-class spas and restaurants, luxury hotels, awe-inspiring architecture, exciting activities, and vibrant shopping centers. In other words – it’s got everything you look for in a great vacation.
Off to the Races
Bet you didn’t know Qatar is home to some of the most respected, luxury-filled, and exciting equestrian races around. And next month, all through February, the epic HH The Emir’s Sword Festival is underway, featuring six international races, 266 total entries, and 78 overseas entries from eight countries. This global event will showcase horses from some of the top trainers in the world, including the UK, France, the U.S., Oman, Germany, Japan, Ireland, and Italy.
The main event is a three-day extravaganza at the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club from February 22-24. But it goes without saying – any big time horse racing event is really way more than just the races. Enjoy events and activities while staying in Qatar, where you’ll get to have a deep immersion into the culture and into pure old (luxurious) fun.
Shop till You Drop (Onto Your Plush Bed Back in the Hotel)
Believe it or not, shopping is almost like a pastime in Qatar. Since those old, ancient days, traders and merchants and other names for buyers and sellers from back then all got together in markets to provide the community with everything they needed. And Souqs, as they were called, are still thriving today.
Probably most legendary of all is this shopping spectacular – truly legendary because it goes back centuries. Yes centuries. Originally a souq for the Bedouins, the area was similarly utilized as a location for trade and to gather life’s most important stuff, like food and other necessities. Abandoned and nearly demolished, the Souq Waqif was revitalized in 2004, originally to preserve the historical site, but it has since been fully restored and functional.
Built up in accordance with traditional Qatari architectural techniques, Souq Waqif acts as a true homage to the past while being a bustling and vibrant place for the people of the present. Hang out at casual cafés, shop, people-watch, and dig into seriously good restaurants – it’s all here. Like any great market, it offers a myriad of stores selling souvenirs, spices, perfumes, fabrics, and many other essentials, all twisting through quaint alleyways and gorgeous architecture. What do most visitors end up buying? Carpets, rugs, Bedouin weaving, coffee pots, antique silver, jewelry, and other handicrafts, all authentically Qatar.
The Villaggio Mall, also in Doha, is another fantastic shopping experience, and on a grand scale. Home to about 50,000 visitors a day, this is where you come for the crème de la crème of luxury – with brand names like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Gucci, Valentino, and Dolce & Gabbana all utilizing space here. Venetian style architecture hangs over it all, with equally impressive dining options and entertainment at just about every turn.
With literal gondola rides, a Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, IMAX theater, and ice skating rink, you’re really covered at Villaggio. Yes… you can take a gondola ride and then eat at a Shake Shack in Qatar. It’s awesome.
An intermingling of the old and the new – and the almost futuristic – Qatar makes for an eclectic and fascinating time. From historical sites that go back centuries, to souqs that go back just as far (and where you can still shop), to top-class horse racing events, the experiences here are unforgettable.
Contact a travel consultant today to start planning your one-of-a-kind vacation to Qatar.