Author

Brian Candy

Browsing

In just 4 hours, get an entire vacations worth of photos to send home, and learn about the beautiful city that is Doha.

Qatar is full of interesting and mostly free things to see and do. I have been in Qatar for nine years and considered myself very capable of showing people around here. How wrong I was.

Qatar Quick RecommendedLast weekend I was invited by Sand Dunes to take one of their 4 hour city tours. I jumped at the opportunity because up until then I had never had a professional guide show me around Doha. Sure when I first got here a number of friends drove me around and gave me their thoughts and beliefs on what was what. But they could never have been as well informed as my guide was on this tour.

I strongly recommend that anyone visiting Qatar, who has an interested in learning about this wonderful country. Should give Sand Dunes a call and book their great value City Tour.

I had booked a night in the Saraya Corniche hotel last Thursday evening, and arranged to be picked up for my guided city tour from there. Sure enough at the allotted time (4:30pm) I got a call from someone who introduced himself as ‘Firas’ from Sand Dunes, informing me that he was downstairs in reception waiting for me.

Firas was super easy to like immediately. He was warm, friendly and extremely attentive. He helped me into his large 4×4 and asked a few questions about what I may be interested in seeing. The tour is not a fixed route with a fixed schedule. Your guide will design your tour around you and what you are most interested in experiencing.

View of the Saraya Corniche Hotel from the MIA car park. That’s our black Land Cruiser bottom left.

We left the Saraya Corniche and drove the short distance to our first stop The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA). On the way Firas started to explain the history, architecture and purpose of this stunning building. Some of which I knew, and some of which I did not. Firas certainly knew his stuff.

On arrival at MIA it became obvious my guide came here regularly. The security staff knew him and welcomed both him and me warmly. I had already agreed with Firas that as I only wanted to grab some snap shots of MIA because I had been there before. He would wait for me with the car while I popped up for a lightning fast photographic visit. I was gone about 10 minuets and when I returned Firas was chatting and drinking tea with security, who were keen that I should join them. Can you imagine that happening in the UK at any museum you can think of? I politely declined the offer and we were back in the car heading to our next stop; The Pearl.

On the way to The Pearl, Firas gave a running commentary on points of interest along the route. Instead of just driving me around the Pearl which is what I usually do when entertaining guests, he did the smart thing and took me to the visitor center. I first walked into the Pearl Visitor Center back in 2007 when I came to Qatar on a business trip. Inside the Visitor Centre there is a large model of the Pearl development. The model of the Pearl is still there, but vastly updated.

I found this very interesting and spent quite a while exploring the center. With more time I would have grabbed a coffee and a croissant there as well. In future I will take all of my visiting guests there instead of just driving around the Pearl. It’s far more impressive.

From the Pearl we drove to Katara. The word Katara is what appeared on maps up until 1738 as the designation for what is now Qatar. And now Katara is one of the must see, cannot miss, places to visit in Qatar. And you need to set aside quite a bit of time to do it. As part of the City Tour, it’s important to pop into Katara. But to explore it properly you will need an entire evening. You would also need to check their website for interesting events that are continuously taking place there, to get the maximum out of your visit. Firas drove me around the perimeter a couple of times so I could grab some shots. But we didn’t park and go in.

Next we drove through Doha city center to checkout the amazing architecture and lighting. When I say City Centre, I actually mean West Bay. I believe that the city center could now be described as the Msheireb area. But West Bay is where the concentration of towers is, and this is what forms the iconic skyline images you always see of Qatar. For me being driven around West Bay was a superb experience, because I am normally the driver, and I don’t get to properly look around. From a distance the truly amazing vista that is West Bay, is absolutely stunning. But up close and personal these buildings are truly breathtaking.

We exited West Bay through Al Bidda Park. We did not stop in Al Bidda Park, because once again this is somewhere to dwell and enjoy. But when you drive through it,  you simply can’t imagine that Doha is in a desert country. So much green! And beautifully lit. With free to use fitness equipment and BBQ pits.

Then we did a drive past the Emiri Diwan. This is like Buckingham Palace back in the UK. Except that the Emir does not actually live here. It’s just where he goes to work. His office if you like. This is where visiting dignitaries are hosted. It’s more impressive at night when illuminated. And another photo you simply have to take.

Last but by no means least, we headed to Souq Waqif. Which for me is the number one destination for anyone visiting Qatar. Souq means market and Waqif means standing. So yup, you figured it out. Souq Waqif means Standing Market. Located in the shallow Msheireb Valley there used to be a river, and the souq grew up on either side of that river. Because it was so muddy business was done direct from boats initially. And yes, everyone was standing. Who wants to sit in mud.

The river has long since dried up. But the souq grew up and out. Getting larger and larger and becoming the major hub of commerce in Qatar for many years. Unfortunately, in 2004 there was a fire, and a lot of Souq Waqif was badly damaged. The Emir ordered that it should be re developed but in an authentic manner. And what you see today is the result. Mostly new build, but built to look traditional and established.

I have been taking visitors to Souq Waqif for nine years now. But was only walking them around the obvious attractions. With not a lot of information to offer them. I knew where the best sights and sounds were. I knew that the spice market area would blow their sense of smell away. I knew where to buy souvenirs and I knew some nice restaurants. But Firas was able to do so much more. He took me to places that I did not know existed, and if I did know they existed I didn’t know why they were significant.

Throughout the whole tour Firas had been a wealth of knowledge. But in the souq he really came into his own. He knew everyone. Everywhere we went he was greeting and being greeted by souq employees, staff and businessmen. It was an amazing experience.
I strongly recommend that anyone visiting Qatar, who has an interested in learning about this wonderful country. Should give Sand Dunes a call and book their great value City Tour. Even if you have lived here for a while you would take a lot from it.

The price of the tour is per car (1 to 4 capacity) not per person, and costs QR 600 (GBP 122 USD 165 EUR 139). Divided among 4  that works out at just QR 150 each. An absolute bargain.

References

Sand Dunes: +974 4441 3313 http://sdqholidays.com/

Katara:  http://www.katara.net/en

Souq Waqif: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Souq_Waqif

The Saraya Corniche Hotel – ‘A Real 5 Star Hotel at Value Prices’ for those on a budget.

If you are looking for 5 Star luxury but on a budget, the Saraya Corniche hotel ticks all the box’s. At just QR 236 (GBP 48.00 USD 64.83 EUR 54.49) it’s an absolute bargain.

We have visited and paid for our breakfast at the SMBC. Our review is first hand informed and independant
We have visited and paid for our stay at the Saraya Corniche. Our review is first hand informed and independent

I booked on Agoda for a one-night stay, checking in on Thursday 10th May 2018. The QR 236 I paid was for a ‘Superior King Room’ but on arrival I was upgraded to a ‘Junior Suite’ at no extra charge. There was someone else checking in at the same time as me, and they got upgraded as well. I commented to the receptionist “Wow everyone is getting an upgrade” and she replied, “It’s Thursday Evening Sir”. So my advice is, if you want a Junior Suit for fifty bucks make sure you check in on a Thursday evening.

I shouldn’t complain, because my room upgrade was a massive bonus, but I wasn’t lucky enough to get a Corniche facing room. And that’s a shame because I have seen images taken from that side, and the view is breathtaking. But hey ho, I still had an amazing suite.

The interior decorators brought a real feel of elegance to the rooms, with bright vibrant colours. Even the furniture and bedding was errrr… shall we say ‘popping’. I loved it! Completely different to anything else I have seen in Qatar at any price.

I can’t tell you anything about the ‘Superior King’ room I booked, but my ‘Junior Suite’ was super spacious. And for a solo traveler a bit over indulgent. But if staying more than one night, I would have made a lot more use of the living area.

After checking in, I spent just a few minuets settling in, before I got a call from my Sand Dunes tour guide, telling me he was waiting for me in reception (I will tell you more about Sand Dunes in another item I’m going to write later). So I was back in the elevator and off for my 4 hour ‘City Tour’.

Once back from my superb City Tour, I headed to the 1st floor for dinner in the ‘East West Restaurant’. Had a fabulous meal there and then back down to the ground floor for a quick visit to the ‘Bamboo Asian Restaurant’ for an equally quick beer there, before heading off to bed. The Bamboo has the smallest bar I have come across in Doha. But it had a lovely friendly feel and very reasonably priced beer, so I was very happy.

In the morning I returned to the ‘East West Restaurant’ for breakfast. This is a buffet breakfast at an additional cost of QR 30 (GBP 6.09 USD 8.24 EUR 6.92) which needs to be paid for during check in. With plenty to choose from, you will not leave hungry.

After breakfast I went for a walk around the building. Checked out the pool, spa and gym areas. Popped outside to grab a couple of shots of the exterior, then back to the East West to sit down and write this account of my stay in the Saraya Corniche.

Something I have not mentioned yet, is the excellent location of the Saraya. I haven’t timed it, but I am sure you would be here in around 10 to 15 minuets by taxi from the airport. And if you like walking, you could easily make your own way to Souq Waqif, the Museum of Islamic Art, Museum Park, and the soon to open ‘The National Museum of Qatar’. Plus so much more I can’t even think of mentioning at the moment. Location is a really good reason for choosing the Saraya.

In fact just as I am finishing writing this, I started talking to Sue. Sue was sat on the table next to me during breakfast. She was traveling solo. Although no stranger to the gulf region, she had never been to Qatar. She arrived early yesterday morning, bought a QR 20 all day bus card at the airport bus terminal and used it to ride to the Saraya. Checked in, and then walked to Souq Waqif and the Museum of Islamic Art. I asked her how long it had taken to walk to Souq Waqif and she said she walks fast, and it had only taken her 10 minutes. She continued to use her QR 20, 24 hour bus card to ride into the City Centre and wander around there.

Sue was proof that Qatar can be explored and enjoyed for very little indeed. And the Saraya Corniche is a perfect location to have as a base.

Book your stay in the Saraya Corniche by Clicking Here

agoda Verified Affiliate

Free Visa on Arrival for 81 Countries

Passport holders of 81 countries can get a free visa on arrival in Qatar. They do not need to do anything in advance. No forms to fill in, no paperwork, no online applications. Everything is done quickly and efficiently at passport control in Hamad International Airport (DOH). Some countries get visas for 30 days stay in Qatar, extendable by a further 30 days. And some are entitled to 90 days, but that cannot be extended.

If you are not a passport holder in one of the countries listed below, then you will need to visit the Visas in advance section of Qatar’s Ministry of Interior website.

Country Days
1 Andorra 30
2 Argentina 30
3 Australia 30
4 Austria 90
5 Azerbaijan 30
6 Bahamas 90
7 Belarus 30
8 Belgium 90
9 Bolivia 30
10 Brazil 30
11 Brunei 30
12 Bulgaria 90
13 Canada 30
14 Chile 30
15 China 30
16 Colombia 30
17 Costa Rica 30
18 Croatia 90
19 Cuba 30
20 Cyprus 90
21 Czech 90
22 Denmark 90
23 Ecuador 30
24 Estonia 90
25 Finland 90
26 France 90
27 Georgia 30
28 Germany 90
29 Greece 90
30 Guyana 30
31 Hong Kong 30
32 Hungary 90
33 Iceland 90
34 India 30
35 Indonesia 30
36 Ireland 30
37 Italy 90
38 Japan 30
39 Kazakhstan 30
40 Latvia 90
41 Lebanon 30
42 Liechtenstein 90
43 Lithuania 90
44 Luxembourg 90
45 Macedonia 30
46 Malaysia 90
47 Malta 90
48 Mexico 30
49 Moldova 30
50 Monaco 30
51 Netherlands 90
52 New Zealand 30
53 Norway 90
54 Pakistan 30
55 Panama 30
56 Paraguay 30
57 Peru 30
58 Poland 90
59 Portugal 90
60 Romania 90
61 Russia 30
62 San Marino 30
63 Seychelles 90
64 Singapore 30
65 Slovakia 90
66 Slovenia 90
67 South Africa 30
68 South Korea 30
69 Spain 90
70 Suriname 30
71 Sweden 90
72 Switzerland 90
73 Thailand 30
74 The Maldives 30
75 Turkey 90
76 Ukraine 30
77 United Kingdom 30
78 United States of America 30
79 Uruguay 30
80 Vatican City 30
81 Venezuela 30

The Sapphire Plaza Hotel, quality at a value price

Qatar Quick Visited
Qatar Quick Visited We visited the Sapphire Plaza Hotel and paid for our room. This review is independent and first hand informed.

The Sapphire Plaza hotel is among the very finest Value hotels in Qatar. It’s almost unfair to call it a value hotel because it doesn’t look or feel like one at all. The basic room rate is just QR 220 (GBP 43.38 USD 60.43 EUR 49.90) and that is an absolute bargain.

Sapphire Plaza Hotel 8.4 Rating on Booking.com
Sapphire Plaza Hotel – 8.4 Rating on booking.com

The entire building reflects a much more expensive venue. This is a very popular and busy hotel. You only have to look at its ratings to see that. 8.4 Rating on bookings.com

The location is excellent for getting to all of Doha’s main tourist attractions, giving low taxi fares to almost anywhere that you need to visit.

The staff are brilliant, happy and helpful. No request was too much for them.

The room is much more than you would expect for the money. Everything was clean and in good condition. Well serviced.

Clean, neat and tidy bedrooms
Clean, neat and tidy bedrooms
  • Plush fittings
  • Comfortable bed
  • TV
  • Free WiFi in room and throughout the hotel
  • Full feature bathroom complete with Bath/Shower WC, Bidet, Wash basin, Hair Dryer
  • Dressing Gown if you are not like me a little overweight
  • Tea/Coffee making facilities
  • Complimentary Bathroom Toiletries including Soap, Shower Gel, Shampoo, Shower Cap, Dental, Shaving and Cotton Buds

For me a hotel needs to at least provide the basics. Fresh and clean room, a good night’s sleep and a refreshing shower in the morning. A good breakfast is a bonus. And the Sapphire Plaza gave me all of that.

Last night I went for the buffet dinner in the Sapphire Plaza’s ‘Al Maha’ restaurant. At QR 50 it represents good value. They also offer à la carte if you don’t fancy the buffet. Or alternatively you can be in almost any one of Doha’s excellent restaurants for around a QR 20 (GBP 3.95 USD 5.49 EUR 4.55) taxi ride.

Sapphire Plaza Hotel - Breakfast
Sapphire Plaza Hotel – Breakfast

Breakfast is just QR 25 (GBP 4.94 USD 6.86 EUR 5.68) and worth every penny. It’s a buffet breakfast offering something for nearly all tastes. You should not leave hungry.

After breakfast I packed my backpack and headed down to the lobby to write this review of my stay. Like everywhere else in this hotel, the lobby has a quality and classic feel. I am very happy to sit here and use my free WiFi to get a bit of work done before heading off. I have already had plenty of coffee with my breakfast, but if I wanted it there is a lovely coffee shop right here in the lobby.

I usually make a point of using all of a hotels facilities so that I can fully experience all they have to offer. But today I failed to use the pool or the gym. I did pop in and take a look at both. But decided against taking photographs because they were in use and I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. But both facilities were clean, modern and very much up to my standard. The pool is a little small to do serious laps in. But if like me all you want to do on vacation is have a wallow, this pool is perfect. And it’s indoors.

Free in-room WiFi, Indoor Pool, Gym, Gift Shop, Café, Free basement parking

No alcohol available in this hotel

Check in: 2pm
Checkout: 12 Noon

Click Here to Book

Room Rate: QR 220 (GBP 43.38 USD 60.43 EUR 49.90)
Evening Meal (Dinner Buffet): QR 50 (GBP 9.86 USD 13.73 EUR 11.36)
Breakfast Buffet: QR 25 (GBP 4.94 USD 6.86 EUR 5.68)
Hotel arranged pickup at airport: QR 100 (GBP 19.77 USD 27.47 EUR 22.73)
Taxi from airport: Should not exceed QR 50 (GBP 9.88 USD 13.73 EUR 11.36)
Taxi to Souq Waqif: Should not exceed QR 10 (GBP 1.97 USD 2.74 EUR 2.27)
Taxi to nearest mall (City Centre): Should not exceed QR 20 (GBP 3.95 USD 5.49 EUR 4.55)
Taxi to nearest bar (Centro): Should not exceed QR 10 (GBP 1.97 USD 2.74 EUR 2.27)
Nearest shops/restaurants approximately 10 mins walk.
Currency conversions as at 27/04/2018

Supermarket prices in Qatar on average are the same as back home. So no need to pack teabags in your suitcase.

Supermarkets in Qatar are very similar to those found elsewhere in the world. There are some major brand retailers like Carrefour and Lulu as well as local brands like Al Meera. They all have similar pricing and similar products. You can save money by shopping around, but people tend to settle on their favourite and just stick to that.

We have put this section together to try and give you a feel for the kind of prices you will find in supermarkets here in Qatar. It’s not kept up to date, and the images provided are simply samples taken from whatever supermarket we were in at the time. But it will give you a good idea.

Bathroom

With bathroom products some brands use different product names and sizes for the same item. For instance in the UK there is ‘Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste 75ml’ and in Qatar there is ‘Colgate Total Pro Whitening Toothpaste 75ml’. In the UK ‘Head And Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo’ comes in a 500ml bottle, whereas here in Qatar it comes in a 600ml bottle.  Where quantity varies we keep the UK price the same and adjust the Qatar price to match the same quantity/volume.

All Prices shown in QAR – Exchange rate 25th April 2018

Qatar UK
Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste 75ml 8.25 10.16
Head And Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo 500ml 21.25 25.41
Gillette Fusion Proglide Razor Blades Refill 8 Pack 113.75 121.94
Always Ultra Normal Size 1 Sanitary Towels With Wings 14 Pack 22.5 9.65
Panadol Actifast 14S 7.17 15.24
Dove Original Roll-On Antiperspirant Deodorant 50ml 12.75 6.75
Average 30.945 31.525

Beverages

All Prices shown in QAR – Exchange rate 29th April 2018

Qatar UK
Nescafe Original Instant Coffee 200G 26.50 28.53
Tea Bags – Tetley in the UK and Lipton in Qatar 100 Bags 18.25 14.97
Nescafe Dolce Gusto Cappuccino Coffee Pods 16 Capsules 30.50 22.51
Nescafe Original 3 In 1 Instant Coffee 5 Sachets 85G 3.75 6.01
Pepsi Regular 12 X 330Ml 18.00 26.32
19.40 19.67

Laundromat an Exhibition by Ai Weiwei :: 15th March – 1st June 2018

The Fire Station Gallery offer regular exhibitions by top artists and organisation. And they are free to visit.

Qatar Quick Visited

Laundromat is an installation that addresses the recent refugee crisis. It focuses on the refugee camp at Idomeni on the border of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Don’t miss an opportunity to visit this exhibition, by one of the great artists of our time.

What is Ramadan – A dummies guide for non-Muslims

Ramadan is the Islamic Holy Month during which Muslims commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. During this period, from sunrise to sunset Muslims practice fasting. They abstain from eating and drinking (yes even water) from dawn to dusk. And many give up things like smoking and sex 24/7 for the entire holy month. It’s a time for pure thoughts. So no saying or even thinking bad things about others. A time for extra prayer. And a great deal of charity work/donations.

Ironically although Ramadan is a month for fasting, there is a great amount of eating getting done in the evenings when it’s ok to do so again.

When is Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar Islamic calendar. Because the lunar calendar shifts around 10 or 11 days to the left of the Gregorian calendar (the calendar you are probably familiar with) each year, thus Ramadan arrives around 10 or 11 days earlier each year. In 2018 it is expected that Ramadan will start on May 15th. But this is only confirmed upon the sighting of the new (crescent) moon.

How long does Ramadan last

29 to 30 days. Ramadan ends on the sighting of the next crescent (new) moon. And then there is a massive celebration and public holiday called Eid al-Fitr.

Is Ramadan a Good Time to Visit Qatar

There is never a bad time to visit Qatar. The very hot season, the cold season and what I call the Mediterranean season all have their benefits. And Ramadan also has many great benefits. Especially if you like eating. One major benefit of staying in Qatar over Ramadan is the amazing hotel rates. You can enjoy massive discounts for accommodation during the Holy Month.

It is especially worth being around for Eid al-Fitr. This festive end to the month of Ramadan lasts 3 days (much longer if you work for the Government). And is kind of like Christmas holidays in the west. A time for family, vacations and a lot of fun. Including even more eating.

What to expect during Ramadan in Qatar.

Qatar is one of the countries that embrace the Holy Month in full. During daylight hours all food and drink outlets are closed for business. You can still go shopping and buy food and drink, you just can’t consume it until daylight ends (in public).

During Ramadan the streets appear much quieter during the day. Working hours are reduced so that people can get home and rest while fasting. Being hungry and thirsty can be quite challenging, so the best place to be is at home where you can conserve water by not talking and stay cool in the comfort of your home air-conditioning.

Another reason the streets seem empty is because everyone is in the supermarkets shopping for ingredients to use in the evening’s festivities (Iftar). During Ramadan every day resembles Christmas Eve in Tesco back home in UK to me. With frantic shopping taking place to ensure your loved ones will enjoy the very finest fare to break fast with at sunset. And once the shopping is done there is all the cooking and food preparation to be done.

Malls and shopping centres look and feel different when all their food outlets are closed during the day. They are quiet. Not only because there is no one chatting over coffee in Starbucks, but because music is not played during Ramadan either. Some public places instead of playing music, play readings from the Holy Quran.

Most hotels cater for those not fasting by setting aside somewhere for daytime meals to be eaten out of sight of those fasting. Of course, you can eat and drink all you like in your room, but nowhere in public.

Your dress code should be much more conservative during Ramadan. Ladies should try and avoid showing too much skin. Qatar has become quite tolerant of Western dress, but during Ramadan it would be most disrespectful to have too much on show. Even men need to be more covered up. Avoid shorts as much as possible outside the hotel. Three quarter lengths are not too bad, but just try and avoid dressing in a manner that will cause offence. And for goodness sake try and avoid using expletives when you are conversing in public. You should avoid that always here in Qatar anyway. But during Ramadan be extra careful with your language.

All bars and restaurants throughout Qatar stop serving alcohol during the Holy Month.

Driving in Qatar During Ramadan

Driving gets a little quicker and impatient during the day. Thirsty and hungry drivers on their way home to rest tend to be in a little bit of a hurry. Then in the evening just before sun down, everyone is rushing to get to their break fast location. It’s tradition to do a lot of visiting during Ramadan, so you spend the whole month breaking fast with different relatives and friends. And you will be in a hurry to get to where you are going to break your fast the moment you are allowed to. Then it goes quiet. Everyone is inside eating. The roads are deserted. Until everyone has eaten. And then everyone needs to get somewhere else. Another relative to visit, or business that you were too tired to undertake during fasting now needs to be attended to. And of course… more shopping.

Iftar

Everyone is listening for the call to prayer at sunset because it’s the signal to break your fast. Anyone not in hearing distance of a mosque, will almost certainly be tuned into the radio listening out for the moment you can start eating and drinking. And the name for this moment is ‘Iftar’.

Cannon located at Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab Mosque (state mosque), during Ramadan. Fired to signal it’s safe to eat and drink

Iftar is best shared with friends and family. Some people have their Iftar at home. Some like to take picnics to parks or the Corniche. You can see them setting up their spreads before sunset and then sitting patiently waiting for the signal to begin.

Nearly all restaurants have a special Iftar menu, and a great many have Iftar buffets. If you are staying in a hotel, then an Iftar buffet is almost certainly going to be on offer. Iftar buffets range in price from around QR 50 (GBP 9.85 USD 13.75 EUR 11.25) to around QR 350 (GBP 68.90 USD 96.20 EUR 78.60). As with everything you get what you pay for. The more you pay, the better the fare on offer. But how much can you actually eat?

Looking for a good value breakfast? Try the Sapphire Plaza located in Bin Mahmoud.

Qatar Quick Visited
We visited the Sapphire Plaza Hotel and paid for our breakfast. This review is independent and first hand informed.

The Sapphire Plaza offers a buffet breakfast as an option for guests @ QR 25 (GBP 4.88 USD 6.87), or for non-guests @ QR 49 (GBP 9.59 USD 13.47) Children are free up until 6 years old. However there seems to be a degree of flexibility with the age.

Value for money is excellent. There is something here for everyone. Including a live egg station that will prepare you fresh eggs cooked to order. With unlimited hot and cold drinks.

Of special mention is the Indian section, which was absolutely delicious.

The restaurant where breakfast is served (Al Maha) is spacious, bright and very nicely decorated. With a quality feel to it that would normally be found in more expensive venues.

Service was excellent.

Breakfast times: Daily 6am – 10:30am

Each month we are going to seek out the best value budget hotel in Qatar and publish it. This month it’s the Rawdat Al Khail Hotel.

At the time first published the Rawdat Al Khail Hotel was just QR 133 (GBP 26, USD 37, EUR 30) per night. Today (20th April 2018) the price online has risen to QR 200. When I visited today the price for 1 person was QR 139 and for 2 persons QR 145 at reception.

There is no food served in the hotel and no in-room Wi-Fi at the Rawdat Al Khail. Food is no problem at all because there is so much available in just a couple of minutes walk from the hotel. And the extremely close restaurants serve really good food at ridiculously low prices. Expect to pay QR 20 or even lower when eating in these venus.

There is a gym, but no pool.

The Rawdat Al Khail is located close but not in walking distance of most of Doha’s major tourist destinations. There are plenty of facilities around it, but a cheap taxi ride is required to get to the interesting places. I have read reviews online, and the theme that runs through the online reviews is that; this is somewhere with good basics (sleep, shower, with good food nearby).

Expect to pay around QR 10 for a taxi to nearby hotels that have bars (if you are into that type of thing) and around QR 15 to get to places like Souq Waqif).

Check in: 2pm
Checkout: 1pm

Doha Bus Hop On Hop Off- The easy way to get around Qatar’s top tourist destinations

Qatar Quick RecommendedOne of the best ways of getting around some of the top tourist destinations in Qatar, is to use the Doha Bus ‘Hop on, Hop off’ service. You buy a 24 hour or 48 hour ticket and then literally hop on and off the bus whenever you want (9am – 6pm). You also get a bonus free Night Tour thrown in.

Doha Bus Tour Map
Doha Bus Tour Map

Doha Bus have three tour routes (Red Line, Green Line and Orange Line). All three are available to you and you simply have to decide which tourist attractions you want to hop off at. No parking issues, no hailing taxi cabs, just wait for the next bus on the route to pick you up when you have finished (approximately every 20 mins).

You can buy tickets online or at ticket sales kiosks located in prime locations around Doha. The tickets represent exceptional value starting at QR 90 for a child, QR 180 for an adult and QR 455 for a family (24 hour period).

Visit their website https://dohabus.com/ for more information, or call them on +974 4442 2444

 

If you forgot to pack sunblock, there is nothing to worry about. It’s readily available here in Qatar. But perhaps a little more pricey than back home.

Available in nearly all pharmacies and large supermarkets, a decent sunblock will cost around QAR 57 (GBP 11, USD 15, EUR 13, 818 Peso).  And please, please, please make sure you put it on. Or your vacation may be a painful one.