Ritz Carlton Hotel image

Planning Your Trip

rcBreakText rcBreakWhiteText

As the capital of Qatar, Doha maintains a perfect blend of modern and traditional. It boasts cosmopolitan flavor and dazzling architectural masterpieces while holding on to its rich history and local cuisine. Here’s what to pack for your trip to this exciting city.

Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
What to Pack

It practically never rains in Qatar, but when it does, it comes in the form of heavy thunderstorms — which can be a welcome treat in summer. Pack an umbrella to prepare for the unexpected.

Business Travel

Doha is a rapidly developing city, which makes it a vibrant economic hub. But be sure to keep in mind when packing that Qatar is still a conservative country, and you’ll want to dress accordingly.


  • Though suits are rarely worn in the region, bring one for important meetings or events. Make sure it’s dark-colored and has enough ventilation for Doha’s hot climate.

  • Trousers, long-sleeved shirts and ties are standard for men.

  • For women, dresses and skirts that hit below the knee are the norm. Make sure your sleeves are at least three-quarters length and be modest with your neckline.
Summer Escape

Temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summers (which are long, going from May through September) while winters hover in the 60s and 70s. Maximize your comfort by packing versatile and easy separates.


  • A pair of flat sandals or sneakers will be best for sightseeing and partaking in water activities.

  • Don’t skimp on sun protection! Bring plenty of sunscreen, sunglasses and hats.

  • Pack modest layers (linen shirts and loose trousers) along with a few sweaters for chilly nights and air-conditioned indoors.
Cultural Considerations

Visitors to Qatar aren’t required to wear traditional clothing like abayas or cover their hair, but there are certain customs to follow when out in public.


  • You’ll want to bring a selection of swimsuits but keep in mind that they are only appropriate at the beach or in the resort. Walking around town in just bikinis and cover-ups is forbidden.

  • Leave low-cut shirts, strappy dresses, crop tops and shorts at home — anything too revealing can be considered disrespectful. Also, be sure hemlines fall below the knee.

  • If you must wear anything sleeveless, be sure to pack scarves or pashminas to cover your shoulders when out and about.
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
What to Reserve

From world-class museums to a diverse dining scene, Doha is a hotbed of activity and culture. Its perch on the picturesque blue waters of the Persian Gulf is an added bonus — as are the deserts nearby, from which you can fulfill your “Arabian Nights” fantasies. Below, some ideas for your itinerary.

There is a plethora of cuisine to sample in internationally minded Doha. Start with a table at Porcini, an elegant restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha where you can sample upscale Italian fare while watching the show in the open kitchen. Indulge in fresh sea-to-table plates at L’Wzaar or go to Layali for the best Lebanese food in town (it also has live music). Michelin-starred chef Vineet Bhatia’s Saffron is regarded as the best Indian restaurant in Doha while the Cellar is the top pick for Spanish tapas.

Whether you’re recovering from jetlag, prepping for your wedding day or just looking for a little downtime, The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Doha should be on your must-visit list. Book a Body Experience Ritual, a 120-minute treatment that combines a detoxifying body wrap with a tailor-made massage to deeply relax, cleanse and restore both body and mind. If you need to soothe aching feet after days of sightseeing, opt for the Sole Reviver treatment, which concentrates on the reflex zones of the feet to alleviate pain.

Qatar has a particularly elevated art cachet, thanks to Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani (the sister of the ruling emir), who heads Qatar Museums and is one of the world’s most influential art collectors (in her arsenal are a $300 million Gauguin and a $250 million Cézanne, among many others). The pièce de résistance is the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by the legendary I.M. Pei, who came out of retirement for the project. After perusing more than 14 centuries of Islamic art, stroll along the waterfront, the palm tree-lined Doha Corniche, and marvel at the ultra-modern skyline. For a journey back in time, head to Katara Cultural Village to see restored traditional landmarks. And don’t skip the souks hawking jewelry, incense and textiles.

Take a break from the city and venture out into the seemingly infinite dunes of Qatar’s deserts. Your concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha will help book half-day, full-day or even overnight desert safaris. Sand boarding, camel rides, barbecues and dune bashing (also known as off-roading) are some of the activities, along with a trip to the popular Inland Sea for swimming and snorkeling. For overnighters, a stylish Bedouin camp will be your home base, from which you can gaze up and see the breathtaking constellation of stars dotting the night sky.

Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image

From modern malls to traditional souks, Doha is an innovative city that blends the past and present seamlessly. The Qatari capital is a metropolitan powerhouse in the Arab world, with an unmatched collection of Islamic art, a dominating presence on the international sporting scene and endless funds for development. So whether you’re seeking a desert adventure or want to spend time learning about Qatari culture, Doha is sure to delight.


Jump to It. Start your day with an invigorating workout without leaving The Ritz-Carlton, Doha. The state-of-the-art fitness center offers several fitness classes including Zumba, Spinning and Pilates. If you prefer to move at your own pace, the open gym and Junior Olympic-sized, indoor lap pool are great alternatives.

Fuel Up. Head down to the Lobby Lounge for a light breakfast and specialty coffee before you set out to explore the city. The warmth of Arabic hospitality will set the perfect tone for the rest of your day.


State of the Art. Begin your day at the Museum of Islamic Art. With hundreds of works spanning three continents and 1,400 years, it is safe to say this is the most expansive and thorough collection in the world. In fact, the museum itself is a masterpiece. The renowned architect I.M. Pei came out of retirement to design this building on an island that offers an unmatched view of the harbor and the skyline.

Pier Evaluation. Take a stroll along the water to appreciate the 80-foot-tall steel sculpture by American artist Richard Serra. The piece is titled “7,” in reference to the spiritual and scientific significance the number seven has in Islamic culture.


Market Days. Head to Souq Waqif for an authentic Bedouin shopping experience where you can browse countless stalls of rich embroidered fabrics, exotic perfumes and appetizing snacks. For a truly unique experience, explore the Falcon Souq and Arabian horse stables to discover the important role horses and falcons play in Qatari culture.


Persian Dinner. Built in the traditional Islamic style, the Parisa restaurant inside the Souq Waqif serves mouthwatering Persian cuisine among a brightly colored, hand-painted décor. Since everything on the menu is delicious, order a variety of mezze plates to share — but be sure to save room for their signature saffron ice cream.

Stroll Along the Corniche. Take in the ultramodern skyline at night along Doha’s waterfront promenade. With over 4 miles of pedestrian walkways, it’s the perfect place to get a little exercise and some fresh air.


Sand Safari. Get an early start to discover the magic of the inland sea on a half-day desert safari adventure. Rent a vehicle to experience the thrill of “dune bashing” or book a serene picnic overlooking one of the few places in the world where dunes meet the ocean.


Take a Dip. Cool off from your desert excursion by spending a few hours poolside at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha. Order refreshing drinks and light snacks without getting out of the water at Flamingos, the swim-up bar and grill.


History Lesson. With so much focus on new developments, the Barzan Towers offer a rare slice of Qatari history from before the flurry of modern construction. The castle-like fortresses were built in the late 19th century as watchtowers against the threat of incoming Ottoman soldiers.

New and Now. Founded in 2010 in a refurbished school building, the Arab Museum of Modern Art is a must-see for any traveling art enthusiast. Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani began collecting modern art from the Arab region as a form of cultural preservation in 1990 and created the museum to share his collection with the public.


Spirit and Traditions. The Katara Cultural Village offers a unique insight into Qatari traditions, theater, art and architecture. The area comprises an open amphitheater, opera house, cinema, conference hall and traditional souks. With an ever-changing list of programs, from photography festivals to jazz concerts, there’s always something new for visitors to uncover.

Let's Eat. Before you leave, enjoy the flavors of fresh seafood at L’wzaar Seafood Market at the Katara Cultural Village. The restaurant allows you to pick your own fish and build a custom menu for a personalized dining experience.


Rise and Shine. Sleep in and enjoy a lavish brunch paired with stunning views of the turquoise gulf at The Lagoon restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton, Doha. Whether you choose to make your own omelet or try a traditional Arabic mezze breakfast, you’ll love waking up to a meal at this seaside oasis.


Royal History. The Al Thani Museum houses Sheikh Faisal’s personal collection of over 15,000 artifacts. Created to preserve and promote the importance of his homeland’s culture, the three-building museum organizes the pieces into four distinct categories: Islamic art, vehicles, coins and currency, and Qatari heritage.


Food Lover's Paradise. Head to the Omani Souk to browse the baskets of truffles, fresh dates, locally grown produce and cut flowers. The open marketalso has a wide offering of woven goods from straw hats to baskets, perfect for a unique souvenir.

Sea Rituals. Inspired by the abundant supplies found in the Arabian Gulf, The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Doha offers a variety of holistic treatments exclusive to Doha’s natural environment. The Signature Pearl Body Scrub blends crushed natural Qatari pearls and sea salt to exfoliate and rejuvenate your skin after spending time in the desert sun.


All Aboard. Ask the concierge for help with booking a traditional dhow cruise for unforgettable views of the Arabic Gulf at sunset. When choosing an excursion, opt for a trip paired with a private dinner to enjoy one last evening in Doha.

  • Rise and Spa. Inspired by the abundant elements found in the Arabian Gulf, The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Doha offers a variety of holistic treatments exclusive to Doha’s natural environment. The Signature Pearl Body Scrub blends crushed natural Qatari pearls and sea salt to exfoliate and rejuvenate your skin after spending time in the desert sun.

  • The Beach Beckons. Head just north of Doha’s city center to Katara Beach, a popular spot for locals and visitors. It may only be one mile long, but it offers a plethora of water activities like pedal boats, kayaking, water-skiing, canoeing and parasailing. After beach time is over, take a stroll through the neighboring Katara Cultural Village for a peek into Qatari traditions, theater, art and architecture.

  • The Freshest Fare. Have a late lunch at L’Wazzar for an unforgettable ocean-to-table feast. With seafood selections caught straight from the neighboring Dhow Harbour, this is about as fresh it gets. Choose from the catches of the day and have it cooked to your liking, in any style — Mediterranean, Arabic or Japanese.

  • Enjoy a Nightcap. Retreat back to The Ritz-Carlton, Doha and close out your evening at Habanos, where perfect martinis, hand-rolled cigars and live music are on the menu.
  • Fuel Up. Head down to the Lobby Lounge for a light breakfast and specialty coffee before you set out to explore the city. The warmth of Arabic hospitality will set the perfect tone for the rest of your day.

  • A Cultural Treasure. Head to “Souq Waqif” for an authentic cultural experience. Avoiding near demolition, this centuries-old marketplace was restored in 2004 to reflect and uphold traditional Qatari architecture. Stroll through its winding pathways, taking time to peruse the local goods — spices, jewelry, lamps, clothes, crafts, and even falcons can be found here. Along the way, don’t miss the tucked-away art galleries, restaurants and cafés.

  • Explore an Architectural Gem. Though this impressive museum houses more than 750 artifacts from Islamic history, the Museum of Islamic Art is most famous for its architecture. Legendary architect I.M. Pei came out of retirement to build the five-story, dome-topped building that is a masterpiece inside and out.

  • A Night at the Museum. One of Doha’s best restaurants, Idam, is on the top floor of the Museum of Islamic Art. Step into the striking atmosphere designed by Philippe Starck and, if you can, sit by the window to overlook the Doha skyline. Then, get ready for a culinary treat: Idam is Alain Ducasse’s first restaurant in the Middle East. For the menu, the French chef has reimagined traditional French foods with a Middle Eastern influence: potatoes infused with saffron, Egyptian rice cooked in a clay pot, and camel served with “foie gras” and black truffle.