View of a bathtub, glass-enclosed walk-in shower and vanity with copper bowl sink

Planning Your Trip

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Doha is a contrast between modern luxury and old-world traditions, making this city a must-see for well-seasoned travelers. With sweltering days and breezy nights, packing is no easy task but these smart tips will help ensure you have everything you need for a trip to this desert oasis.

Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
What to Pack

Due to Doha’s often scorching temperatures and proximity to the desert, dark sunglasses are a must. Choose large frames that will guard your eyes against the elements and any sand and dirt that may get picked up by the wind.

Business Travel

Over the last few years, Doha has become a business hub in the Middle East, so professional attire is expected.

  • Men should observe formal professional standards by wearing a well-tailored suit in dark colors, like black, gray or navy blue.

  • Women are encouraged to dress modestly. Opt for skirts and dresses that fall below the knee, and avoid revealing silhouettes.

  • Pack the correct 220-volt converter for your chargers and other electronics so you can stay connected.
Summer Escape

As expected, summer in Doha can be very hot but careful planning can keep you cool even when temperatures rise.

  • Bring a swimsuit. Taking a dip in the Sharq Village & Spa’s marbled infinity pool is the perfect way to cool off after a long day of exploring.

  • Pack your favorite sunscreen and other SPF-infused toiletries to minimize the impact of the sun.

  • As the temperature often drops when the sun sets, a light sweater or jacket is encouraged for evening activities.
Cultural Considerations

Qatar is a Muslim country, and as such, visitors are encouraged to show respect for local sentiments by dressing conservatively.

  • Leave your tank tops, shorts and sundresses behind. Instead choose loose, long layers in lightweight fabrics

  • While swimming and water activities are popular pastimes, swimwear should be restricted to the beach and hotel areas.

  • Visitors are expected to dress modestly when touring religious sites. Women are encouraged to bring a scarf to cover their shoulders and hair.
Daytime view of a dining room with square tables and wicker chairs, gold columns and jellyfish-like chandeliers
Daytime view of a dining room with square tables and wicker chairs, gold columns and jellyfish-like chandeliers
What to Reserve

Whether you plan to spend your days exploring natural wonders, admiring the world-class architecture, dining on local delicacies or all of the above, a little planning will help you make the most of your trip to Qatar.

The Ritz-Carlton Sharq Village, Doha’s Parisa, the ambiance is just as dazzling as the menu. You won’t soon forget an evening spent enjoying authentic Persian dishes while sitting among original artwork, elaborate mosaics and thousands of hand-chosen mirrors from Iran. For a meal with a view, the hotel’s Al Wanis Shisha Terrace offers oversized canopied booths for an authentic Qatari experience. Enjoy meze and a drink while relaxing atop luxurious cushions under the night sky.  

Reserve time in your itinerary to experience the rejuvenating effects of The Spa at Sharq Village & Spa, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel. A combination of traditional Arabian, Thai and Swedish therapies provide more than 250 soothing and renewing treatment options. In honor of Qatari traditions, the spa provides a separate ladies entrance and reception area, as well as a full-service beauty salon and fine exercise facilities. The individual spa villages may be reserved for exclusive couples treatments and relaxation sessions.

The Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum features the private art collection of Sheikh Faisal and houses an impressive array of rare artifacts from the Jurassic age to the present day. Get the most out of your visit by booking a tour guide in advance online. Another must-see: Katara Cultural Village, with its numerous theaters, galleries and performance venues that offer a variety of cultural events. Its Opera House is home to the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, which performs year-round so be sure to check the orchestra calendar and buy tickets before your visit.   

Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Persian Gulf via a kayak adventure at sunset or yoga on the beach. And don’t miss the opportunity to revel in the natural marvel that is the Inland Sea. This huge inlet surrounded on all sides by vast sand dunes is just a short 45-minute journey from Doha. The concierge can help you arrange an outing.

Outdoor Pool
Outdoor Pool

A visit to Doha piques all your senses. The warm sun shines down on the shores of the beach. Scents of spices and freshly baked sweets waft through the souk, where you can hear locals bartering with vendors for livestock.



  • A Breakfast Feast. Buzzing with energy, Saba Masah hosts many locals in the know every morning for its elaborate breakfasts. Enjoy bread with labneh (local strained yogurt) and olive oil, rice pudding with orange blossom, and other Arabic delights.

  • Wander the Array. The Souq Waqif is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Along beautiful old narrow alleyways, vendors sell thousands of locals everything from garments and spices to musical instruments and livestock.

  • A Smooth Cup of Coffee. Asherg Café makes smooth, Turkish-style coffee. Ground beans are simmered, rather than roasted, in a copper cezve (pot), sugar is added, and then the grounds are allowed to sit, resulting in a richer, more complex brew.




  • A Park With a View. Check the calendar for events at MIA Park. Take in the waterfront views of Doha from the seat of a paddleboard and don’t miss artist Richard Serra’s 80-foot steel sculpture inspired by the minarets of Afghanistan.

  • An Architectural Gem. One of the most stunning experiences in Doha maybe your approach to The Museum of Islamic Art, which is built on its own island. Walk in, look up, and you’ll find a trippy geometric skylight designed by legendary architect I. M. Pei. The impressive collection spans three continents and 1,400 years.




  • A Moment of Pause. Take advantage of the baths and traditional hammam (Moroccan-style steam room) at the lavish Six Senses Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Sharq Village, Doha, which is full of columns, drapes, Arabic lanterns and other romantic details.




  • Kebab by the Beach. A newer edition to Doha, the beachfront Mamig has an expansive menu that includes an unmissable Armenian delicacy called fishne kebab: beef grilled with caramelized cherries. Delicious vegetarian options are available as well.

  • A Smoking Good Time. The spacious and dimly lit Le Gourmet is an ideal spot for people-watching, especially if you secure a table on the rooftop. Enjoy the warm, breezy nights while sharing a hookah pipe full of mint, grape or apple shisha.


  • A Morning Safari. Wake up early to enjoy the golden dunes in the cool morning. Your concierge at The Ritz-Carlton Sharq Village, Doha can arrange for a safari to the gorgeous heart of the desert, known locally as the “inland sea,” where you can plow through dunes in a 4x4 and admire the endless, undulating desert.




  • Stunning Skyscrapers. A bit like a Zeppelin stood upright on one end, the 46-floor Burj Doha glimmers in the sun thanks to a galvanized steel exterior. The design was dreamt up by acclaimed French architect Jean Nouvel as a modernized riff on ancient Islamic structures.

  • Explore the Pearl-Qatar. The Pearl neighborhood is built entirely on a manmade island and is home to 12,000 residents as well as coffee shops, restaurants and luxury boutiques including high-end designers Loro Piana and Balenciaga.

  • Shopping and Beyond. To call Villaggio a shopping mall doesn’t quite do it justice. The 24.5-acre complex has 220 stores, a theme park, two skating rinks and an Imax theater. Stop by for lunch at one of its many restaurants and shop to your heart’s content.




  • An Old-school Port. Al Wakra was originally a point of trade for fish and pearls. Its old Qatari port remains largely unchanged, and you can still watch fishermen load and unload fish there.

  • Relax in the Sun. Part of what you come to Doha for is R&R. The Ritz-Carlton Sharq Village, Doha has a private strip of beach and opulent pools for lounging. Contact your concierge to arrange a kayak or paddleboard session during the bleeding desert sunset.




  • Dinner by the Beach. Sharq Village’s beachfront Al Dana restaurant serves zesty seafood in a calming, candle-lit setting with views of the shore. Don’t miss the chili-lime oysters and tiger shrimp simmered in red curry.

  • Local Desserts. Al Aker Sweets stays open late for locals looking to satisfy sugar cravings with Arabic sweets. Try the exceptional kunafa, a crispy, gooey cheese pastry topped with sugary syrup, and awameh, similar to honey-covered doughnut holes.


  • An Authentic Start. In a small kitchen, a local woman named Shaima began cooking traditional Qatari food. Dishes such as her crepe-like khubz regag and balaleet (saffron noodles) were so popular that she opened her own restaurant, Shay Al Shoomos, where you can now try a traditional Qatari breakfast.




  • An Energetic Market. Locals have flocked to Souq Waqif since Doha was a tiny village. The market sells spices, handcrafted jewelry, and even livestock. Wander the charming alleys, do some people-watching and barter with the vendors for souvenirs.

  • Birds of Prey. Falconry began in the Middle East over 5,000 years ago and is still a sport that thrives in the Persian Gulf. At the Falcon Souq, you can observe the majestic birds.




  • Armor and More.Doha’s extensive Weaponry Museum displays over 2,000 Arabic weapons and articles of defense: daggers from the 1500s, armor that elephants used in battle, and more modern firearms from the region.




  • Where Locals Gather. Covered in stained-glass windows and rustic stone walls, the authentic Café Asherg is a typical Qatari establishment for hummus, baba ganoush, kofta meatballs, and apple-flavored shisha (tobacco mix) that you can enjoy on the roof.

  • Stargaze, With Cocktails. The night sky is clear at Sharq Village and the C Lounge, which faces Doha Bay, is excellent for stargazing with a craft cocktail and shisha before heading to bed. You’re close enough to the water to hear the waves crash.


  • Explore Katara. Named after the original name of Qatar, Katara is Doha’s cultural hub. Wander the souk, the opera house and the beach, making frequent stops to take in the traditional architecture, including a photogenic blue mosque.

  • Classic Theater. A beautiful mix of Islamic and Greek architecture, Katara Amphitheater is an impressive outdoor concert venue and Doha landmark. Admire its clean lines, and check the schedule for concerts.




  • Beat the Heat. When temperatures rise, cool off near the amphitheater at La Gelateria Fina, which serves perfectly creamy gelato. Flavors range from classic vanilla and strawberry to less traditional — green apple, Nutella and pomegranate.




  • Modern Art in Doha. One of the world’s largest collections of Arab art, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art features a mix of modern sculptures and paintings from artists throughout the Persian Gulf who examine issues like rapid globalization.




  • Peaceful Promenade. Take a stroll along the Corniche, a promenade in Doha where you can watch the ocean and rub shoulders with locals jogging and children playing.

  • Al Mourjan Restaurant. The best part about dining at Al Mourjan, an Arabian restaurant along the Corniche: As the tide rises, the steps along the perimeter are submerged so it appears you’re floating at sea. In other words, insist on seats outside.


  • A World-class Museum. The building of the Museum of Islamic Art itself is an attraction. Like an art oasis in the desert, the white-walled exterior is surrounded by water. Inside sits one of the most impressive collections of Islamic art and artifacts ever assembled.




  • France Meets the Middle East.  The Museum of Islamic Art wooed acclaimed Chef Alain Ducasse to run its French-Mediterranean restaurant IDAM. Go for the three-course tasting menu, which is assembled mostly of ingredients from the region, including locally caught fish. The restaurant only serves lunch.

  • Golden Opportunity. Pick up a glamorous item of jewelry at Doha’s Gold Souk, where rings, necklaces and earrings are sold to locals, often Qatari bridal parties. Vendors can engrave on the spot so just ask if you’d like a purchase customized.

  • Home Makeover. You’ll find yourself coveting the stained glass and intricate lanterns you see around town. Browse a wonderful selection of home goods, as well as Arabian perfumes, at the Omani Souk and then ship your finds back home.




  • Unwind in the Spa. Reserve the Qatari Journey at Sharq Village’s Six Senses Spa. First, luxuriate in the traditional hammam steam bath. Then the intuitive hands of one of the gifted therapists will work through your body’s kinks. After, you’ll receive a facial.




  • A Night of Music. Catch a Mahler, Stravinsky or Brahms concert at the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2009, Doha constructed the Philharmonic from scratch, attracting talent from Russia, Japan and all over Europe to satisfy a growing local interest in classical music.