Doha is the new must-visit location in the Middle East.
Done Dubai? Tired of Abu Dhabi? Then the new kid on the block in the Middle East, a perfect stopover en route to the Far East or Australia, is Doha.
The capital of Qatar is now a direct flight from Edinburgh thanks to Qatar Airways’ swanky new Dreamliner service.
Doha is a skyscraper-strewn capital in the Arabic emirate of Qatar. Much in the news earlier this year due to FIFA and the World Cup, it’s a fascinating glimpse into what money can buy.
In May I was lucky enough to go on the inaugural flight from Edinburgh. Travelling in Qatar is not for the faint-hearted. When we were there, the temperature was 47C (116F in ‘old money’)!
Hot? More like boiling! I love the sun, but even for me it was way too hot to sunbathe, even for five minutes.
But, assuming you are OK in constant air-con (which is everywhere), what to do when there? Got 24-48 hours?
Did you know that 17.5% of Qatar’s population are members of this super-rich club?
The emirate is the wealthiest nation on earth by GDP and, boy oh boy, the money is on show everywhere you look.
Massive high-rise buildings, state-of-the-art convention centres, deluxe hotels it’s mind-boggling stuff. I have never seen more marble and gold in my 30 years of travelling.
But the money has also treated the locals to some of the finest public facilities on the planet.
The Cultural Village Foundation is an exceptional project based on the hope of global human interaction through art and cultural exchange.
Katara Cultural Village is the largest and the most multidimensional cultural project of Qatar. With theatres, concert halls, exhibition galleries and cutting-edge facilities, it aims to become a world leader for multicultural activities. Certainly no expense has been spared.
We also went to Aspire, the world’s largest indoor sports arena where they nurture young talent using the very best of everything.
Two great hotels are the Marriott Doha and the Hyatt. My favourite was the Marriott. There are now two in Doha, but I stayed at the older one, which has a fabulous Friday brunch.
For the equivalent of £65 you can eat and drink all you like (including alcohol) from a giant buffet and there’s every type of cuisine in the world. All the expats use this as their weekend treat. Just get there!