24 hours in Doha: Balancing tomorrow with yesterday in Qatar.

By Mark Andrews

Selamta – Ethiopian Airlines.
March – April 2017

Once a sleepy pearling and fishing port, Doha is now truly awake, thanks to both oil and gas revenues and the fact that Qatar is gearing up to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Though the city’s first school didn’t open until the mid-20th century, gleaming skyscrapers today dominate the bay and luxury cars roar throughout the streets. And even as Doha keeps its eye on the future, the city also goes to great lengths to ensure that its people don’t forget their nomadic desert roots.

8:00 a.m.

The Shangri-la Hotel Doha is one of the latest additions to the skyline of the ultramodern West Bay district, the city’s new central business hub. Blending Asian and Middle Eastern hospitality, the hotel provides an unforgettable sense of cultural immersion starting from the moment you enter the lobby, where an oud (a pear-shaped string instrument) player will serenade you while a falcon holds watch. For a leisurely breakfast to start the day, head to Sridan, featuring 10 stations of different cuisines. Enjoy everything from shakshuka, a spicy egg-and-vegetable dish from Morocco, to Indian stuffed-pancake-like dosas. If your taste buds are less than adventurous first thing in the morning, though, don’t worry: There are plenty of familiar options as well.

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Mark Andrews has written about everything from Japanese houses to heli hikes on New Zealand glaciers, test drives of Chinese cars to bar and restaurant reviews. He currently specialises in travel articles and reviews of Chinese cars plus articles about the Chinese auto industry.

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