Since last September when Qatar Airways announced that it would be operating daily direct flights from Cardiff Airport to Doha using one of their Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft – featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy class – we have been buzzing with excitement. This Cardiff service will be the first regular direct long haul flight linking Wales and South West England to a major global hub in the Gulf region seven days a week – benefiting both leisure and business travellers by creating a wealth of long-haul connectivity.
Services will fly between the national airport of Wales and Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar’s capital, which since opening in 2014, is one of the world’s largest hub airports, with over 30 million passengers using the state of the art facilities each year. Whether you’re transferring, arriving or departing, Hamad International Airport offers seemingly endless shopping, dining and relaxation.
Not only will this new route give travellers the opportunity to visit Doha but opens up a world of connectivity for our customers to destinations across Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Asia.
Doha is the capital city of Qatar, an independent sovereign state since 1971 which is situated on a peninsula extending northwards into the Arabian Gulf and has 563 km of uninterrupted coastline. It is one of Qatar’s most beautiful cities with a mixture of stunning modern architecture and a fascinating old town steeped in history with its own distinctive traditional architecture.
The area is also rich in natural beauty, towering sand dunes reach into the distance and crystal clear waters lap miles of platinum shores. Doha has much more to offer than a beach holiday, you can explore the beautifully restored fortresses and ancient rock carvings, pay a visit to the camel races or take a safari into the desert. It is in a subtropical area, meaning whether you’re discovering the cities museums, cuisine, history remains, coastline, or much more, you will always have the hot climate by your side.
Doha’s coastline has seen an influx of luxury hotels with a wide variety of restaurants offering dining options with Indian, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Korean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Doha is also home to a number of sports stadiums and is also the location of the Grand Prix of Qatar as well as the annual F1 Powerboat World Championship, hosting it out in the bay which the city overlooks.
Image Courtesy of ITC Travel Group
The Corniche, a spectacular waterfront promenade circling Doha Bay, is a vehicle-free recreational space in the heart of the city giving spectacular views, from the dramatic high rise towers to the bold shapes of the Museum of Islamic Art and where the traditional wooden dhows lining the Bay evoke echoes of Qatar’s great seafaring past.
The Museum of Islamic Art gives you the opportunity to experience 14 centuries of great art in a few hours with its magnificent and imaginatively presented displays of the finest art and artefacts from across the Islamic world which has earned it recognition among the world’s top cultural institutions. This modern architectural masterpiece designed by IM Pei makes a dramatic setting to house this diverse collection and will not fail to impress together with the constantly changing programme.
Enjoy the ultimate elegant lifestyle at The Pearl-Qatar, a man-made island off the West Bay coast, featuring Mediterranean-style yacht-lined marinas, luxury residences and hotels, as well as top brand name boutiques, cafes and restaurants. This is also a popular dining spot with its waterfront promenades lined with cafes and restaurants serving every taste – from a refreshing ice cream to a five-star dining experience. The Pearl is a popular visitor attraction by virtue of its chic elegance and which is becoming known as the ‘Arabian Riviera’.
If you prefer the more traditional scenes then take a stroll down the bustling alleys of Souq Waqif. Here you will find the authentic taste of traditional Doha, its architecture, commerce and culture where the maze of small shops offer a dazzling array of Middle Eastern merchandise from spices and seasonal delicacies to perfumes, jewellery, clothing, handicrafts and a treasure trove of souvenir bargains. Traditional music, art and cultural shows add to the ambience of this special place where you can relax and soak up the vitality and atmosphere at one of its eclectic mix of great restaurants and cafes.
Enjoy culture and recreation at Katara to experience an innovative interpretation of the region’s architectural heritage. This purpose-built development’s impressive theatres, galleries and performance venues stage a lively year-round programme of concerts, shows and exhibitions. Among Katara’s recreational attractions are a wide choice of dining options, including top class restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, and a spacious, well-maintained public beach with water sports.
However, if you would like to partake in some serious shopping then visit the Villaggio Mall located on Al Waab Street within the Aspire Zone in the west end of Doha. Villaggio is the most sought after destination in Qatar for high luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Gucci, Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana. It’s Venetian styled interiors combine with an astonishing range of shopping, dining and entertainment venues to make it a unique and unforgettable attraction.
Outside Doha, there are excursions to Al Zubarah, the west coast, camel racing track and other points of interest. Also located on Qatar’s north-west coast you will find the immaculately restored Al Zubarah Fort and surrounding 60-hectare archaeological works. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most extensive and best preserved examples of an 18th–19th century settlement in the region. It covers the remains of a walled coastal town that once ranked as one of the Gulf’s most important pearl diving and trading centres with links extending to the Indian Ocean.
My favourite way of getting around any new city is on a tour bus and Doha offers the DohaBus, which runs day-long ‘hop-on, hop off’ double-decker tours around the city. Whether you are staying in Doha for a relaxing holiday or just a stop-over this gives you the opportunity to experience this modern city at your leisure. It is worth noting that Karwa taxis are widely available and reasonably priced should you need more flexible transport during your stay.
It is not often you see a great city in the making so here’s your chance – the stunning and constantly changing skyline with its landmark cultural icons oozes confidence and style and with the arrival of the FIFA World Cup in 2022 it is a certainty that things will only get better.
Here at Tailor Made Travel we can fulfil your dreams and aspirations – for further details and information of this exciting destination please contact us.
Call 0333 3441786 or visit your local Tailor Made Travel agency – for telephone numbers and addresses of our branches click onto this link to our website
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