Already known for its luxury hotels along the Persian Gulf, Qatar is preparing to host FIFA World Cup matches between November 21 and December 18 this year. The country, the fourth richest in the world, plans to open more than 100 hotels and serviced residences to meet expected demand, but also as part of its efforts to develop tourism. The soccer tournament will attract nearly 1.5 million visitors and up to $20 billion in economic activity.
Qatar Airways will undoubtedly play an important role in attracting visitors to the country. The airline operated the world’s first fully vaccinated flight in April 2021, and it is known for its high levels of in-flight service. He even painted airplanes to advertise the global sporting event. Visitors from 95 countries can enter Qatar without a visa.
Qatar has a host of tourist targets on the radar, including spa getaways, family trips, romantic weekends and cultural tourism. In 2019, the country opened the National Museum of Qatar, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, and more recently it is developing a public art program throughout the city. In a bid to be considered “the mecca of art”, huge sculptures, statues and works of art are erected around the city to spark conversation.
It’s not just football. Qatar will host tennis events in the coming weeks, including the Qatar Ladies Open and the Qatar Open. The Qatar Masters, which has been held in Qatar for more than two decades, is taking place this month, and the Qatar Grand Prix has just taken place.
Among the new hotels to open are many fan favorites from the loyalty program, which will help increase the number of places to earn and redeem points. To accommodate the temporary spike in World Cup visitors, 16 cruise ships will also serve as floating hotels, giving the hospitality industry a boost. According to Qatar Tourism, it also expects many fans and visitors to travel to the country for day trips to explore its many cultural sites while watching a game.
After the games, some of the newly constructed stadiums will be dismantled or converted into entertainment or concert venues. In an effort to be more sustainable, the country will also send many major stadium materials and components to Third World countries looking for a head start in building their own venues.
A new cruise terminal is also set to open later this year and the West Bay North Beach project bringing six new beaches for holidaymakers. They will have restaurants, bike paths and 35 trails dedicated to people with special needs.
If you’re curious about what new hotels are on the way, here are a few that are sure to wow you.
Banyan Tree Doha
First Banyan Tree property managed by Accor in the Middle East, the tower Banyan Tree Doha sure to be popular with football fans. It is the closest hotel to the biggest fan zone and is within sight of five of the stadiums where the matches will be played. Its restaurant menus span the globe with Indian, Thai and Italian options. Its rooftop Vertigo lounge and bar is a place to see and be seen with 360 degree views of the city and is becoming a hotspot for locals and expats alike. The property will participate in the All Live Limitless (ALL) loyalty program allowing guests to earn and redeem points during their stay.
Fairmont & Raffles Lusail Hotel & Residences
This pair of Accor brands will be located in the city’s most iconic new building, Katara Towers. Designed to resemble the scimitar swords of Qatar’s national seal, this waterfront landmark will feature luxury Fairmont and Raffles hotels occupying either side of the sphere. Both brands will participate in the All Live Limitless program, and each will have stunning views of the sea and cityscape.
Pullman Doha West Bay
With a mix of accommodation and serviced residences featuring one to three bedrooms for long-term stays, there’s another Accor opening in town. The property is part of the Pullman brand, which has a strong focus on meetings and events. Pullman Doha West Bay is within walking distance of the Doha Convention and Exhibition Centre, which will help it attract groups to its own facilities as well as nearby venues. ALL Loyalty members will have many Accor choices in Doha at varying prices and purposes.
Dreaming of Doha
In the Najma district, the new Dreaming of Doha will open this year with 265 rooms and suites as well as nearly three dozen private residences. A variety of upscale dining and nightlife options will make it a popular destination for visitors and locals alike. The property will be the flagship of Dream Hotel Group, which also includes The Chatwal and Unscripted Hotels, in the Middle East.
St. Regis Marsa Arabia Island, The Pearl-Qatar
Located in the city’s famous man-made district, The Pearl, the St. Regis Marsa Arabia Island, The Pearl-Qatar will feature 87 residential units ideal for families or longer stays seeking luxury when it opens this fall. Arabian interior design will fill public spaces and accommodations, and visitors will have access to eight swimming pools, numerous dining options and a kids’ club. Guests can earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for a stay here.
Le Royal Meridien Doha
In Lusail, the new planned city north of Doha, this property will join many other hotel openings in the area attracting tourists and business travelers. Lusail is also a popular residential area for locals and expats consisting of four islands and numerous mixed-use entertainment and commercial districts with many restaurants and shops in the area. Le Royal Meridien Doha, part of the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, will open this month with nearly 400 rooms and plenty of dining options. The hotel will be connected to dozens of luxury boutiques in the adjacent Place Vendôme shopping center.
New Rosewood Doha and Rosewood Residences Doha are also part of the Lusail City development. The hotel’s design is based on the underwater coral that surrounds Qatar and will include rooms, serviced apartments and private residences. There will be eight food and beverage outlets, including a cigar lounge and three specialty restaurants.