One of the best-kept secrets of the Persian Gulf is the ever-evolving city of Doha, capital of Qatar, currently the richest country in the world. If you love adventure, luxury, culture and architecture, then Doha is THE city to say “I do” to. Here are five reasons Qatar makes the most unforgettable and romantic honeymoon getaway.
Enjoy all the glitz and glam of the world’s top signature hotels. From the Four Seasons to the Shangri-La, there’s a luxe hotel waiting to serve you serious upscale vacay vibes. A stay at the Mondrian, an incredible designer desert destination will make you feel like a modern day Alice in Wonderland From the gigantic golden blooms in the lobby to the cloud-shaped trees at the Magnolia Bakery and tea room, there is charm and whimsy at every turn. The Mondrian houses eight restaurants and bars, including celebrity chef establishments: Wolfgang Puck’s CUT and Masaharu Morimoto’s namesake Japanese restaurant. Yet the diamond in the Mondrian’s crown is the world’s most wow-factor wedding suite. The 6,500-square-foot Opal Bridal Suite has its own golden cage elevator, which whisks the bride and groom directly to the opulent 21,500-square-foot ballroom, providing the ultimate grand-entrance goal for any bride.
Doha is amping up its must-see museums and cultural institutions by hiring the world’s most elite architects. A visit to the newly opened Qatar National Museum was number one on our radar, as A-listers like Naomi Campbell, DVF and Johnny Depp had jetted in to attend the spring opening. The structurally stunning museum is a series of disks meant to look like a desert sand rose, the inspiration for French architect Jean Nouvel. Another must is the I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art, built on its own peninsula and boasting the best view of the city skyline. Hello, photo op!
It wouldn’t be a trip to the Middle East without a desert excursion and we highly recommend booking a honeymoon safari! Most safaris start with a stop to take photos with colourfully clad camels and falcons. Then it’s time for a little “dune bashing” – what locals refer to as off-roading, or driving up and over sand dunes at high speeds in an air-conditioned 4×4 Land Cruiser with a professional driver. The thrill of conquering the dunes will work up your appetite, and luckily, a traditional Middle Eastern meal awaits at the Regency Sealine Camp. Après-lunch lounging on Bali beds is highly recommended, or rent one of the royal tents outfitted with AC, king-size beds and luxurious bathrooms for the utmost glamping experience.
Quite simply there is SO much to shop for and browse in Doha, it’s almost overwhelming. You may find Souq Waqif quaint for its scents and spices, as it was built to resemble a traditional open-air 19th-century market, but it’s a tad touristy. Instead, shop like a local at some of the most beautiful department stores you’ll ever see. We visited the brand new Galeries Lafayette flagship in the Katara Cultural Village. Here, we spotted a Fauchon Paris (one of three in Qatar) and all the luxe labels we love. Designed by famous French architects Bruno Moinard and Claire Betaille, Galeries Lafayette Doha is the equivalent of Parisian shopping. Our luxury senses were further heightened when we visited Alhazm, a luxury destination for the uber-affluent. Executed by top Italian craftsmen, Alhazm resembles the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan and is home to some of the world’s finest restaurants, cafés and fashion labels.
Sports may not seem like an exciting honeymoon endeavour, but it’s thanks to the fact that Qatar is hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022 that the city is seeing a surge in tourism and an extreme growth spurt in urban development. Other activities and events worth checking out are: falconry, equestrian competitions and camel racing. We opted for elegance with a visit to the Al Shaqab equestrian centre. Pack your best Derby attire, as this establishment belongs to the former Emir, and the horses housed here lead a pretty posh life. Visit the royal stables and see how the famous Arabian breed is trained.
Start your honeymoon early by booking with Qatar Airways’ new Qsuite business class model. Voted the world’s #1 business class, it’s now also the first to offer the option of two side-by-side seats converting into a double bed. With sliding doors and dividers for extra privacy, newlyweds can cuddle up to enjoy total comfort and top-notch service.