I always have a soft spot for the Middle East – between the hospitality, the weather and the calibre of accommodation on offer throughout, you’re always in for a treat when you step foot in this part of the world. One of my favourite countries is Qatar – specifically Doha, which is similar in many ways to Dubai, but smaller and with a wide range of activities for every interest and budget. Set right on the Arabian Gulf, Doha is a great place for those with long layovers to get out and about in this coastal desert city to experience all there is to see and do, as well as enjoying a bit of time on the beach watching yachts of the rich go floating past.
I always try to stay at the Movenpick Doha West Bay when I’m in the city as the location, food options and service simply cannot be beaten. I was recently there on a layover between flights and I decided to stay for a couple of extra days to explore the city a bit more than I had on previous layovers.
First off, the Doha Movenpick West Bay couldn’t have a better location. Situated just off the water of the Arabian Gulf, the hotel is in the heart of the city with easy access by either public transport or taxi to all of the major attractions and points of interest. Only twenty minutes by car to the Doha Hamad International Airport, the hotel is ideal for those who are on longer layovers and just want to relax in a luscious hotel room instead of waiting around at the airport. They also have an airport shuttle, which makes getting to and from the airport seamless and easy.
Ideally, the hotel has its own bus stop for route 777, which takes you right into the centre of downtown Doha, on the other side of the bay where you can get on and off at the waterfront to explore the centre of town such as the Centre for Islamic Art and the Waqif Souq – a centuries old outdoor market that has an impressive collection of everything from clothing to souvenirs and almost anything you could possibly want.
The rooms are exquisite at the Movenpick Doha West Bay. I chose to stay in one of the Deluxe Panoramic rooms and it was an incredibly good choice. The view was phenomenal by day and by night. There’s something to be said about watching the sunrise over the Arabian Gulf – something that really makes you get a feel for where you are.
The room had a great desk and also a small kitchenette which allowed me to cook my own meals if I wanted to. While I didn’t, it was useful having a fridge so I could have a couple of different drinks or snacks on hand when I wanted them. The colours of decor around the room really made it feel special and bright, and the king size bed helped me get some of the best night’s sleep I’ve had in awhile!
Aside from the kitchenette option at the Movenpick Doha West Bay, they have two fantastic restaurants on site. ForKnife is a more upscale dining area while the Lime Tree Lobby Lounge is more casual for lunch or quick bites. The Lime Tree Lobby Lounge is the ideal place to relax with a book and a delectable coffee, or head over for their chocolate hour to indulge your sweet tooth. The only thing is – their displays are so impressive and artfully prepared, you might not want to eat anything! Make sure to bring your phone or camera to snap some pics of the chocolate displays before they get eaten up!
The ForKnife restaurant is the spot if you want a taste of home. Offering everything from local cuisines to burgers and pizza, it has a little something for everyone. Not only that, but they also host Friday brunches, buffets and theme nights with live music, so it’s a great spot to spend a couple of hours unwinding after a long day of exploring the city. I definitely suggest trying the pizza – it’s probably the best pizza in Doha.
While strolling the Corniche in the centre of Doha is a favourite activity of many who come to this area of the world, stopping at the souqs and other shopping malls around, if you don’t have a lot of time or you’re just stopping over for a night or two and you really want to relax, the hotel has a great heated pool with amazing views of the Arabian Gulf and parts of the city for you to enjoy s lap or two, which I definitely took advantage of to help cool off after walking around the area for a day. There’s also a spa on site, but I didn’t use any services although it just goes to show what a gem of a hotel this is for layovers. You can have everything you need under one roof with no need to go anywhere else!
If you’re into keeping up your fitness like I am, there’s a great fitness area where you can work almost any part of your body including treadmills, ellipticals and the like. There’s even a personal fitness trainer that can help you with your workout plans to ensure you’re getting the most out of your gym time.
Overall, the Movenpick Doha West Bay hotel has to be one of my favourites in the Middle East. Not only does it provide a huge range of flexibility when it comes to dining options due to the kitchenettes provided, but it hosts a whole array of different culinary events to suit all tastes. It has everything you could possibly want in a hotel and more, so I can definitely say I highly recommend it if you’re ever in Doha.