Doha Neighbourhood Guide

Where to Stay in Doha

    Doha has several interesting areas that are popular places to stay while visiting the city, each with its own selling points. A dazzling desert city in the heart of the Middle East, Doha is a place where old meets new. Qatar’s modern capital’s ever-expanding skyline sprawls along the Arabian Gulf, providing visitors with a number of contrasting neighbourhoods to explore, from traditional old quarters to luxurious districts boasting soaring skyscrapers and avant-garde architecture.

    Doha’s superb and constantly improving public transport system makes getting about a cinch, so why not discover as much of the city as possible? If you’re planning a trip to Qatar’s largest city, take a look at our neighbourhood guide to discover the city’s not-to-be-missed areas, including where you should book your hotel in Doha.

    1

    Al Dafna

    Good for luxury, convenience, and business

    A seaside district in the heart of the city, Al Dafna has developed rapidly in recent years and has become not only the central business district but Doha’s main downtown area too. One of the most upscale parts of Doha, it boasts pride of place on the Corniche – the city’s waterfront promenade – with superb views of the Arabian Gulf and the surrounding city skyline.

    If you’re looking to indulge in a bit of culture during your time in Doha, then you’ll find the Qatar National Theatre in Al Dafna, hosting regular shows, concerts and events. Or, for something a little different, be sure to take a stroll through the colourful walkway at Umbrella Park.

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    2

    Diplomatic Area

    Good for families, luxury, and world-class hotels

    Located at the far northern tip of Doha’s main bay, the Diplomatic Area has a decidedly upmarket feel and a vibrant atmosphere, with plenty going on. Among the sea of dazzling skyscrapers emerging from the cityscape, you’ll discover great places to dine in the evenings or somewhere trendy to grab a coffee during the day.

    The Diplomatic Area is one of the most popular areas for expats to stay. You’ll find a large number of luxury and well-known hotel chains here, such as W Doha and Four Seasons Hotel Doha. There are plenty of opportunities to indulge in a spot of retail therapy and also a handful of beaches for sunbathing. 

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    3

    West Bay

    Good for families, couples, and luxury

    One of the most popular and elite areas of the city, West Bay is home to high-rise buildings and beautifully landscaped parks. You’ll love exploring the likes of I Park on the waterfront and the impressive design of Hotel Park.

    The area is ideally located at the heart of the bay, alongside the Doha Corniche. West Bay is within easy reach of all the city’s top attractions, making it makes an extremely popular choice for those looking for the best area to base themselves in the city. Add to that the fact that it’s where you’ll find the huge Doha City Center shopping and entertainment complex, and you’ll see just why it’s such a great neighbourhood to explore.

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    4

    Al Jasra

    Good for history and sightseeing

    A far cry from the city’s towering skyscrapers and luxury malls, Al Jasra gives you a taste of Doha’s rich heritage and traditional charm. The geographical centre of Qatar’s capital, you’ll find plenty of the city’s main attractions within walking distance, such as the magnificent Pearl Monument. There are plenty of hotels in the vicinity too.

    One of the biggest draws to Al Jasra is the incredible Souq Waqif, a bustling old market and one of the biggest souqs in the country. Haggle your way to a bargain and be sure to visit the fluffy camels (affectionally nicknamed ships of the desert) grazing in the nearby Camel Pen while you’re in the area.

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    photo by Alex Sergeev (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    5

    The Pearl

    Good for luxury, shopping, nightlife, and couples

    Head just north of Doha’s city centre and you’ll find The Pearl, the illustrious and extravagant island district of Qatar’s capital. The artificial island, named after the former pearl dive site that it’s built upon, features many high-end residential districts. You’ll find luxurious villas, townhouses and hotels aplenty, as well as countless designer stores and first-rate restaurants to enjoy.

    Whether you want to indulge in the lavish lifestyle of The Pearl, or simply window shop and gaze in awe at the stunning yachts moored along the jetties, experiencing this part of Doha is an absolute must. 

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    photo by Alex Sergeev (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    Baaya

    Good for families, shopping, budget and sports fans

    The district of Baaya may be a little far out from Doha’s city centre, but plenty goes on here to make the journey west worthwhile. Hugely popular with families, it’s home to the incredible Aspire Park – an expansive green space centred around Aspire Lake and the fun-filled Jungle Zone indoor theme park.

    Baaya is also where you’ll find one of Doha’s top attractions, the superb Villagio Mall. This opulent shopping centre boasts designer boutiques, its own theme park, a cinema and an Italian theme throughout – complete with canal and gondolas.

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    photo by Preacher lad (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    7

    Old Airport

    Good for shopping and dining

    As the name suggests, Old Airport is where Doha’s former international airport used to reside before its relocation to the coast. Just south of the city centre, it’s one of Doha’s quieter suburbs and is predominantly residential, aside from the bustling Old Airport Street. Otherwise known as Al Matar Al Qadeem Street, this road is lined with shops and countless places to eat – ideal if you’re looking for somewhere away from the hiked prices of downtown.

    Head away from Old Airport Street and you’ll find The Mall. Located just off the area’s busy Najma roundabout, it was Qatar’s first mall and is home to over 80 retail shops, plus dining, beverage and entertainment options.

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    photo by Kaartcam (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    8

    Doha Port

    Good for unrivalled city views and renowned attractions

    Doha Port is one of the must-explore areas of the city, even though it isn’t really categorised as a Doha neighbourhood. You’ll find some of the city’s most renowned attractions, including the spectacular Museum of Islamic Art. This architecturally astounding building can be found in the grounds of the beautiful MIA Park on the city’s waterfront. Housing one of the finest collections of Islamic art, it’s free to enter and is an unmissable experience.

    When you’ve finished exploring the museum and park, head round to the Doha Skyline Viewpoint for unparalleled photo opportunities of the city’s horizon. There aren’t any hotels on the port itself, but there’s an abundance of accommodation options close by.

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    9

    Abu Hamour

    Good for families and shoppers

    Abu Hamour is a residential area popular for families, thanks to its great housing options and a large number of schools in the area. Located southwest of Doha’s centre, you’ll find an abundance of shops, malls and markets for leisurely browsing and bargain hunting.

    The once famous wholesale market, along with its live fish and animal sections, has since been relocated, much to the relief of many locals. But you can instead enjoy a traditional shopping experience at the colourful Doha Central Market.

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    Sadie Geoghegan-Dann | Contributing Writer

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