In two months' time, the world's biggest football tournament will come to the Middle East for the first time.
The Fifa World Cup in Qatar begins on November 20 and fans will fly in from around the world to catch the on-pitch action.
From the Middle East alone, flight bookings to Doha have jumped more than 4,000 per cent this year. And with many national teams taking over entire properties for the tournament’s duration, it's no surprise that accommodation options in the Gulf country are running out fast.
Travellers who have yet to book a place to stay will be glad to hear that several new hotels are scheduled to open before the tournament kicks off.
From a stay in a luxury tented villa in the desert to a suite in a Waldorf Astoria or an all-inclusive escape in Doha's action-packed Qetaifan Island, these 11 hotels are all opening before the games begin.
Hotels in Qatar opening in October
1. The St Regis Marsa Arabia Island, The Pearl Qatar
For island views and a touch of luxury in Qatar, this soon-to-open St Regis hotel is one to consider. Spanning an entire island, The St Regis Marsa Arabia Island, The Pearl Qatar will open to guests on October 1. Travellers booking a room here can expect the high level of service that St Regis is known for, which includes the brand's signature butler service.
The sprawling hotel has 193 rooms and suites, all with sea-facing balconies and the resort has a unique architecture inspired by Andalusian and Arabesque designs. Designed as a luxury retreat that's ideal for those seeking a sophisticated stay in Qatar, the hotel's 10 culinary spaces will include Turkish contemporary restaurant Nar, Italian fine-dining at Roberto’s and Japanese-Peruvian fusion at Chotto Matte. There's also several outdoor swimming pools, a state-of-the-art fitness suite and home to the region's first Clinique La Prairie Medical Spa.
The St Regis Marsa Arabia Island, The Pearl Qatar, near West Bay; www.marriott.com
2. Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha
The Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha will be the first of two new hotels welcoming guests in Qatar ahead of the Fifa World Cup. Located on a private stretch of coastline in what was previously the site of Qatar’s first five-star hotel, it will also be the country's first luxury beach resort offering an all-inclusive concept. Ideal for families, it offers plenty of entertainment, sports, kids activities and spa experiences. Rooms come with views over the Doha skyline or surrounding ocean and there’s seven restaurants and bars to choose from, including the rustic Farmhouse and Mr Tailor Steakhouse. The Rixy Kids Club makes sure little ones are entertained throughout the duration of their stay, leaving adults with plenty of time to relax and unwind.
Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha, Street 920, Ras Abu Abboud Street, Doha; www.rixos.com
3. Bin Al Sheikh Residences by Rotana
For travellers seeking a home from home in Qatar during the world cup, the Bin Al Sheikh Residences by Rotana in the West Bay area of the city could be a good fit. Opening in October, the residences consist of 158 studios, 278 one-bedroom apartments and 62 two-bedroom apartments. Its five three-bedroom penthouses that are great for families, and come with amazing views of the city skyline. Fully equipped with self-catering facilities, guests checking in can enjoy a spacious outdoor swimming pool, fitness suite and a kids play area. International retail options, a cinema and an ice-rink are also available, all within walking distance.
Bin Al Sheikh Residences by Rotana, Salwa Road; www.rotana.com
Hotels in Qatar opening in November
4. Andaz Doha
The first Andaz hotel in Qatar will also be ready to welcome football fans flying in for the world cup. Located in the West Bay area of Doha, Andaz Doha will be the fourth Hyatt-branded hotel in the country when it opens its doors this November. Situated in proximity to many of Doha’s big shopping malls, financial institutions and embassies, the hotel has 256 rooms, including 32 suites and four so-called royal suites. There are also 56 residences designed for guests looking to stay a little bit longer.
Many of the rooms come with sea views and each is designed in Andaz’s signature style, meaning there’s plenty of culture, colour and local influences to be found, with a focus on the country's lesser-known gems. Four dining outlets will give guests plenty of options including Mr and Mrs Hawker — which brings the flavours of Singaporean hawkers to Qatar. The hotel will also be home to the city’s only enclosed outdoor terrace with city and sea views. A sizeable swimming pool, 24-hour fully equipped fitness studio and a spa featuring eastern hammam treatments make Andaz Doha ideal for a getaway.
Andaz Doha, Diplomatic Street, Doha; www.hyatt.com
5. The Chedi Katara Hotel & Resort
Located in Doha’s Katara Cultural Village, Qatar’s go-to destination for art, culture and cuisine, The Chedi Katara will open in November in time to host football fans visiting for the world cup. With 59 rooms and 32 villas, it's designed to be a landmark of Mughal architecture in the Qatari capital and has been inspired by the grand historic palaces found throughout India. With a private beach on one side and a canal on the other, the hotel encompasses Chedi’s signature values of offering peace and tranquillity and all rooms enjoy soothing views of the surrounding waters.
Its five restaurants and bars on-site include the all-day eatery The Restaurant, The Beach Club and Marsa Katara, which sits on its own site on a pier and is reachable via a jetty ride across the water. Guests staying here will have easy access to the theatres, concert halls, exhibition galleries, mosques, restaurants and parks in the village.
The Chedi Katara, Shakespeare Street, Katara Cultural Village, Doha; www.ghmhotels.com
6. Riviera Rayhaan by Rotana
Rotana's second new hotel opening in Qatar is the Riviera Rayhaan. Located on Salwa Road in the heart of Doha, the four-star hotel will add 185 contemporary rooms and suites to the country's accommodation options in November.
With 129 standard rooms and 56 suites comprising Junior, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites, the hotel brings Rotana's alcohol-free concept to Qatar. A host of dining options include a lobby cafe, an all-day dining restaurant, a cigar and a speciality restaurant. There is also a fully equipped gymnasium, a swimming pool and a spa offering a variety of treatments.
Riviera Rayhaan by Rotana, Salwa Road, Doha; www.rotana.com
7. Rixos Qetaifan Island North Doha
Rixos’ second new hotel opening in time for the world cup is located on Qetaifan Island, a place that's building a reputation as Qatar's adventure destination. The Rixos Qetaifan Island North Doha will offer plenty for visitors of all ages, with everything from the fully-supervised Rixy Kids Club for little ones to an exclusive sports club where guests will have access to expert trainers and state-of-the art facilities for CrossFit, TRX, spinning classes and more.
The NatureLife spa offers a soothing place to retreat with a wide range of treatments on offer, including a traditional Turkish hammam. Meryal water park, the country's largest water park, is opening on site later this year. The Qatari-themed adventure water park is home to a thrilling 85-metre-high Icon Tower waterside, touted to be the largest in the world. The island is also where football fans can find the purpose-built Qetai-Fan Beach Fest. Open every day throughout the entirety of the tournament, it will have football-themed activities, food and beverage options, entertainment, live music and more.
Rixos Qetaifan Island North Doha, Qetaifan Island North, Doha; www.rixos.com
8. Waldorf Astoria Lusail, Doha
Hilton is opening the Waldorf Astoria Lusail hotel in Doha on November 1. The five-star property is set on its own private beach with views of the Arabian Gulf and offers 429 villas, rooms and suites designed to help travellers unwind. The luxury hotel has resort-style amenities including both a mammoth family-friendly pool and a separate adults-only pool. There’s also an on-site water park for children to enjoy, and a kids and teenagers club.
A full-service Espa Life spa is geared towards adults seeking relaxation and there’s also plenty of space for private events, including an 800-square metre grand ballroom. Restaurants include the sleek Bywater brasserie, inspired by the historical French Quarter in New Orleans; Wyld Erth, which will serve wholesome organic dishes and Doha’s first SushiSamba, which will also be home to the eatery’s first ever beach club.
Waldorf Astoria Lusail, Alar Project, Street 350 Lusail, Doha; www.hilton.com
9. The Outpost Al Barari
Escape to a nature-surrounded stay at The Outpost Al Barari, where travellers can check in to luxury tented-style accommodation in the heart of the Qatari desert. The high-end resort has 21 suites, most of which come with a private pool. For larger families, the Emiri villa is ideal with its three bedrooms, living area, private pool and large outdoor terrace.
Guests staying at this eco-focused escape will be able to take part in plenty of activities including desert excursions, nature walks, sea safaris and stargazing sessions. Yoga on the desert dunes, outdoor cinema experiences and sunrise camel walks are also on the agenda. Al Barari Restaurant is the resort’s all-day eatery and will offer a menu spanning cuisines from across the Mediterranean, Middle East and India, with meals served alongside endless desert views. While the resort doesn’t open until November, bookings open on October 1 for those who want to secure their visit.
The Outpost Al Barari, Al Meera, Sealine Beach; https://theoutpostalbarari.com
10. Element West Bay Doha
Doha’s business district will welcome a new hotel in November this year when Element West Bay Doha by Marriott launches in the city. Taking wellness seriously, the Westin-owned hotel has several initiatives designed to ensure guests checking in can find a sense of balance between business and leisure. The hotel is ideal for those seeking a longer stay, and has a smart design that ensures efficient use of space both in the rooms and public areas, and a strong focus on sustainability. All guests enjoy a nutritious complimentary breakfast to ensure everyone gets the best start to each day. Other food and beverage options include the California-cool ShikiMiki all-day dining restaurant. There’s also a 24-hour gym, outdoor pool and an in-house spa offering locally-inspired treatments.
Element West Bay Doha, Umm Awaarad Street Doha; www.marriott.com
11. Al Samriya, Autograph Collection Hotel
Travellers seeking a touch of traditional Qatari culture might want to consider a stay at Al Samriya, Autograph Collection Hotel. Located about 20 kilometres from Doha in the Shahaniya area, this luxury resort is set inside the grounds of a local farm. Constructed using local materials and traditional masonry techniques familiar in the region, the resort has 60 rooms and 27 villas, each of which offers a luxury space to spend the night. There’s also a spa, outdoor swimming pool, fitness suite and a Lebanese restaurant.
The alcohol-free hotel is only steps away from Al Samriya equestrian centre, where guests can see Arabian horses, take riding lessons or head out on a scenic hack. The farm is also home to an oryx reserve, and guests are welcome to visit to find out more about these Arabian animals. The Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum — which traces Qatar’s journey through history — is also within walking distance.
Al Samriya, Autograph Collection hotel, Dukhan Road, Al Shahaniya Shahaniyah; www.marriott.com