Qatar World Cup 2022 venue

Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium is one of 8 massive stadiums that will host the 32 teams taking part in the FIFA World Cup 2022 | Source: Qatar 2022/Supreme Committee

Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022: How to Spend Your Stay in the Middle East

The 2022 FIFA World Cup promises to be a spectacle for the senses, the roar of the crowd and thrill of international football is going to be broadcast from eight glorious stadiums dotted around the Persian Gulf peninsula that Qatar sits on.

There were accusations of bias when Qatar won the privilege of hosting the biggest sporting celebration on the planet in December 2010, as corruption within the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) became a talking point.

But the advantages of reduced travel times for teams, a favourable timezone for some of the sport’s biggest markets and the close proximity of stadiums to one another means Qatar, at the crossroads between three continents, might yet make the perfect location for international football’s biggest competition.

The oil rich nation of Qatar is quickly becoming one of the most exciting and fascinating travel destinations in the region. The perfect place to host an event that attracted 3.03 million people back in 2018, Qatar is expecting to sell 3.08 million tickets to matches.

Two modern recently updated international airports are the perfect facilities for coping with such high passenger demands and the country has invested A$284 billion in infrastructure since it won hosting rights, constructing a brand new metro system.

There is much to see in Doha, the capital and largest city in Qatar, home to gorgeous modern developments but true to its cultural roots, from bustling market places to verdant parks and gardens. These are the best places to stay, eat and enjoy the excitement and glorious ambience of the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Hotels

There is no shortage of places to stay in Qatar, a large population of expats from countries around the world mean that renowned hotel chains like the Intercontinental and Ritz-Carlton have stays in the city. If you are looking for traditional Middle Eastern hospitality, look no further than Doha’s luxurious beach resorts and spas.

Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara

A short, 20 minute catamaran ride from the spectacular city centre over crystal clear water, the crescent-shaped Banana Island is situated in the Persian Gulf and is surrounded by beaches. It hosts one of the most beautiful resorts in Qatar. The perfect place for families to relax and enjoy the many amenities on offer, restaurants, pools, water parks and of course gorgeous accomodation will leave you relaxed and without a care in the world.

Doha will be very busy during the World Cup but Banana Island will be devoid of drunken hooligans due to the island’s strict no alcohol policy, your sanctuary of calm awaits.

Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022
Source: Trip Advisor

The Ritz-Carlton Doha

Synonymous with five-star quality hotel accomodation, the Ritz-Carlton is a glamorous base for exploring Doha and getting a good night’s sleep between football-filled days. Seven award-winning restaurants including a poolside bar and cigar lounge will fulfil all of your gastronomic desires and the wonderful sea views from the towering hotel are a welcome bonus to wake up to.

Indoor and outdoor swimming pools and lush landscaped gardens will make your stay comfortable, while the world-class spa and modern fitness centre are perfect for opulent relaxation and wellness treatments. Located a ten minute drive from the cultural centre of Doha, Katara Cultural Village and very close to the Lagoona Mall, it is the perfect upscale hotel in this modern city.

Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022
Source: Trivago

Sharq Village and Spa

This beach resort is run by Ritz-Carlton and is a fine example of the best of Qatari hospitality. Designed to resemble an elegant marble Sheikh’s palace, it is located ten minutes from the international airport on 350 meters of pristine beach.

All rooms feature a private balcony and marble bathtubs and you can choose from an ocean view room or one with a pool and lush oasis garden view. Spa treatments on offer include deep sleep meditation with visiting practitioners and ‘Mindful Mini’ meditation sessions for children and teens. The spa offers facials, body massage and traditional hammam based on hundreds of years of traditional wellness practices.

Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022
Source: Ritz-Carlton

Mondrian Doha

Regularly listed as one of the Middle East’s most stylish and desirable hotels, the Mondrian Doha was designed by Marcel Wanders and is inspired by a combination of the opulence of the original Mondrian in Los Angeles and local Qatari customs and traditions. An oasis of indulgence and fantasy, it stands out from the competition with its eclectic interiors and eight different dining venues.

ESPA is the Mondrian’s spa and wellness centre. It employs over 3,500 highly trained therapists who administer over three million treatments per year. There are seperate male and female spas offering massage and beauty treatments as well as traditional Turkish hammam.

Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022
Source: Booking

Restaurants

The restaurant scene in Qatar is taking off. Amongst the traditional Turkish sweets vendors and coffee houses are some of the most highly regarded gourmet restaurants in the Middle East. You can find everything from fresh, authentic sashimi to big hearty beef burgers as well as vegan options and some modern takes on local cuisine.

The Qatar FIFA World Cup will host thousands of visitors from each of the 32 countries involved and the hardworking chefs of the city will be put to the test. But the standard is set high in Doha, and restaurants, cafes and eateries are sure to provide visitors with unforgettable gastronomic experiences.

Nobu

This Japanese-inspired restaurant is situated in the Four Seasons Hotel in a beautiful marina surrounded by gorgeous blue water and with a wonderful view of the city skyline. The menu is a tour-de-force of traditional Japanese dishes and some more modern cuisine, the cocktail menu is inspired and the ambiance here is classy and sophisticated.

Notable dishes to try include the Toro Tartare with Caviar and Creamy Spicy Crab. There is a full brunch menu and the restaurant even offers take away bento boxes amongst other delicious meals to eat at the football game.

Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022
Source: Pursuitist

Evergreen Organics

Doha’s first vegan restaurant and cafe was opened in 2016 with a vision of offering delicious, healthy food and they are very proud that all dishes are 100 per cent vegan. Just 26 minutes by car from the international airport and only nine minutes from the Ritz-Carlton, it is the perfect place to eat after a hard morning’s cheering.

In fact, it can also make a welcome change from the hotel breakfast and their menu includes such morning munchies as the Amazonian Bowl with açai, banana, blueberries and raspberries or Figs and Cheese Toast with fresh figs, thyme, cashew cheese and walnuts.

Evergreen Organics
Source: Zomato

Morimoto

Iron Chef Morimoto opened his first restaurant in the Middle East inspired by an ancient landmark in the historical city of Nara in Japan. The restaurant, located in the West Bay Area of Doha, is adorned with energetic and graceful artworks by Japanese painter, Hiroshi Senju. 

They have a daily after work happy hour from 6pm until 8pm and a sushi and steak night on Sundays. The wonderful range of authentic Japanese cuisine includes delectable treats like ramen and tacos to excite the tastebuds. Then wash it all down with an excellent selection of international beer, wine and sake.

Morimoto
Source: Sbe

Flat White

This trendy cafe has three outlets, but the Flat White overlooking the Pearl Marina is a lovely location for a coffee and bite to eat as you watch the boats come in. Brunch is a selection of poached egg dishes with baguette toast, veggies, nuts and Middle Eastern ingredients adding a touch of culture.

They have many gluten free and vegan options as well as healthy salads, wraps and traditional Middle Eastern fare. Take one of their bottled iced coffee, iced tea, homemade lemonade or cold brews to one of the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 games to give you a much needed burst of energy.

Flat White Qatar
Source: Flat White

Al Aker Sweets

For the authentic cultural experience of traditional Turkish and Middle Eastern sweet foods, there is no better place than Al Aker Sweets. With three locations dotted around the Doha area, come here after dinner or lunch for your sugar hit, before going out to experience some of the city’s exciting nightlife.

It is highly recommended that you get there early, because the Kunufa and Bahklava sold here is legendary in Qatar and tables will fill up very quickly. If you are feeling sleepy from the sugar rush, try the traditionally prepared coffee and press-on with your night out.

Al Aker Sweets
Source: Qatar Living

Nightlife

The elephant in the room at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha is the country’s position on the consumption of alcohol. As a Muslim country, alcohol consumption is far lower than many European or Asian countries but officials appreciate that many travellers like to drink and there are quite a few licensed establishments where you are legally allowed to purchase and consume a stiff drink.

It would be advisable to limit your drinking to these establishments as even the possession of alcohol in public places is frowned upon. That said, the atmosphere at the FIFA World Cup is generally jubilant and in previous years, attendees have been well behaved. Also the Qatari government is well aware that the city will host millions of foreigners over the 28 days the competition is played and will probably not be as strict with their alcohol restrictions as usual. Here are the best places for post game revelry.

Backyard

No matter where you are, an expanse of green grass in front of a stage is the recipe for a good time. The Backyard is more of an outdoor live music venue than a bar and has DJs and bands almost every weekend. The perfect place for kick ons after a football game or day of sightseeing, it regularly sees huge crowds that dance until the early hours. Do yourself a favour and check out one of the hottest nightspots in Qatar.

Belgian Cafe

Enjoy spectacular vistas of the Doha skyline and the Arabian Gulf from the biggest Belgian Cafe in the world at the Intercontinental Doha Beach and Spa while sipping at your favourite Belgian beer. Be sure to make it to their Mussel Madness Tuesday afternoons where you can chow down on two kilograms of steaming mussels paired with crispy Belgian frites.

They have authentic veal schnitzel every Sunday and the bar hosts live music every Monday and Saturda. Experience a little bit of old Brussels in the heart of the Middle East, depending on how the Belgian national team fares in the World Cup, this nightspot may become very busy.

Belgian Cafe at the Intercontinental Doha Beach
Source: Open Table

Monkey Tale Doha

Doha’s premiere open air bar and nightclub includes private access to a fully licensed, adults-only beach, where you can feel the sand between your toes as you sip on your favourite cocktail. Sunbathing could not be more relaxing as the helpful waiters serve up delicious cocktails from an extensive menu.

Renowned international and local DJs keep the party going as the sun goes down then play on into the night when the beach bar is transformed into an all-night club.

Monkey Tale Doha
Source: Monkey Tale Doha

Aqua Lounge

Late night meeting spots don’t get more decadent than this private shisha terrace situated in the Marriott Marquis Doha. A crystal clear swimming pool and spectacular city skyline views provide a gorgeous backdrop for the traditional Middle Eastern smoking ritual.

Cocktails and a vast selection of international beers, wines and spirits will keep you and your friends well lubricated. If you’re feeling like a late night meal, the menu includes such Middle Eastern favourites as Moroccan tabouleh and baba ganoush.

Aqua Lounge
Source: Aqua Lounge

The current favourites to win the FIFA World Cup 2022 are Brazil after a 13 game winning streak. But they have not held the World Cup aloft for 20 long years and have cracked under pressure before, especially in key games. Wales defeated Ukraine to compete in their first World Cup since 1958 and only their second ever, while England are also expected to have a good showing. Previous winners France are second favourite to win according to betting odds.

Results aside, host country Qatar is the real winner, able to showcase its potential as both a compelling tourist destination and emerging regional player.

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