Qatar is busy weaving and rolling out an Arabian carpet for visitors flying into the independent Arab emirate this fall.
Before the FIFA World Cup 2022 kicks off in November, an assortment of exceptional new tourism developments will open across the host country. From a winter sun wonderland to a water sports paradise, these developments each add something special to the peninsula’s eclectic mix of attractions and activities for intrepid travelers and football fanatics alike.
Pack your shades and sunscreen for the Doha Winter Wonderland, set to be launched later this year on a sandy island. Situated on Al Maha Island near Lusail City, just north of Qatar’s capital, the upcoming theme park is over 2 million square feet. International Marketing Group will manage Doha, the same company that oversees the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland each year. It’s a bit sunnier in the Middle East than in southern England in November, however.
Doha Winter Wonderland will feature seafront chalets, restaurants, festival games, 50 rides, and cafes, bringing a festive international spirit to the country. When people need a break, the beachfront awaits, offering sun near 70 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures.
In a press announcement, Chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, said the integrated leisure destination will be “on par with the foremost entertainment cities in the world.”
Speaking of the beach, an hour’s drive north of Doha, adventure seekers can find the perfect wind blowing off of Qatar’s northern coast to kitesurf warm, crystal clear water. Until now, Fuwairit remained an exclusive kitesurfing secret. Soon, there will be a resort designed to emulate the salt life.
Designed around the kitesurfer, Fuwairit resort will equip guests with everything necessary for days in and out of the waves. Get limber at a yoga studio, build power at a fully equipped gym, and reenergize and relax with poolside cocktails and diverse dining.
The Outpost is a nature center, and the first of its kind in Qatar. It protects the land that it shares with an exclusive resort, integrating close-to-nature experiences, sustainability, and luxury hospitality into a singular nature reserve.
Located near Qatar’s Inland Sea at the nation’s southern end, The Outpost Al Barari comprises 24 ultra luxury tented villas ranging from one to three bedrooms, in a mesmerizing desert setting with sand spreading out like you’re on Arrakis in Frank Herbert’s Dune.
Retreat from hectic city life next to a private pool, stargaze, ride in a hot-air balloon, and hike to the magical desert, learning about local flora and fauna.
Billed as Qatar’s first “Entertainment Island,” Qetaifan Island North will feature floating hotels, beach clubs, and Park Meryal, a 36-ride water park that features “The Icon Tower,” an over 275-foot slide set to become the highest of its kind.
Qetaifan Projects unveiled the name of the new water park, Park Meryal, during a live ceremony on June 20 at the Doha Convention and Exhibition Center. The emblem and name were inspired by Qatari culture, according to Qetaifan Projects managing director Sheikh Nasser bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani at the festivities.
“The name ‘Meryal’ all comes from our love for the Arabic language. It showcases our history and culture and carries the Qatari dialect to the world,” al-Thani said. “The dream… is about to become a reality: a project that reflects… our identity that we take pride in.”
Spreading across nearly 14 million square feet, Qetaifan Island North is close to Lusail Stadium, where the World Cup final will take place.
The West Bay North Beach Project is an extensive new tourism development covering over 400,000 square feet of premium beachfront in the heart of Doha. When complete, the project will extend beach access to nearby hotels via roads, jogging paths, benches for walkers, lockers and restrooms, and restaurants.
West Bay North Beach project combines a public beach and 12 private beaches operated by a number of hotels along three-quarters of a mile of coast. The expansion is so extensive that public and private beach areas will offer three distinct beach experiences — designated places for practicing beach and marine sports, and beach bath areas — with a wide variety of food and drink offerings to create a city beach experience everyone can enjoy.
“The committee aims to provide a unique tourist destination in Doha Downtown, creating a connected network of public and commercial activities in the area, while linking it with the surrounding areas through public transportation network, pedestrian paths, and cycling lanes from Corniche down to Lusail,” Eng. Mohammad Arqoub Al Khaldi, Chairman of the Supervisory Committee of Beautification of Roads and Public Places in Qatar said during the project’s April launch.
The wave of new resorts and attractions adds to a flurry of openings in Qatar over the last couple of years. In March, the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum opened, offering one of the world’s more distinct galleries. Built adjoining the Khalifa International Stadium (where matches will be played), the museum is a national and international hub for sports history, heritage, and knowledge. Designed by Spanish architect Joan Sibina, just the curved glass exterior of the 3-2-1 is a sight to see.
In 2021, Desert Falls Water & Adventure Park opened with 28 slides and rides, making it one of the region’s largest theme parks. Last summer, the government unveiled Quest Doha, an indoor, experiential amusement park punctuated by the EpiQ Coaster, the world’s tallest enclosed rollercoaster.