Where are we off to this time?
Doha’s liveliest cultural marketplace – Souq Waqif. It dates back to at least a hundred years ago, but it’s recently been renovated. There are still plenty of the traditional elements and it has the feel of an authentic souk. The streets are like a maze and have no defined geometric pattern, so walking around here (and getting lost) is one of Doha’s must-try activities.
Lively? I like the sound of that.
Yes, it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and it is always buzzing with people. Well, maybe not mid-afternoon in August, when it does get a little hot out there. It’s also a one-stop-shop for clothing, materials, spices, souvenirs, handicraft, art... Do you want us to go on?
Erm, yes please.
Fine, you’ll also find places for shisha, food, coffee and juices. And it’s brilliant for people watching, if that’s your thing.
What can you do in the summer?
Souq Waqif has lots of indoor venues that are just as great as those outside. Almost all shops on the streets are connected to indoor areas, and the same goes for restaurants. What might also interest you is the sprinkler systems. Several restaurants have a light spray going on, which should keep you cool without soaking you through. Then there are the boutique hotels.
Now you’re talking. Tell us more about these boutique hotels.
Well, they certainly look the part because they’ve all been designed to fit in with the surroundings. There are nine buildings, and each one is different, with unique traditional and contemporary characteristics. We quite enjoy finding them and wandering around, and that’s before you get to the spa, pool and restaurants.
So we can get pampered, great. But is there any culture?
Beyond being set in a century-old souk you mean? Yes, new cultural activities and programmes suitable for the entire family are introduced throughout the year. They include everything from live shows, musicians and dancers to visual artists walking through the streets of the souk. There’s always something exciting going on and the entertainment varies according to the season.
Some of this is indoors, right?
Of course. Check out Al Rayyan Theatre to see what’s going on there. You can watch plays, musicians, musicals and more. It’s one of the best places for culture in the city.
Anything else for children?
You can walk through the animal souq (although the animals aren’t in the best condition) where you can find everything from adorable kittens and dressed-up bunnies to colourful birds and talking parrots, or the falcon souq, if you are looking for something more authentic.