Summer. Sure, skin will scorch, sunglasses will steam up and ice creams will melt faster than ever. But none of it will leave a lasting impression on you.
Partly because the human body has a short memory, but mainly because there are so many cool things to do indoors that you will be having so much fun celebrating good times to pay much attention to the sumer season.
Be healthy at Evergreen Organics
Summer means salads. Or, at the very least smaller dishes, healthy bites and some refreshing meals. Doha’s first vegan cafe and organic food specialist makes more sense than usual in the sweltering heat and interesting dishes such as a “raw-mazing Caesar salad”, acai bowls and cold-pressed juices are seasonal favourites.
Daily. 7am-10pm. Evergreen Organics, Qanat Quartier, The Pearl-Qatar, www.evergreenorganics.qa (4472 0437).
Challenge the best at Escapology Qatar
One of several escape game centres in Doha. The shtick is the same as others in that there are puzzles and challenges to solve before being freed from a locked room. We like the degree of competition cranked up by published success rates that tell you just how many people have succeeded in each challenge before (sometimes as low as 30 percent and definitely something you’re going to want to try to beat). The challenges are also broken down into physical, logic, science and teamwork, giving you a slight hint of what madness lies in store.
Daily. 2pm-11pm. Escapology, New Salata Area, www.escapologyqa.com (3132 3007).
Chill out with a cryo-massage
Staying cool is one thing, actively going for an icy blast is another level of chilling out entirely. We’re fans of the Jaula Spa at the Grand Hyatt Doha at any time, but summer will make us seek out the colder therapies among the many on offer. A cryotherapy facial uses specially made cubes to hydrate and uplift the skin. Cryotherapy is the name given to medical and cosmetic treatments that use extreme cold to get results. Or at the very least keep you cool.
Daily. 9am-10pm. Jaula Spa, Grand Hyatt Doha, West Bay Lagoon, www.hyatt.com (4448 1056).
Culture in Katara
If in doubt, Katara. The rule applies year-round and we see no reason why this should be any different at this time of year. Get down to the cultural quarter and find a little corner of the city with art you'll love. A visual art centre, fine arts association and photography society are among the organisations with frequent exhibitions and even workshops.
Sat-Thu 10am-9pm, Fri 2pm-9pm. Katara Cultural Village, www.katara.net (4408 0050).
Dance classes in Doha
The name International Academy for Intercultural Development sounds like such a formal institution we’d expect to see accounting lessons break out if we didn’t know any better. The reality is that visitors can learn the moves of dance styles from contemporary jazz and hip-hop to ballet or classical Indian. Elsewhere there are music and singing courses, visual arts lessons and even fitness classes such as Zumba.
IAID, Al Hilal Street, www.iaidonline.org (4432 0974).
Dinosaurs and more at Gondolania
It is not so much that you need a gondola ride through a Qatari mall, it is more that you deserve one. While you’re at Villaggio’s indoor theme park take a look at the new dinosaur train ride, karting, skating, bowling and numerous other attractions.
Sat-Wed, 9am-11pm; Thu-Fri, 9am-midnight. Gondolania, Villaggio Mall, www.gondolania.com (4403 9800).
Enjoy peace at the Museum of Islamic Art
We can honestly say a visit to this waterfront icon is a delight at any time. The I.M. Pei-designed building is probably the best photo opportunity in the Middle East and regularly changing exhibitions are a cool way to spend an evening or afternoon of cultural significance. This summer sees a new exhibition of Islamic arms (a private collection of blades and firearms arrives August 27) and an ongoing carpet exhibition. Visit the fifth floor for some Michelin-star fine dining at Idam by Alain Ducasse.
Thu-Sat, noon-8pm; Sun, Mon, Wed, 10.30am-5.30pm, Tue closed. Museum of Islamic Art, Corniche Street, www.mia.org.qa (4422 4444).
Enter the Ice Room
You know how some spas invite you to arrive early to use the facilities before your treatment? It is an offer you’re going to want to take them up on at the Four Seasons Doha. As well as a soothing sounding collection of plunge pools, foot baths, Swiss showers, hydrotherapy areas and a relaxing colour therapy room, it has an actual ice room. What do you think that is? Exactly what you are thinking (probably) and a good option for closing pores and enhancing circulation after selected heated treatments.
Daily. 6am-11pm. Four Seasons Doha, West Bay, www.fourseasons.com (4494 8801).
Explore the new malls of Doha
The flurry of new malls in recent times has been overwhelming and massively increased the shopportunities in Doha. Festival City and Mall of Qatar flung open their doors in the past six months or so and there is a chance they will be joined by Al Hazm and Tawar Mall in the coming months. When it is so hot that you might actually melt onto a car seat, it is an ideal chance to go and explore the stores. Put simply – you need to get your shop on and with Qatar Summer Festival sales lined up, now is the time.
Doha Festival City. Sun-Wed, 9am-10pm; Thu, 9am-11pm; Fri, 9am-11.30am, 12.30pm-11pm; Sat, 9am-11pm. Umm Salal Muhammed, www.festivalcitydoha.com (4477 6591). Mall of Qatar. Sat-Wed, 10am-11pm; Thu-Fri, 10am-midnight. Ar-Rayyan, www.mallofqatar.qa (4034 6000).
Go for modern art at Mathaf
Arabian art doesn’t have to mean traditional and historic. This impressive gallery specialises in the modern and curated works, workshops and seminars, and a regularly-updated calendar of events means it is worth repeated revisits. Until July 10 an exhibition titled Urban Lights will show off some of the best student art in the city this year.
Sat-Thu, 11am-6pm (except Monday, closed); Fri, 3pm-8pm. Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Education City, www.mathaf.org.qa (4402 8855).
Have a true spa day
Nobody tells you how lazy and tired you feel in week-after-week of 40-plus (or 50) degree heat. In case you hadn’t realised, it is exhausting and even the slightest of effort leaves you needing sanctuary. Don't fight the need! Give up any pretence of activity and check in for an extended spa stay like the ones at Remède Spa in the St. Regis Doha. For four relaxing hours, you can luxuriate over a customised body scrub, massage and facial, as well as enjoying a light lunch. Go on, you know you deserve it.
Daily. 9am-10pm. Remède Spa, St. Regis Doha, West Bay Lagoon, www.remedespadoha.com (4446 0300).
Hobby House Qatar
Hobby House Qatar is a community group created to encourage residents to learn new skills and meet new people. A strong emphasis on arts and crafts mean this is an indoor activity group that you could end up attending all year round. Lessons move between the organiser’s house, coffee shops and even hotels with sessions on painting, sewing, or fun classes to learn macrame, too.
For more information visit www.facebook.com/hobbyhouseqatar/
Jump around at Bounce Qatar
We’re jumping up and down in anticipation of the forthcoming trampoline park. Our spies tell us it should be opening in July, but until we’re backflipping around we’re just going to have to wait. When it does open the 4,000sqm park is going to be one of the city’s must-try venues. And it's in one of the newest malls in the city.
TBA. Bounce Qatar, Tawar Mall, Al Duhail, www.bounce.qa (4321 1400).
Learn something new at a cookery class
Learning new skills and staying indoors don’t have to come at the exclusion of actually enjoying your summer. The Ritz-Carlton Culinary Academy is good old fashioned wholesome fun that won’t crack a sweat and will actually bring you closer to creating restaurant quality meals in your own home. Recent classes have advised on everything from French bistro style and Italian cuisine to chocolate lovers or seafood specials.
Saturdays. 10am-noon. Ritz-Carlton Doha, West Bay Lagoon, www.ritzcarlton.com (4484 8000).
Let kids be grown-ups at Kidzmondo
As this is basically a theme park that simulates a fun approach to the world of work for kids, it is probably going to be more popular with junior residents. That said, the kid-sized indoor city scores very highly with parents looking for an entire day of entertainment for children. An indoor aircraft simulator, bank, fire station, race track and university are among the many excellent indoor simulations.
Sat-Thu, 10am-10pm; Fri, 1pm-10pm. Kidzmondo, Mall of Qatar, www.kidzmondodoha.com (4028 5888).
Make a strike at Qatar Bowling Centre
32 lanes. No, really, we’re not kidding. This enormous bowling centre has the capacity to make us very happy. Have you any idea how enjoyable it is to hear the sounds of clatter from 32 simultaneous bowling games? The murmur of excitement, the hum of balls on wood and the crash of pins striking. No better time than during a sweltering summer and with regular tournaments and leagues you’ll always find a game.
Sat-Wed, 9am-midnight; Thu, 9am-2am; Fri, 8am-1am. Qatar Bowling Centre, Al Bidda, www.qatarbowlingcenter.net (4432 9178).
Master the art of ice skating
Forget the fact that the uninitiated are likely to end up with a few bumps and bruises from repeated slips, slides and stumbles and concentrate on the fact that down on the ice is the coolest place in the city. Start now and by the time you’re able to go back to the beach again you will be one of those accomplished skaters who can do that backwards skating thing that impresses spectators.
Thu-Sat, 10am-midnight; Sun-Wed, 10am-10pm. City Center Doha, West Bay, www.citycenterdoha.com (4483 9990).
Organise Your Own snooker tournament at Rendezvous Billiards
Snooker may well be the ultimate indoor sport. There are seven full-size tables here and twice as many pool tables. Throw in half a dozen bowling lanes, some foosball and arcade games and it is easy to see an evening turn into a full night at this sporty club.
Daily. 4pm-2am. Rendezvous Bowling and Billiards, Al Hazimi Street, www.rendezvousbilliards.net (4486 6446).
Play Doha-themed games at Escape Hunt
We love that the escape games at this international chain have been tweaked to give local stories. Despite having branches everywhere from Brussels to Singapore, there are a selection of games that are uniquely Qatar. From Escape the Souq and a World Cup-themed Reclaim the Cup to a puzzle titled The Great Art Robbery the interactive fun has a pleasing Doha angle we really like.
Daily. Call for timings. Escape Hunt Qatar, Dar Alsalam Mall, Abu Hamour, www.escapehunt.com (3306 1971).
Play all day at Megapolis
You’re never too old for fun and although the attractions here seemingly come from the wish-list of an excitable teenager, they’re extremely enjoyable for all ages. Being indoors, it is the sort of place you could put down roots through the summer and never get bored of. It has the bowling, billiards and giant arcade games you might find at locations across the city, but some special additions as well. Private karaoke suites, anyone? They include impressive recording facilities meaning you can take away your self-performed album. If that isn’t your thing then look out for the virtual reality gaming simulators that allow a round of golf or intergalactic space battles.
Sun-Sat 10pm-2am. Megapolis. The Pearl-Qatar, www.megapolisqatar.com (3303 0555).
Science meets snacking at The Chemist Café
Science is cool. Everybody knows that. So, the new café dedicated to a science theme should be as close to the top of your must-visit list as calculations will allow. While we’re not exactly claiming that the boffins behind the counter could invent a freeze ray and blast you a few degrees cooler, we appreciate the quirky theme nevertheless. Until they do you can sample icy drinks such as an oxidised mixed drink with pomegranate and bubblegum or chilled coffee drinks topped with ice cream.
Sun-Thu, 2pm-11pm; Fri-Sat, noon-midnight. The Chemist Cafe, B.Square Mall, Mesaimeer, www.tcc.qa (5022 2696).
Shop traditionally at Souq Waqif
Doha’s best known souq is a treasure trove of indoor shopping delights. Whether shopping for gold or looking up local arts and crafts, it is an evening shopping experience to savour in the summer.
Just off the Corniche, adjacent to Al Souq Street.
Stay active at Aspire Zone
When outdoor exercise is making you hot and sweaty, the only logical course of action is to come indoors and, er, get hot and sweaty anyway. So thinks the sport and fitness enthusiast, anyway. There are many facilities, with the Aspire Dome being an indoor highlight. Credited as being the world’s largest indoor multi-purpose dome, this has 13 separate multi-sports halls and indoor athletics facilities. Programmes such as Splash and Dash are summer events aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles and enhancing values of fitness and active
Daily. Call for timings on specific sports. Aspire Zone, Al Waab Street, www.aspirezone.qa (4413 8188).
Stock up on superheroes at Doha Comics
Reading comic books on the beach or by the pool is a sure-fire way to turn your Marvel soggy. Stocking up for the summer and hibernating through the hottest time of year with an air-conditioning-powered pile of new comics and graphic novels, however, is cooler than Mr Freeze’s lair. The newest hub of comic book culture is now open on The Pearl and well worth investigating.
Daily. 4pm-10pm. Doha Comics, Qanat Quartier, The Pearl-Qatar, www.twitter.com/dohacomics (5598 2428).
Swim all summer at Hamad Aquatic Zone
Cooling off in a pool is one of the great ways to survive the summer, but this Aspire Zone indoor pool is no ordinary splash-around. The ultra-modern watersports complex has seating for 4,500 spectators and has been host to world class swimming and water polo events. Get your swim on in a serious way at this Olympic standard pool and sport centre.
Sat-Thu, 6am-10pm; Fri 1pm-10pm. Hamad Aquatic Zone, Aspire Zone, www.aspirezone.qa (4413 8188).
Take a challenge at Adventure Rooms
You should know the escape game drill by now. You’re locked in a mysterious room and given a logic puzzle and a set of clues. Using only your wits and the friends (or strangers, if you’re feeling brave) you’re locked in with to escape. This version - there are a few across the city - has four games of varying difficulty and storylines such as a prison escape or crazy scientist to give narrative to your hour of entertainment. Play as a single room or competitively with others.
Daily. 8.30am-11.30pm. Adventure Rooms, New Salata Area, www.adventureroomsqa.com (7050 0139).
Try an exercise class
If you’re a regular boot camper or outdoor fitness enthusiast, no matter how much you want to keep your workouts al fresco, it is probably wise to take them indoors for a couple of months at least. That does not mean letting intensity slip, though. Fitness gym Strongbox has indoors training classes in TRX suspension, aerial yoga, pole fit, boxing and even high intensity swimming sessions. With classes in venues across town and flexible membership and sign-up options it could be the answer to the summer fitness questions you didn’t know you had asked yet.
Daily. 6am-8pm. StrongBox Fitness, West Bay, www.strongboxqatar.com (4029 3720).
Understand regional heritage at Sheikh Faisal Museum
Catch up on the heritage attractions you’ve been meaning to check out for a while this summer. We’re big fans of this museum and reckon in the zoned sections you’ll find plenty of interest among the 15,000 artefacts. With sections dedicated to Islamic art, vehicles, Qatari heritage and currency, it is well worth your stroll.
Sun 9am-4pm; Mon-Thu 9am-4.30pm; Fri 2pm-7pm; Sat 10am-6pm. Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum, Al Samriya, www.fbqmuseum.org (4486 1444).
Watch blockbusters at a premium cinema
Summer means blockbuster season and there is a stack of massive movies to look forward to this year (see page 60 for more). No matter which of the sequels and comic book movies takes your fancy, the bigger the films the greater your indulgence should be. That means going for premium seats in cinemas. Flik, Vox and Novo all have variations on the upmarket cinema screens. Like a first-class flight that arrives at the same time as an economy seat, you don’t get a different movie. You can have fancier food, reclining chairs, and waiter service, though.
Daily. Various timings. Flik Cinemas, Lagoona Mall, www.flikcinemas.com (4443 2757). Vox Cinema, Doha Festival City, www.voxcinemas.com (4481 1682). Daily. Various timings. Novo Cinema, Mall of Qatar, www.mallofqatar.com.qa (4418 5736).
Winner stays on at Hot Shot Billiards Club
With a reported 30 tables, you’re unlikely to have to resort to challenging a house champion to a game of winner stays on to get a game of pool at this large club. So, whether you’re a beginner wanting to try out for the first time or a hustler looking to take on the best in the city there is a great chance to get a cue without being in a queue. They are also cooler because of the range of arcade games they have, and a chance to get your NBA on with an indoor hoop-shooter.
Daily. 9am-2am. Hot Shot Billiard Club, Old Airport Road, www.facebook.com/hotshotpoolqatar (4465 7215).