Airlines looking to drum up business for themselves and their home country have begun arranging for free long layovers in the city they are based in for those who want to explore more places. Qatar Airways has done just that in Doha, Qatar. If you’re staying for a night, try to see if your hotel will pick you up from the airport — it’s about a 30 minute ride to the city center. If not, it’s easy to catch a taxi at Hamad International Airport (around $10 to the city centre) or a bus ($1.50 each way.) However, make sure if you get in a taxi you have Qatari Riyals to pay in, or a disposable Karwa Smartcard to ride the bus. Here are a few ways to use your layover wisely.
Ways To Have A Fun Layover In Doha
1. Take a free tour of the city
Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority have teamed up to offer passengers with a layover of over five hours a free, three-hour tour of the city. The tour visits the Pearl-Qatar, Katara Cultural VIllage, Souq Waqif, and the Museum of Islamic Art. Though you don’t have to pay for the tour, bring along a bit of spending money for souvenirs.
2. Try some Arabian cuisine
If you have a short layover, make the most of your time in the airport by at least getting some authentic food. One such place to do that is Qataf Cafe, which offers mezze-style platters of Arabic foods. If you’re not looking for a huge meal, there’s also traditional tea and Arabic sweets.
3. Go shopping
Another possibility if you’re stuck inside the airport: Take advantage of this chance to shop tax free. Hamad International Airport is full of shops including luxury brands like Burberry, Bvlgari, Chopard, Chanel, Coach Hermes, Armani, and Hugo Boss.
4. Visit the spa
The airport’s Vitality Wellbeing & Fitness Centre offers a swimming pool, fully equipped gym, hydrotherapy tubs, and shower rooms for those who pay an entrance fee. If you want to take your relaxation to another level, the spa also offers massages, facials and body treatments. The spa also has squash courts if you’d like to get a little exercise in. Within the shops there is also Nails, which offers manicures, pedicures, and blow drys.
5. Take a nap
Hamad International Airport has The Airport Hotel, which is unique in that it allows guests to book a stay for as little as five hours. This means a place to go refresh and relax — take a nap if you want or use the gym — without having to pay for an entire night. Those looking to save money can instead nap in one of the Quiet Rooms the airport offers,which have comfortable recliners.
6. Visit the Corniche
Those with time to leave the city and explore on their own should first visit the Corniche, a waterfront promenade where many of the city’s landmarks and major hotels are located. Along the stretch is the Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar National Museum, and Doha Tower.
7. Take a desert tour
If you have almost a full day layover in Doha, take a half-day (four hour) tour of the Qatari desert during which you can dune bash in a 4x4 and visit the Inland Sea. Though you won’t get to see much of the city, you will get a unique experience and introduction to the natural landscape of Qatar.
This article was written by Isabella Sayyah.