On Assignment: Living in Doha

Moving to a new city can be daunting, but with some time you might discover local favourites and have unique tips to offer like our guests did.

Moving to a new city might seem daunting, but with some time and exploration, there’s bound to be some lovely local finds and unique surprises.

In our new series, On Assignment, we speak with guests and staff from our properties across the globe who have taken on the challenge of living in a different city. Drawing from their personal experiences, they generously share their recommendations on what travellers to the city shouldn’t miss and where they go to satisfy their cravings for home.

Kicking off this series are our guests Alan Fairhurst from England and Shadi Qishta from Jordan who have called the capital city of Qatar their home away from home. Read on to experience the city of Doha through their eyes.

Alan Fairhurst
Fraser Suites Doha resident (Since 2012)

British national Alan Fairhurst has come to be very familiar with Doha after living in the city for several years.

Home in the Qatari capital is Fraser Suites Doha, a 20-minute drive to his workplace. The facilities offered by the serviced residence as well as the friendly, welcoming staff are reasons he has stayed at Fraser Suites Doha for over six years.

On assignment with an international professional services company, he has come to embrace all the city has to offer, from shopping alongside locals at their usual haunts to indulging in local cuisine.

Head here to get to know the local culture…

The Museum of Islamic Art is a fantastic showpiece of Doha's cultural beauty.
Image Credit: @nathalie_kosman

The Museum of Islamic Art is a fantastic showpiece of the cultural beauty of Doha.

Editor’s Note: An iconic fixture of the Doha cityscape, the Museum of Islamic Art is a great place to learn more about Islamic culture and history. Chamber music concerts in the atrium are also open to the public every month.

My idea of a great local meal…

Tajine in Souq Waqif, especially their Tajeen Cocktail. Souq Waqif is also where I would go to pick up unique local souvenirs because of its bustling atmosphere and wide variety of choices.

Editor’s Note: Souq Waqif is a 10-minute drive from Fraser Suites Doha, and Tajine’s open-air rooftop is a popular location to people-watch from while enjoying Moroccan and other Middle Eastern dishes.

Don’t leave Doha without having…

Fraser Suites Doha guest Alan Fairhurst feels dates in Doha are better than back home in the UK

Dates. They taste so much better than what I remember having as a child growing up in the UK.

Editor’s Note: A staple in many Middle Eastern dishes, dates are not only a healthy snack but also considered a holy fruit, associated with virtues such as generosity and gratitude.

If I’m craving for a taste of home…

I would make food that reminds me of home in my own kitchen. Probably no one else will be familiar with this meal – “lobbies”.

Editor’s Note: A traditional Staffordshire dish common among lowly paid potters in the past, lobbies is a beef and potato stew that can still be found in local pubs and homes today.

If you’re feeling adventurous…

Guest Alan Fairhurst recommends the Losail International Circuit

Make a trip to Losail International Circuit to catch the Qatar MotoGP. The spectacle of bikes whizzing by under the night sky makes for a night you won’t forget!

For my everyday essentials…

Spinneys and Mega Mart have all I need.

Editor’s Note: A favourite among the locals, Spinneys is a premium supermarket chain in the Middle East. If you’re looking for a foreign food product, try Mega Mart. You can find Spinneys at The Mall and Mega Mart along Ibn Seena Street. Both are a 15-minute drive away from Fraser Suites Doha.

The one thing I’ll miss the most when I leave…

My colleagues. They come from many different countries, making it a very diverse, multi-national team.

Shadi Qishta
Fraser Suites West Bay, Doha resident (2017-2018)

For CFO Shadi Qishta, his early days of relocating to Doha for his job were difficult to get used to, the biggest culprit being the weather. Hailing from Jordan, it was hard to acclimatise to Doha’s desert climate. “Back home in Jordan, it usually snows during winter. But here in Doha, the temperature during winter can be as warm as 25 degrees Celsius!”

However, his family immersed themselves in the culture of Doha and also enjoyed some adventures along the way.

Recounting his nearly year-long stay at Fraser Suites West Bay, Doha, the 40-year-old shared that his fondest memory of staying at the serviced residence was welcoming a new member to his family. He said: “My baby boy was born here in Doha. In fact, he is also the first baby in Fraser Suites West Bay, Doha!”

Head here to get to know the local culture…

Katara Cultural Village is recommended as a great place to know the local culture.
Image Credit: @valerio_w10

Visit the Katara Cultural Village.

Editor’s Note: If you’re intending to visit, it might be a good idea to set aside at least half a day as this is a very large place with lots to do. The village is home to several galleries, an amphitheatre, two mosques, sprawling gardens and even a private beach!

If I’m craving for a taste of home…

Grand Joud Café serves great, traditional Jordanian fare such as mansaf (rice and lamb with a dry yoghurt sauce) and mosakhan (chicken roasted with spices and served over a stack of flatbread).

Find something exquisite to bring home for family and friends…

Take home spices and honey from Souq Waqif as souvenirs for family and friends

At Souq Waqif, where you can take a stroll through on a winter’s day and shop for traditional clothing, handicrafts and souvenirs. I recommend that you take home some spices and honey.

For my everyday essentials…

I’d head to the City Center mall.

Editor’s Note: City Center is a short 5-minute drive away from Fraser Suites West Bay, Doha. Or, if you like, take a 15-minute stroll there. The five-storey mall has international, regional and local retail brands along with a cinema, ice rink and children’s play park.

Do not leave Doha without trying…

Stay a little longer to experience an adventure in the desert.

A desert adventure. You can drive through the many sand dunes to the seashore, go camping or even fishing.

Editor’s Note: If you want to take it up a notch, spend the night in the desert. Many tours include well-equipped campsites where you can enjoy a sumptuous meal and shower before heading to bed under the stars. But if you have limited time to spare, you could opt to ride a camel and round off your day by watching the sun set below the stunning sandy landscape.

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