Nestled in the heart of the Persian Gulf, Qatar is nothing short of spectacular: a destination blurring the lines between tradition and modernity, natural beauty and man-made marvels.
While Hamad Airport is indeed a great transit hub, Qatar also offers a rich tapestry of experiences for those who venture outside its walls, from centuries of culture at the Museum of Islamic Art to four wheel driving in the ‘inland sea’ of Khor Al Adaid.
Given Doha is fast making top-notch hospitality its calling card, the city boasts a suitably diverse mix of hotels and resorts for those wanting to linger longer, from palm-fringed hideaways to glittering architectural triumphs.
Although it’s true mercury frequently rises above 40 degrees in the summer, the winter months from December to February are actually rather pleasant, hovering around 21 degrees and making for a very appealing time to visit. And visit you should.
Best luxury hotels in Doha
With that in mind, and by no means a definitive guide, these are some of the best hotels Doha has to offer.
As you weave up the serpentine drive to its 6m-tall iron entrance, you’ll begin to grasp the scale of what designer Marcel Wanders had in mind when dreaming up Raffles Doha: a futuristic landmark mirroring the city’s bold aspirations.
Housed within one half of the crescent moon-like Katara Towers, and hailed as Qatar’s first all-suite hotel, each of its 132 rooms is stocked with deluxe amenities, including a Compoz scent library where you select a room fragrance to suit your mood.
On the dining front, its four venues take you on a culinary journey through Arabia, Italy, Greece, Europe, and Central America. When feasting is done, there’s the Raffles Spa to offer a restful, multi-sensory respite from the desert heat.
But the real gem is the service, impeccably provided by your 24-hour on-call butler – or two of them, if you prefer. Whether it’s unpacking and repacking bags, arranging a shoe shine or running a bubble bath, they truly go above and beyond.
Banyan Tree Doha
In Msheireb Downtown Doha – the area’s name meaning ‘a place to drink water’ – you’ll find the Banyan Tree Doha, where mind-blowing architecture meets ultra-modern decor, with a few subtle references to traditional Arabic design thrown in for good measure.
Bathed in natural light, each of its 126 rooms and suites is adorned in rich dark timber accents, warm and earthy furnishings, and bathrooms you’d happily spend an extended amount of time in.
Views of the city skyline or gardens are just icing on the cake.
But, without question, the crown jewel of this opulent hotel is its rooftop lounge: Vertigo Doha. Here, talented mixologists and inventive chefs serve up decadent cocktails and Mediterranean-inspired dishes against a backdrop of 360-degree skyline views.
Waldorf Astoria Lusail
Palm-fringed pool leading to a private beach? Check. A rooftop bar evoking the feel of an exclusive member’s club? Absolutely. Waldorf Astoria Lusail has it all, and there’s much more to discover after check-in.
Exquisite from top to bottom, it boasts eight dining venues, a sweeping pool and Flowrider, not to mention a fabulous ESPA spa. Of course, that’s on top of its 311 rooms and 25 residences, each clad in crisp white with pops of azure and turquoise reflecting the view outside.
The 120 sqm One Bedroom Corner Suite is a sprawling oasis of luxury, but the star is the Royal Suite at 1,953 sqm – almost ten times the size of a tennis court. Aside from the vast living space, it boasts a garden terrace with infinity pool, hot tub and views for days.
And if that’s not enough to hold your attention from dawn till after dusk, there’s plenty to see nearby in only a short drive, including Place Vendôme Mall and the Lusail Marina Corniche.
The Ned Doha
Housed within Qatar’s old Ministry of Interior building, a beacon of 1970s brutalism on the Corniche seafront, The Ned Doha sidesteps Arabian Nights clichés in favour of quirky, vintage charm. The result is sleek, inviting and effortlessly cool.
Inside its streamlined walls are seven exquisite public bars and dining options – Millie’s Grill for seafood and prime cuts, Cecconi’s for hand-made pasta and Kaia for sushi, to name a few – as well as the members-only Ned’s Club upstairs.
Of the 90 rooms and suites, the 185sqm Corniche View Suite is arguably the star – lavishly appointed with classical details and 1970’s touches, like a drinks cart and Murano glass chandelier – as a nod to the design of the original building.
When you need to wind down, The Ned’s wellness centre offers signature treatments such as body scrubs and detox massages, while its Moroccan Hammam is a place where your cares drift away like steam from a bath.
Dominating the other half of the 211m-high Katara Towers – inspired by the scimitar swords of the country’s coat of arms – Fairmont Doha complements its Accor sibling with an equal flourish of modern, sophisticated flair.
Stepping inside its plush confines, a 56m-high chandelier (the world’s tallest) sets the tone for what follows: 362 plush rooms and suites, a 4,000sqm beauty, health and fitness centre, not to mention a guest-only floating island club edging the Gulf.
It plates up a sensational restaurant scene too, beginning with Indian molecular gastronomy at Masala Library – its walls gleaming with exquisite pressed metal – and leading on to Asian delights at Provok, which sports a dramatic ‘fire and ice’ concept of two distinct dining areas in the one space.
The Ritz-Carlton Doha
Perched on its own private island in West Bay lagoon, Ritz-Carlton Doha is a beachside sanctuary of sandy shores and a winding pool framed by pergolas and bougainvillaeas, replete with a swim-up bar. It’s also still amid the city action.
Like its New York sibling, the decor is elegant and tasteful: think French oak floors and curated art pieces alongside Tuscan marble bathrooms with gold accents. If you want the full VIP treatment though, pick one of the Amiri suites.
Indulgence takes the form of marina-adjacent B-Lounge and American steakhouse STK, with the latter boasting arguably some of the best views in Doha. After the sun sets, its vibe is kicked up a notch by the electrifying beats, courtesy of the in-house DJ.
Fitness enthusiasts are also catered for with one of the most well-equipped leisure centres in Qatar: two indoor tennis courts, a squash court, a junior Olympic indoor pool and a fully-stocked gym with views to the Ritz Carlton Marina.
Much like the works of namesake artist Piet Mondrian, Mondrian Doha places bold colours and eye-catching geometric shapes at the forefront of its interiors. There’s nothing understated about this hotel, nestled amid the skyscrapers and malls of West Bay.
Rather than fading into the background, the building’s distinct shape and design more than holds its own – comprised of thousands of reflective metal panels, which create a mesmerising effect when viewed from afar. And within is pretty impressive too.
Rooms take cues from both Arab and Dutch style, yet are surprisingly understated, leaving key stylistic elements to pop against the otherwise stark interiors. That said, some are more outrageous than others, like the Opal Suite or whimsical Sky House.
Nourishment takes the form of ESPA Spa, where a heated ‘experience garden’ and Turkish Hammam await, while dining venues such as Morimoto – its cascading lantern chandelier is Insta-worthy – and Black Orchid nightclub dial up the decadence.
Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha Resort
Opened in late 2022, Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha has assured its spot in history as the successor of the iconic Gulf Hotel, which debuted in 1973 as Qatar’s first five star hotel and was long considered the cornerstone of the country’s hospitality industry.
Following an extensive restoration, that 70s icon has become a new all-inclusive venture from Rixos Hotels, though there are still plenty of reminders of the past. Delectable dining, premium drinks, and engaging entertainment are appetisers for what awaits within.
Blending European and Middle Eastern styles, each of its 350 tasteful rooms and suites sports a warm, neutral colour palette of creams and pinks. If there’s one that deserves a solo mention though, it’s the Katara Suite and its 360-view views.
When the desert heat has you beat, you can make a beeline for Anjana Spa, where a range of signature rituals dating back to the Ottoman Empire are complemented by a menu of treatments designed to stimulate every one of your senses.
Banana Island Resort by Anantara
Set on its own island accessible by private catamaran, Anantara Banana Island is a very different kind of Doha resort experience, combining the Anantara brand’s signature hospitality with the feel of a traditional Arabian village.
Well known for taking care of the little things, staff perform a festive greeting with drummers and cold drinks as you step off the boat, and the island vibes only continue from there.
Inspired by its setting, the 133 land-based rooms and eight overwater villas are styled in shades of sand and turquoise blue, while the eight dining venues – Tanzerin beach bar and the floating Q-One Lounge, among them – encapsulate the barefoot bliss.
Depending on your mood, start your day with adrenaline-pumping thrills by choosing from a wide range of water activities, head over to the Anantara Spa & Wellness Retreat to explore the world of holistic healing, or maybe try your skills on the golf course.