The Pearl Island – Doha, Qatar Travel Guide

In November 2023, we set off on a memorable adventure to the Middle East. The Pearl Island – Qatar is a man-made island built on reclaimed land, spanning a massive four million square meters in the vibrant city of Doha and creating a new coastline for Qatar on the Arabian Gulf.

Luke and Kay at The Pearl marina in Doha Qatar

This dazzling destination, renowned for its Mediterranean-inspired lifestyle and beautiful Marina with luxurious yachts, presented us with a wonderful fusion of relaxation, beauty, and cultural immersion.

Luke and Kay standing on a bridge at the pearl overlooking the water

We stayed in Viva Bahriya, a perfectly peaceful location within walking distance to the Marina walks, shops and cafes of Porto Arabia and the gastronomic delights of upscale restaurants in Medina Centrale, with an array of incredible experiences we can’t wait to share with you.

So, please sit back, relax, and join us as we reminisce about our adventures in The Pearl-Qatar!

We found The Pearl Island conveniently nestled between West Bay and Lusail City. Thanks to readily available transportation options like Uber and Metro, getting around was a breeze and cheap.

The journey from Hamad International Airport to the luxurious island of The Pearl was a quick 30-minute taxi ride, making it an incredibly accessible spot for both residents and visitors. The ease of reaching The Pearl-Qatar certainly added to the overall enjoyment of our trip.

A map of the Pearl Qatar

Pearl Island is divided into different districts inspired by Mediterranean cities. Here is some more information about the parts of the Pearl we visited.

Viva Bahriya

Our close friend lives in an apartment in Viva Bahriya in The Pearl, Doha. So we were lucky and grateful to him for providing us with his place as a base for our adventures!

Viva Bahriya in The Pearl Qatar Doha

It looks just as beautiful at night, all lit up.

The Pearl Viva Bahriya Beach area and buildings all lit up at night in Qatar Doha

This upscale neighbourhood offers a unique blend of beachfront living and sophisticated architecture. It is primarily a residential estate. However, a little Sainsbury’s is at the end of the island’s coastline, which is very handy.

The Pearl beach Viva Bahriya Doha

Bahriya Beach

Our friend’s apartment is in one of the residential towers, steps away from Bahriya Beach, an exclusive private beach tucked in the centre of the residential area.

Luke and Kay paddle boarding at the Pearl Qatar

The calm waters made it an ideal spot for paddleboarding – we had a blast using our friend’s boards! Although I was more comfortable lying on a lounger!

Kay laying on a sun lounger at Bahriya Beach at The Pearl Qatar Doha

The pristine Bahriya beach boasts immaculate cleanliness, with its wide steps beckoning visitors. However, watch out. The steps are very slippery!

Viva Bahriya is a haven of elegance and tranquillity. The Moroccan-styled homes and apartments bring a touch of elegance to the area, making it perfect for families or anyone seeking a more relaxed vibe.

Medina Centrale

Strolling from Viva Bahriya to Medina Centrale was a regular trip for us. The Spanish-style buildings gave the area a unique Mediterranean charm, and the fountains and green spaces added a tranquil touch.

A water fountain at the Medina Centrale - The Pearl Doha

Attractions

During our visit to Medina Centrale in The Pearl, Doha, we had the chance to explore a variety of exciting venues and eateries. Here are some highlights from our trip:

Megapolis

This entertainment complex transported us back to our childhood at London’s Trocadero. With so many activities, it is the perfect destination for a fun day with friends and family.

Megapolis front entrance desk The Pearl Qatar Doha
Luke playing a formula 1 simulator game at the Megapolis arcade The Pearl Qatar Doha

Whether you’re looking to play some arcades or test your puzzle-solving skills in one of the escape rooms, they offer a wide range of classic and modern games that will keep you entertained for hours. And if you’re feeling the need for speed, the racing games are sure to get your adrenaline pumping.

Luke standing outside the escape rooms inside the Megapolis The Pearl Qatar Doha

From the thrill of bowling to the fast-paced intensity of ping pong, billiards, and darts, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Megapolis pool tables area in The Pearl Qatar Doha
Bowling lanes at the Megapolis The Pearl Qatar Doha

Whether you’re looking to challenge your friends or have a fun time, these activities at Megapolis are sure to provide endless hours of excitement and amusement.

Megapolis ping pong tables at The Pearl Doha
Dart board area at the Megapolis The Pearl Qatar Doha

Let’s not forget board games, Karaoke, and plenty of places to grab a bite!

Two Board Game tables with chairs at the Megapolis The Pearl Qatar Doha
Kay pretending to sing at The Pearl Karaoke Doha

It had fantastic air conditioning, so it’s a great place to escape the heat! The best part? It’s open 24/7!

Novo Cinemas

We took time to unwind at this cinema, showcasing Western and Arabic films. It was a great way to relax after a day of exploring.

Centrale Park

You can walk and relax in this well-maintained and clean park. It also has exciting family activities, including a pet park, duck lake, rental pedalo boats, a small waterpark, ‘Beach Centrale, ‘ and a kids’ playground.

A lake with illuminated fountain at Centrale Park Qatar Doha

The lakes are also stunning at night with their illuminated fountains.

Kay walking through a tunnel made up of vine and lights in the park in pearl in Qatar

Don’t forget this beautiful tunnel, beautifully lit at night!

Luke and Kay standing inside a tunnel made from vine all lit up with twinkle lights in the park area at the pearl in Qatar

Souq Almedina

An indoor shopping area in Medina Centrale, with plenty of lovely places to eat, too!

Souq Almedina front entrance The Pearl Qatar Doha

Restaurants in Medina Centrale, The Pearl Island

This vibrant city section is a foodies’ delight, where international flavours mingle with local traditions to create an exciting and diverse dining scene.

Kay from Flawless journeys sitting at Medina Centrale fountain at The Pearl Qatar Doha

The restaurants in Medina Centrale are more than just eateries; they’re places where food lovers can indulge. From European cuisines to exotic Middle Eastern dishes to classic American grills – there’s something for everyone here.

Here are a selection of restaurants we tried during our time in Medina Centrale

Luke and Kay from Flawless journeys sitting in the outside seating area at Hasan Kolcuoglu The Pearl Qatar Doha

Hasan Kolcuoglu

This Turkish restaurant was a real treat. We indulged in their Meter Kebab and were impressed by the generous selection of sides.

Luke sitting at a table with Half Meter Kebab and all the sides at HK in the Pearl Doha
Hasan Kolcuoglu Kebab The Pearl Qatar Doha

The food was delicious, and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming.

Kay from Flawless journeys sitting in the outside seating area drinking tea at Hasan Kolcuoglu The Pearl Qatar Doha

Turquoise Cafe

We stopped here for lunch and were delighted with our meals.

Fusilli pest salad at the Turquoise Cafe The Pearl Qatar Doha
Freekeh Greek Salad Turquoise Cafe The Pearl Qatar Doha

From sandwiches and salads to pasta, there was something for everyone.

Steak and cheese sandwich, chips and side salad at the Turquoise Cafe The Pearl Qatar Doha
Luke at the Turquoise Cafe The Pearl Qatar Doha eating some bread for starters with a coffee in front of him

They had a fantastic selection of cold beverages or coffees to cool down from the Doha heat.

Shater Abbas

For a taste of Middle Eastern cuisine, we dined at Shater Abbas.

Kay sitting at the outside seating area at Shater Abbas The Pearl Qatar Doha

We shared the Super Mix BBQ meat skewers with salads and flatbreads.

Luke sitting in the outside seating area at Shater Abbas The Pearl Qatar Doha easing a mixed kebab with flat bread and side salad

The food was flavorful, and the service was commendable. It was also reasonably cheap.

Biella

Located right in the heart of Medina Centrale, Biella offers a lovely location in the centre of the Medina Centrale.

Biella pizzeria and restaurant in The Pearl Qatar Doha

While the service was good, the food was mediocre.

Spaghetti Carbonara at the Biella Italian restaurant in The Pearl Qatar Doha
A bowl of Tagliatelle at tagliatelle at the Biella restaurant in The Pearl Qatar Doha

It didn’t quite match the standard of the other restaurants we visited. Nonetheless, the location made it worth the visit.

Luke from Flawless Journeys sitting at a outside table at Biella pizzeria and restaurant in The Pearl Qatar Doha

Chocolate Coffee

A great place to sit and enjoy a coffee whilst spotting all the beautiful cars driving past! These experiences added a unique flavour to our trip, making our visit to Medina Centrale truly unforgettable.

Chocolate Coffee Café with people sitting in the outside seating area having coffee and cakes in The Pearl Qatar Doha

We loved exploring the various restaurants and shops, and there was no shortage of entertainment options to amuse us. It’s a spot we’d highly recommend checking out!

Kay drinking a salted caramel frappe at the Chocolate Coffee lounge The Pearl Qatar Doha
Luke having a Arabic Coffee at Chocolate Coffee The Pearl

Porto Arabia

During our stay at The Pearl, Doha, we were fortunate to be within walking distance to explore Porto Arabia, the most vibrant part of The Pearl-Qatar. This impressive artificial island spans nearly four million square meters.

Kay sitting at the Porto Arabia sign The Pearl Qatar Doha

As we strolled around, we were treated to cafes, restaurants and luxury shops, reminding us of the bustling streets of the French Riviera.

Kay walking towards the Luxury Yacht Club The Pearl Qatar Doha

But it wasn’t just the shopping and dining that made Porto Arabia stand out. The district also boasts stunning architecture and beautiful views, making it a leisurely place for a stroll or a relaxing coffee break, a must-visit in Doha.

Porto Arabia truly encapsulates the essence of a modern Mediterranean-style lifestyle. La Croisette is a vibrant 3.5-kilometre waterfront promenade. Overlooking Qatar’s largest and award-winning Marina.

Marina A

Marina A greets you with luxury yachts swaying gently in their moorings, shimmering beneath a boundless indigo sky. This gave us a sense of being in a high-end coastal town.

A picture of all the boats at the Marina at The Pearl Qatar Doha

Yacht Club

Located right next to the fancy Porto Arabia shops and overlooking the sparkling Arabian Gulf, the Corinthia Yacht Club blends modern design and incredible views.

The front entrance to the Corinthia Yacht Club The Pearl Qatar Doha

It’s ideally situated in Porto Arabia, on The Pearl Island and adds to the growing trend of cool architecture. It’s the first private membership club in Qatar.

Photo Walk

The photo walk at The Pearl in Doha is a captivating exploration offering exclusive insight into Qatar’s remarkable Middle Eastern development.

Luke from flawless journeys walking towards The Pearl Photo Walk in Doha

It leads you beneath the carriageway bridge, where you are met with images showing The Pearl Island construction.

Luke standing at the photo walk at the Pearl Qatar
satellite images of the construction of the Pearl Qatar from 2004 to 2021

Each image captured the intricate details, showcasing the architectural brilliance and careful planning that went into its creation. Seeing how a reclaimed piece of land has been transformed into a thriving community boasting luxury and comfort was fascinating.

Pictures showing different stages of the medina Centrale in Qatar being built from 2008 to 2011

The starting point of the photo walk is conveniently located near the Marina. We found this photo walk at The Pearl well worth the experience.

images of the construction of Viva Bahriya Qatar Doha

Cafes and Restaurants

Here are some of our favourite places to eat and drink near the Marina

Kasibeyaz

Kasibeyaz is situated in Porto Arabia, The Pearl in Doha. It is a Turkish restaurant overlooking the beautiful Marina.

Luke sitting at a table in the outside seating area at the Kasibeyaz The Pearl Qatar Doha drinking Turkish coffee and eating baklava

We visited for coffee and baklava, which were exceptional. However, the menu boasts a variety of enticing Turkish dishes.

Luke, Kay and there friend Brian sitting in the outside seating area at Kasibeyaz in the Pearl Qatar

The restaurant’s location enhances its allure. Situated on The Pearl Island, it provides breathtaking views of the Porto Arabia marina, whether you’re dining indoors or on their terrace.

Loads of nice boats at The Pearl Marina at Night- Qatar Doha

While not the most affordable option, the quality of food, ambience, service and location justify the price. The dishes we observed were appetising, and customer reviews corroborated our impressions.

Kasibeyaz restaurant inside seating area in The Pearl Doha

Subzero Ice Lounge

In England, we have a few ice bars, but in true Qatar fashion, they do not have bars! Instead, they have an ice cafe. Everything inside is made of ice, even the table and chairs you sit on!

Subzero Ice Lounge entrance which has a giant polar bear statue at the entrance in The Pearl Qatar Doha

You are given warm clothing to wear during your time there. We didn’t try it this time, but it would make a welcoming refreshment in the summer months!

Luke standing in front of a giant polar bear statue at the Subzero Ice Lounge in The Pearl Qatar Doha

EL&N London

EL&N London at The Pearl in Doha is an unmissable stop. With its globally recognised photogenic appeal, iconic pink decor, and stylish, chic ambience, it’s a magnet for coffee enthusiasts and social media fans.

Kay standing next to a blue bike with pink flowers in a basket at the entrance to EL&N The Pearl Qatar Doha

The cafe impresses not just with its looks but also its offerings. It serves a range of speciality coffees and Instagram-ready lattes throughout the day and offers meals from brunch to dinner.

Yasmine Palace The Pearl

During our visit, one place caught our attention: Yasmine Palace The Pearl. It’s grandeur and unique architecture captivated us. Although we didn’t dine there, its fantastic reviews have placed it high on our list for the next visit.

Yasmine Palace restaurant The Pearl Qatar Doha

Known for its exquisite Middle Eastern dishes, excellent service, and traditional decor, Yasmine Palace offers more than just a meal; it provides an immersive cultural Arabic experience. We look forward to sampling its offerings during our next trip.

Yasmine Palace restaurant lit up at night with a water feature illuminated in front of the building The Pearl Qatar Doha

Qanat Quartier

Next time, we plan to visit the Qanat Quartier to see the canals and boutique shops. This area is known for its beautiful Venetian charm styled to be just like Venice. I can’t believe we missed it!

Luke standing at a bridge over looking the water at the Pearl Doha

Floresta Gardens

This is a residential area of the Pearl, Qatar. It is a popular choice for families and professionals due to its quiet and peaceful atmosphere, offering villas, houses, and apartments near schools, shopping centres, and restaurants.

Giardino Mall

Located in The Pearl, Giardino Lulu Mall offers an array of retail shops, grocery shopping, and dining options.

Giardino Mall front entrance The Pearl Qatar Doha

While not as big as some other malls we visited, it still provides everything you could desire.

Dress Code Rules in Doha, Qatar

When visiting Doha, being mindful of the local dress codes is important. We tried to dress modestly out of respect for Qatar’s culture and traditions. That meant clothing that covered our knees and shoulders, both for men and women, when we went out of The Pearl, shopping at the malls or dining at restaurants.

Dress Code sign on the front entrance door showing you what you can and cant wear inside the Villaggio Qatar Doha

However, it’s worth noting that while this dress code is generally expected, we did notice a few folks not strictly adhering to it without any apparent consequences. But to show respect for the local customs, it’s best to stick to the guidelines.

Dress Code at the Pearl

On Pearl Island, the rules were more relaxed in some areas, as many foreign nationals live there. At Bahriya Beach, for example, women wore bikinis and other typical beachwear without issue.

Kay standing at the The Pearl Bahriya Beach Qatar Doha

And at the hotel bar for evening drinks, the dress code was similar to what you’d see in any Western bar. Women were wearing dresses, skirts, and other stylish outfits.

So, when packing for a trip to Doha, remember to modestly cover your shoulders and knees for daytime activities, especially outside the Pearl Island. Feel free to dress up for a night out at the hotel bars.

If I wore a sleeveless top, I usually took a light cardigan to cover up when needed between destinations.

Where can you drink alcohol in The Pearl?

During our stay in The Pearl, we quickly found out that the city’s alcohol rules are pretty tight.

You can’t just pop into any bar or restaurant for a drink. Instead, we discovered that only high-end hotel restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol.

Kay holding a glass of white wine
Luke holding a pint of beer

Just a heads up, though, booze isn’t cheap here due to the heavy taxes. It’s all part of the unique experience of hanging out in Doha, where you enjoy your drink in style.

Just remember, don’t get too carried away – public drunkenness is a no-no! See below for the hotels in The Pearl, all of which sell alcohol.

Hotels in The Pearl

There are plenty of places to stay if you are a tourist looking for somewhere to stay in The Pearl; it is not cheap, though, as they are all five-star hotels!

Hilton Doha

The Hilton Doha is a five-star hotel in Doha; it has a private beach, a spa, and a hotel pool—a tranquil escape from the world.

The Pearl Hilton hotel in Qatar Doha

The Mulberry Tavern

Enjoy food and drink at the Mulberry Tavern inside the Hilton. It’s one of the few places in The Pearl to enjoy alcoholic drinks!

Kay standing outside the front entrance to the Hilton hotel at the Pearl in Doha

Marsa Malaz Kempinski

This ultra-luxurious hotel provides a blend of European grandeur and local Qatari hospitality. It offers secluded beachfront accommodation with breathtaking views and world-class dining experiences.

Kempinski Bars and Restaurants

The Kempinski has multiple restaurants and bars to wine and dine in. We will be visiting on our next visit to try them out!

The St. Regis Marsa Arabia Island

This hotel is a symbol of timeless elegance, offering bespoke service. It’s on a secluded island, providing an idyllic retreat with stunning views and top-tier amenities.

Marsa Malaz hotel in The Pearl Qatar Doha

The Barn

The St Regis has a cosy Swiss chalet-style bar called The Barn; they offer mixology classes, which sound fun!

Four Seasons Resort, The Pearl

Known for its impeccable service and comfort, the Four Seasons Resort offers a serene beachfront setting with spacious rooms, gourmet dining, and a world-class spa.

Makani Beach Club

This is a beach restaurant and bar inside the Four Seasons Resort. They offer a day pass to access their private beach, five pools and beach club.

Getting around The Pearl

Let us talk about how to get around The Pearl.

Walking

We love immersing ourselves in the culture of our destinations by exploring on foot. We believe walking is the best way to discover hidden gems and experience the true essence of a place. However, navigating through this labyrinth city was no walk in the park!

Luke and Kay at The Pearl Marina Qatar Doha

The Pearl has an intriguing blend of easily accessible areas and labyrinth-like sections. Some parts invite you on foot with their pedestrian-friendly layout, allowing you to explore at your own pace. Yet, other areas present a daunting challenge with massive road intersections that leave you guessing the correct path across.

We soon discovered that locals have found an efficient solution to traversing these complex junctions – public transport!

Uber

With just one button tap, an Uber can whisk you away from point A to B in the Pearl Qatar island without hassle or confusion. And guess what? The fares are incredibly budget-friendly!

Uber cars outside the Villaggio mall in The Pearl Qatar Doha

This convenience and affordability make it clear why Uber is the go-to mode of transportation for many residents and visitors.

Taxi

Taxis are another convenient mode of transport in The Pearl. They’re available around the clock and can be hailed from any part of the city.

Aqua blue taxi driving on the roads in Doha Qatar with the West Bay Skyline in the background

Karwa taxis, recognised by their aqua blue colour, are reliable and equipped with meters, ensuring that you pay a fair price. However, they are more expensive than Uber.

Bus

If you’re looking for a more local and cost-effective way to explore The Pearl, consider hopping on a bus. Doha’s public transportation system is quite efficient and well-connected.

An air conditioned Bus Stop at the Pearl Doha

The buses are clean, air-conditioned, and easy to use, with clear signage and announcements. Even the bus stops are air-conditioned.

Train

The Doha Metro is an excellent choice for those travelling around Doha. The nearest metro station to The Pearl is Legtaifiya on the Red Line. It’s a quick, cheap and comfortable way to travel.

Qatar Metro - Rail Line map in Doha

The stations are architecturally impressive, and the trains are modern, offering free Wi-Fi and separate cabins for families and lone women.

West Bay Metro Station front entrance at The Pearl Qatar Doha

In conclusion, whether you walk, take an Uber, hop on a bus, hail a taxi, or ride the metro, getting around The Pearl is relatively easy and convenient.

Things to do near The Pearl-Qatar

Here are a few things to enjoy outside of The Pearl Island in Doha. We will be writing more posts soon!

West Bay

West Bay, or as some call it, the ‘Manhattan of Doha’, is truly a sight to behold. This thriving community has been sculpted with architectural flair, its skyline dominated by some of the world’s tallest buildings that shimmer against the backdrop of the West Bay Lagoon.

Kay standing in front of West Bay Qatar

Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post, where we will be delving deeper into this vibrant neighbourhood, exploring its hidden gems and revealing all there is to know about this fascinating place.

Malls

Doha, the capital city of Qatar, is a known haven for shopping enthusiasts. Doha’s malls are a shopaholic’s paradise.

Lagoona Mall

After a day of exploring, we found Lagoona Mall a dazzling oasis of Westernised culinary delights and retail paradises.

Lagoona Mall Doha

Serving as an intriguing blend of familiarity in the heart of Doha.

Shops inside the Lagoona mall in Qatar Doha

Villaggio Mall

Villaggio Mall is more than just a shopping destination. It is styled to mimic an Italian village, complete with gondola rides.

A gondola with people being taken through the Villaggio Mall Qatar Doha

This mall offers a variety of entertainment options, including an ice hockey rink, a fairground, and a cinema.

Gondlania fun fair inside the Villaggio Mall Qatar Doha

Not to mention the designer shops that will satisfy the most discerning fashionista.

Katara Cultural Village

In the heart of Doha, Katara Cultural Village is a vibrant hub celebrating Qatar’s rich heritage by showcasing an enticing blend of Islamic art, architecture, and social traditions.

Desert Safari

Embarking on a desert safari near The Pearl in Doha is an enchanting journey into the heart of Qatar’s mesmerising landscapes.

The Arabian dunes, with their rolling sands and ever-changing hues, offer an indulgent holiday experience beyond the ordinary.

Souq Waqif

A visit to the vibrant Souq Waqif was an absolute must.

This bustling market offered an authentic taste of Qatari culture, with its many stalls selling traditional garments, spices, handicrafts, and delicious street food.

Luke and Kay from Flawless Journeys standing under an Arabic arch building at the marina in the The Pearl Qatar Doha

Doha Golf Club

Doha Golf Club, situated in the heart of Qatar’s capital, is a lush oasis attracting golf enthusiasts from around the globe since its inception. With an impressive 18-hole, 7,374-yard championship course and a floodlit nine-hole academy course, it offers an unparalleled golfing experience nestled amidst picturesque surroundings.

Luke, a keen golfer, eagerly looks forward to stepping on the verdant fairways of Doha Golf Club this coming April. The prospect of teeing off under the clear blue Qatari sky and against the backdrop of the city’s breathtaking skyline is something he finds invigorating. We will share some pictures then!

We will return with more information about our adventures in Doha, Qatar! For now, why not check out our things to do in Ella, Sri Lanka?

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