The capital and largest city of the Arabic peninsula nation of Qatar, Doha has undergone formidable growth in the last 20 years to be one of the most important regional and international business centers. A very hot place, with temperatures in the summer often heading north of 100 degrees, Doha compensates with event venues that include indoor, air-conditioned stadiums, a huge ice-skating rink, a re-creation of Venice's Grand Canal, and a four-mile-long Corniche. Expect many more hotels before the World Cup in 2022.
There is only one airport in Qatar, and it is the massive, 60-gate Doha International Airport (DOH), which serves all the world, with, among others, direct flights coming from Chicago, Houston, New York City, Montreal, Philadelphia (as of March 2014), and Washington, DC. The airport is five miles southeast of the city center.
Chief among meeting venues in Doha, Qatar National Convention Center opened in December 2011; it has nine exhibition halls, two auditoriums, a 2,500-seat theater, 52 meeting rooms, and a 4,000-seat conference hall, among other facilities.
Hotel venues in Doha are magnificent. Among the stars are the 371-room Sheraton Doha, which has 26 meeting rooms for up to 5,000 persons; the 580-room Marriott Marquis City Center Doha, which has 17 meeting rooms and the Al Areen Grand Ballroom for up to 805 persons; the 249-room Grand Hyatt Doha, which has 11 meeting rooms and a 15,000-square-foot ballroom, among other facilities; the 225-room La Cigale, which has five meeting rooms and two ballrooms; and the 216-room InterContinental Doha, which has seven meeting rooms and the Al Wajba Ballroom for up to 750 persons.
There are some very special venues here; choices include the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei, which occupies a private island with spectacular views and contains two floors of galleries, a five-story main building, the two-story Education Wing, and a 170-foot-high domed atrium; Aspire Zone, which includes the Aspire Dome–apparently, the world's largest–with 15,500 seats in 13 halls; the 1,000-foot-high The Torch Doha Hotel, with breathtaking, 360-degree views, a ballroom for 270 persons, and five-story Hamad Aquatic Center, among other areas; Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha, a satellite of the Manhattan staple, which can be booked exclusively for daytime or nighttime use, and is attached to the 366-room St. Regis Hotel Doha (which has 40,000 square feet of its own meeting space); Arab Museum of Modern Art, which has a very important collection housed in a unique building with stylized, low, brick walls and glass sides, and can be accessed via a free shuttle that runs between it and the Museum of Islamic Art; and Katara, which sits on its own across West Lagoon Bay from the massive Pearl entertainment and residential complex and has water sports, exhibition areas for culture, several restaurants, and a beach, among other facilities.
Good choices of restaurants in Doha for larger groups include The Village, which has three restaurants, Deli, Grill, and Medi, and can be bought out for corporate parties; wonderful Moroccan choice Tangia at the 246-room Wyndham Grand Regency; Market by Jean-Georges at the celebrated, 441-room W Doha Hotel & Residences; Rotana Restaurant, which has Arabic, Indian, Nepalese, Pakistani, and Filipino cuisine on its excellent menu; and Saffron Lounge by Vineet, regarded as the best Indian restaurant in Qatar, which is in the Katara complex and overseen by chef Vineet Bhatia who won Michelin stars at his London restaurants. Another trendy choice is Strata, which is located 55 floors up in the InterContinental Doha.