The neighbourhoods in Qatar - finding the right one to move into
If you are planning to move to Qatar or if you are already here and shifting to another locality, having an idea about the most popular neighbourhoods, would be of immense help in finding the right house in the right area.
Qatar is one of the safest and the most peaceful countries to live in and it has plenty of neighbourhoods that offer a wide range of housing choices -- from cute studio apartments to independent beachfront villas that ooze luxury for prospective occupants.
Though Doha houses most of the businesses, other cities such as Al Khor, Al Ruwais, Dukhan, Mesaieed, Al Wakrah, Al Shahaniya and Umm Salal are also commercial hubs with all modern amenities.
Qatar, the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, is a small country but it will have an astonishing 22 football stadiums by the time it organises the mega event two years from now. Equally impressive is the fact that it has close to 100 parks. Wherever you choose to live in Qatar, you are sure to find a beautiful park not very far from your place. Some of the biggest of them are Aspire Park, Al Bidda Park, Al Khor Family Park, MIA Park and Oxygen Park.
The Pearl-Qatar is arguably one of the finest pieces of real estate in the country.
It is an artificial island located just 350 metres off West Bay and it houses 25000 upmarket residential units built in different architectural styles including Mediterranean, Italian, French and Spanish. Steeped in luxury, The Pearl-Qatar also features marina’s for yachts, world’s top brands in fashion, restaurants and automobiles, and all other amenities.
If you want to have a glimpse of ultimate luxury, just stroll through Pearl’s Porto Arabia. You have big retail brands on one side and on the other side, the marina is packed with expensive yachts. Then there is Qanat Quartier which, with its beautiful pastel-colored buildings and intricate canals, is a little Venice in Qatar. There are also precincts such as Viva Bahriya, Costa Malaz and Floresta Gardens which are all steeped in luxury while Isola Dana, comprising nine independent islands, is the jewel in the crown of Pearl Qatar.
Pearl is the first place in Qatar that was made open for foreigners to buy properties before the government this year included a host of other places in that list. Pearl offers luxurious housing units while Qatar’s network of fine roads ensures that plenty of top schools are within just a few minutes’ drive.
However, one of the most sought after places to live in Qatar is known for its marina, yachts, glitz and luxurious lifestyle. And The Pearl-Qatar is its name.
Just around 10 kilometres further north, another ultramodern city that would rival Pearl in terms of luxury and facilities is fast shaping up by the name of Lusail City. The centre of attraction of Lusail, at least till Qatar 2022, is the 80,000 capacity Lusail City Stadium that will host the final of the World Cup. Although not fully operational yet, Lusail City already offers plenty of housing units and it’s already one of the best places to live in Qatar.
Lusail also has a beautiful Marina and promenade where there are various events throughout the year, like the Lusail Light Festival.
The beauty of Lusail, a futuristic city with state-of -the-art-luxury as its central theme, is enhanced by the presence of the huge number of trees. At the beginning of the project Lusail had 47 trees. Now it has more than 40,000 trees, brought in from all parts of the world.
Lusail already has signed up for four top-class schools while the Losail International Circuit, which hosts the Qatar Motorcycle Grand Prix, FIM Superbike World Championship, and a number of other motorsport events, is just a few kilometres away. Although Lusail City is an upmarket urban locale, it also offers budget housing, at least for the time being.
Msheireb Downtown Doha
Msheireb Downtown Doha is a unique housing project in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the commercial hub of the capital city. The project started in 2010 to revive the commercial centre of the city which was becoming a bottleneck in terms of space and traffic and make it modern without losing its retro feel. And Msheireb Properties, the builders, has achieved what they have aimed for. A new metro station, hotels, mosques, museums and buildings that reflect the simplicity of the modern architecture and Qatari heritage has made the place stunning, to say the least.
The 310,000 square metres Msheireb Downtown Doha houses more than 100 buildings and offers over 10,000 parking slots, which was one of the problem areas in that part of the city in the past. Msheireb Downtown Doha’s close proximity to Souq Waqif, a bustling traditional market place, and to the commercial activity centre of the city and the calmness it provides amidst the chaos makes it an ideal place to live in for those who don’t want to move away from the action. Kids would also love the place as two of the best parks in Qatar - the Al Bidda Park and the MIA Park - are close by.
West Bay and West Bay Lagoon
The West Bay, comprising the Doha Skyline and spreading up north till Katara Beach, is one of the poshest localities and the main business centre in the whole of Qatar. The offices of most of the big companies in Doha, including in oil and shipping, are in West Bay which makes it the epicentre of business and one of the busiest places.
West Bay houses plenty of high rises, star hotels, cafes and restaurants and there are a number of service apartments in the vicinity that offer a spectacular view of Doha Corniche and five-star facilities which makes it an ideal housing option for single men and women as well as families. It surely won’t come cheap but it's going to be worth the money if you are looking for style and luxury. The Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, one of the most iconic buildings in the whole of Qatar, is in West Bay.
The upper part of the West Bay area has less traffic and all the amenities including schools, which makes it ideal for families. Further north lies the West Bay Lagoon, another breathtakingly beautiful waterfront housing complex. Also known as Leqtaifiya, West Bay Lagoon’s speciality is the private waterfront villas and no wonder it is one of the most sought after real estate in Qatar.
Al Sadd has been one of the most popular neighbourhoods for expats over the years because of its prime location, the presence of malls, shops, hospitals, schools, and busy streets with plenty of eateries on both sides. Not to mention the huge number of apartment complexes and villas in the area that suit the budget needs of the rich as well as the middle class. With so many people choosing Al Sadd as their base, the area has become one of the busiest in Qatar, but new roads, flyovers, underpasses and the metro line which passes right through has eased it up considerably. There are three metro stations - Al Sadd, Joaan and Hamad Hospital - in the area which ensures easy commuting even if you don’t plan to buy a car.
Al Manar International School and Arab International Academy are just a couple of a number of schools in the area which also has top hospitals including Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha Clinic and Rumailah Hospital nearby. Malls and supermarkets are scattered in every nook and corner of Doha and there are plenty of them in Al Sadd as well.
A little further west of Al Sadd lies Al Waab, another top place to live, especially for families. One of the biggest attractions of Al Waab is the Aspire Park which is a part of Aspire Zone. The park in itself is a huge facility for recreation and sport while the Aspire Zone, also comprising the Aspire Dome and Khalifa International Stadium, is one of the finest sports facilities in the world.
People have plenty of other reasons to choose Al Waab as the place to live, and prime among them is the abundance of pocket-friendly housing facilities with all the amenities in close proximity. The Villagio mall that houses a number of international brands is in Al Waab while Hayat Plaza is also a big shopping mall.
There is no dearth of schools in the area, with Doha Academy Al Waab Campus, Newton British School, Franco-Qatarien Voltaire Al Waab and American School of Doha being some of the most important among them.
Old Airport area
Before Hamad International Airport opened in 2014, the Old airport area was once one of Qatar’s most important landmarks.
Flights don’t operate from the old airport anymore, but the area still has plenty of charm left. Situated in between Al Hilal, Al Thumama and Nauija, the Old Airport area has plenty of calm pockets housing good residential complexes that offer furnished fancy facilities as well as options that are easy on your pockets, which makes the area a favourite for families as well as single men and women. But it’s the central location of the old airport area, which allows its residents an easy commute to Doha’s main business centres including corniche, that is the main advantage of staying there.
It is a busy place with a number of hospitals, schools and shopping malls, but the place is now most known for its restaurants. Al Matar Al Qadeem Street which runs through the middle of the area is full of restaurants and is one of the vibrant streets in Doha.
In the last few years, Abu Hamour has become a hotspot for families looking for budget housing. But there are plenty of villa complexes including two from Al Fardan Gardens, Dar Al Salam Residential Complex, and Farha Complex and a number of stand-alone villas that cater to the needs of the rich. Though situated slightly away from the commercial hub of Doha, Abu Hamour is well connected by the Salwa Road and the Doha Express Highway which makes it easily accessible from all parts of Qatar. It has a lot of educational institutions, including the Doha College, Park House English School and Doha British School. Abu Hamour also has a number of shopping malls including Safari, which is one of the biggest supermarkets in Doha.
The biggest attraction of Al Rayyan would be the Education City developed by the Qatar Foundation. The huge 12 square-kilometre facility houses satellite campuses of eight international universities - six from the US and one each from the UK and France. The renowned Sidra hospital leads the way in providing medical care while the Education City Golf Course, the adjacent Education City Stadium which is a World Cup venue, and the Oxygen Park give the area a green and classy look.
Another World Cup venue, the Al Rayyan Stadium is all set for a grand opening while Al Rayyan’s shopping needs are taken care of by a bunch of malls including the Mall of Qatar. And there are plenty of stand-alone villas, villa complexes and apartment buildings for occupants to stay in and enjoy all the attractions Al Rayyan offers.
Al Wakrah is one of Qatar’s oldest continuously inhabited areas but until recently it used to be a bit far away to live if you are working in Doha. But it doesn’t feel that far any more because of the new roads, the metro train service and complimentary shuttles buses which have all contributed to easing up the traffic and reducing the travelling time.
Al Wakrah is home to a spectacular Qatar 2022 World Cup venue called Al Janoub Stadium while a few kilometres away there is another sports arena named Al Wakrah sports complex. There is also a traditional market called Souq Waqif while the family beach is another big attraction. There are plenty of international schools in and around Al Wakrah while top-class medical care is also in the vicinity in the form of Al Wakrah Hospital.
Other places to live
Since Qatar is getting ready to welcome the world to its shores for the 2022 World Cup, there is no shortage of places to live, at least for the time being. Besides the above-mentioned pockets, Al Thumama and Al Gharafa are just a few other places in and around Doha where you are sure to find a space you can call home. And there are excellent apartments and villa complexes scattered elsewhere as well, and all you need to do is just look.
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