The Biggest Middle Eastern Gem: The Pearl Qatar

Qatar is one of the most fascinating travel destinations I have had the pleasure to visit. One area that deserves at least a brief stop while in Doha is The Pearl Qatar. This is a ritzy man-made island full of oceanfront villas, tall buildings, huge mansions, and lots of expensive shops and restaurants. When the construction of this area began it was originally only supposed to cost about $2.5 billion, now as time has moved forward, that cost has grown to over $15 billion!

Once the project is complete it’s estimated that a total of about 20 miles of coastline will have been built. Overall, the land mass is not huge, coming in at around 2 square miles, but they sure do squeeze a lot of architecture into this small space.

The builders and creators of this manmade island chose to name it The Pearl because of the location where they are constructing the island. That particular spot use to be a huge pearl diving site. Prior to hitting it big in the oil industry, Qataris used to rely on diving for pearls in order to make a living and feed their family. You can tell that every aspect of this project has been taken into consideration and that proper respects to the culture have been paid.

If you’re heading to Qatar in hopes of purchasing a brand-new sports car, you will be happy to know that they have numerous car showrooms in The Pearl. Whether you’re looking to invest in a Rolls-Royce Phantom or a hot rod, they’ll surely be able to hook you up here. Even if one of these brands is not in your budget, making a stop and having a look at them should not becompletely out of the question.

The Pearl Qatar offers 12 different regions, or precincts, as they are known as in Qatar. They include Abraj Qaurtier, Costa Malaz, Floresta Gardens, Giardino Village, Medina Centrale, Perlita Gardens, Porto Arabia, Qanat Qaurtier, Viva Bahriya, La Plage South, Beach Villas, and Isola Dana. Each area offers its own unique style. Not all of these precincts are accessible.

For example, Isola Dana is not open to the public. If you look at a map of The Pearl Qatar you will notice a sort of tail that juts out from the main island which currently consists of 9 mini-islands. These have been built to become islands to build mansions on and provide private residences to those that can afford it (not me, for sure!). Each one will come with its own beach and harbor/dock for private yachts and boats.

My favorite region of The Pearl to visit was the Qanat Quartier. It reminded me of Venice, Italy with its pastel colors and cute waterways. The shopping can get pretty expensive here, though, so be ready to enjoy some amazing window shopping.

If you happen to be traveling here with kids make sure to visit the Medina Centrale region of the Pearl. They have lots of cafes, a movie theater, shops, water fountains, and play areas for the kids.

Kiddy Zone is also a cool place to hang out with the little ones. They have a ton of electronics and educational tons and games to get your children involved and keep them entertained.

Best Hotel In The Pearl: Marsa Malaz Kempinski

One hotel that always pops up (usually towards the top of the list) when referring to Doha is the Marsa Malaz Kempinski. This is actually the biggest hotel located in The Pearl. One word will pop into mind upon entering this hotel which would be “opulent” (after “Wow!” that is).

Boasting almost 300 rooms, 7 restaurants, a handful of bars, and its own private beach, it’s no wonder that it comes highly recommended. The prices to stay here can be as low as about $250 and up to $350 per night, which is a very reasonable rate when considering the level of luxury and service you will receive here. The complimentary butler service is definitely an added bonus!

The Pearl Qatar’s Must-Visit Eateries

Chocolate Bar is an absolute must in my opinion. I’ve been here on a couple of occasions and the things they can do with chocolate (and other sweet pastries) never fails to impress me. They are open every day from 8AM until at least 12AM (1AM on Thursdays and Fridays), so there’s no excuse to not be able to check it out.

What’s great about this place is you do not have to even be a fan of chocolate to appreciate and enjoy their food (although it helps!). They serve plenty of non-chocolate dishes, like chicken wings, loaded fries, pasta dishes, salads, and sandwiches. I really liked their breakfast selection. No matter when you go here, make sure you do not leave without trying one of their signature hot chocolates, either salted caramel or peanut butter (Yum!). You will regret it if you do.

Isla Mexican Kitchen Qatar is another restaurant you should seek out if you’re in the area. It offers authentic Mexican dishes, some traditional and some others that you won’t likely find anywhere else. They are a little pricey, but you will definitely be leaving here with a doggy bag. I recommend the burrito con camarones or the enfrijoladas de pollo for your main course.

If you’re super hungry then maybe one of their fajita platters would be more to your liking. Don’t forget to save room for dessert, though. The tres leches is amazing or if you want something a little more Instagram-worthy perhaps a Pastel De Elote would be more up your alley. There is something here for everyone.

If you are visiting Doha it would make for a great day out to stop by the Pearl. It may not be an entire day activity, but they do offer a lot of different shopping outlets, restaurants, and other sights to see. If anything, you will surely be able to find some great photo opportunities that will make all your friends back home jealous. Visiting at dusk or nighttime will give you a great photo with the “Love Qatar” Sign in The Pearl. It’s located in Porto Arabia and may be one of the most sought-after photo spots in The Pearl.