Travel, lifestyle, family.

Life in Qatar: celebrating birthdays and anniversaries.

04 January, 2020
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Happy New Year, everyone!

In this spirit, I’ve decided to share with y’all my favorite ways of celebrating the most special life events in Qatar. Enjoy the read! πŸ™‚

So you’re settled in Qatar, possibly with children. Once you’ve adjusted to a new lifestyle, old routines kick in. And among those – celebrating various life events. You begin to wonder… How to go about organizing an outing or a party? Where to go? Who to call? Let me help you out with some tried and tested ideas which will make those occasions a little bit more special. πŸ™‚ I’ve divided them based on the price, too.

BIRTHDAY – KIDS

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If you are not worried about the budget, KidZania is an amazing place to celebrate. Birthday pricing starts at QAR 1600 for 10 kids, but to be honest, the value package is quite limited (no party host, private room or decorations are included), so you might want to consider upgrading.

If you choose the VVIP birthday package, the kids will really get spoiled rotten and guaranteed not to forget this experience for a really long time! Face painting, pinata, exclusive performances, a DJ, private activities and loads of snacks (cotton candy, yay!) are only some of the things which will be provided. Photo & video coverage is included as well.

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Eli France Cafe is a great option for celebrating a birthday in Qatar if your budget is more limited. They charge QAR 60 per child for 2h of fun (at least that was the case last year). They’ll provide you with everything necessary to celebrate, plus organize loads of extra activities. Face painting, make-your-own-pizza workshop, mascot / clown and a dedicated party host are among the entertainment.

What’s great about Eli France Cafe is that they will give you plenty of options when it comes to food. Birthday cake and cupcakes are included in the price, too!

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If you’d like your kid’s birthday to be more of a casual event, the best thing to do is celebrate in one of the parks! Small picnic-like celebrations are allowed in all parks, free of cost. πŸ™‚ (as long as you don’t disturb other families, obviously!).

We have celebrated Adam’s 1st birthday in MIA Park and it was truly amazing. He was born in December, so we had an advantage of great weather. Kids were running wild and free while the adults gossipped, ate cake and drank delicious Tunisian green tea. πŸ™‚

MIA Park Qatar
Celebrating Adam’s 1st birthday, MIA Park.

BIRTHDAY – ADULTS

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One of the simplest ways of celebrating your own birthday in Qatar is to book one of a great many brunches. Most venues will either provide you with a birthday cake or allow you to bring your own. The only tricky part is that if you’re actually going to INVITE your friends – you might end up having to pay for them (or not be upset if they refuse to come – brunches tend to be damn expensive!). That could mean anything between QAR 200 and 500 per person, depending on the venue and package (alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages).

It’s pretty convenient though – you just show up, eat, drink and chat. No preparation or any other hassle involved πŸ™‚

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Ok, so this option is a bit more of a lady-friendly choice but equally amazing. If paying for brunch seems a bit much, opt for the Afternoon Tea. It’s available in most hotels, and there are some good spots on the Entertainer, too! It works similarly to the brunch – you make a group reservation, and that’s it. πŸ™‚ It will usually cost you anywhere between QAR 100 and 200 per person (cut this in half if using the Entertainer).

I spent a considerable amount of time dragging hubby around Doha on a quest to find the best Afternoon Tea spot. In the end, two locations clearly stood out from the crowd for me:

Cafe Murano in Marsa Malaz Kempinski (delicious cakes, a semi-separate space designated for larger gatherings).

Sarab Lounge in St. Regis (great outdoor seating options, possibility to order shisha, too!).

Sarab Lounge afternoon tea
Afternoon Tea at Sarab Lounge

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If your birthday falls somewhere in the hot season (which is pretty common, considering that in Qatar everything between April and October qualifies as summer), a celebratory BBQ on a beach is always an amazing idea. πŸ™‚ No fees to be paid, hooray! The only downside is that deciding who-will-bring-what can be a pain, and you might end up with three bottles of ketchup, but no plates. πŸ˜‰

Our ultimate favorite beach BBQ location has always been Fuwairit. We would try to go in the morning to be able to pick the best spot (or late afternoon if we planned to spend the evening there). Mind though that Fuwairit is closed from 1st of April until 1st of August for the turtle nesting season.

BBQ on Fuwairit beach

WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

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When it comes to organizing things to do on wedding anniversaries, we take turns with hubby, so that each year one of us is surprised by the other. πŸ˜‰ I take “my years” very seriously and always put together a carefully crafted master plan. As a consequence, the following year hubby swears at me while trying to outdo what I’d done. πŸ˜€

There are plenty of options for celebrating anniversaries in Qatar. Over the years I’ve planned many things, but one clearly stood out among them. I’m talking about the couple’s spa in Four Seasons Hotel. If you choose this option, you’ll have to be prepared to pay around QAR 2000-3000, but it is really worth it. You will enjoy a private spa suite with a hot tub, a Swiss shower, and a steam room. In there, both of you will be given a massage of your choice. They’ll also provide you with some refreshments. I still consider my time there as the most relaxing spa experience I’ve ever had. Although, to be honest, because of the hefty price tag I don’t suppose we’ll try it again anytime soon. πŸ˜‰

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If you are not keen on spending a significant part of your monthly outing budget in a spa, I’ve got other options for you. πŸ™‚ Another thing we really enjoy doing is visiting a 7-Star cinema. We actually tried it for the 1st time on our anniversary. This concept has been introduced in Qatar by Novo Cinema in Pearl, and later on, Vox started offering it too.

To be honest, I much prefer what Vox has to offer. They introduced a concept called Theatre by Rhodes. It provides you with a dine-in cinema experience in a VIP setting. Think: reclining seats, pillows & blankets, a call button for waiter service. In short: you order your food before the movie starts, from a fancy menu created by a Michelin star chef, to have it delivered, course by course, to your seat during a movie screening. The full package (with food) for a 2D movie will cost you QAR 350 (per person). The movie experience without food is QAR 175.

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If you’re all about celebrating in Qatar in a more traditional way, there are plenty of restaurants in Doha that will offer you a great dining experience with a cozy/romantic setup. Two of my favorite spots for such occasions are:

Lo Spaghetto (Al Sadd): one of the best spots for Italian food in town. Food tastes genuine (according to the Italians I’ve asked πŸ˜€ ) and delicious (according to me πŸ˜‰ ). The place is really versatile: I’ve gone there for both business lunches and romantic dinners πŸ˜‰ Despite being in the middle of the busy Al Sadd district, Lo Spaghetto is surrounded by greenery which gives you an impression of being in more of a secluded spot.

Al Shurfa (Al Jomrok Boutique Hotel, Souq Waqif): a hidden gem, serving amazingly good Arabic food as well as shisha. The winning point of this restaurant is its location. The terrace overlooks the Souq and gives you an unobstructed view over the Corniche. On top of that, there are not many tables, and the waiting staff is really friendly, attentive and well-educated about their food choices.

Al Shurfa Qatar terrace
terrace of Al Shurfa restaurant

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You can also read…

Finding a job in Qatar.

Qatar: is it a good place to raise your children?

Perfect winter holiday destinations, if you’re based in Qatar.