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Doha Ramadan Round-Up

The Ramadan Tent is a unique feature across the Arab World during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. Originally used as a venue for people to break their fast with family and friends, it has morphed into a social phenomenon where Arabian hospitality takes centre stage. Lavish spreads of food and live entertainment are now integrated into the tent experience in the Gulf, with hotels and restaurants staging nothing less than spectacular productions. I’ve gone tent-hopping during iftar and suhoor over the last week to bring you some of the very best Ramadan dining experiences in Doha.

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W Doha Hotel & Residences – Sultan’s Tent
Iftar QR230 / Suhour QR285
4453 5000

The W

The Basics:
Sticking to its tried and true Turkish theme, the W puts on a show-stealing tent capturing the opulence of a Sultan’s palace. A select number of live stations are integrated into the dining area, including the ever-popular sushi counter. Seeking a bargain? Don’t forget the 20% discount during Iftar for SPG members.

You Can’t Miss:
The Turkish corner – award-winning celebrity chef Omur Akkor has been flown in from Istanbul to prepare authentic, thoroughly scrumptious dishes that change daily. Watch out for the dondurma ice cream stand.

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The St. Regis Doha – Ramadan Souq
Iftar QR230 / Suhour QR290
4446 0105

St RegisRegis2

The Basics:
An entire souq built inside a ballroom. Visit the fish monger, the butcher, and the farm stands for piping hot food from across the globe. Crab cakes, Peking duck rolls, and a roast dinner are mere highlights. With seating for almost 500 people in this interactive setting, the St. Regis tent brilliantly captures the bustle and buzz of a souq.

You Can’t Miss:
Dessert Paradise – from a cupcake tower to myriad Turkish delights and homemade ice creams, desserts take the spotlight with counters set around life-size Arabian bird houses.

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The Ritz-Carlton, Doha – Ramadan Tent
Iftar QR230 / Suhour QR290
4484 8000

Ritz2

The Basics:
Invoking the traditions of Bedouin life, the Ritz-Carlton presents a tent steep in local culture, from fabrics to furnishing and a section dedicated to Qatari cuisine. Even the private tables are sectioned off to look like an outdoor tent majlis. The brand’s trademark hospitality is most evident, with chefs and server guiding diners through the buffet.

You Can’t Miss:
Tanoura Dancing – the performer twirls in perpetual revolutions, costume flickering with light and concentration sharp as an arrow. A dizzying performance that gets the cameras clicking.

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Grand Hyatt Doha – Ramadanak Tent
Iftar QR250 / Suhour QR250
4448 1253

Grand Hyatt

The Basics:
A sense of splendour overtakes the Grand Hyatt each Ramadan. The majestic atrium is transformed into the Ramadanak Tent, a lounge area with live entertainment and ala carte food service. Attached to this is The Grill restaurant for diners seeking a full buffet experience. Reserve a table for five people and pay for just four!

You Can’t Miss:
Thai specialties – incorporating items from the hotel’s wildly popular restaurant Isaan, the buffets feature authentic Thai dishes including salads, curries, and cooked-to-order-noodles.

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Marsa Malaz Kempinski The Pearl Doha – Ramadan Tent
Iftar QR240 / Suhour QR290
4035 5011

Marsa2Marsa Malaz

The Basics:
Talk about a grand entrance. As one of Doha’s newest hotels, the glitzy Marsa Malaz makes a splash with its tent built on luxury. The foyer to the ballroom is decked out end-to-end with gastronomic delights. While the ballroom, bathed in golds and purple, offers a regal setting to unwind, enjoying the food and live entertainment.

You Can’t Miss:
The breathtaking variety – more really is more. One is spoilt for choice here not only in terms of global cuisines but innovative flavours. Did somebody say red velvet cake ice cream?

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Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel – Ramadan Tent
Suhour QR290
4485 3000

Sheraton

The Basics:
While the evening away on a terrace that’s been tented up for comfort while soaking in live music and a sweeping sea view. The wide selection of food laid out in the ballroom has a strong emphasis on Arabic flavours. With service starting from 8:30p.m., this tent offers one of the longest suhour sessions in town.

You Can’t Miss:
The Sheraton Umm Ali – legendaryy and lip-smacking. No restaurant in town can beat the Egyptian-style bread pudding made here. Being able to enjoy it all night long is reason enough to visit.

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Four Seasons Hotel Doha – Ramadan Tent
Iftar QR235 / Suhour QR275
4494 8600

Four SeasonsFS2

The Basics:
Intimacy is the theme of this tent set up in the gardens of the hotel. Its entrance is seamlessly connected through the lower lobby into a cozy area with majlis-style seating along the periphery, dining tables in the middle, and live cooking stations serving up everything from Tex-Mex to Mediterranean and Qatari favourites.

You Can’t Miss:
The view, the view, the view – with the tent built right to the edge of the water, the entire room looks out onto majestic Nobu restaurant and the bay beyond. Book early for one of the window-side tables; they’re premium.

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Doha Marriott Hotel – Ramadan Tent
Iftar QR215
4429 8499

Doha MarriottMarriot2

The Basics:
The Marriott’s famed restaurant gallery becomes a feasting alleyway with Arabic, Indian, and even Indonesian specialties on offer. Leading to the iftar buffet is the Majlis Lobby tent featuring henna art and falconry – a perfect opportunity to soak in the region’s traditions. The little ones can also enjoy a large indoor play area.

You Can’t Miss:
Sahara and Bashoosh. Especially brought in for Ramadan, the two camels welcome guests on the hotel’s front lawn. Get up close and personal to snap a photo, because they say even camels like selfies.

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Marriott Marquis Doha – Wanassa
Iftar QR235 / Suhour QR245
4419 6100

Marriott Marquis

The Basics:
Orderly rows of pristine white settees, and café-style tables make for a contemporary, relaxed setting. A veritable army of chefs tends to the live stations, serving up freshly prepared sushi, stir-fries, and hand-held snacks, among others. With plenty of the cooking taking place within the tent, be prepared to be tantalised by the aroma of food.

You Can’t Miss:
The thinnest, crispiest saj this corner of the desert. Sprinkled with zaatar and smothered with cheese, each hand-rolled piece disappears straight from the griddle onto waiting plates.

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And if you’re after something away from the buffet experience, try these Ramadan menus from two of Doha’s ever-popular restaurant.

Orient Pearl – Special Menu
Iftar QR200 / Suhour QR200
4410 6666

Orient Pearl

The Basics:
With a capacity to host 600 people, Doha’s largest standalone restaurant proves it is a picture of efficiency. The iftar and suhour set menus are served in a banquet manner; with squadrons of servers bringing plates of food within minutes of diners sitting down. For a special treat, get a window table overlooking the musical fountains.

You Can’t Miss:
Mr. Tamer Hindi – the wandering “vendor” circulates the dining room, performing a little show as beats his drums, flings cups in the air, and pours you a glass of tamarind juice.

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La Varenne – Iftar Menu
Iftar QR225
4499 0680

La Varenne

The Basics:
Styled after its bistro brunch, La Varenne’s family-style iftar service features a procession of dishes brought to the table for sharing. Hors d’eouvre, salads, stews, and grills arrive at a leisurely pace, so plates are never empty and conversations never run dry. It’s still French food, with special Arab flavours infused to celebrate Ramadan.

You Can’t Miss:
The Dessert Trolley – remarkable how much temptation the restaurant piles onto this cart of confection. On top of the usual French standards, expect Arabian sweets such as baklava and maamoul.

 

RitzCarlton

GT’s Tips & Caveats:

If you want a lively ambiance: try the St. Regis. The souq is a magnificent concept offering food options you won’t find anywhere else. But the sheer number of people with cigarettes and shisha in this massive space means it can get quite smoky.

If you care only for the best food: try the Hyatt. Being cooked in the open kitchens means the food is hot and fresh. But the buffet is limited to the dining room. The entertainment and actual “tent” area for lounging offers a separate ala carte menu.

If you like a view with your meal: try the Sheraton. The sea view offers a nice break from the indoor settings around town. But the tent is open only for suhour.

If you are with family: try the Four Seasons. The outdoor tent is spacious so you won’t feel crammed. But there are very limited tables so book ahead.

If you are seeking luxury: try the Marsa Malaz. No expense seems to have been spared in creating this palace-like setting. But the entertainment can get quite energetic, meaning you’ll have to raise your volume to be heard.

If you are hosting out-of-towners: try The Ritz-Carlton. The emphasis on desert life and Bedouin culture is particularly charming. But the buffet spread is very similar to the weekly Friday brunch menu.

If you want an all-around good time: try the W. Excellent food, a beautifully decorated space, and the constant stream of people make this one of the most happening tents in town.

 

 

 

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