The biggest stage in international football is set. The stadiums are built and teams are getting ready to fly to Doha, Qatar for the highly-anticipated World Cup 2022. Set to kick off on November 20 at Al Bayt Stadium, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be the first held in the Middle East.
Taking place across eight stadiums, the World Cup will host 32 countries playing 64 matches over the course of the cup and is sure to provide the football thrills and spills we’ve come to expect from the quadrennial event.
With many hotels, resorts and tourist experiences booked out in Doha, countries surrounding Qatar like the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman provide football fans with multiple high-end hotels and resorts to stay in, as well as unforgettable experiences like four-wheel-drive desert safaris, paddle-boarding and kayaking.
The Persian Gulf is also home to some of the most impressive architectural projects in the world, including the 828-metre Burj Khalifa and a host of other mind-bending buildings.
The most luxurious hotels in Dubai, Riyadh and Muscat are waiting for World Cup bookings and with 100-200 flights arriving in Doha every day of the World Cup, you don’t have to stay in Qatar to experience the spectacle of the biggest event on the international football calendar.
Desert safari, Khor Al Udaid, Qatar
Arabs are known for their love of luxury automobiles, and so Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Aston Martins can be spotted reaching unbelievable speeds along desert highways.
The capabilities of modern luxury SUVs are tested by the locals’ love for adventure in the form of thrilling rides across endless sand dunes. Careening across the fine sand and launching into the air over enormous dunes has become a treasured pastime.
Be sure to take a “desert safari” tour of the Khawr al Udayd inland sea, located on the border of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, for some epic four-wheel-driving adventures.
Stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking, The Pearl, Doha
Doha has plenty of beaches and it would be a waste to not visit and enjoy them while you’re in Qatar. The Pearl is a feat of engineering; a four square kilometre artificial island surrounded by marinas that is home to gorgeous restaurants and vast shopping precincts.
The best way to appreciate the marvellous architecture and impressive superyachts that can be spotted at The Pearl is from the water. A stand-up paddleboard or kayak is the best way to get around the marina and indulge in a bit of yacht spotting.
Shopping at The Dubai Mall, Dubai
This massive mall attracts over 54 million visitors every year and features the world’s most iconic luxury brands such as Christian Louboutin, Dior, Gucci and Jacob & Co. The second largest mall in the world by area is located opposite the Burj Khalifa and is an essential stop on a hot day for some air-conditioned retail therapy.
Deira’s Gold Souk, Dubai
A Souk is an Arabian marketplace or bazaar where you can find a huge variety of wares. If you’re in the mood to be immersed in gold jewellery, the massive range of choices available at the Gold Souks of Deira in Old Dubai is enough to make even the most well-outfitted jewellery wearer jealous.
The Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi, Dubai
Located a short drive from Dubai, this chic desert oasis-style resort offers the very best Middle Eastern hospitality in the romantic setting of a gorgeous desert landscape. Engage in some therapeutic yoga or enjoy a soothing hydrafacial treatment at the resort’s very well-equipped spa and wellness centre.
Accommodation is a mix of tented infinity pool villas and fully enclosed ‘Al Rimal’ pool villas. The Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi’s bars and restaurants offer responsibly-sourced produce in a variety of settings, from leather furniture-filled outdoor rooms to fine dining amongst the sand dunes.
Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, Oman
High in the mountains of Oman, a collection of luxury villas enjoy some of the most splendid views you can experience on the Arabian peninsula.
Almost all of the rooms in this luxe resort enjoy glorious views of the “grand canyons of Oman” and many of the rooms have their own private pool, perfect for a cooling dip before heading to your private hammam suite, or to the aroma sauna, steam rooms and experience showers.
The Bulgari Resort and Residences, Dubai
Home to Bulgari’s first-ever yacht club and marina, this collection of five-star suites enjoys glorious views over the Persian Gulf thanks to its position in Jumeira Bay, on a seahorse-shaped island.
The resort has won many awards for its bars, restaurants, marina and green initiatives. Offering a private, in-room check-in, each guest is given their own 24-hour butler to make their stay as luxurious and comfortable as possible.
Palazzo Versace, Dubai
A neoclassical masterpiece on the banks of historic Dubai Creek, Palazzo Versace is the fashion house’s luxury hotel offering in Dubai. Just a short flight from Doha, this lavish hotel is the perfect base for the tournament.
Architecture is reminiscent of a 16th-century Italian villa with touches of Middle Eastern influence. A lush garden with lagoon pools and reflection ponds surrounds the five-star hotel, which is filled with Versace-designed furniture.
Burj Al Arab, Dubai
This magnificent piece of architecture is not only the most exclusive hotel in Dubai but is also reputed to be one of the best and most luxurious in the world.
Known as the world’s only seven-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab sets a new standard of luxury, where a unique private beach and exceptional spa facilities await guests.
You must stay at the Burj Al Arab to understand the majesty of the hotel experience it offers. A 180-metre-tall grand atrium is just a taste of what to expect from your stay as you indulge in the very best of Middle-Eastern hospitality.
Restaurants and Bars
B-Lounge, The Ritz-Carlton, Doha
This trendy nightspot located on the edge of the Ritz-Carlton Doha enjoys a quaint marina-side location where you can sip at some scotch while watching the yachts bobbing around in the water.
Try a Japanese twist on the classic Negroni with yuzu peel-infused gin, pandan-infused Campari, homemade umeshu and orange bitters, or choose your favourite single malt to celebrate a goal.
Ristorante L’Olivo Al Mahara, Burj Al Arab, Dubai
If a room-sized aquarium doesn’t give it away, seafood is the focus of this Italian-inspired fine dining experience. The head chef is Michelin-starred Andrea Migliaccio who made his name serving the freshest Italian seafood in his restaurant on the island of Capri and the menu is filled with Italian delights.
A five-course tasting menu features dishes like Capesante Grigliate and grilled scallops while other options include blue crab ravioli with caviar or blue lobster with pumpkin, orange and tarragon cream.
The Qatar World Cup provides an opportunity for the football world to focus on tourist attractions throughout the often-overlooked Middle Eastern nation. Well-known as a stopover, Qatar also boasts one of the biggest and most exclusive health and wellness resorts in the world.
This article originally appeared on Fancy and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com