Best Life Qatar is a Family Adventure Blog which features our passion for travel, the activities we do as a family, the food places we love, thoughts on my mind, the business-man side of me and more. It shows the best that life has to offer in this beautiful country – Qatar.
Ramadan is a busy season for all hotels and restaurants in Qatar. Adorned with colorful ornaments and a wide variety of traditional and international food, each Ramadan Tents are at its best to invite people and indulge in their season offers.
We made a short video on our week1 invitations. Please click here if you haven’t watched it: RAMADAN 2019 IN QATAR: WEEK 1 EVENTS.
And for those who are asking for information about possible venues for Iftar or Suhoor, we made a partial list of our itinerary during the first 11 days of Ramadan 2019. While it is really difficult to suggest which one is best, we outlined their prices and some of our best clicks for every location. The information may change without prior notice so we advise our readers to reconfirm with the hotels before heading out (contact details are provided below):
1. Al Andalusia Ramadan Tent – Double Tree by Hilton Doha – Old Town
Location: Roof Top of Double Tree by Hilton Doha
Iftar Price: QR200 per person
Suhoor Price: QR180 per person
Highlights / Special Promotion: Book a ride to or from Double Tree by Hilton Doha and get 25% off all your rides using codeDTBH1 valid until 30th December. Also accepting Entertainer and My Book Qatar vouchers for Iftar and Suhoor.
Telephone Number: 4034 3322
Email Address: dohot_FB@hilton.com
2. Nidaaya Doha – Crowne Plaza Doha West Bay
Location: 6th Floor of Crowne Plaza Doha West Bay
Iftar Price: QR145 per person
Suhoor Price: QR95 per person
Telephone Number: 4019 8876 or 4019 9999
3. Al Masa Ramadan Tent – Holiday Inn Doha
Location: Al Masa Ballroom, Holiday Inn Doha – The Business Park
Iftar Price: QR195 per person
Suhoor Price: QR139 per person
Highlights / Special Promotion: Accepting Entertainer voucher for Iftar. As their way of giving back to the community, QR1 will be donated to the Qatar Cancer Society for every cover in Al masa Tent during Ramadan.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications announces that the Doha Metro Red Line South will start its initial operation for the public this Wednesday, May 8. That Line extends from Al Qassar to Al Wakra.
The initial operation includes 13 out of 18 Red Line stations: Al Qassar, DECC, QIC West Bay, Corniche, Al Bidda (Interchange Station), Msheireb (Interchange Station), Al Doha Al Jadeda, Umm Ghawalina, Al Matar Al Qadeem, Oqba Ibn Nafie, Free Zone, Ras Bu Fontas and Al Wakra.
The Red Line, also known as the Coast Line, runs for about 40 kilometres from Al Wakra in the south to Lusail in the north. The line also connects Hamad International Airport at Terminal 1 to the centre of the city. It has 18 stations with the Legtaifiya Station allowing passengers to transfer over to the Lusail Tram. The other 17 stations are:
• Al Bidda ( Interchange station)
• QIC West Bay
• Al Qassar
• Hamad Intl. Airport T1
• Qatar University
• Al Wakra
• Ras Bu Fontas
• Free Zone
• Oqba Ibn Nafie
• Al Matar Al Qadeem
• Umm Ghawalina
• Al Doha Al Jadeda
• Msheireb ( Interchange station)
Serving both the Tram (Lusail) and Metro (all over Doha), the Qatar Rail app is available App Store and Google Play.
It shows some useful information about the Metro and Tram including maps, promotions, FAQs, news, and contact. You can also plan your trip using the app by detecting the nearest station, checking the station information like timing, available retail stores, and prayer facilities. It is even linked to the Karwa Taxi service.
The STANDARD (colorful) and the GOLD CLUB travel cards can be topped up with travel credits anytime. The Standard Travel Card costs QR30 which includes a QR20 Travel Credit ready to use on Doha Metro. Cards currently are available in all leading supermarkets all across Doha.
Today, 6th of May 2019 marks the start of the month-long celebration of Ramadan. During this season, all Muslims are expected to fast and refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, engaging in sexual relations and sinful behaviors that may negate the rewards of fasting.
This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam where fasting for Muslims typically includes the increased offering of prayers, reading of the Quran, as well as good deeds and charity.
Suhoor is their pre-fast meal which is prepared before dawn, while the post-fast breaking feast after sunset is called Iftar. In the olden times, these celebrations are held at home. But as time progressed, people started to gather in Ramadan Tents to eat their daily Iftar meals. Ramadan tents have become a place for people to meet with family and friends to break the fast at sunset. And over the years, it has become one of the most anticipated events.
As an expat in Qatar for a long time now, I have become more and more amazed by how Ramadan Tents have evolved. Most notable of which are the lavish decorations and set up at the banquet halls of five-star hotels around the city. Buffet dinner with exquisite menu and varieties of delicacies are made available at an average price of QR150-QR200 per person which usually comes with live entertainment to complement the ambiance. Some may even opt for a grandiose and more intimate Ramadan setup on top of a hotel’s helipad if you’re willing to pay the price.
Not only that, even regular restaurants are also offering Iftar and Suhoor especially for busy professionals and families who don’t have time to prepare their food. They are relatively less expensive and not as extravagant as those in hotels, but regular workers and families find it more economical and practical.
But the most striking for me is not only those flashy buffet setups and elegant decorations. I found a deeper meaning of the celebrations in the middle of those long lines of people… or those piles of sandals at the entrance of a simple white tent at the street corner… or those small Iftar boxes being distributed along the streets. I found it in the generous heart of those who are sharing for the poor… those private companies, the non-profit organizations, the spirit of unity and volunteerism during the “holy month”.
My heart also finds joy in the middle of every family who is gathering… be it at home, or small restaurants or in luxury hotels. When I see grandparents and small kids, and parents and their children gathered in every iftar or suhoor tables, it’s a golden moment to see genuine love, generosity, and harmony.
And much more, I am thankful that they are allowing the expat communities to take part in their holy celebrations. It was proof that unity exists even in a diverse culture and people of different beliefs.
The month of May marks another milestone for #BestLifeQatar as we embark on a new journey and a new platform to communicate with our friends and followers. We are launching the PINOY LINGO which is a venue for me to express my thoughts and opinions in our native language while trying to be more engaging to a wider #KABAYAN audience as possible.
BENCH QATAR: First ever Haul Video with Wifey
Coincidentally, BENCH QATAR has just opened in Doha and we tried shooting a video in order to share what we initially got from the store. When you’ve been in Qatar for a long time, you know that the price is quite reasonable (just try to avoid converting the exchange rates), but give it to the custom, taxes, and other expenses of transporting the goods – buying it from here is far more practical than waiting for your vacation to the Philippines.
Also, since this is our first video upload, we hope to improve it in the coming days. It will be mainly a simple, casual, sit-down video, or a daily life vlog, and at times, a documentary where we intend to show the thoughts and personalities of the people behind BEST LIFE QATAR – my family.
DISCLAIMER: Since it is all about us, our opinions do not represent a community or a particular brand. It is but our honest observations based on actual experience.
Indeed, this is one of the busiest months this year… and yet, we are just in the early first half of 2019! Just like that, we are approaching the Spring season with so much gratitude for all of life’s blessings. It is teaching us to celebrate the little victories… and appreciate the small beautiful things that are happening around us… then we will become trustworthy of bigger things to come. As it is written, “whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much”.
Hospitality Development Company (HDC) has successfully organized three grand events which showcased their new menu for three of their restaurants in The Pearl-Qatar. It was well-attended by many social media people, VIP guests, and even their loyal customers who are excited to try out their newest offering.
It was April 25, 2018, when Bo’s Coffee – the biggest homegrown coffee company in the Philippines, opened its first international branch with the objective of bringing that distinct coffee experience to Filipinos abroad. And it was a milestone for the company to have chosen Qatar for its first overseas venture which is expected to expand to seven (7) additional branches all around the country in the next 2 years.
April 1 – Meet and Greet with Bo’s Coffee Phils. Founder and CEO – Mr. Steve Benitez.
During the visit of the company’s Founder and CEO earlier in April 2019, Mr. Steve Benitez also mentioned that they were happy to have found a better partner in a company (Al Majed Group) who also have a heart for Filipinos and would love to bring the Philippines to Qatar through its homegrown coffee.
As you walk inside their store in Bin Omran, you will immediately feel as if you’re entering a Bo’s Coffee branch in the Philippines. Same color tones, decors, the colorful mugs… and even visuals of the origin of their beans. The fabrics used on some parts of their walls directly came from Cordillera regions of Sagada and Benguet – where their finest arabica beans came from, aside from other arabica growing regions like Kitanglad, Matuto, and Mount Apo – the highest mountain in the Philippines.
We’ve also learned during our short meeting with Mr. Steve Benitez that it’s also in the heart of Bo’s Coffee’s to support the local farmers and infuse the products from other local and indigenous enterprises into the business – like fabrics, fresh specialty beverages, among others – a social enterprise that gave the company its soul.
What’s more inspiring is to know the story of how it all started in June 1996 with a small cart in Ayala Center Cebu – a bustling metropolis in the Southen islands of the Philippines. During that time, the coffee lifestyle isn’t popular yet, and the initial challenge is how to introduce hot coffee in a tropical and humid country. But it was Mr. Benitez’s passion and persistence that braved all odds during that time.
Past forward to today, the company has grown to over 100 branches nationwide amidst the popularity of foreign coffee brands. The secret lies behind Bo’s Coffee’s mission “to elevate the sense of being Filipino”. As others try to introduce foreign products, Bo’s Coffee continues to champion what is truly Filipino. They broke the notion that being nice and classy equates only to imported labels by maintaining stores that were even initially perceived as a foreign brand. “Why does it have to be foreign to be good?”, he even added.
For us at Best Life Qatar, these are more than enough reasons to share in their mission and support products in Qatar that make us feel good that we are Filipinos.
BLQ WORKSHOPS at the NEW MEETING ROOM
In partnership with Bo’s Coffee Qatar, and in celebration of their first year anniversary, Best Life Qatar has successfully run a TALK SERIES featuring seminars for aspiring bloggers and content creators on various subjects like writing for social media, beauty blogging, and the basics of vlogging. These sessions were held all Fridays of April and were fully booked during registration and attended by many up and coming social media influencers and content creators.
Surprisingly, the sessions also gained the interests of several non-Filipino attendees. This was also a good opportunity to introduce the homegrown Filipino brew to the local and other expat communities in Qatar.
Special thanks to the very supportive volunteer speakers who took their time, effort and dedication to share their expertise with everyone. All my respect to you guys: Sonkie, Chally, and J.E., Best Life Qatar is truly grateful that you said “YES” to this project!
April 19 – Vlogging 101 with @jannearltv
April 26 – Writing for Social Media Batch 2 (photo courtesy of @sonkiebagongfirs)
The meeting room may be rented for exclusive use like private events, meeting, or workshops. Contact 4447 888 to reserve the hall in advance (rental fee and other conditions apply).
Thai influence in Qatar is getting more and more evident, especially with the opening of DUSIT DOHA HOTEL. It is a modern upscale full-service oasis offering stylish accommodation in a fresh urban style.
Feel free to relax in idyllic living spaces featuring dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows, showcasing incredible city views and the beautiful desert sunlight.
The hotel invites guests on a vibrant journey inspired by centuries-old Thai heritage and culture, through four exceptional fine dining venues, a rooftop bar and lounge, and distinctive services to replenish body and mind.
The exceptional Devaran Spa takes you to incredible city views from the 29th floor. Divided into male and female sections, the spa provides comfort and seclusion, with 17 treatment rooms and VIP treatment suites for solo and couples’ treatments.
Aside from that, there has been a lot of Thai restaurants around the city which has gained a good following and admiration from both the local and expat communities, especially the travel lovers and social media savvy individuals. To name a few: ISAAN in Grand Hyatt Doha, SABAI THAI in Westin Hotel Doha, KHAO SAN RESTAURANT in Bin Mahmoud, THAI CUISINE in Bin Mahmoud, and many others. Check out TALABAT for more Thai restaurants in Doha.
Qatar Airways also operates daily direct flights to fourteen key cities in Thailand, including the capital city of Bangkok, and other tourist destinations such as Chiang Mai, Krabi, Phuket, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Koh Samui, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Sukhothai, Surat Thani, Thandwe, Thanh Hoe, Trat, U Tapao, and Udon Thani.
Thailand has recently celebrated SONGKRAN on April 13, the country’s New Year’s national holiday. All these, along with many other reasons including ancient temples, bustling markets, lively nightlife, world-renowned cuisines, and Thai massage services, are but few of the reasons why Thailand has captivated the hearts of many.
In our pursuit to provide up and coming content creators a venue for knowledge sharing and support, we collaborated with another Filipino company in Qatar – Bo’s Coffee Qatar, for a special TALK SERIES this April 2019. This is also in line with the first year anniversary celebration of the coffee company’s flagship store in Qatar – the first international franchise outside of the Philippines.
The “TALK SERIES” is another creative avenue for Best Life Qatar to extend its ultimate purpose for which the blog was created – #blog2help, along with the idea of sharing the platform to other talented creators who also have the passion to impart their learnings and experiences to others.
Marson Lomanglas (@sonkiebagongfirs) is known to be very active in the community in organizing events along with his movie reviews on his other social media channel (@no_script). He works for one of the biggest social media organizations in Qatar so its only fitting to have him talk about this subject.
Chally Yabis (@itschally) is another talented content creator who is very passionate about beauty and lifestyle. In 2018, she was Best Life Qatar’s winner in the Best Content Creator Contest in collaboration with FujifilmQatar as well as the Lifestyle Blogger of the Year Awardee from Filipiknows Choice Awards.
Jann Earl Pereira (@janneatltv) is one of the most popular Filipino Youtube content creators in Qatar. He was also a recipient of the Most Popular Youtuber Award from the recently concluded Filipiknows Choice Awards in 2018.
To register to their respective sessions, please click the following EVENT BRITE registration links (UPDATED as of April 6, 2019):
Bo’s Coffee is the largest home-grown specialty coffee store in the Philippines which was established in 1996 by Mr. Steve Benitez. In his recent visit to Qatar on April 1, 2019, he was able to meet some of the Filipino Content Creators in Qatar to share the mission and vision of the company which has grown to more than 100 stores all over the Philippines. He also shared the plans of Bo’s Coffee Qatar to add seven (7) new stores in 2 years including one in City Center mall, in several metro stations, and other locations across the country.
The company was also very grateful to have found a suitable partner in Al Majed group who shares the same values and vision (shown on the cover photo). During the short talk, we were able to pick-up many inspiring words including his own business philosophy in running Bo’s Coffee when asked about competing against other known international brands he said, “you dont have to be the biggest, you just have to be the best”. Then he encouraged everyone who are in a very competitive environment to choose their battles… “focus on where you are strong until nobody can beat you at it”, he added.
What’s the purpose of traveling? Others say it’s to have fun, to have an experience of another place, to learn something new (culture, tradition, cuisine, etc.). And people allow themselves to even spend time and money to have all these. However, others may not have the luxury of one… or both… but is there any alternative?
Thus, the idea of staycation is now becoming more and more popular (a holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions). And given the growing number of hotels and staycation destinations in Qatar, with advanced planning and resourcefulness, you can actually have an enjoyable weekend without spending so much money and travel time.
Our family loves to discover places and really prefers those that are not expensive yet has all the amenities that we enjoy using. Aside from that, we even discovered that the booking site we’re using ever since have an exciting program which we also want to share to our readers.
While I wrote a feature blog post earlier where I mentioned that booking directly to hotels can score you good deals (link here), there are many instances where booking via booking.com can give you the same or at times, lower than the hotel rates. The other advantage of the booking site is that it allows you to lock-in the rate and secure a room even a few months ahead. It even allows you to cancel at least 24-hours before the stay without a cancellation fee.
How can my friend claim the reward?
If your reward is being paid to your credit card:
Your friend needs to have a Booking.com account. They have to add and register their credit card details for receiving rewards. After they return from their stay, we’ll put the cash reward on their card. If your friend doesn’t have a Booking.com account, they can sign up for one with the same email address they used to book their reservation.
If your reward is being paid out in Wallet credit:
Your friend needs to have a Booking.com account. The email address in their account should match the one they used to book. After they return from their stay, we’ll add the reward amount to their Wallet.
Using our existing account at booking.com, I checked on available rates and hotels in time for Mothers Day (celebrated on March 21 in the Middle East). I was prompted by a familiar structure which I also featured on my social media a few years back as one having a unique design for my “UNCOMMON” series on Instagram.
Then I checked their gallery and saw some promising photos. Being a newly opened hotel is already one of my primary reasons why I should go for it (as for bloggers… “content is life”). And without any hesitation, I immediately booked it.
Upon check-in, we were told that our room has been upgraded and they also granted my booking request for a Mother’s Day surprise: and they provided two simple platters of mini-cakes inside our very unique Deluxe Room. Surprisingly, the room was cozy and very relaxing. The room layout was very playful but it was something new and interesting.
They are still on their pre-opening stage and you can see some parts of the hotel that are still getting some finishing touches. They have a banquet area that’s ready to accommodate events (there was even a wedding being held during our stay). They also have some restaurants but only the ground floor restaurant and the lobby cafe initially serve breakfast and light refreshments. There’s also a gym and a swimming pool in the rooftop area. The pool is very promising and when maintained properly could be one of the hotel’s gems.