A shopaholic's guide to Doha
The pick of the malls, however, is Villaggio, a Venetian-themed shopping extravaganza located next to the purpose-built sports area Aspire Zone, also known as Doha Sports City, and an excessive altar to everything Italian. It is not only home to the Via Domo luxury precinct (expect to see Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Gucci, Valentino among other Italian brands), it coaxes in visitors with Las Vegas-style indoor gondola rides on the canals that run between the shops and the indoor Gondolania Theme Park, with rollercoasters, flume rides and a free-fall tower.
Now that it has reopened after a big-money renovation due to a government clampdown on mall safety regulations, City Center Doha in the diplomatic quarter should give Villaggio a run for its money. Easier to access from the main tourist sights in Doha, its claim to have everything under one roof is entirely justified; there are cinemas, an ice rink, a vast food court and an A to Z of all the international brands you would expect, from Aldo through to Mango and Swatch, Last December it even opened from 10 am until 4 am for “Starlight Shopping”. For some Qataris, there just are not enough hours in the day. But, really, with that amount of loose change in the bank, who can blame them?