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Even seasoned travelers may not be aware of Qatar Airways’ Doha stopover program that can add a second destination to a trip or turn a long, frustrating layover into a fun and memorable experience. Passengers with a layover in Doha of at least 12 hours are eligible for the special stopover hotel rates. If you have an overnight in Doha, a stopover hotel is by far the best way to spend it.
Extend a stopover in Qatar to two, three, or four nights, and you’ve just added a mini-vacation to your business itinerary, or to your already existing vacation travels. And the best part is how cheap it is to do it. Read on to learn how to book a Qatar stopover hotel, including transit visa requirements, ideas for things to do while in Doha, and information on local customs to help you avoid potential problems.
On this page:
- How Qatar stopovers work
- What to do during a stopover in Doha, Qatar
- What to know about a Qatar stopover
How Qatar stopovers work
A minimum of 12 hours transit time in Doha is all that’s required to be eligible for Qatar Airways‘ special stopover hotel rates. The maximum stay for a stopover in Qatar is 4 nights. The stopover hotels permit check-in or check-out around the clock, so arrival and departure times are never an issue.
Although Qatar Airways advertises stopover hotels starting at $14 per person per night, you can really only find those rates during the off-season. Like, say, August. For stopovers in Qatar during times of the year when temperatures are more reasonable, expect rates to be in the range of $50 – $90 per person per night for a 4-star hotel, which is still a great deal.
Booking your stopover hotel with Qatar Airways also gives you the option to add on additional perks at a discount, like breakfast, tours, activities, and airport transfers. Here are the advertised packages and starting rates:
Qatar stopover visa requirements
Passengers from 95 countries are eligible for visa waivers or visa on arrival in Qatar. If you’re not from one of the countries listed, you can apply for a free transit visa if your transit time is at least 5 hours. Use this tool to check the Qatar visa status and requirements for any country.
How do I book Doha stopover on Qatar Airways?
One of the drawbacks to Qatar Airways’ stopover booking system is that you can’t see the prices for the flights until after you’ve selected the flights. In addition, not all itineraries are eligible for a stopover. You may need to play around with different dates and flights to find the best price. See the images below for examples and help.
- Search for flights on Qatar Airways’ stopover page for your country using the links below:
- On the “Book” tab, select “Qatar Stopover”.
- Enter the trip and stopover details, then click “Show flights”. The destination airport can be anywhere Qatar Airways flies that includes a connecting flight in Doha. Remember that if you’re traveling from the US or another distant location, you’ll most likely arrive in Doha the next day. Therefore, you may need to select 2 nights in Qatar to see flight options with a 12 to 24 hour layover in Doha.
- Select your flights. Click the “Continue” button after selecting each set of flights. Use the “Show more flights” link at the bottom of the list if you need more options.
- Select “Best Fare” or “Unrestricted Fare” at the bottom of the page and click the “Continue” button.
- If there are no stopover fares for the dates and city pairs you selected, you may get a message stating no fares are available. You will need to adjust your dates and / or destination. Click the “Modify Search” button under the error message.
- You’ll see a Qatar Airways multi-city booking screen. You can continue your search from here, just make sure to double check your dates and city pairs each time.
- Follow the instructions to complete the booking.
- For flights from most countries, you can book the stopover hotel during the flight reservation process. If you’re not presented with options to book a stopover hotel during the flight booking, just finish the flight booking on the Qatar Airways website, ensuring that you have a minimum of 12 hours layover in Doha, then visit the Discover Qatar site to book the stopover hotel. Alternately, if your dates are flexible, you could have both sites open in different browser tabs and try different combinations of dates to find the best combination of flight and hotel prices.
Tip: When booking your Qatar stopover hotel, it’s a good idea to have the flight itinerary open in front of you so you can refer to it and make sure you’re booking the hotel for the correct dates.
What to do during a stopover in Doha, Qatar
Doha is much more than a place to change airplanes in the middle of the desert. It’s a destination in its own right, with amazing sightseeing, cultural attractions, outdoor activities and countless tour options.
The Souq Waqif is a must-visit spot for any tourist in Doha. This traditional market is a great place to soak up the local culture and buy souvenirs. You’ll find everything from spices and perfumes to handmade jewelry, clothing, local arts and crafts, and other souvenirs. It’s also a great place to grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants serving up delicious local cuisine. Souq Waqif tours and activities
Museum of Islamic Art
Another popular tourist destination is the Museum of Islamic Art, a must for any art lover. The museum is home to a vast collection of Islamic art from around the world, including paintings, sculptures, and textiles. The building itself is a work of art, designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei. Be sure to take in the view of the surrounding area from the rooftop terrace. Museum of Islamic Art reviews and tours
If you’re interested in getting some exercise while you’re in Doha, the Corniche is a beautiful place to go for a walk or run. It’s a seven-kilometer promenade that runs along the coast of the city, and it offers stunning views of the sea and the city skyline. There are also plenty of parks and green spaces along the way, so you can take a break and enjoy the scenery and sea breeze. Corniche reviews and tours
The Pearl-Qatar is a man-made island that’s a luxurious residential and shopping destination. The architecture is stunning, and there are plenty of high-end shops and restaurants to explore. It’s also a great place to take a boat ride and enjoy the beautiful views of the city. Pearl-Qatar reviews and tours
Water sports, anyone?
Doha is a great place to get out on the water and enjoy some beautiful weather. All the water sports are covered here, whether you’re into surfing, kite surfing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, jetskiing, waterskiing, scuba, or snorkeling.
Take a desert safari
No trip to Qatar is complete without experiencing the desert. There are plenty of companies that offer desert safaris, where you can ride camels, go dune bashing, and even try sandboarding.
Katara Cultural Village
The Katara Cultural Village, a hub for art, music, and theater is located on the eastern coast between West Bay and the Pearl. There are often performances and exhibitions taking place at Katara, so check the schedule before you go. It’s also a great place to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the beautiful architecture. Katara Cultural Village reviews and tours
Relax at the beach
Doha has some beautiful beaches, including the popular West Bay Beach and the family-friendly Katara Beach. They’re great places to relax, swim, and soak up the sun.
Known as the Khor-Al-Adaid, the Inland Sea is a shallow inlet from the Persian Gulf that forms a natural lagoon on the Qatar – Saudi Arabia border. Travelers can access the sea via 4WD vehicles; a tour from Doha takes about half a day. Pack your swimsuit – the lagoon’s beautiful blue waters are an inviting place to take a dip.
Airport lounges and other services
Lounge access in Hamad International Airport isn’t included with Qatar Airways economy fares. However, you can use services like Priority Pass to purchase lounge access in Hamad International Airport, as well as other services like spa kiosks, sleeping pods and suites, and showers.
What to know about a Qatar stopover
When planning and packing for a stopover in Qatar, it’s best to have everything you need for you stay in your carry-on bag. Passengers don’t have access to their checked bags for transits in Doha less than 24 hours.
Local customs and culture
While restrictions on dress and public behavior aren’t as strict in Qatar as in some countries in the region, there are some cultural norms to pay attention to. Public displays of affection, like hand-holding or kissing, are discouraged in Qatar, even for married couples. If you’re not married but traveling with a someone of the opposite gender, you won’t be allowed to stay in the same room.
Rules about dress are more relaxed in Qatar than in other Islamic countries. Avoid clothing that is tight or revealing, keep your shoulders and knees covered, and you’ll be fine. Both men and women can even wear shorts, as long as they are just above the knees. If you have tattoos, it’s best to cover them and remove any piercings that aren’t in the earlobes.
Doha / Qatar Airways Stopover FAQ
The best way to spend an overnight layover in Doha is to book a stopover hotel from Qatar Airways. Rates start at $14 for a four star hotel and $20 for a five star hotel.
If you are connecting flights in Doha on Qatar Airways, you can extend the layover and turn it into another destination on your trip, otherwise known as a stopover. Qatar Airways offers stopover hotels for 1, 2, 3, or 4 nights starting at $14 for a 4-star hotel.
A stopover in Qatar is a great value and definitely worth it. There are so many cultural attractions, local and regional food options, activities, sights, and sounds in Doha that you can’t possibly experience it all, even if you stay four nights. Which, did we mention, can cost as little as $73 for a 4-star hotel?
Stopover hotels in Qatar aren’t free, but they are quite affordable with Qatar Airways‘ Doha stopover program. You can get a 5-star hotel starting at $20 for one night.
Stays at Qatar Airways stopover hotels in Doha don’t include complimentary breakfast but you can add it as an option during booking.
Qatar offers visa waivers or visa on arrival to citizens of more than 95 countries. US citizens are entitled to a 30-day waiver, which can be extended to 60 days upon request.
To be eligible for a stopover, transit time in Doha must be a minimum of 12 hours. Travelers are permitted a maximum of four nights on a stopover in Qatar.
You can cancel a Qatar Airways stopover hotel up to 72 hours prior to the check-in date and receive a full refund, except for any administrative fees that were charged during the original transaction.
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