Let’s face it – we all love to live large but for as little outlay as possible.
With the current “situation” we find ourselves in, we all know that costs are rising in some quarters. As I noted around the same time last year, this comes after a fairly rugged period for many in Qatar where people tightened their belts and bunkered down.
Where a couple might go out for dinner one night and then attend a brunch in the same week, it’s now one or the other. Having a family – school fees etc – ups the financial stakes further. Mix in increased fuel charges and the mugging we all continue to get at the cash register at the supermarket check out, it all adds up.
And yes, it’s a fact. Prices are up from last year – that’s the bad news.
The good news is, with the increasingly competitive dining and entertainment scene in Doha, it’s still possible to drink and dine well with a bit of research and forward planning.
I’ve taken a similar guide I developed last year and updated it for the Blockade Busting times we find ourselves in. Let the good times roll…
Keep a look out for bargains. For example the Four Seasons Doha has a back to school menu popular Elements Restaurant that is four courses for QR165 including a glass of wine or beer. I tried it last week and it has something for everyone. Meanwhile at the same outlet, you can enjoy all you can drink gins and tonics every night from 4pm for QR165. Drinks and dinner sorted.
Across town at the very underrated Holiday Villa (which I discovered last week), every night in September they have all you can eat maki, sushi and tempura for a very reasonable QR99.
Wahm at W Doha has a daily special of a burger and unlimited beer for QR250 and the excellent Hwang at Intercontinental The City Doha has a daily evening special called Soul in a Bowl which is six bowls of comfort food for 256 between two people. That’s just for starters – nearly every hotel in the city has an offer begging to be taken up.
Leverage your loyalty. You know what they say – loyalty pays. In this city this is more than true. Both Advantage Club and The Entertainer Qatar have a huge range of 2 4 1 and other deals on main courses at some of the best places in town. Worth the outlay and a smart foodie will work out that the cost of the book or membership is very, very quickly redeemed. One of the most underrated programs in town is offered by the Shangri La Doha. Their Golden Circle program (free to join) offers members 20 percent off dining and spa services. PLUS you can earn points which can be used to pay your dining bills in the hotel. It’s a brilliant program and gives some real discounts.
Try the NEW Home Delivery. I don’t mean your same old pizza. Dozens of talented home cooks around the city have set up shop in their kitchens offering everything from Vietnamese food to Peking Duck through to cookies, Pakistani food and more. Check out Doha Foodies group on Facebook every Sunday and Thursday for that week’s offers. Having tried a couple of these vendors myself, I can vouch for their freshness and professionalism.
Follow hotels and restaurants on social media for latest offers. Many are actively using their channels to reach out to their fan base as well as a wider audience with offers. Facebook now has an offers button, which is being used to great effect. Some, like W Doha run promotions exclusively on Snapchat or Instagram. And City Centre Rotana has a very robust social media presence and showcases all of their deals on their channels.
Sunday Funday (aka any days but Thursday and Friday). Hotels and restaurants are offering some great deals on their quieter nights. Westin Doha’s burger menu is just QR95, combined with their happy hours, a great night out. The City Centre Rotana’s Monday Night is a Samurai Special with all you can eat maki rolls for QR165 meanwhile Marriott Doha across town offers their Maharaja Thali – unlimited Indian dishes for QR160 with drinks every Wednesday.
Get Outside of Your Comfort Zone. Surprise! Great food is not limited to hotels or the West Bay vicinity. Little Yee Hwa in Bin Mahmoud is serving up some excellent Korean food for more than pocket friendly prices.
I had an great meal recently at Mexican Restaurant Isla at The Pearl (more to come on this) which has a menu of Mexican and Tex Mex favorites and a great location. Al Rayyan Hotel has a seafood feast (crabs! lobsters!) every Thursday and Friday for QR220. And this isn’t just about drinks and dinner – The French Olive has a happy on on its baked goods every day as does Meesh Cafe.
This is just a taste of some of the great offers and strategies for saving some cash out there ay the moment. Keep following the Life on the Wedge Facebook page for new offers and deals as well as on my Instagram account.
Here’s to living the champagne life on a budget!