Ramadan 2015 in Doha: Suhoor

Sunday, 28 June 2015

I can't believe we're nearly halfway through the Holy Month of Ramadan already! I thought the days at work would drag without my usual family bar of Dairy Milk sitting on my desk and without the right to guzzle back-to-back cups of tea, but they've actually rushed by.

Now everybody is on countdown to Eid al-Fitr, or the Feast of the Breaking of the Fast at the end of Ramadan. The talk of the town is also which Iftars and Suhoors are the best ones to visit before they shut up shop and the hotels return to business as usual.

Last week I offered up my top Iftar recommendation for Ramadan in Doha, but what about the pre-dawn meal of Suhoor?

Suhoor (or Sohour; Suhur) typically refers to the early morning meal, which is consumed before fajr prayer at sun rise, when the next day of fasting begins again. In many of the hotels across Doha, this actually starts at around 9.30 pm, not long after Iftar ends, and the Ramadan tents stay open well into the night for people to come and go as they please.

Here are two of my top picks this Ramadan.

1. The Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl Qatar

There is no other word for this Suhoor, other than palatial. Palatial in its set-up and palatial in the variety, dimensions and splendour of its food; this offering is nothing less than a feast. I counted at least 6 stands of international cuisine, and enjoyed the greatest variety of top quality food I have ever found within one Ramadan tent before. 

Cost: QAR 290 per person, or QAR 3000 for a VIP table for 8.
























2. The Ritz Carlton, West Bay Lagoon

If you are after something a little more authentically Qatari, then head to the Ritz Carlton where an array of Middle Eastern delights are sheltered under traditional bedouin tents. As you wander around the beautifully-arranged assortment of stations, you could almost imagine yourself to be in a decadent desert camp somewhere in the heart of the Arabian desert. 

I wasn't quite so impressed with the food at this Suhoor, perhaps because I'm not a huge fan of Arabic food and the sushi and pasta stations were rather more limited than at the Marsa Malaz. However, the music and ambience, as well as the Ritz Carlton's wonderful staff (whom I reckon are amongst the most welcoming in Doha) definitely make it worth a visit. 

Cost: QAR 290 per person.

















What's your favourite Suhoor in Doha?

I was a guest of the Marsa Malaz and the Ritz Carlton for both Suhoor experiences.

23 comments:

  1. The interiors are stunning and the food what a wonderful feast. I really enjoy Middle eastern food so this appeals and the Ritz looks like it does it in style Lucy x

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    1. The Ritz definitely hit the nail on the head! I love that it's not just the food that's important, but the whole concept, including decor, lighting and sound. It's a real experience!

      Polly xx

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  2. Wow! I'm not a huge fan of buffets but Mr S would go mad over that food!
    Lots of love,
    Angie


    SilverSpoon London

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    1. I'm not usually either, but these changed my mind a little! Rich was in his element!!

      Polly xx

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  3. Wow! I'm not a huge fan of buffets but Mr S would go mad over that food!
    Lots of love,
    Angie


    SilverSpoon London

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  4. so.much.food!!! I have to say I prefer the décor and look of the food at the Pearl - the Ritz seems a little OTT! Lots of love, Andrea xxx

    Andrea's Passions

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    1. I know what you mean, they definitely went all out for it. Overall I thought the food was probably better at the Marsa Malaz, but I actually quite liked the Ritz's decor!

      Polly xx

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  5. It's so cool that you get to get involved with these traditions. I love learning about other cultures so this post was perfect for me! Thanks for sharing your experiences x
    Young London

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    1. Thanks so much Amy, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Getting the opportunity to experience traditions like this is by far my favourite thing about expat life - I would have never known about Suhoor and what an event it is unless I came to live in Doha! Thanks for your lovely words.

      Polly xx

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  6. I'm loving these posts, Polly! Such a great insight into that culture. The food looks deeeelicious too!

    Lauren xx
    The Lifestyle Diaries

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    1. Thanks Lauren! So much thought and care is put into the food, it's dreamy!

      Polly xx

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  7. Palatial is the word - what a way to start a day!

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    1. I know...if only we could do this every day of the year!

      Polly xx

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  8. Ok wait, I know I'm behind with blog reading Polly but am I right in inferring from this that you guys are fasting at Ramadan too?? Was it a choice to try and be more involved in the culture or is everyone expected to fast? I like sushi but love Middle Eastern food so I don't think I'd ever look at the sushi sections if I was there ☺

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    1. Haha, we don't have to take part completely, but it is illegal to be seen eating or drinking in public during Ramadan. Some workplaces have designated, covered areas where you can go to have lunch; others aren't so lucky! A very few hotels keep certain restaurants open throughout the day too, but they have to keep the blinds down. I find that it is so difficult to find an appropriate place to eat and drink during the week that I often end up observing the fast. It's difficult, but definitely makes you appreciate what everybody else has to go through during this time!

      Polly xx

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  9. So interesting reading about all the different concepts during Ramadan and how the hotels adapt during this period! The food all looks fantastic :)

    Ash | Liakada

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    1. Thanks Ash! The food is top notch. I love the variety too - you could literally stay there for hours and not try everything!

      Polly xx

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  10. The intricate traditions from foreign cultures never cease to amaze me. Who knew?! Such a beautiful setting at all of these places.

    V
    Life+1

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    1. It's astounding isn't it? It makes me want to see what Ramadan is like in other countries too!

      Polly xx

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  11. The Pearl Qatar looks amazing, I love the decor and the variety of foods on display

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

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    1. You would love it Suze! You are definitely going to have to come and stay sometime.

      Polly xx

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