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48 hours in Qatar

Where to stay:

Stay in the heart of Souq Waqif at Al Jasra Boutique Hotel. The five-star, 26-room property has beautiful Arabian decor and views of the Souq and Arabian horse stables. There's also a full-service spa with Moroccan hammam and six onsite eateries, including two rooftop restaurants. Located in Mesaieed, about an hour drive from Doha, the white-washed walls and palm tree-lined paths of Sealine Beach resort make for a beautiful oasis from city life. Each room overlooks the Arabian Sea and recreational activities are unique, like camel rides on the beach, desert safaris, and oversized games of chess.

Day 1

On The Pearl, a man-made island off the West Bay is Qatar's first vegan cafe, Evergreen Organics. The plant-based menu has no added preservatives, additives, or processed sugar and is the perfect place to fuel up for a day of fitness with a breakfast bowl of bananas, pineapple, acai, coconut water, activated charcoal, superfood granola, and gojiberries, as well as fresh-pressed juices and smoothies.

Choose your adventure:

Lunch is at Parisa Souq Waqif, one of the most opulently designed spaces in Souq Waqif. Modeled after a Persian palace, the space features thousands of glimmering mirrors lining the walls and ceilings, hand-painted artwork, delicate mosaics, and ornate chandeliers. The cuisine is Persian/Iranian and you can't go wrong with kabab shishlik (Persian-style grilled lamb chops) and saffron polow (saffron basmati rice).

Start the evening with a sunset dhow cruise of the bay. The traditional Qatari wooden boats have open-air top levels where you can watch the city lights come alive as the sun sets. Make reservations in advance through your hotel.

End the night at the world's largest Nobu, perched on its own peninsula in the Arabian Gulf. After a Japanese-Peruvian dinner of yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, black cod yuzu miso, and king crab leg with shiso salsa, enjoy a cocktail from the restaurant's rooftop lounge.

Day 2

Grab breakfast at La Varenne Brasserie. Choose from the housemade granola with honey yogurt and strawberry compote, quiche, or fresh crepes with berries.

You'll want to keep it light, though, before a morning of dune bashing in 4x4 vehicles with the expert drivers at Qatar Inbound Tours. After about an hour drive to Mesaieed (if you're staying in Doha), you'll go off road, sliding down giant sand dunes and stopping for a swim in the Inland Sea. It's the perfect spot for pictures of varying landscapes: endless desert, sparkling coastline, and Saudi Arabian mountains.

Choose your adventure:

Depending on your afternoon activity choice, lunch is an organic mix of salads or sandwiches at Chef's Garden restaurant within Al Shaqab, or south-east Asian street food at Spice Market, back in Doha. Try the Mongolian lamb skewers, green papaya salad, and seared jumbo prawns.

Head to the spa at Four Seasons Hotel Doha for a revitalizing mineral salt therapy exfoliation and massage, then get ready for dinner. Set within the whimsical Mondrian Doha, the sleek and glamorous Morimoto Doha is the first location in the Middle East from world-renowned Chef Morimoto. Start with the oyster foie gras then go for the chef's robata combination.

Photo: Getty Images