Top 10 Winter Yacht Destinations: Qatar

By Tristan Rutherford

Qatar founded its fortune on pearl fishing. The Gulf State swapped precious stones for precious resources in the 1950s, and invested its mineral wealth in a host of cultural attractions.

This November’s Tribeca Film Festival in the capital of Doha will attract a new breed of sophisticated travellers. The city’s New Airport opens six months later with an initial capacity of 50 million – and extended capacity of 90 million (eat that Heathrow) – with plans to bring in countless more.

Doha’s growing cosmopolitanism is embodied by its Corniche promenade. This seaside boulevard is a medley of cycling tracks, footpaths and sheesha cafés. Occupying pride of place on this Qatari Croisette is the Musem of Islamic Art, a sublime study in Oriental architecture.

Superyachts may cavort around 500km of sandy coastline. Crew can arrange a gourmet Arabian beach barbeque wheresoever you please. Al Ghariya beach is one long arc of sand lapped by the Persian Gulf. The cliffs at Fuwairit beach protect sandy-bottomed shallows, and funnel in winds to create Qatar’s very own kite-surfing scene.

Every visit to Qatar must include a hunt for souvenirs in the Souk Waqif. The labyrinthine bazaar is a vision of Arabian heritage. Piled high are perfumes, spices, ouds, honey and vintage treasure chests in which crew may carry your booty back to the boat. The Gold Souk is equally enchanting. On display are fine filigree pieces, including gold necklace sets that can be used to tempt a prospective bride.

The Pearl is a series of sandy lagoons custom-made for superyachts. This manmade archipelago of 13 islands includes restaurants outposts from Dalloyau and Carluccio, plus stores from Salvatore Ferragamo and Stella McCartney. Boats may moor against a Venetian-chic backdrop of piazzas and pavement cafés. Hedonists may hit Porto Arabia to try the latest branch of Nikki Beach.

Moonlight II (ex Alysia) is one example of the superyachts available in Qatar and The Gulf this winter. For more information on chartering this or any other yacht here, or anywhere in the world, contact the Y.CO charter team: [email protected]

For more inspiration, visit the Y.CO website to discover a range of luxury yacht charter division. Tomorrow… Tahiti.

By Tristan Rutherford