Saturday, January 12, 2013
Changes at Souq Waqif
I love Souq Waqif, it’s my favourite place in Doha to hang out. While the majority of tourists also like it you'll hear occasionally a comment that it's too “touristy” or “artificial”, or you might hear the dreaded “Disney” thrown in. There were some things that I did feel brought the whole souq experience down a bit – old Arab-style buildings containing modern Western chain restaurants like Dunkin' Donuts. Not exactly what people expect to see in an old souq.
Well a couple of months ago the Dunkin' Donuts was closed, and this week I've now seen that the Haagen-dazs has been shut down. It appears both are going to be replaced with other restaurants or shops that are not part of a big chain. Haagen-dazs is going to be an Arabic pastry shop (possibly café). I think now that only leaves the Coffee Beanery as the only place left in the Souq that would be considered part of a big chain (maybe Mandarin as well? I’m not sure).
I'm speculating that the Qatar Government is trying to improve the authentic look of the Souq by getting rid of the big-brand restaurants and cafés. I'm not complaining.