Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Al Hazm

For those of you who don't live in Qatar, take a look at these pictures and guess what this is:

A museum? Katara expansion? New neighbourhood at the Pearl?

Nope. This is Qatar's newest mall, the Al Hazm.

This place is opulent, even for the Middle East. Everything is imported marble, there are mature olive trees planted around, views of the skyscrapers of West Bay. It's a bit unreal to be honest.

Calling it a mall is a bit of a misnomer, most of the space is given to restaurants and cafes, so it's more of a dining/café area than a shopping mall. I guess it's meant to be a place where you and your friends can go and hang out in luxurious surroundings. Sort of like a souq only with an extra $100 million of renovations.

Just to let you know, there's some rules:

I'm willing to bet that they mean it too.

At the moment it is a very soft opening, only 3 cafes are open and the mall is not open until 5pm (too hot during the day now so they open at sunset). In time there'll be dozens of restaurants and cafes there. As far as I know, and from what I could see from the signs on storefronts, all of the restaurants will be new to Qatar. No chains, no places that have other Qatar locations.

Now for the rumour-busting. Over the years I had heard a number of rumours about this place:

1) there'll be an entrance fee: False. I've been twice and was not charged a fee. They don't even charge for parking.

2) there'll be a special VVIP entrance/tunnel so they can visit shops without anyone seeing them. Highly unlikely. The place is 5 separate buildings with parking under them so I'm not sure where this tunnel would be. That said the largest building, called the Galleria, will have super-luxury shops in it so maybe they'll have some sort of VVIP arrangement.

3) Everything is marble imported from places like Tuscany. As far as I know this is true.

4) Famous Turkish restaurant Nusr-Et will open there. Nope, it's scheduled to open in the Sheraton.

5) There'll be a huge library in one of the buildings. It's not open yet but there are signs that state one of the buildings will have a library.

When the weather cools down it'll be a nice place to chill out. Don't kid yourself that the restaurants will be cheap though. You're not going here for McDonalds or Subway.

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