Everyone here has commented that shopping in Doha was dismal. It was thus that I arrived with zero expectations at The Villagio Mall. The mall was touted to be the largest in the city and was about 25 minutes away from the town center , a trek by most standards as everywhere seems to be only a 5-10 minute drive away.
I was struck by the ceiling which soared above me and painted to look like the sky. Quite bizarre but rather nice.
Once I got past that, I saw that in the middle of the wide boulevard was a skinny man-made canal complete with gondolas !
There is something similar at The Mines in KL but I have not been. As it was the weekend, the mall was buzzing and I stuck right into looking around. To my surprise, the first shop on my left was Zara Home. I never seen this anyway in Asia except perhaps HK. My obsession with homewares left me wandering in the shop for about half hour- just fingering the gorgeous glasswares, luxurious bedding and sniffing at all the scented candles. I had my eye on several lamps, bedspreads and toilet accessories and pledged to come back as soon as we settle on a home here.
Upon leaving the shop, a mini scream escaped me rather embarrassingly. I just spotted Boots across the aisle and who doesnn't like Boots ?! Haf hour later, I was still there, scanning all the perfumed soaps and yummy scrubs.
So far so good and my spirits were soaring. 3 hours later, I was still wandering around and forgotten about lunch completely. More international retail brands were spotted like Sephora, Hobbs, H&M, even Malaysia's Vincci ! The prices were much higher than back in KL though and the selection was very limited. Same with the Virgin megastore, a music CD costs 60-70 riyals while a movie DVD cost 86-100 riyals. ( The Riyal is almost equivalent to the RM )
Dean & Deluca opened just recently and it was posh. Even the fruit and vegetable looked polished. The gourmet prepared food section offered up posh nosh like lobster thermidor.
So I guess it's not so bad here. People have said that Doha only started becoming more cosmopolitan in the past 5 years. It's looking like they are determined to fast track the city to match other cities in Europe. I am keen to see what else develops in the next few years.
I am still struggling to find a good bookshop though. So Amazon.com might be my only solution.