With reporting from Amanda Ramirez
With just weeks to go before its April 5 soft opening, the massive Doha Festival City (DFC) opened its doors to journalists yesterday for a sneak peek.
While there, officials also revealed further details about some of the QR6 billion mall’s upcoming theme parks.
Located off of Al Shamal Road next to IKEA, DFC has seen months of delays. It will eventually host over 500 stores, including some 100 food and beverage outlets.
But not all of them will be opening soon. Here’s what you need to know about Qatar’s newest shopping destination:
Hello Five Guys
According to the Gulf Times, DFC general manager Trevor Hill said nearly 50 percent of the mall’s retail outlets and most of its food and beverage offerings will open next month.
That includes Qatar’s first Five Guys, a popular American hotdog and hamburger chain that already has outlets in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Many of the other food outlets at the mall were still covered with generic hoardings yesterday.
But according to DFC’s website, they will include Dean and Deluca, the Hummingbird Bakery and PF Chang’s.
Shops-wise, Marks and Spencer, H&M, Home Center, Mac, Sephora, Carter’s, The Body Shop and Pottery Barn all appear to be almost ready to open.
The mall will also be the site of the world’s largest Monoprix, featuring a “Cave à Fromage” – which is sure to be a hit with cheese lovers.
And also coming soon is Qatar’s first Harvey Nichols, the London-based luxury department store.
Additionally, an Ace Hardware outlet remains under construction.
Angry Birds fun
DFC has several theme parks opening this year, but visitors will need to wait a few more months to check them out.
For example, officials said they are aiming for a summer launch for the Angry Birds adventure park.
It is the first of its kind in the Gulf, and attractions will include the largest trampoline park in Qatar.
A largest indoor and outdoor go-karting track in the region, a drop tower, reverse bungee slingshot and water rapids are also planned, officials said.
Also expected to open this summer is Qatar’s first ski slope.
Snow Dunes – billed as an “Arabian-themed snow park” – will feature over 4,800 sq meters of real snow in a -4C environment all year round.
The attraction will also boast a “snow castle” as well as slides, slopes and sleds, officials said.
One more main feature of DFC that’s opening this summer is “Virtuocity,” which is a gaming space specifically for older teens (15+) and adults.
The venue will include a 200-seat viewing and competing hub equipped with the latest PC, PlayStation and Xbox One hardware.
Virtuocity will also have five VIP lounges where up to 10 people will be able to complete simultaneously on the advanced Racer simulators.
Additionally, there will be four themed escape rooms where participants will have just 60 minutes to break out using problem-solving skills.
Get those steps in
During the country’s hottest months, the mall might be a good destination for exercise as well as shopping.
It’s 1km long inside, and there’s also a 3km “Outdoor Leisure Trail” surrounding the mall for runners and cyclists.
The mountain bike track, designed by British company Architrail, offers various surfaces with inbuilt gradients and obstacles to suit all abilities of mountain bikers.
And the running track has exercise machines installed along the route.
Parking-wise, there will be 8,000 spaces across four floors, with 29 different entry points into the mall.
And it should be fairly straightforward to get to the mall from Doha, thanks to the recent opening of the Al Kharaitiyat Interchange on Al Shamal Road.
The complex is expected to be fully open by September, officials pledged.
Do you plan to check it out? Thoughts?