Browsing 'mall' News

All photos by Doha News

The multi-billion riyal, Italian-inspired Al Hazm complex in Al Markhiya has finally opened its doors to the public, drawing thousands of curious visitors over the weekend.

The shopping center quietly soft-launched on May 1. Currently, only a few cafes are open inside the luxury development.

And for now, the mostly open-air Al Hazm is open daily from 5pm to midnight – “to avoid the heat,” a member of staff said.

Chantelle D'mello / Doha News

Al Hazm shopping center, under construction in 2015.

More outlets will be opening in the coming months, and the entire development should hopefully be up and running by year-end, the staffer added.

Over the past few days, the venue has attracted significant interest from people keen to see its opulence up close.

Marble-clad

Al Hazm, which means “the natural hill” in the Qatari dialect, is situated on a hill near Lejbailat signal.

The venue has been under construction for eight years, and has missed several previous opening dates, including in 2015 and 2016.

The project has been a big undertaking. Some 2,500 engineers, thousands of construction workers and more than a dozen architects worked on the development, whose offerings cater to the very wealthy.

The complex was built using more than 41,000 tons of marble and stone, which was specially shipped to Qatar from Jerusalem and Tuscany in Italy.

Doha News

Visitors attend Al Hazm’s soft-opening

And specialist stone masons were brought to Qatar from Rajastan to carve intricate designs throughout the buildings.

Even the inside of the elevators are clad in multi-hued marble.

Many of Al Hazm’s features mirror those of Italy’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. It is housed in a 19th century double arcade in Milan, among other different Italian buildings.

Plans for the Qatar project were overseen by Mohamed A.K. Al Emadi, the company’s CEO.

His long-held fascination with Italy led to the creation of Al Hazm, the project’s creative director Georges Bou Ibrahim previously told Doha News.

What’s there

More than 40 cafes, restaurants and shops are already signed up to open premises on the site, and workers could be seen putting the finishing touches on many of these.

Doha News

Turkish ice cream cafe Bolulu Hasan Usta at Al Hazm

Unlike Qatar’s other main malls, most of the retailers are not household names or popular franchises. Instead, they have been “hand-picked” from other countries.

Across five main blocks, there will be around 16 restaurants, including a Butcha Steakhouse, Asian eatery called Umami and a Big Smoke Burger joint, according to an Al Hazm brochure.

Cafes include the Belgian chocolatier Guylian Café and a Turkish ice cream parlor.

Seating for these eateries is mostly in a central grass-landscaped area, surrounded by more than two dozen olive trees imported from Italy and Spain, some of which are up to 600 years old.

Doha News

Al Hazm

Two broad walkways run the length of the avenue, using marble similar to the ones in Mecca, which aim to keep floor temperatures at 20C despite the surrounding heat.

Meanwhile, numerous wide piazzas and terraces throughout the complex allow plenty of space for strolling and people-watching.

Beauty salons, designer fashion outlets, perfumers and a bank are also slated to open there.

Al Hazm/Al Emadi Enterprises

Cultural center at Al Hazm

Additionally, an in-house library is planned as part of Al Hazm’s mission to promote art, culture and luxury.

This will house rare and valuable manuscripts and encyclopedias, reading rooms and books in Arabic and English related to art, architecture, culture and the Islamic world.

Galleria

The showpiece of the complex is the Galleria – a stone and marble arcade with a soaring ceiling, topped with a 40m glass dome.

Its entrance features intricately detailed blue, gold and cream mosaics, which is replicated inside.

Chantelle D'mello / Doha News

Al Hazm shopping center

However, the Galleria is currently closed to the public, and staff could not say when it would open.

Previously, it was expected to house exclusive boutiques and jewelers.

However, no further details about these stores have been released, and one staff member said it may now be used as a venue for weddings and events instead.

Doha News

Pyramid outside Galleria at Al Hazm

Other facilities previously planned for Al Hazm include a ladies’ club, a children’s entertainment center and a 3,000 square meter underground auction and gallery space in the VVIP section by the glass pyramid.

Parking is underground, and can be accessed from the side and the rear of the complex. There are also drop-off and valet services at the front of the mall on Al Markhiya St.

Scooters, bikes, roller skates and hoverboards are not allowed in the development, and smoking and pets are also prohibited.

Have you checked it out yet? Thoughts?

Lagoona Mall/Facebook

Flik Cinema at Lagoona Mall

A new four-screen cinema opened its doors to the public at Lagoona Mall over the weekend.

The launch marks the entrance of the Flik Cinema chain into Qatar.

The theater was originally supposed to open last fall, and it is unclear why this was postponed.

Flik Cinemas

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

At the time, Flik Cinemas described the Lagoona location as “the first platinum and gold class theater multiplex in the GCC.”

The seats have leather recliners with small tables, similar to the “seven-star” experience offered at one of the theaters inside Novo Cinemas on the Pearl-Qatar.

Movie goers in platinum class can order snacks and drinks via a personal iPad and have them delivered to their seats.

More cinemas

Flik is also planning to open movie theaters in two other Qatar malls within the next year.

Both are Al Mana Group projects, and the cinema chain is also part of the same group.

One Flik theater will be located at Al Mirqab Mall off of Nasser St., while the other will be in Doha Mall in Abu Hamour.

Lesley Walker / Doha News

Mirqab Mall

Both will have eight screens and seat 1,000 and 1,400 movie-goers, respectively. All will show a combination of Hollywood, Bollywood and Arabic-language films.

The malls are expected to open sometime this year, adding even more shopping and viewing options to the Qatar market.

Meanwhile, at least seven other malls are expected to open in the country within the next few years.

Have you tried out the new cinema yet? Thoughts?

First shipment of new rollercoaster for Doha Oasis

Premier Rides/Facebook

First shipment of new rollercoaster for Doha Oasis

The first shipments of what will be one of the tallest roller coasters in the region is on its way to Qatar, its manufacturers have announced.

The 60m-high ride will be the centerpiece of a new underground mall and theme park on Al Khaleej St/B-Ring Road.

Rendering of Doha Oasis

Redco Construction-Al Mana

Rendering of Doha Oasis

The under-construction Doha Oasis complex will include a subterranean park with more than two dozen different rides.

It will be adjacent to a 29-story hotel with 133 guest suites, six restaurants on the lower floors, roof-top restaurant, a pool and a gym.

The complex, which is over 470,000sq meters, will also include 14 nine-story buildings with penthouses and 245 apartments, according to main contractor Redco Construction-Al Mana.

Rendering of mall inside Doha Oasis

Redco Construction-Al Mana

Rendering of mall inside Doha Oasis

Additionally, there will be shops in a mall that spans the top two floors of a podium area, overlooking the indoor theme park.

Work began on the site in December 2014 by Halul Real Estate Investment Co. The complex is currently scheduled to be completed by the end of May 2018.

Shipment

US-based Premier Rides is making the roller coaster for the theme park, and has started work on the steel structure.

Last week, it announced that the first shipment of a section of its steel rail structure left Los Angeles and is Qatar-bound.

The frame will arrive in the country in around 100 shipments over the coming two months, the company said.

The company was unavailable for comment.

But pictures it posted online showed sections of the support structure draped in both the Qatar and US flags as it began its journey to Doha.

In a statement to industry website inpark Magazine, Jim Seay, President of Premier Rides, described the ride as an “iconic 60m tall, fully-enclosed roller coaster tower that will allow riders a spectacular view of the city while remaining in a controlled climate setting.”

Multi-sensory ride

Seay also described the rollercoaster as a “dark-ride.” These have special sound and lighting effects, often to create optical illusions for passengers.

While the theme hasn’t yet been revealed, its manufacturers described the rollercoaster as a “reverse magnetic launch” ride.

Under-construction Doha Oasis

Redco Construction-Al Mana

Under-construction Doha Oasis

When the agreement was first announced in 2014, the roller coaster was named Dragonfire. It was described as one of the largest and most sophisticated attractions built by Premier Rides.

At the time, Seay told Maryland website MDBizNews, where the company is based, that the ride would have a backwards launch up a “spike” outside the building. This would give riders a birds-eye view of the area before dropping back down.

“This signature attraction will be a phenomenal thrill ride,” he added.

Thoughts?