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The little-known country of Qatar has created a very good way for the world to get to know its cultures, its sights, its food, its shopping and more. Qatar Airways is offering free luxury hotels stays for one night to passengers who have a layover of at least 12 hours in the capital city of Doha.

Doha, Qatar skyline, something everyone gets to see with a Qatar Airways booking with a layover in Doha

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If you choose to visit Doha for two nights, your Qatar Airways booking will give you the second night hotel stay for only $100. All available choices are 4- or 5-star hotels. This offer, called +Qatar, lasts through the end of 2018. You must be flying Qatar Airways both into and out of the Doha airport to qualify for these hotel stays.

I travel not to see the sights or eat the food; I travel for the people. It is super hard to get to really know local people on a layover. But visiting a country on a layover is better than never seeing it at all. You can still meet people, experience a lot and learn a little too. Plus the country of Qatar is now offering a transit visa free of charge if you’re in the country anywhere between 5 and 96 hours. So if you’re into making friends in foreign locations like I am and you want to max out your free visa, you just might be able to make some long-term friendships.  Here are details about how to get the free visa while making your Qatar Airways booking.

The Qatar Airways booking promotion and the visa-free entries are part of Qatar’s efforts to bring tourists back to the country after a diplomatic crisis in June 2017 adversely affected tourism. When it decided to allow visa-free entry to people from 80 countries, Qatar moved itself into the number one position of Middle Eastern countries most open to tourists.

So, if you want to explore a beautiful, glamorous and mysterious country while also saving money, Qatar is the place to go now.

Small beautiful dishes surrounded by potpourri and flowers


Islamic Museum, on Qatar Airways booking layover

I loved Qatar and its people when I visited the country several years ago on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and my partner likewise loved it when he was in Qatar on business for a couple of weeks in June 2017. I stayed in the city of Doha and really enjoyed Souq Waqif and the corniche, while my partner really liked the Islamic Museum and his travels in to the desert.


Qatar Airways as well as the country’s airport, Hamad International Airport, have won multiple awards in 2018 as well as previous years in the Skytrax World Airlines Awards and Skytrax World Airport Awards.

World’s Best Business Class

1st Place – Qatar Airways

World’ Best Business Class Seat

1st Place – Qatar Airways

Best Airline in the Middle East

1st Place – Qatar Airways

Best First Class Airline Lounge

1st Place – Qatar Airways

Best Airline in the World

2nd Place – Qatar Airways

Best Airport in the World

5th Place – Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar


Qatar Airways also won a 1st place award from in 2018.

Best Airline in the World

1st Place – Qatar Airways 


Qatar Location

Qatar is located on the Arabian Gulf near Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Safety in Qatar

Contrary to very popular and deeply-ingrained belief, you do not have to worry about violent crime or terrorism in most of the Middle East, including Qatar.  These dangers are not common. It is instead significant cultural differences of which you need to be aware. I know this sounds unbelievable, but it is true. Here is a brief, pretty accurate article which succinctly outlines some of the most important things you need to be careful about in Qatar.

Qatar Weather

Qatar Language – Arabic (English is widely spoken)


1. Book your multi-city flight on Qatar Airways.     

2. Now, to book your free hotel room for your Doha layover. On the Qatar Airways home page at the top click Discover -> Free Stayover. Then in the middle of that page click Book +Qatar and input your dates. You will see that up to approximately a dozen 4- and 5-star hotels are available for your free hotel stay. You also will see that the cost is zero dollars.

If you choose to stay for two nights, you will see a similar array of 4- and  5-star hotels listed for a 100 USD booking fee.

The Qatar Airways booking website states:  “Before you book your hotel,  please ensure that you have a confirmed ticket document start with “157”  on Qatar Airways with minimum transit time of 12 hours in Doha and   service is completely on QR carriers with no other airlines involved.”

3. If you want to take a tour of Doha and/or the desert, you can select a tour after you choose your hotel. Some of the tours are:

Doha City Tour 

Doha City Tour Meal Inclusive

Monster Bus desert excursion

Doha City Tour on Traditional Dhow

Dhow cruise with a layover on a Qatar Airways booking

Traditional dhow

Monster bus that you can reserve with your Qatar Airways booking when on a layover in Doha, Qatar

Monster Bus


Each tour is three or four hours long, so even if your layover is not overnight you can still go on a tour if you like.



It is so easy to visit this beautiful desert country on a Qatar Airways layover with a free hotel stay and a free transit visa. I am definitely visiting Qatar again. I hope you’ll consider checking out this very fascinating country.


Photo Credits: Qatar Airways, NawalEscape, NordCapStudio, Walsarabi

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