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Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Also see Gondolas in Villagio

Location: Between Sport City and Hyatt Plaza on Al Waab Street.

Villagio has a mock Italian design, which doesn’t really work on the outside but does on the inside. Its best feature is its ceiling, with the cloud effect successfully giving you a floating feeling of space. Though this place is far from finished, it will be successful as it has Carrefour as its anchor shop, meaning all and sundry will flock to it.

What’s there?

Not as much as there’s going to be – there’s a few shops already open, but there will be a total of 220 stores spread over 130,000 sq m of retail space (or 150,000, depending on where you get your information from), which just beats the 129,000 metres of retail space at City Centre Mall, currently the country’s largest. Apparently its going to have everything City Centre has got – ice rink, cinema, bowling alleys e,t,c – plus a rollercoaster just to top it off. It already has some of the old stalwarts you see everywhere such as Body shop and Next, but also some shops I haven’t seen elsewhere in Qatar, including Cool Cat and Top Shop. A Starbucks dominates the entrance, although you hardly have to go far to find one of these in Doha, or the overpriced coffee they sell.

Verdict: most of the shops are heavily focussed on clothes at the moment, although as you can get virtually anything you want in Carrefour, it hardly matters. It also comes close to succeeding in giving you that feeling of walking through a village, largely due to the sky ceiling. Should be truly impressive when it is finished.

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