Sheraton Park Review
Sheraton Park opened to the public in May 2016 and has since become a popular destination for family picnics, bike rides and relaxed days off.
The park, adjacent to Sheraton Grand Doha Hotel in Al Dafna, is an eight-hectare green stretch right in the heart of the city. It features an artificial pyramid-shaped hill covered in soft grass that children will enjoy climbing while parents take in breathtaking views of West Bay and the Corniche.
Large, paved walkways run across and around the park, making it the perfect setting for a relaxed family walk or a me-time jog for parents. The pathways are wide enough for prams or ride-on toys, even at busy times.
As enjoyable as a stroll in Sheraton Park is, cycling and picnicking are really the activities that will let families make the most out of it. The large paths and the geometric, almost labyrinth-like shape of the park provide exciting and fun trails for young cyclers. Parents need to be aware of one potential safety concern: some of the walkways—particularly those at the north and west edges of the park—are dangerously close to the main road and at the time of writing there were no evident barriers to prevent children from stepping on to the busy road.
Once the kids have built up an appetite from running and cycling, the ample, open grassy areas are a perfect place to settle in for a picnic. If you don’t feel like packing an extra bag for snacks, keep an eye out for the five eateries opening in Sheraton Park over the next months.
Water, water everywhere
If the soft grass banks are the first feature to catch a visitor’s eyes, water is the real protagonist at Sheraton Park. There are five areas entirely dedicated to fountains and pools, which children and adults will equally enjoy.
A tidal pool reflects the surrounding scenery in the northwest corner of the park. Waterfall fountains animate the zone leading to the park’s restaurants—none of which were open at the time of writing. The Wadi Area features small jets of water that spring out of the ground, as well as numerous small pools and streams. In the Discovery Area, jets of water fall on to cymbals to produce musical sounds. Each area is marked on a map, which can be found on the signs dotted around the park—locating and recognising the fountains can easily become a game or even a treasure hunt.
The dancing fountain opposite the hotel is a real showstopper that will enchant children and adults alike. It springs directly out of the ground in high jets of water and after 5pm it shines with colourful beams of light. Children are allowed to play in the water, which can be a refreshing experience in the summer months.
There is a large semi-shaded playground in the northeast corner of the park that is likely to appeal to both toddlers and older children. It features three large sandpits, a variety of vehicle-shaped seesaws, four small slides and two sets of swings, one of which has full bucket seats. Older children will enjoy the metal climbing frames and a skateboard ramp-like frame.
Large stone benches around the perimeter of the playground provide parents with a chance to relax while keeping an eye on their little ones. Not all benches are shaded though, and in the summer months these will get quite hot.
Next to the playground is a small fitness zone featuring eight pieces of equipment that seem to also provide entertainment for children. It’s worth noting that the fitness zone is not shaded and the equipment is metallic, so it will be too hot to use in the summer months.
Location: On the Corniche adjacent to the Sheraton Grand Doha Hotel
Directions: From the Corniche, take a turn towards the Sheraton Grand Doha
Parking: At quiet times, free parking is available in the area directly opposite the Sheraton Grand Doha. However, Sheraton Park has its own four-level underground parking with more than 2,500 spaces. Parking is free for the first half hour, then it costs QR 4 for one hour, QR 7 for two hours, QR 10 for three hours and then QR 3 per hour for up to six hours.
Nearby landmarks: West Bay, the Corniche
Accessibility: Lifts are available throughout Sheraton Park providing wheelchair and stroller access to underground parking, toilets and restaurants.
Food and beverages: Sheraton Park will ultimately host five restaurants. However, at the time of writing none of these were open. There are several restaurants inside the Sheraton Grand Doha, as well as a couple of cafés within walking distance on the Corniche.
Toilet facilities: There are two toilets in Sheraton Park. Both are underground—one located by the playground and the other near the waterfall fountains in the area where the restaurants will be.
Nearby mosque: There are two prayer rooms in Sheraton Park, adjacent to the toilets.
Dress code: Though there are no specific signs in this regard, dressing conservatively to respect the local culture is recommended.
Things to note
- Visit the park just before dusk to make the most of the views over West Bay and enjoy the fountain of light. Leave some time to take a walk on the Corniche to see the illuminated dhow boats. This is also a great way to entertain guests.
- If you want to dine out on a budget, City Center Mall, which has an ample food court, is only a few minutes drive away.
- The wadi-style pools and tidal pool are an exquisite sight, but parents of daring children need to bear in mind that some of the pools are easy to jump into. Though the water is not deep enough to raise a serious drowning concern, the signs clearly state that it’s treated wastewater, albeit chlorinated. It is advisable not to let the children drink the water in the pools.