Searching for training venues in Qatar? There are a variety of fabulous venues to choose from. The Red Rock International team in Doha has selected their top 10...
What makes a good training venue?
The best venue is one that best serves the needs of the learner, their organisation, and the training provider. We think some of the key things to consider are:
- Room size – The room must be the right size for the number of delegates and the course’s activities. Experiential learning often requires more space allowing you to ‘break-out’ into different areas and move around.
- Natural light – Incredibly helpful when trying to learn by keeping you feeling fresh.
- Visual interest and aesthetics – Your environment changes how you think. Cosy and comfortable spaces are great for coaching and reflective work. Bright, art-filled, and stimulating environments can be good for fuelling creative thinking.
- Food – Important for nourishment and building community. Too much heavy food means engaging people in the afternoon can get tough.
- Variety of spaces – Many of our courses make use of outdoor spaces in the winter months to break things up and increase engagement. Sometimes having lots of small seated spaces indoors can be helpful for 1-1 conversations.
- Technical facilities – Most venues have great technical facilities though it’s always worth checking it meets your requirements and that they have the right laptop adaptors! Dedicated technical support can be invaluable.
- Location and accessibility – Ease of access can reduce the burden of being out of the office. Being further away can be a helpful mental transition for leaving some of the work behind.
- Stationery – We often make use of lots of flip charts for group discussion. Pens, paper, whiteboards, post-it notes are all helpful.
- Location of amenities – How close is the restaurant, smoking areas, and toilets to the training rooms? The further away, the greater chance of ‘losing’ people for a time.
- Privacy – For hotels especially, might there be too much interaction with public users of the venue?
- Staff – Helpful and intuitive staff reduce the load on the training provider. This is an key component of a quality learning experience.
In no particular order our top 10 are...
The Diplomatic Club – West Bay Lagoon
You might have driven past it a hundred times without realising what was hidden away. The Diplomatic Club is a versatile venue near the Pearl and Katara. The large ballroom is excellent for training and experiential activities. Uniquely the ballroom has excellent natural light from windows looking out to the sea. From the ballroom there is access to an excellent outdoor space with a large private beach, which is lovely in the winter months. The large shaded terrace area allows for time outside even when the temperature rises.
For smaller groups, the Library is an ideal space. It is comfortable and has a nice ambiance being surrounded by books and art. As a training provider, we really appreciate the fantastic staff at this venue. They are very helpful and provide excellent support for training events. The venue offers flexible mealtimes and coffee breaks to fit in with your program. The Diplomatic Club is a ‘dry’ venue which will be more appealing to some.
Intercontinental Doha - Al Dafna
Well-equipped meeting rooms offer natural daylight and inspiring views which provides a great learning environment. Movable walls ensure the right amount of space for your group and training needs and a large ballroom is excellent for large groups and bigger experiential exercises. During the winter when there is an opportunity for taking the learning outside, you can utilise the beach and lawns, all with an impressive backdrop.
The hotel is beautifully designed and was recently awarded the coveted title of Qatar’s Leading Business Hotel from the World Travel Awards. The Coral restaurant has a great selection of tasty food for lunch.
Workinton – West Bay / Lusail / Alfardan Centre
The Workinton is primarily a co-working venue but it also has rooms for groups to meet. It is a professional, fresh, and modern space designed to evoke an emotional response and start conversations. This is a great place to come when creative thinking is on the agenda. The rooms aren’t large so it is best for smaller groups.
The video conferencing facilities are particularly good. We regularly use this venue for in-house train-the-trainer sessions where we are often joined virtually by our overseas staff. You can lease rooms by the hour which can make it very economical. Most importantly, the Workinton café provides great coffee.
Zekreet Nature Reserve
Zekreet Nature Reserve is an incredible wilderness area, perfect for a retreat or for team development. Inspiring natural surroundings, a massive modern art installation, and local wildlife are all conducive to thinking outside the box. There are no facilities, not even a bathroom, so be prepared to bring everything you need to have a safe and effective time – or consider working with a specialist partner. Activities could include rock climbing, hiking, or mountain biking. If you go midweek it is not busy. At the end of your event be responsible and leave the area as you found it. Take your litter with you.
Location: Google maps
Sheraton Hotel – West Bay
The first 5* hotel in Doha, the Sheraton greets you with a stunning atrium. Walking instead you can feel a sense of history in the building. Traditionally decorated meeting rooms come in different sizes in the usual variety of arrangements. The beautiful gardens are great when outdoor space is required or for a walk during lunch.
The location of this venue on the Cornice makes it highly accessible and provides a stunning backdrop. We once ran a course that involved stepping out of the Sheraton and taking a journey on a dhow. The food is great and a must-try is the, Um Ali, it is rated the best in the city! (As verified by our trainers.)
Qatar National Convention Centre - Al Gharrafa
You might not immediately think of this as a training venue as it is better known for huge conventions. However, they have a large number of well-equipped rooms that are available for training. Availability is good when the centre isn’t being used for a convention.
QNCC provides high-quality, efficient service in stylish and comfortable meeting rooms, whether there are 10 participants or 250. Being a convention centre the catering is different from the usual hotel options so do take note of what is available.
The architecture and art installations of QNCC, and Education City across the road, capture the imagination and encourage you to think big. Walking through that atrium is a fantastic way to start a training course.
Access to the venue by road is great and there is plenty or parking. Do consider travel times according to where your participants are coming from.
Marriot Marquis City Centre Doha - West Bay
The Marriott is a smart, modern, and professional venue. The meeting rooms are available in a range of sizes and have windows that give excellent natural lighting. The ballroom is also available in different formats for larger groups. There is some outdoor space next to the pool which has been useful for us but it is quite small. The restaurants serve great food and its location might be a big selling point to some as it is in close proximity to many offices.
The Ritzcarlton – West Bay Lagoon
The Ritz-Carlton, Doha specializes in corporate events of all sizes. The rooms are beautifully decorated and lovely to be in. They are well equipped and come in a range of sizes. The Ballroom is great when you need a bit more space. The location is unique with excellent views and outdoor space surrounded by water.
Banana Island Resort
Banana Island Resort provides a unique location to host a training course. It also works well when combining training with planning and a team retreat.
A short boat trip from the Corniche ensures the day starts with a sense of eager excitement, which is great way for delegates to start a course. Being on an island and far away from the office helps to give focus to the purpose at hand and make the most out of the day.
The island itself provides a beautiful space to walk in, a place to recharge and is also great for experiential exercises that are suited to being outside.
Sharq Village & Spa - Ras Abu Aboud
The Sharq is a beautiful hotel with indoor and outdoor spaces suitable for a range of needs. The meeting rooms are well equipped and windows let in natural light making them great learning environments. The Foyer space also provides a suitable space for coffee breaks. Smaller meeting rooms are helpful for ‘break-out’ activities and the ballroom is good when more space is required.
The garden and beach also provide usable space with exceptional views, though it is worth noting these spaces can get busy at times.
The Sharq is less than a 15min drive from the airport which can be advantageous.
Don’t underestimate how good a venue your organisation’s office could be for training. It may not have quite the same cuisine but if the time and financial savings along with the flexibility allow the training to happen here then it can be a great option. It also provides a great opportunity as well. For some of our courses being on home ground provides an excellent opportunity to practice some of the learning in situ.
All of these venues provide great spaces to learn and develop with different advantages according to your location, budget, training needs, taste, and so on… Wherever you go remember that the needs of the learner vary and the right venue positively influences the attitude of the learner and the uptake of learning.
There are certainly many more options in Doha, if you have any suggestions then we would love to hear from you.