Plane Spotting Doha
The Marriott is an ideal base for plane spotting at Doha, Qatar. The old Airport has phased down in operations in 2014 and now only serves the based military and executive movements., The new Hamad Airport has now opened literally a couple of miles down the road. The great news is that both airports are easily visible from The Marriott Hotel if you secure the correct room.
|Doha Marriott Hotel|
|Located on the beach more or less under the climb out from Runway 33 at the present Doha Airport|
|Location:||**||Just off the perimeter of the present Doha Airport and about 1.5 miles East of the southern perimeter of the new Hamad Airport. The taxi ride from the airport is around 10 minutes and costs between £5-10|
The hotel is situated a similar distance from the old Doha Airport as The Nojoum Apartments Deira would be from Dubai. Generally Runway 33 is in use meaning that flights depart over the hotel. Depending on the aircraft’s height I would estimate that around 50% of departures could be read off. If 15 was in use the landings would just pass to the East of the hotel but would be easily readable from an airport facing room balcony.
From the balcony the Alpha stands where exec movements park can be seen
You need to ask for a high level room in the old building facing away from the sea (so not a sea view which they will probably try to give you by default. Room 519 had 2 double beds and gave the views above, I assume that 619 and 719 would give similar views.
For around £30 a night extra you can book an executive room. This gives you entry into the executive lounge where free snacks are available all today, along with a continental breakfast. From here you are looking out towards the sea, however anything departing off 33 passes over the hotel and can be seen climbing away. Similar views are available from the beach and pool areas. I wouldn’t recommend using binoculars too often in the public areas, I left SBS running in the room, made a note of the times and cross checked with Flight Radar 24 playback.
Hamad Airport Spotting
From the above room balcony you can look left and see the new Hamad Airport around 1-2 miles away.I would estimate that you may see a few aircraft on stands, however the sheer size of the terminal will hide most aircraft.
The airport has 2 parallel runways 16L/R 34L/R. The above room will give very good views of departures from Runway 34R, or if arriving, arrivals on 16R. As the airport isn’t open yet it is very hard to compare distances, but I would estimate the overlook would be at a similar distance as the Helios is from the further runway at Palma.
To summarise, spotting is viable from this hotel, however only movements either departing over the bay, or arriving over it will be able to be viewed. Depending on heat haze, certain movements may be read off, especially if arriving, otherwise flight tracking software would be required.
For the present airport, early morning photography before the sun gets too high is excellent, as the aircraft bank towards the hotel at 500 feet and pass close by on departure. Similar shots to those that are obtained from The Nojoum Apartments, Dubai could be had. The pool area and beach should also offer good opportunities, in the rarer times when landing over the hotel, although caution should be used when using cameras and binoculars in public areas.
As the sun goes around there may be good options from the Cornice area about a mile from the hotel, however caution is required as Doha is, in effect still an Air Force Base and photography is most likely illegal.
Hamad Airport Photography
If landing on 16R photography may be possible from the balcony with a long zoom and a little cropping. Afternoons in the winter may offer opportunities when there could be less heat haze. This will no doubt be confirmed once the airport has opened and spotters have stayed here to witness the new operations.
|Value:||*||Hotels in Doha are expensive. Prices start from around £110 a night.|
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Doha Spotting Trip Ideas
Why not combine a couple of nights at Doha with other airports in the region? Qatar Airways generally allow you to stop off en route for a couple of nights with no additional fee therefore you could fly, for example UK-Doha-Singapore and break the journey with a couple of nights at The Marriott. lastminute.com offer very good fare options out to Doha with Qatar Airways. Alternatively similar flights could be used from the UAE, or you could hop on one of the low cost operators such as Flydubai or Air Arabia for a couple of days away from plane spotting in Dubai for around £100 return.