W Hotel, Doha
THE HOTEL: Located in West Bay, this is a typical Doha new-build: big and shiny and an eye-catching design.
THE CHECK-IN: Top marks for group check-in as staff welcomed us all with warm smiles and immediately handed out room keys, explaining that our room number and another number on our key card would trigger the hotel’s wifi system. All we had to do was identify our luggage and partake of a chilled coffee shot to perk us up.
THE ROOM: Nicely designed large space with bags of natural light from floor to ceiling windows. The centrepiece is the bed, with large lit frame, blue leather headboard and swathes of swishy back curtains. A similar but smaller wall opposite incorporates a flatscreen TV and pop-up DVD player. A separate console housed a Nespresso machine and tea-making facilities, while another a range of snacks. There was a desk with iPod docking station, two phones, high-speed wifi, circular casual chair with footstool, iron and ironing board, laptop size safe and large white bathroom with oversize walk-in shower and wonderful Bliss toiletries. Irritatingly, there was no mirror anywhere near where I could plug in the hairdryer and the keycard numbers did not trigger the wifi.
THE BUSINESS: There are seven meeting rooms, the largest of which is the Great Room with spectacular circular gold ceiling and dramatic lighting, accommodating 600 theatre style. All rooms can be provided with a Sensory Set Up comprising mood music and scents to help keep delegates awake. Day delegate rates start from QAR350.
THE FACILITIES: Multiple eating venues, in particular the excellent Asian street food in the Spice Market, the snacks in the W Café, upmarket burgers from Market and the formal La Maison du Caviar for French bistro fare. There is a decadent Bliss spa, the Crystal Lounge bar, the Living Room and a disappointingly small lap pool area that felt like an afterthought to fill up the space.
THE VERDICT: Great staff mars some shortcomings on systems – ie the intermittent wifi access and the time it took reception to pick up the phone.
THE DETAILS: West Bay, Doha, Qatar. Rates start from £170 per room per night including taxes and charges. Tel: 00800 325 25252; See: www.whoteldoha.com.
Reviewed by Gillian Upton (2012)