Hotel check: Hilton Doha
Background This 309-room hotel, Hilton Hotels & Resorts' first property in Qatar, opened in May. In keeping with most of its five-star competitors across the city, it features strong MICE facilities, but there's a noticeable emphasis on F&B and leisure too, with the first eforea:spa at Hilton in the Middle East on site.
Where is it? You can't really miss it in the West Bay district, this contemporary blue-and-silver high rise is directly next to Four Seasons Doha. It shouldn't take you longer than 20 minutes travelling to or from the airport.
What's it like? First impressions are favourable with a colourful lobby, lots of deep reds and oranges, complemented by a trendy, pink pearl, providing a cultural link between old and new. The reception desk is to the left, and I was given a refreshing glass of iced lemon on arrival. The two staircases, which merge together going up to the first floor, lend a touch of grandeur and provide convenient access to meeting rooms. There's plenty of glass and natural light, the only aspect of the lobby area design which jarred a bit was the thick pillars, but it's clearly been fitted out to latest safety standards, with sprinklers all over the ceiling.
Room facilities I stayed in a standard room on the 21st floor (2110) which had a partial city view but predominantly overlooked the Gulf, with the recently opened St Regis Doha in the distance and the Pearl-Qatar away to the right. It was fine for a short stay, with an LG TV, tea/coffee facilities and bottled water; next to it the desk and overhead lamp and there was room for a table and lounge chair beside the double bed, but it was all a bit compact; you might want to trade up to the executive rooms or suites for longer stays. In-room wifi was quick but charged at QAR35 per hour or QAR85 per day. During my tour, I saw the more spacious executive rooms (ending -02 on each floor), and two executive suites (2302, 2402) which contain a large lounge, circular glass table, four chairs and bedroom around the corner, and a quick glimpse of the two-bed Presidential Suite (2407) which had an opulent bath with Jacuzzi and large kitchen.
Restaurants & bars The restaurants were an interesting mix, from the classical-looking La Sahtaine (French/Mediterranean) to the large, all-day-dining Mawasem (open 6.30am-10.30pm), which has four interactive live cooking stations, where you can take your pick from freshly made seafood, grilled meats, Asian wok-fried dishes and tandoori specialities. The breakfast was comprehensive, with cereals and hot dishes, and plenty of cheeses, fish (smoked salmon/mackerel) and breads and broad range of juices (orange, kiwi, cranberry and apple). The first Trader Vic’s in Qatar serves up its characteristic Asian-Polynesian fusion dishes and wide range of cocktails in a stand-alone venue at the back of the hotel. Other venues include Ya Hala (teas/coffees, pastries), Zawaya (cocktail lounge) - both on the lobby level - and Bab Al Baher (casual/pool deck).
Business & meeting facilities Access to the dedicated conference wing near the lobby is straight forward for outside guests and the light-flooded break-out area corridors are spacious, overlooking the pool. The grand ballroom can seat up to 750 guests and the first floor has a 24-hour business centre and seven meeting rooms.
Leisure facilities The 600sqm eforea:spa at Hilton is a labyrinth with five multi-purpose treatment rooms, one Thai massage and meditation room as well as one couples’ suite with a steam rasul and one single suite with a steam rasul along with a traditional sauna, two aroma steams, hydro pool, ice chute and two showers with aroma and colour lighting. The Kerstin Florian products encompass European facial, body and bath products and treatments sourced from natural resources such as algae, mud, herbal extracts, thermal mineral water and essential oils, while LI'TYA draws on the "restorative powers of Australia's native resources" and VitaMan provides a line of Australian-made natural spa and grooming products specifically for men. The Precor gym isn't large by some five-star standards but all nine cardio machines featured good-sized TV monitors, and there's also an outside pool.
Verdict Hilton has pulled out all the stops to announce its arrival in Qatar and created a contemporary hotel that straddles the business-leisure divide.
How may rooms? 309
Room highlights quick wifi, spacious bathroom, good view
Price Numerable combinations are available online, from 'best available' and 'advance purchase' to 'great getaway' special offers. Prices for stays in June range from QAR615-820 for Twin Hilton rooms, QAR660-880 for King Hilton Deluxe Rooms and QAR836-1,115 for King Hilton Executive rooms.
Contact Hilton Doha, Diplomatic District Street West Bay, Doha, Qatar Tel: +974 4 4233333, hilton.com