By Staff writer
Award-winning restaurants, diamond dust massages and first clas business facilities. Arabian Business takes a tour of the Ritz-Cartlton, Doha hotel in Qatar
“The perception of Qatar has changed,” says The Ritz-Carlton, Doha General manager Hoss Vetry. “Despite its size, it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and there is an incredible buzz about the place at the moment. It is our job as hoteliers to capture that buzz”
For visitors to the West Bay Lagoon hotel it is a job well done. The 115 metre high tower situated on its own private island overlooking the Arabian Gulf and downtown Doha is one of the symbols of the oil-rich nation’s emergence as a destination for travellers to the Middle East.
“In the past few years, and especially since the 2022 Qatar World Cup announcement, Doha has been in every single magazine in the world,” says Vetry. “We get visitors from all over. American, Asian, European visitors who know The Ritz-Carlton brand. We ask ‘how are we going to exceed their expectations?’ How are we going to stay one step ahead of our customers?”
Staying ahead of the customer is a daily challenge for Vetry and his team. Originally opened just over a decade ago the property recently underwent an extensive $5.5m renovation with more investment planned to stay ahead in a competitive market.
Every aspect of the hotel, from the entrance, underneath sparkling two-metre high Viennese Baakowitz Swarovski crystal chandeliers in the striking grand lobby, to the final check-out is fine tuned each day.
Stylish contemporary Italian textiles are elegantly fitted on all the custom-made furniture and the famed Middle Eastern opulence is evident in the décor throughout. Guests in the newly refurbished rooms will be comfortably ensconced in signature bed linens, lit by Italian lamps, and elegantly surrounded by luxuriant drapes.
A number of award-winning restaurants are situated within the hotel. La Mer, for example, picked up the Best Romantic Restaurant in Qatar gong at the Time Out Doha Restaurant Awards 2012. It’s a classic old school take on romance, all red velvet curtains, sweeping views and fine tableware. It’s got that old-fashioned seriousness about it, that tells you the waiters wouldn’t be shocked if someone proposed at the next table. Food wise, it is classic European with beautiful presentation. In total there are nine food and beverage outlets in the hotel with other stand-out options including the molecular gastronomy of Porcini and a highly-regarded afternoon tea.
“Everything we serve in the hotel’s restaurants is prepared on site. Every dish, baked item and dessert is made right here,” explains Vetry. “Guests in a Ritz-Carlton hotel should feel as though they’re in a home away from home”.
A personal touch and a dedication to providing life’s little luxuries are no more evident than in the Club Level accommodation. This “hotel within a hotel” is reachable only by keyed elevator access and includes multilingual concierge, private lounge area and, Vetry points out, daily food presentations from the hotel’s signature restaurants.
New hotels continue to open across Qatar but The Ritz-Carlton, Doha continues to innovate and improve. It remains the only hotel in the city with indoor tennis courts and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The hotel spa is a sanctuary of peace and tranquility, where the elements of the sea and desert create an environment for a truly unique spa experience. Using a fusion of traditional Arabic principles, Asian traditions and progressive European concepts, this Doha spa provides a natural respite. Signature treatments including diamond dust massages, Hawaiian muscle scrubs and a variety of facial remedies.
The Ritz-Carlton, Doha is a convenient base for exploring the area, either as a business traveller or an out-and-out tourist. The Ritz-Carlton Marina has slips for 235 vessels whilst the nearby Doha Golf Club plays host to the Qatar Masters PGA Tour event each year. The hotel is not far from the corniche, Doha’s most popular area, a waterfront promenade with palm trees and green lawns lining your way. Landmarks along the corniche include the Qatar National Theatre the new Islamic Museum of Art and the Qatar National Museum.
More than $10m has been set aside to continue the ongoing quest for perfection at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha. For Hoss Vetry and is staff the money will provide more opportunities to stay ahead of guest’s expectations.
“I still get goosebumps every time I come into this hotel,” says Hoss. “The Ritz-Carlton is a five-star chain. Every one of the 79 hotels around the world is at the highest standard. We don’t know how to do it any other way”.
â€œThe perception of Qatar has changed,â€ says The Ritz-Carlton, Doha General manager Hoss Vetry.
No it hasn't.
Not one person I know - who lives, has lived, or has visited - is now saying "That Doha's a great place to go these days, I really recommend it for you next holiday."
The Ritz is a nice hotel, but Doha is still Doha.