By Shane McGinley
GM of Ramada Plaza Doha tells Arabian Business ambitious new property will be "absolutely magic"
Qatar is set to add a new hotel attraction to its hospitality landscape in 2013, a city centre hotel complete with a man-made beach, a wave pool, rivers, a waterfall and an 18-hole golfing green, a spokesperson for the company behind the project told Arabian Business.
Ghanem Al Thani Holdings, owner of the Ramada Plaza Doha hotel, is currently in negotiations with a number of hotel operators to open a water-themed hotel in the centre of the Qatari capital in late 2013, Gordon MacKenzie, general manager of the Ramada Plaza Doha told Arabian Business in an interview this week.
"We don’t have a beach [at Ramada Plaza Doha], but we are going to rectify that with our new hotel. We are having a beach there in the middle of the city centre,” he explained. “It will be a water-themed hotel… With water at the front, a river runs all the way through reception [under a] glass floor, all the way out the back, to culminate in a waterfall and a wave pool.
“It will be absolutely magic. It will be a man-made beach… It is going to be fun, it will be challenging and it will be an attraction,” he added.
The 360-room property will have banqueting facilities for 2,400 people and will also include golfing facilities.
“It will also have an 18-hole putting green… The majority of hotels go down to nine holes, but we are going the full 18,” MacKenzie said.
While the company is “in the throw of negotiations at the moment”, Mackenzie said the hotel “should be opening at the earliest in August/September 2013.”
Ghanem Al Thani Holdings, which is owned by HE Sheikh Ghanem bin Ali Al Thani, is also spending early US$20m refurbishing the Ramada in time for its changeover to the Radisson brand.
In January, it was announced Belgian hotelier the Rezidor Hotel Group will take over the operation of the hotel after over three decades as a Ramada property.
“The Ramada flag comes down on the night of the 30 June and the Radisson flag goes up at one minute past,” MacKenzie said.
“We have been with Ramada for 33 years and we have decided it is time for a new flag and a new brand. We courted Radisson through the Rezidor company, purely because it has very good exposure in the Middle East.”
The takeover of the 583-room hotel will see Rezidor make its debut in the Qatar market, as it seeks to take advantage of the Gulf state’s tourism drive ahead of its hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Doha has pledged to spend some US$88bn on infrastructure and hotels over the next decade as it gears up to hold the world’s most-watched sporting event.
Dubai has Burj Al Arab. Now Doha wants it too. Soon we will see Doha wants a community with largest tower and biggest mall with tallest fountain just because brother Dubai has it.
Doha is like a parallel city to Dubai. I would love Doha the day they try to be original. Learn from Abu Dhabi. They do what Dubai hasn't done hence creating a balance in development.
I am born in Doha lived there, it is heavy, never compare it with Dubai... Dubai is like a free town you feel you are on top... I can not stay in Doha more than 2 days..
Being from Doha, i raelly dont think Qatar wants to be like Dubai, clrearly from the projects taking place, and from reading qatar visition 2030, where focus is on industry, education and health sectors.
Qatar is so much on preserving the culture and modernizing it, rather than distroying it.
I think both Dubai and Qatar has their own offerings...