By Thomas Shambler
The Shangri-La has just opened its doors in Doha, bringing with it the token luxury characteristics on which it built is name
A chandelier (probably the weight of eight giant pandas) illuminates the lobby of the Shangri-La Hotel in Doha, a shining first impression.
Brand new, the hotelier’s first property in Qatar brings the Asian characteristics on which it has built its name, blended with local features including Shang the Falcon, subtle Arabesque décor and an emphasis on food and beverage.
At 494 square feet, the Shangri-La's deluxe room is the largest in the city centre, while the serviced apartments - at a sprawling 3,400 square feet – are the perfect fit for a family or longer work trip.
Visitors for business events will no doubt be impressed by the pillar-less ballroom, with an adjacent 'green room' for VIP guests. A dedicated pre-function area and a separate street entrance only add to what will no doubt become a firm fixture on the city's events calendar.
There are seven restaurants on the property, including the souq-like set-up at Sridan (which means 'kitchen on a boat' in old Arabic). Fuego – the Argentinian restaurant – is a hit for steak-lovers, with a gold-specked empanada providing a Qatari touch to the South American favourite. Seafood lovers will no doubt find a home at Yabby's, with one of the largest live and fresh fish selections in the capital.
The Den is soon to be another star on Doha's entertainment scene, a piano bar for adults-only, and the only smoke-free bar in the country. Of course, if being outside is more your thing there is a comfortable outdoor pool area that curves around the hotel, offering guests private cabanas and lush greenery, a rarity in Doha.
Shangri-La is championing an innovative 'Your Service' initiative, that allows guests to critique and review elements of the hotel immediately, via a smartphone app. The instantaneous feedback – in theory – means that any qualms can be dealt with quickly. Now that's service.