CHECK-LIST - NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
Four Seasons Hotel, Doha: By mid-February, there were some 2,000 workers on site to complete the finishing of Four Seasons Hotel, Doha for its scheduled – and much anticipated – opening in the second quarter of this year.
More than half of the staff had already been recruited; many were already in town, and local press photographers were invited in to see ‘the first egg being cooked in the kitchens of the new hotel’.
Prior to that, TTN was given an exclusive hard-hat site inspection tour, getting a glimpse of the beautiful rooms and suites, the sumptuous ballroom and junior ballroom, the beautiful 3-storey domed atrium with its glass wall giving onto the terraces, private beach, a three-level beachfront grotto pool with whirlpools and water features, still swimming pool and separate children’s pool, and110-berth marina. All have spectacular views of Doha Bay and the waterfront Corniche.
The whole development is based on the Al Hambra complex in Granada, Spain, which incorporates individual elements of a fortress, a palace and a residential area into one entity. It similarly combines the individual elements of a hotel with associated buildings, offices, apartments, townhouses and Marina. The development is owned by the country’s first Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani, who formed a holding company called Advance Tourism Investment Company Limited (ATICo) to operate the hotel the leasing of the 20 townhouses and the apartments in the residential blocks is handled by Al Asmakh Real Estate, and the 28-storey tower has been bought by the country’s sole telecommunications provider, the partially-state-owned Qatar Telecom (Qtel).
As you drive up to the Four Seasons Hotel, Doha, the sweeping drive to the entrance gives a feeling of grandeur, while the two-storey lobby and reception areas are rich, elegant and – above all, welcoming, giving direct access to all the principal public areas and guest rooms via either a winding ‘grand staircase’ or the elevators. The meeting rooms and business centre are on the second floor. One level down from the lobby, the atrium has a spectacular fountain and speciality coffee shop called Arabica, and leads to the Brasserie on the Beach and Il Teatro restaurants as well as the beach. The column motif, Wind Towers, and patterned cladding panels of the hotel have clear Islamic and Qatari influences, but the detailing of the domes, corners, openings and windows use Andalusian approaches.
The hotel – with a total of 232 rooms and suites – is part of the West Bay Complex that also includes two residential towers and a number of town houses set close to the beach, around their own landscaped pool. The hotel, residential towers and a nearby 29-storey commercial tower that was built as part of the complex, are all capped by handsome Arabesque crowns, creating a distinctive new landmark on Doha’s skyline.
AL SHARQ VILLAGE RESORT AND SPA: Qatar National Hotels Company (QNH) is set to add a five-star, deluxe resort and spa to its already extensive portfolio. The ‘Al-Sharq Village Resort and Spa’ – a QR195 million project – is scheduled for opening in the second quarter of 2006 according to QNH chairman, Sheikh Nawaf bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani..
The property, overlooking Doha Bay and located between the Doha Club and the Oasis Hotel, will be a ‘boutique luxury five-star resort’ and has been designed to blend traditional architecture and modern facilities. A series of pathways or traditional ‘sikkas’ will link various parts of the hotel, resort and spa, while the interiors will all be influenced by traditional Arabic designs.
Facilities at the 160-room property will include: standard, twin and king rooms; speciality suites; a presidential suite; a number of villas; a spa with 23 treatment suites; a series of shops resembling a traditional Qatari souq; a range of food and beverage outlets including a 100-seat all-day-dining restaurant and a Cigar Bar; and entertainment. Six Senses Spas – an award-winning Bangkok-based company – has been selected to develop and operate the spa which, at 5,200 sq m, will be the largest of its kind in the Gulf region, according to QNH officials. Work has already begun on the site and the project is scheduled for completion by the end of June 2005.