The five-star Grand Regency hotel is the latest addition to Doha’s hospitality and tourism industry.
Located at what is known as ‘sports roundabout’ on the Rayyan Road, it is owned by Qatar’s Regency Group. The QR80 million Phase 1, which had its soft opening in late November and is now fully booked for the West Asian Games in Doha from December 1 to 10, has 192 rooms, 21 suites, four restaurants, a coffee shop, a business centre and a suite of meeting rooms. There is also a gymnasium. It will also have Qatar’s first ‘fat-burning studio’ for those looking to lose weight.
Phase II will add two floors of covered parking, a huge indoor swimming pool, a multipurpose banqueting/ conference room for 1,000 people as well as 100 more rooms and suites. The meeting room already open in Phase 1 can accommodate 100 people.
Targeted towards regional business travellers and families from the GCC, it currently has agreements in place for guests to access additional facilities.
General manager Ayman Lotfy said: “Our market segment is aimed towards business travellers and GCC families. When Phase 2 opens, with extensive leisure facilities, including a spa, and additional rooms and suites, we will offer even more luxurious facilities. This is our [the Regency Group’s] first property, and we made the decision to manage it ourselves. Our next property to open in town will be managed by Mövenpick. We also have two towers of hotel serviced apartments opening in the West Bay area of town, but we haven’t finalised the management agreement yet"
In fact, the Regency Group is set to establish its own chain of hotels. As Qatar develops its tourism industry, the group’s studies have shown a need for more hotel rooms in the country and that’s not just for the Asian Games in Doha in 2006. “We definitely don’t have enough medium-level hotels. People want very good service, good hospitality, but also at reasonable prices. In the past, they looked for the big brand names, but services are more important for guests now,” pointed out Lotfy.
What Grand Regency aims to do, said Lotfy, “is make sure guests really have the kind of service they need. And in an atmosphere where they feel their culture is understood and respected. We went everywhere when we were recruiting our staff, to make sure we really got the right people in the right positions. They have come from different chains, different hotel schools. We have recruited from what we think are the best sources in each discipline: the ones who have really got it ‘right’. We have chosen to recruit from wherever the industry is strongest.”
Added Lotfy: “We have been in this industry a long time and we really understand the needs of customers from this part of the world. Many discerning guests now prefer Arab-owned and Arab-managed hotels chains – look at what has happened with Jumeirah, which began local and became international. Look at the names that are successful. What guests in this part of the world expect is more polite service, more friendly service. Often guests are happy with quite simple facilities if the service is exceptionally good.”
Lotfy is confident that Grand Regency can offer clients “something good”. But, he is quick to point out, that he does not underestimate the competition. The hotel is already being introduced to the local and regional markets and will be represented at exhibitions and travel markets alongside Qatar Tourism Authority. The attractive decor of Grand Regency was designed by a local company, Modern Design, with furniture especially designed and custom-made and, not to forget, a number of the paintings were commissioned from Qatari artists.
The hotel also boasts a number of dining options. The Grand Gourmet is an all-day dining restaurant, open 24-hours a day, Chopsticks is the Chinese Restaurant “which will serve American-Chinese – something a little bit new to the market”. “What the Chinese eat in China and what many people think of as Chinese dishes are completely different things. And not everyone in this part of the world finds ‘authentic’ Chinese dishes to their taste. We will be serving the popular ‘Americanised’ Chinese dishes to Doha,” said Lotfy. In addition, Grand Regency will be the first hotel in Doha to have a Moroccan restaurant. “The chefs, the themes, the singers, everything is from Morocco,” pointed put Lotfy.
The hotel is planning to arrange plenty of family activities, sightseeing tours and so on and will have a courtesy bus service to and from the airport and to the major shopping malls. “We are going to offer something new,” summed up Lotfy.
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