Doha Sheraton unveils major facelift at anniversary gala

The Sheraton Doha ... a landmark in Qatar's capital.

The Sheraton Doha Hotel & Resort, one of the Middle East's major landmarks, will begin the second phase of its extensive renovation programme this month.

The details of the multi-million dollar refurbishment programme were outlined by general manager Robert van Meerendonk at a gala celebration to mark the hotel's 20th anniversary this week.

"The Sheraton Doha Hotel & Resort has successfully matured over the years to become a landmark of Doha ... despite the many challenges, our journey has been exciting and rewarding," Van Meerendonk told the gathering.

"In 20 years from now, the Sheraton Doha will still be here and I know it will continue to be successful and gain many achievements for years to come.

"Remember one thing, we are not growing old, we are growing up. Like the manufacturers of a sports car, we shall do the fine tuning and launch a new, exciting model.

"We shall create the WOW factor and impress our customers with impeccable service and facilities."

Outlining some of the fine tuning measures, Van Meerendonk said the forthcoming refurbishment work to begin later this month will follow up on the complete remodeling of the sixth and seventh floor which saw the creation of Sheraton's Executive Floor product, a new fitness centre and beach upgrade.

The second phase, to be carried out by world famous hotel design company Hirsch and Bedner Associates, will see the Salwa Ballroom and its pre-function area completely gutted and remade.

The ninth to 11th floors too will be stripped and all 59 suites and rooms completely rebuilt. The five head of state suites on floors one to five will also be refurbished. The work will be done in time for the GCC summit in December which will be held at the hotel.

Next year will see further refurbishment works at the hotel involving the main entrance, lobby area and more guest rooms, said Van Meerendonk.

He praised the total support of owning company Qatar National Hotels Company (QNHC) which had played a major role in the Sheraton's success.

A special documentary screened at the anniversary gala this week recalled the glory of the hotel which has played host to many major events starting with the GCC summit in 1983 to last year's World Trade Organisation meeting - the biggest conference ever held in Doha.

It has also welcomed many distinguished guests including former US president George Bush, the late Princess Diana and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak among others.

The celebration was attended by QNHC chairman Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Thani, Phillipe Cassis, senior vice president and director of operations Africa and Middle East for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Sheraton's parent company, and Gerhard Foltin, the hotel's first general manager.