Hotel Inter-Continental Doha is beating the slack summer season by a promotion that has seen occupancy rates reach 40 per cent.

The hotel said a summer discounted room rate of QR250 ($68) for Qatari nationals and QR325 for others against the usual tariff of QR400 had boosted occupancy figures and the hotel was poised to do better in the coming winter with special events and products.

It has notched an average occupancy of 50 per cent in the nine months it has been in business.

The Inter-Continental Doha, primarily a business accommodation, aims to provide guests with a more fulfilling stay embellished with leisure facilities.

It claims to be the first in the country to offer direct Internet access through the in-house television system.

The hotel's business centre provides secretarial support, Internet access, a private meeting room and office equipment including computers and colour photocopying.

Twelve rooms have been specially designed to create an office away from the office.

Other firsts are rooms designed for those with special needs including wider doors and lower furniture for wheelchair users as well as rooms with separate showers and bathtubs, according to the hotel.

Guests in all 300 rooms have views of the sea and the extensive landscaped gardens, while the pool area is right across the main building, which it says is unique for Doha.

'We describe ourselves as modern and contemporary; no bizarre 19th century style,Ó said public relations manager Katherine Anthony. 'It's very much Inter-Continental. We pride ourselves on our rooms.'

The hotel has already hosted presidents, members of the Jordanian Royal Family and British aristocracy since its November 2000 opening.

The hotel is a short distance to the diplomatic district, the university, the championship golf course and an easy drive to the business areas and international airport, making it ideal for the business and leisure traveller.

Beach and leisure facilities on offer include one of the longest private beaches in Doha, a large temperature-controlled pool, water sports, tennis, squash and beach volleyball courts.

A highlight is an underwater bar in the middle of the pool and a luxurious health club featuring state-of-the-art equipment, barber and beauty salons and a sauna, steam room and massage facilities.

The hotel hires travel agencies that operate desert excursions and barbecues.

'They really love it. For non-Arabic people, its magnetic,Ó says Anthony.

The hotel is working with Qatar Airways Holidays to bring in tourists under the Destination Qatar initiative. The hotel recently hosted a 300-member familiarisation team from Europe.

While hotels in Qatar usually target Westerners, the Inter-Continental is also looking East and recently had a Japanese company booking 300 rooms over a period of time. The hotel expects guests from the many delegations that will be arriving in Qatar for the World Trade Organisation conference in Doha.

Weeks before that, in October, it will be staging a charity Doha fashion week in association with Estee Lauder and hopes to have European models gracing the event.

Guests at the Inter-Continental can settle down to dine at its showpiece restaurant Sultan Ibrahim, a Lebanese-style fish joint.

Tex-mex food is offered at the mezzanine floor Paloma Restaurant.

The Italian restaurant Cielo, the international-cuisine restaurant Amwaj and The Tea Garden are other options.

A business lunch that will provide a snappy but fulfilling meal is being planned to start in October. That month will also see the launch of unique Saturday dinners for ladies only, which Anthony said could become very popular among Qataris as an occasion for women to socialise on their own.