W makes a cool debut in Doha

An artist’s impression of the W Doha Hotel

LUXURY hotel brand W Hotels will inaugurate its first property in the Middle East, the W Doha, on June 15.

Located in the West Bay district of Qatar’s capital, the new property will target business and corporate clients, who are expected to constitute around 85 per cent of its business, says general manager Safak Guvenc.
W Hotels is part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts and the W portfolio is positioned at the top end of the luxury market.
“With our distinctive high energy designs, top class service and stylish ambience, we aim position ourselves strongly in a niche market that caters to the young and young at heart,” says Guvenc.
Following its Gulf debut in Doha, two more W hotels are expected to open in Dubai in 2009 and 2010.
Born out of the recognition that there are customers who seek a balance between style and substance the W brand is a success story in the US and it has now set its sights on the burgeoning Middle East market, he adds.
The W Doha offers a unique lifestyle experience that focuses on “the warmth of cool.” Featuring 291 guest rooms and suites, 154 luxury serviced apartments and four dedicated meeting rooms, the W Doha has a host of attractions including a Michelin Star chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland, W the Store by Plum, Bliss Spa, Sweat Fitness Centre, Wet swimming pool as well as W’s distinctive lobby called the Living Room.
“W Doha will be preferred by customers who want to be a part of the W culture and identify with the W brand,” says Guvenc. “The W Doha is a business hotel. We do not have a beach and being located in the heart of the business district our guests will largely be businessmen and women, making us a corporate hotel.”
Food and beverage outlets include the Spice Market and Market, both featuring chef Vongerichten’s culinary concepts, and La Maison du Caviar, Wahm Shisha Lounge, Crystal Lounge and the Thassos Café at the signature living room, with the W Doha being able to host as many as 1,000 guests in total across all its food and beverage outlets.
More than half the 154 W Doha residences have already been rented ahead of its scheduled opening and Guvenc is delighted with the response to the serviced apartments this far.
“We are introducing a new level of luxury living in Qatar through the W Residences and this demand proves we are on the right track,” he says. “Keeping in mind the high flying tastes of Qatar’s elite, coupled with the country’s booming property market, the W Residences could spark off a new trend.”
Boasting signature W design, W Residences tenants will receive signature W beds with 400 thread count sheets, fully equipped luxury kitchens featuring the latest amenities and spa inspired master bathrooms with stone vanity tops, lavish baths and separate rain showers. 
Tenants will have 24/7 access to the  in room dining and W’s trademark Whatever/Whenever service – a concierge who will arrange for any service a guest requests. Tenants will also have full access to the hotel’s gym, spa, and the temperature controlled and shaded wet pool with its own poolside bar. The W Residences will be serviced daily. 
Guvenc predicts a modest opening season with occupancies growing to 80 per cent before slowing down over Ramadan and then bouncing back during the month of December. By 2009 he expects a steady rate of 75 per cent with some seasons seeing higher occupancies. Elaborating on W’s move into Doha, Guvenc says that the brand continues to strategically position itself in “happening cities” such as Istanbul, Los Angeles, New York, London, San Francisco, and now Doha. “Wherever there is energy, we aim to be there.”
Among the unusual design elements is the living room with its pure white marble flooring in sharp contrast to 175 blue lights hanging from the ceiling, which is designed after a mosque in Turkey.  
As guests move from the Living Room to other areas of the hotel, a mood transformation takes place. The access to the guest rooms, which sport minimalist classic décor, is through black corridors lined with blue carpets.
No two W properties bear the same architectural style, another unique feature about the W chain.