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City

Checking In: The Ritz-Carlton, Doha

Neighbouring Doha’s ubiquitous skyscrapers, The Ritz-Carlton stands tall in the West Bay district by the Arabian Sea, attracting a swish and increasingly international clientele.

Since its opening in the early 2000s, all 374 rooms and suites have been redesigned under the discerning eye of Toronto-based interior designer John David Edison, blending classic Arabic and European design notes that result in a discreet opulence. Whether you’re after a workcation with a little luxury, or a supercharged city break that involves a spa treatment or two, Doha’s take on The Ritz-Carlton balances business and beguilement in equal measure.



The Vibe

Laidback opulence; ‘bleisure’ comes to mind – a harmonious collision of business and leisure.


The Rooms

Neutral hues, decadent toiletries and walkout balconies set the tone for a pampered stay. The deluxe bedrooms are supremely spacious and business chic, with lavish materials and contrasting art pieces placed in unexpected nooks. Those subtle idiosyncrasies are reason enough to stay put if not for the fact that each and every room has a deep-soak tub. For an added dose of luxury, upgrade your stay to Club Level to make the most of the palatial beds and sweeping sea views. An endless supply of food and wine comes as part of this package, served in a separate lounge area on the top floor for an added layer of seclusion.


The Little Extras 

 

Doha’s Ritz-Carlton spa features an extensive and eclectic range of rejuvenating treatments to choose from, blending Arabic, Asian, and European techniques. As part of a recent renovation, there are two luxed-up hamman rooms large enough for couples to enjoy a sudsy massage à deux; two tennis courts; one squash court; and an open-plan gym with views of the yacht-speckled marina. Squeezing in a workout session? Thoughtful touches like cucumber-infused water make that early AM start slightly more achievable.

The al-fresco pool has a playful, in-built bar for keeping cool even in Qatar’s desert heat which can reach highs of 25°C in the winter months. Oversized sunbeds and acres of green lawns encircle the pool, resembling a beachy retreat in the far-flung tropics.

Habanos is the place to visit for swigging early evening cocktails in a lively bar setting. Snag a seat on the terrace for idyllic views of the landscaped gardens below.


The Food + Drink

There’s the glitz and glamour of B-Lounge to look forward to, a restaurant and terrace facing a sweep of superyachts bobbing away along the ultra-modern marina. For sophisticated flourishes, STK Doha brings a contemporary twist on the traditional American steakhouse, switching up the norm with a Saturday Roast to keep things interesting. Sel & Miel offers classic French fare in a brasserie-style setting just beyond the lobby, hidden in its own private nook like a secret backstreet bistro.

The holy grail: French onion soup, served in a lion head soup bowl with a blanket of melted cheese on top. Flamingos is another transportive spot serving light snacks and salads. Retreat to the Lagoon restaurant for the breakfast buffet, a lavish concoction of international cuisines all served under one roof.


The To-Do List

Fancy a change of scenery? Doha’s ultra-modern architecture is worth seeing in person, preferably by boat on a dhow cruise – a traditional wooden sailing boat rooted in Qatar’s seafaring history. It’s a tranquil way to tick off the city’s monumental museums and glassy structures designed by the likes of I.M. Pei, Jean Nouvel, and Zaha Hadid.

Dune bashing is quite the thrill if you can handle the sporadic twists and turns down a sloping pit of sand that momentarily feels like driving off a cliff (not to sound melodramatic). For a culture fix, Souq Waqif is a short drive away, a maze-like marketplace brimming with spices and stuffed dates as sweet as caramel.

For further information and to plan your holiday in Qatar, head to www.visitqatar.com.

Qatar Airways flies six times a day from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick direct to Doha’s Hamad International Airport, and onwards to more than 140 destinations globally. Qatar Airways is the only airline to have held the accolade “Skytrax Airline of the Year” title for five years. For further information and to book a flight, visit qatarairways.com.

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