Today: Review of the Shangri-La Hotel, Doha (Qatar).
- Location: Google Maps
- Address: Conference Centre Street, P.O.Box 9282, Doha, Qatar
- Hotel website: Shangri-La Doha
In a city that treasures the past and welcomes the future, the five-star Shangri-La Hotel, Doha towers over the district of West Bay, the town’s diverse business hub. The 50-storey hotel blends Asian graciousness with Arabian warmth, offering 272 luxuriously appointed accommodations, a variety of exciting dining experiences, state-of-the-art meeting facilities, and a host of leisure options.
In this review (more info below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Shangri-La Hotel, Doha is centrally located in the commercial district of West Bay, with easy access to the business and diplomatic areas and direct links to City Center Mall, one of the largest malls in the Gulf. Only a 20-minute drive from Hamad International Airport, the hotel is also close to several attractions, such the Museum of Islamic Art and the Souq Waqif.
- The hotel is housed in a new, glittering, 50-storey tower that resembles a falcon’s head in a nod to Qatari falconry, the country’s historic pastime. It only opened last January, so everything is shiny and new.
- The Shangri-La skyscraper is part of the Doha City Center complex, which comprises five high-rise hotel towers in total: two hotel towers are built at the west end of the City Center Mall (operated by Marriott and Renaissance) while the three other towers are located on the east side of the mall (operated by Rotana, Merweb, and Shangri-La). All hotel towers are linked at the podium levels and via the massive shopping complex.
- A massive bottle tree and a falcon, a symbol of Qatar’s ancient falconry tradition, welcome arrivals at the main entrance. Inside the ornate lobby, a sparkling multi-faceted chandelier hangs from a vast golden dome and scatters its brilliance over the floor. The gleaming hallmarks of opulence are delicately balanced by the floral-patterned wall behind the front desk, where staff attired in red and gold move with unhurried grace.
- An lovely scent permeates the hotel’s communal areas. Created exclusively for the company and called the “Essence of Shangri-La”, the signature fragrance is a mixture of vanilla, sandal, musk, bergamot and tea spiced with ginger.
- Each of the 272 modern guestrooms and suites features a warm, stylish design and floor-to-ceiling windows that let in an abundance of natural light and showcase scenic views of the city and the Arabian Gulf beyond. During my visit, I stayed in a spacious deluxe room on the 39th floor. It featured two Shangri-La’s signature single beds (utilising patented body-contouring technology), a full-size executive writing desk, and a bathroom with deep-soaking tub and a walk-in rain shower.
- The hotel offers a wide range of sophisticated cuisines in vibrant restaurants and bars, from the interactive all-day dining experience at Sridan to authentic South American favourites at Fuego, creative seafood selection at Yabby, beautifully designed pastries at the Lobby Lounge, light refreshments at the al fresco Pool Bar and signature concoctions at The Den, Doha’s first non-smoking piano lounge.
- The hotel’s seventh-floor Health Club features some of Doha’s finest recreational facilities, including a fully equipped, 24-hour fitness centre, steam and sauna rooms. But the real highlight is the spectacular tree-lined pool deck, where you can slip into the large, curving outdoor pool, have a drink at the swim-up bar, relax in the jacuzzi, or simply luxuriate and soak up the sun. Despite being surrounded by skyscrapers, the pool deck enjoys brilliant sunshine from around noon until sunset because of its orientation.
- Hotel guests and Qatar residents seeking to improve their holistic well-being can indulge in a rejuvenating signature treatment at the luxurious CHI, The Spa, which features eight private treatment rooms, an outdoor hydrotonic pool, and a team of highly skilled therapists.
- The Horizon Club Lounge is the largest executive lounge in Doha and offers 360-degree panoramic views of the city. Guests who book a Horizon Club room have access to the lounge and a wide range of privileges such as in-room check-in/out, a dedicated Club Concierge, suit pressing and shoe shine service, beverages, breakfast, and evening cocktails with canapés.
- The hotel is managed by the Hong Kong based Shangri-La Hotel Group, which currently owns and/or manages 95 five-star deluxe properties under the Shangri-La brand with a room inventory of 39,000.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
Just a few months after its official opening, the Shangri-La Hotel is already Doha’s best luxury hotel, exceeding the experience offered by its high-end competitors St Regis and Four Seasons (the latter two both suffering from an old-fashioned design and lack of sunshine in the afternoon). The hotel has no real cons, just some minor issues that you may want to know when considering a stay here:
- The hotel is located in the centre of Doha, not along the seashore. While this may not seem ideal for those looking for a recreational holiday, it should not put you off as the large pool deck is gorgeous, and in fact enjoys even more sun exposure as compared to the high-rise hotels along the beach (which throw their shade on the beach in the afternoon). And if you are in need of a beach, walking a few blocks will bring you to the corniche, the waterfront promenade extending for several kilometers along Doha Bay which features a couple of beaches.
- The water in the pool is very cold. While this is a blessing in Qatar’s very humid and hot summer, in winter, swimming in the pool is a very chilly experience. I feel it would be better if the hotel would heat the pool in winter. In addition, the water in the jacuzzi was not warm.
- Location: 8/10
- Design: 8/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Food: 9/10
- Service: 9/10
- Overall experience: very good: 8,4/10
TIPS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like the Shangri-La Doha. Book a room at the cheapest price and/or receive many free perks!
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Qatar has a moderate desert climate with extremely hot summers and mild winters. Temperatures range from a low around 7°C (45°F) in winter to a high of around 42°C (118°F) in summer. Humidity levels can be extremely high on the coast during the summer. Rainfall is scarce (average 70 mm per year), falling on isolated days mainly between October and March.
HOW TO GET THERE
The hotel is located a 20-minute drive from Hamad International Airport. Check the Wikipedia page of Hamad International Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Doha.