WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Since our last visit (Business Traveller, June 2005), the Four Seasons has matured, though it remains the newest five-star hotel in Doha. First impressions are reassuring, with the superb flower display a rival to that of the Four Seasons Georges V in Paris, and modern art cleverly complementing the gold, gilt and marble. In fact, some of the art is so impressive you wish there were details on a card next to it so you could learn more.
WHERE IS IT?
In an 18-storey tower in the waterfront West Bay complex at the north end of the Corniche, close to the International Exhibition Centre.
HOW MANY ROOMS?
232, including 57 suites. Rooms are divided into standard, deluxe and premier. The land-side view is a construction site, though one with some almost-completed, elegant glass-fronted skyscrapers, including the new Mövenpick hotel. There are numerous suite options, including 16 executive suites, 16 deluxe suites and 16 ambassador suites, some with adjoining rooms. At the top end there are two Gulf suites and six state suites, and finally the duplex-style royal suite, which occupies two floors and has its own elevator.
Rooms are decorated in warm yellows and golds, and each has a small balcony and a giant welcome basket of fruit, as well as a minibar, large workdesk, fax and modem dataports, and a cable to connect to the high-speed internet service. The internet is refreshingly inexpensive – QAR10 (£1.40) for 24 hours – and there is wifi access in the public areas. All rooms and suites have marble bathrooms with separate bath and shower.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
There are seven dining options in all, including the bright and informal Brasserie on the Beach for breakfast, lunch and dinner: the hot buffet in particular is a memory I cherish. For lunch and dinner a fine choice is Il Teatro (open 1100-midnight), where chef Kenji Salz serves superb Italian cuisine. The Library Bar & Cigar Lounge is very male in its panelled splendour.
BUSINESS AND MEETING
The hotel has 1,670sqm of meeting space split between the lobby level and the second floor. The grandest is the Al Mirqab ballroom (758sqm) on the ground floor, which is elegant in marble and granite with a 7.3-metre ceiling (with a chandelier, naturally), and can hold a reception for 700 or dinner for 500. It’s connected to a large outdoor terrace, which at 751sqm doubles its space. Both Al Mirqab and its ante-room can be divided into three to form individual rooms that can be accessed separately via a corridor from the lobby or from an external VIP entrance. The rest of the meeting space is on the second floor, including the junior ballroom Al Daibel, which holds 175 banquet-style or 210 theatre-style, and three smaller meeting rooms, which take between 30-60 banquet-style or 40-80 theatre-style. The business centre is on the second floor (open 0700 to 2200). It has two small meeting rooms and four internet stations, at a cost of QAR25 (£3.50) for 30 minutes.
The Spa and Wellness centre is now open, with Sodashi natural products. It has 11 treatment rooms and is a magnificent facility, with enough aspects for an entire day to be passed in first working out, then playing squash, tennis or simply relaxing in the hydrotherapy area where there is a Swiss shower, ice room, colour therapy room, hydrotherapy pool, Kneipp foot bath, meditation room, and warm and cold plunging pools, as well as an aerobics studio with fitness classes and a gym. The hotel also has a jogging map and, except at the height of summer, it’s a nice 5km or 10km option along the corniche with views of the waterfront of Qatar. The hotel has its own beach and is close to the City Center mall and Doha Golf Club.
Along with the Ritz-Carlton, this is the top choice for Doha, with the location becoming more advantageous as development moves quickly onwards on neighbouring plots.
Fully flexible internet rates for a midweek stay in early February started at QAR1,287 (£182), room only.
Four Seasons Hotel, The Corniche, Doha, Qatar, tel +974 494 8888, fourseasons.com.