Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Intercontinental Doha

27 Apr 2009 by Tom Otley

What’s it like? Depending on the time of day you might think everyone staying here is a business traveller, yet come back early from a meeting and it seems more like a resort hotel. The property is set on a long expanse of beach, has extensive grounds and a large swimming pool, and despite ongoing construction work it is peaceful.

Where is it? In the West Bay area. The Qatar Exhibition Centre and Doha Golf Club are a five-minute drive away, while Doha International airport is around 30 minutes, depending on traffic along the Corniche.

Room facilities Many of the 257 rooms, including 24 suites and 30 Executive Club, have sea views. Entry-level Superior rooms are large (40 sqm) and have a work area with plenty of plugs. All rooms have a separate bath and shower and high-speed internet access (QR75/£14 for 24 hours). My Superior room had floor-to-ceiling windows but no balcony, which felt strange given the size of the room and the views. Executive Club rooms have access to the Club lounge on the sixth floor, where free breakfasts, afternoon tea, evening drinks and canapés are served daily. The staff were excellent. On check-out the computers were down and I was anxious to leave to catch my flight, but the way the staff explained the situation, offered me different options and guided me around to read their screen so I could check my bill, which was then emailed to me before I landed back in the UK, was impressive.

Restaurants and bars The six eateries range from the Café Restaurant, which offers an all-day buffet with food from around the world, to the superb Italian restaurant Za Moda, under chef Massimo Pizzato. In the grounds close to the pool and right on the beachfront is Fish Market, which offers a huge selection of daily catch prepared just the way you like it. There are also a number of bars open for cocktails and sundowners, and the soon-to-open Mediterranean restaurant, Mykonos.

Business and meeting facilities As well as the leisure facilities, the meeting venues are what many guests come for. Of the four venues, the 1,400 sqm Al Wajba ballroom holds up to 800 theatre-style and is divisible into three. Functions can also be held on the beach or in the garden. Guests can make use of a 24-hour business centre.

Leisure facilities There is a 500-metre private beach, a good-size, recently renovated 24-hour gym with a class schedule including circuit training and yoga, and a large pool. There is also a children’s playground and covered pool, two outdoor flood-lit tennis courts, two squash courts and a beach volleyball court. The on-site health club offers a sauna, steam room and massages.

Contact Intercontinental Doha, Al Istiqlal Road, West Bay Lagoon; tel +97 4484 4444; ichotelsgroup.com

Price Internet rates for a midweek stay in mid-May started from QR750 (£141) for a Superior room with city views.

Verdict A good choice for Doha combining all the facilities of both a business hotel and a resort, and with great staff. The hotel’s restaurants are excellent and attract a lot of expats for return visits.

Tom Otley

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