The main problem in Doha for business visitors these days is finding a room. For Qatar’s booming economy is attracting huge numbers of businessmen and some women to the capital.
‘We continue to experience very high occupancy levels, and the emphasis is still on the commercial rather than business traveler,’ says General Manager Andrew Turner in the bustling lobby of the hotel, underneath the shadow of the 1.2 tonne Viennese Baakowitz chandelier with more than 2,000 crystals.
Indeed, for sheer opulence the Ritz-Carlton in Doha has become something of a symbol of the modern Middle East, mentioned in the same breath as the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. This 374-room tower hotel boasts 263 chandaliers, and all the suites have them along with padded velvet and silk wall fabrics. You will even find small chandeliers in the lifts.
Such luxurious living has a strong appeal for GCC nationals who are frequent guests and occupy the lobby cafes. It also makes the ideal setting for a company that is new to Doha and wants to entertain clients in a style appropriate to their status.
Food and beverage outlets are up to the highest global standards, and arguably the best business lunch in Doha is to be eaten at La Mer, the signature French restaurant with a skyline view over the city. The panorama at night is equally spectacular.
The Ritz-Carlton also has extremely spacious conference rooms in its cavernous podium, again with world-class standards of luxury and inevitably four massive chandeliers in the main auditorium. For evening events there is the terrace above the swimming pool to watch the sunset.
In late February the hotel was host to the MEED Middle East Project Finance conference and easily accommodated several hundred guests including a sit-down gala dinner.
But the hotel also has personal warmth that surrounds its service standards which fulfills the Ritz-Carlton philosophy of employing ‘Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen’. Old customers receive a hearty welcome back and new visitors are put at their ease.
The Ritz-Carlton Doha is frequently used by heads of state and film stars and accustomed to dealing with the most challenging of guests. Its security on an artificial island is an added bonus.
It is almost impossible to believe that this hotel only opened its doors in October 2001, so established has it become in Doha. And despite the opening of other prestigious hotels, such as the Four Seasons last summer, this hotel looks likely to maintain its premium status.