x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

W Doha Hotel is business by day, party destination by night

Hotel Insider Book an E Wow suite and feel like James Bond for a day at Qatar's W hotel.

The glamorous E Wow suite at W Doha Hotel & Residences. Courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc
The glamorous E Wow suite at W Doha Hotel & Residences. Courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc

The welcome

Book one of the W's Wow Suites and you will be met at the airport by a complimentary, chauffeured Jag and your personal butler, a mine of local information. Upon arrival at the hotel he will whisk you and your luggage past all the saps queuing to check in (which draws "Who's that, then?" stares and feels improbably good) and direct to your 13th-floor suite. As he unpacks your bags you will spin lazily in the vertiginously positioned hanging basket chair and learn to master the electronic controls for the curtains, which whir open to reveal the panoramic view of Doha's West Bay district at your feet. And feel free to bring a furry friend. At the W, Pets Are (also) Welcome (Paw, geddit?).

The neighbourhood

There is, frankly, little within walking distance worth visiting and, despite its West Bay address, the hotel has no direct view of the sea, though guests may use the beach at the Sheraton Hotel, a short cab ride, and determined joggers will find their way to the pleasant Corniche. Doha is, however, pretty compact and such attractions as the Arab Museum of Modern Art, the truly impressive waterside Museum of Islamic Art and the recently revamped Souq Waqif are all no more than 20 minutes by car.

At night, visit the Pearl, Doha's answer to Dubai's Palm; still a bit of a ghost island but with some good restaurants: try Megu: great, if expensive, Japanese food. And forget hailing a cab; order a hotel car through the concierge (up to 100 Qatari riyals [Dh102] a trip) or call Fox (00 974 4462 2777) or Karwa (00 974 4458 8888) - much cheaper but it will be necessary to book at least an hour in advance.

The scene

The urban-chic W is as trendy as it gets in Doha, and somehow manages to pull off being a business/conference hotel by day (despite giving silly names to its business centre and meetings rooms, aka Wired and Strategy), and a happening destination for Doha's party crowd by night - every night. If thumping beats are your thing, head for the Crystal Lounge, with its black Baccarat chandelier. If the word "chillax" comes easily to your lips, you are invited to "ice your mind" (whatever that means) at Wahm, the inside-outside pool lounge. If not, rest assured that, on the 13th floor at least, you will remain impervious to such hip goings-on.

The room

Well, rooms, if you have sprung for an E Wow Suite, and wow's the word, from the lounge, with its seductive circular sofa pit, vast, surround-sound flatscreen, perfectly positioned desk and an elegant dining table that cries out for room service, to the film-set bedroom, complete with shamelessly reflective ceiling and whose designer has drawn the line just one tassel shy of bordello. And if you felt like George Clooney when the butler scooted you past the little people downstairs, the delusion will be reinforced by the Nespresso machine awaiting you in the walk-in maxi-bar.

The service

There was no faulting the service from the moment my assigned gentleman's gentleman, Mohamed Kassem, pressed his card into my hand at the airport with the instruction to call him about anything, at any time. I did once, when I was stranded in Doha's Education City and needed a car (which he procured, pronto), and on another occasion nearly had to call again to ask where he had put my socks. What can I tell you? It's a big wardrobe.

The food

The W boasts three destination restaurants: the European-flavoured Market (a relaxed spot for a buffet breakfast but humming and always busy at lunchtime, when you will have to book); Spice Market, where the food evokes the street cuisine of south-east Asia and a non-stop parade of dishes comes to the table for all to share; and Le Maison du Caviar, all French and gourmet. Room service, however, is prompt and irresistibly good, from possibly the world's best omelettes (65 riyals; Dh67) to pan-seared salmon fillet (120 riyals; Dh122) and grilled Omani lobster (210 riyals; Dh212). And even Fido gets room service; may I recommend the lightly cooked 10oz fillet with a side order of Iam's Kibbles (129 riyals; Dh131) followed perhaps by some bone cookie treats (44 riyals; Dh46)?

Loved

The small but perfectly functional 24-hour gym and the two-lane, 30-metre lap pool squeezed ingeniously into the limited outdoor space on the second floor - open from first light, chilled to perfection and usable all year round.

Hated

That W, unable to resist using its eponymous capital consonant, has chosen to call its butlers Woosters, when any fan of PG Wodehouse knows full well that Bertie Wooster was the idle drone and his valet was called Jeeves. This, I realise, is a specialist niggle.

The verdict

The W is a good enough reason on its own to visit Doha for a weekend away; do it during the summer and take advantage of a number of special suite offers, ranging from a complimentary Spectacular room for the children to the James Bond Wow suite package, complete with his-and-hers Omega watches and the slightly weird privilege of being addressed as "Mr Bond" throughout your stay, including on the card held up by the chauffeur at the airport. And if you pass a bald bloke with a white cat at reception, be sure to lock your door.

The bottom line

From 959 riyals (Dh967) for a Spectacular suite (from May to September) to 21,259 riyals (Dh21,441) for an E Wow suite (January to April). W Doha Hotel, West Bay, Qatar (www.whoteldoha.com; 00 974 4453 5343).

jgornall@thenational.ae