Hotel Review: An Astor Room at the St. Regis Doha in Qatar
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To The Point
The St. Regis brand is known for luxury and the Doha property certainly didn’t disappoint. The Pros: Great service, an enormous Olympic-size swimming pool and amazing views of the Gulf. The Cons: Dated technology (in terms of TVs and alarm clocks) in the rooms.
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I recently spent time in Doha, Qatar, and booked a stay at one of SPG’s largest properties in the Middle East, The St. Regis Doha. Located in West Bay, close to the The Pearl Shopping Mall, the hotel has 336 rooms and suites, as well as 12 international restaurants offering everything from local Arabic specialities to international cuisine by world-renowned chefs like Gordon Ramsay. Here’s what it was like to stay there.
I was planning a last-minute trip to Qatar, this time to see how flights were being affected by the airspace restrictions that started in June. I’d only need to spend one night in Doha between flights so figured I’d head to the coolest hotel in town. Rates at the St. Regis Doha were going for $214 or 12,000 Starpoints per night — or 6,000 Starpoints + $110 per night with the SPG Cash + Points option — when I looked on the hotel’s website. I eventually checked Hotels.com to see if I could find a better deal and wound up paying $185.33 for my one-night stay. I used the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card so I’d get 3x points for the travel purchase, earning a total of 555.99 Ultimate Rewards points.
Booking through Hotels.com can sometimes be a great option because you’ll end up getting a rebate of about 10% since you get one free night for every 10 nights you stay. Just note that if you do book a stay at a chain hotel with Hotels.com, you won’t get any stay credits there — it’s worth trying, but generally, it just doesn’t work that way — so remember to at least check the site whenever you’re booking expensive hotels that aren’t part of a loyalty program.
Check-In and Lobby
Upon arrival, I was greeted by three smiling staff members, and one of them said, “You must be Mr. Macheras? We’ve been eagerly anticipating your arrival!” It was a very nice personal touch, especially considering how I’d arrived at the hotel so late at night and must have been among the last to check-in that day.
The lobby was stunning, a beautiful blend of Arabic design and luxury fittings.
I was offered some Arabic coffee, the traditional welcome drink of the Middle East.
Check in was very straightforward, and the reception staff introduced me to the manager of the hotel. The front desk team then explained how I should be aware that it was the Islamic holy season of Ramadan and no food or drink, including water, could be consumed in any part of the hotel during daylight hours — except within the privacy of my own room, reminding me to be careful not to forget this.
Furthermore, the staff explained that as a result of Ramadan, all restaurants would be closed during daylight hours, with the exception of Gordon Ramsay’s Opal restaurant, which featured closed curtains and was dedicated to guests who were not observing Ramadan.
Once I checked in, I was issued a room key and given directions to the elevator. En route to the elevators, I couldn’t help but admire the Arabic lanterns on display.
I also noticed the hotel featured a large amount of seating areas, like this one.
For this trip, I treated myself to an Astor Room, a 60-square-meter (~646 square foot) room featuring two large doors leading to a terrace overlooking the Arabian Gulf. These rooms usually go for $312 per night, so I really got a good deal by taking a chance with Hotels.com this time around and paying about $185 for mine.
The first thing I noticed upon entering the room was the contemporary Arab designs. Arches are typical of Islamic architecture and feature heavily throughout the hotel.
Continuing through the arch straight ahead leads you to the bedroom and living area.
The room has a king-size, half-canopied St. Regis bed, with huge pillows and bedside tables on either side.
Nearby is a small living area with a comfortable sofa suite and mirror sofa. Adjacent to the bed was a 42-inch flat screen TV, which offered international channels but no other options like Apple Air Play or a way to connect my phone via bluetooth.
The room was spacious, with a nice arrangement of furniture that stuck with the overall Arabian design theme of the hotel. Apples were replaced in my room daily, which I thought was a nice touch.
In the corner of the room was a desk with hotel guides and other area info as well as an Ethernet cable and universal power supply sockets.
There were also various notices about some building work taking place at the hotel, but as is common in the Middle East, it was barely noticeable due to the well-divided areas where the construction was taking place.
Standard amenities in the room included tea and coffee supplies.
There was also a well-stocked mini-bar, which housed only non-alcoholic beverages. Alcohol was available, too, but only by request.
Next to the bed was an iPhone dock, which, unfortunately, still featured the first generation iPhone charging point. If I had one request to hotels worldwide, it would be to please offer a lightning port or bluetooth speakers only!
Here’s what the terrace looked like when viewed from the room.
When I stepped outside to check out the terrace, a gush of 107-degree heat hit me instantly.
The terrace featured a small seating area for two and looked out onto a wider shared balcony area, which looked over the Gulf.
Back inside and through the other archway of the hallway was a walk-in wardrobe area and luggage stand.
Turning right from here led to the separated toilet and bathroom, which is something you’ll typically find at hotels throughout the Middle East.
The bathroom was bright, modern and well-designed, stocked with the usual washroom amenities like bottles of water — which the staff kept reminding me should not be taken outside the room during daylight hours due to Ramadan. Another really cool feature: a mirror, which, when turned on, was also a flat screen TV.
The tub was pretty nice, too.
The hotel is huge, with different hallways leading to grand seating areas and even more hallways, which in turn led to even more seating areas.
At the end of the lobby was the longest piano I’ve ever seen — and it was absolutely gleaming, like the rest of the hotel.
On either side of this lobby area were lounges, which were deserted during the day but busy at night, a normal sight during Ramadan.
Here’s another shot of that sweet piano.
Outside, the Arabian arches multiplied.
All throughout the hotel, there were more lounge areas, all equipped with Arabic tea.
The back of the property offered great views of the Gulf, as well as the swimming pool area and, of course, a giant monument to the Arabian Oryx. This species of antelope that thrives in the harsh desert environment is the national animal of Jordan, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar — you may also recognize it as being the official logo of Qatar Airways.
One of the best parts of the St. Regis Doha is its Olympic-size swimming pool.
It was overwhelmingly huge for a hotel pool and I couldn’t quite believe I had it all to myself for the majority of my trip, mostly due to it being low season and because I was visiting during Ramadan. Cabanas and sun loungers were plentiful and provided some much-needed shade.
The hotel also offers various water sports, including snorkeling and kayaking, as well as beach soccer and beach volleyball. It’s also home to a Remède Spa, where you can indulge in numerous spa treatments, and a fitness center.
Here’s a look at the hotel pool area from a higher floor. Note its proximity to the beach, which has even more sun loungers and umbrellas to protect you from the sun.
The beach continues across until it meets the neighboring hotel’s beach, as you can see below.
Standing proudly outside the St. Regis Doha, another gigantic Oryx sculpture.
At night, the exterior of the hotel was illuminated in warm tones and purples near the reception area.
St. Regis Butler Service is a major part of the hotel brand, and at this property, the butlers were in touch before I even arrived, calling me before my stay to ask about my anticipated arrival time and to see if I needed anything special in my room when I arrived.
During my stay, I met four butlers — Anthony, Mark, José and Cheza-Mae. Below, Anthony and Mark explained everything about the hotel, the room functions and asked what my plans were while I was staying in Doha. They were incredibly attentive and within a second were able to give me recommendations for places to eat, how to arrange transportation and what time the sun would set, so I knew when I could once again eat or drink in public places. Both were always smiling and said they really enjoyed working for the St. Regis.
Another time during my stay, my butler was Cheza-Mae. She knocked to inform me that the sun had set, then helped me make dinner reservation plans, which she was able to do within seconds. She also booked a car for me, and we chatted about her hometown in the Philippines. She was very open in telling me what a great experience it was to be working in Doha, and how her job is real pleasure due to the “guests being among the friendliest people.” Like Cheza-Mae, all the employees at the hotel seemed genuinely happy to be there, which only added to the overall warm, friendly atmosphere of the hotel.
Cheza-Mae took my suits to be pressed, organized for newspapers to arrive at my room the following morning and then (like the other butlers) gave me her card, which had more information about the Butler WhatsApp service. It’s available 24/7 so if I ever had any questions or requests, I could just drop the team of butlers a quick WhatsApp message, a feature that’s becoming more and more popular at hotels internationally.
At another point during my stay, Anthony called my room to let me know my Qatari friend was waiting for me in the lobby. He also told me that he hadn’t let my friend know I was here in case the gentleman at reception really wasn’t a friend — in other words, he didn’t want to compromise my security or privacy by revealing to my friend that I was in fact staying at this hotel. Of course, the person asking for me at reception was indeed my friend and we headed out to dinner. I still think it’s great that Anthony recognized that not all situations of an outsider asking if a guest is available at a hotel are genuine, and it’s definitely an important safety element to keep in mind for for solo travelers.
The St. Regis brand is known for luxury and the Doha property certainly didn’t disappoint. The staff here were incredibly friendly, the hotel was well-equipped with spa and water sports facilities and the Olympic-size swimming pool was definitely one of the highlights. Due to the huge size of the property, the walk from your hotel room to the lobby can be very long, but staff told me it wasn’t a problem to allocate rooms closer to the elevators. The views of the Gulf at sunset were particularly remarkable and the hotel itself was very charming.
What’s particularly interesting is that my stay was in the middle of Ramadan, which tends to be the low season in Qatar, and the overall tone of the day was that people were waiting for the hours to pass so Iftar — the breaking of the fast — can begin. For this reason, I saw the hotel at one of its quietest times of the year, not to even mention this was also at at time where there were no local Gulf country citizens visiting the hotel either due to the current political situation there. While I didn’t eat at the St. Regis during my short stay — due to the closure of restaurants during the day and how I had dinner with friends elsewhere in town at night — the hotel is home to a huge variety of restaurants, which the staff says serve “everything you could dream of!”
The Astor Room I had was spacious, well-designed and the bed was extremely comfortable, as most St. Regis king-size beds generally are. While the shared terrace wasn’t something many people took advantage of because of the intense 107-degree heat, but during the cooler months, I think I would enjoy spending time there relaxing in the evenings. On the whole, it’s a stunning property and the staff really do go the extra mile to make sure you have an excellent stay.
Have you ever stayed at The St. Regis Doha? Tell us about your experience, below.
All photos by the author.
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