Inside Katara Towers, with its iconic crescent-shaped architecture, Fairmont Doha brings a new level of luxury to the Lusail Marina District. In fact, the building itself is a destination for visitors who often spot it dominating the skyline as they take off or land from Hamad International Airport. The airport is home to global carrier Qatar Airways, named by Pursuitist as the world’s most luxurious airline.
Fairmont shares the landmark building with its Accor sibling Raffles Doha, and the two high-end brands are bringing Doha to the next level in attracting tourists that see globally famous hotels as a bucket list place to visit. From the moment you step inside to the incredible food and beverage outlets that fill the hotel, this new Fairmont is sure to score another winning goal for Qatar, long after the successful FIFA World Cup events have finished. Here are five reasons to visit the new Fairmont Doha on your next trip to the Middle East.
Ultra-modern rooms and suites are a far cry from Fairmont’s more traditional design in other parts of the world. 18-karat gold leaf surfaces, white leather fabrics and curvaceous edges to the architecture give these rooms an almost futuristic look. That’s quite fitting given the unique design of the building itself and the city’s growing skyline. These accommodations were designed to look like a modern yacht with subtle nautical accents.
Soft carpeting leads guests through oversized guest rooms with each floor having a slightly different layout given the building. Floor-to-ceiling windows are the norm, and many have balconies overlooking the city or the building’s curving interior. The pillowtop mattresses are divine for jet-lagged sleep, and wraparound leather headboards make you feel like you are in a cocoon. Looking for the power outlets, open the drawer where they are neatly tucked away.
Sea View rooms impress while Premier rooms add extra living space to the beautiful surroundings. While many guests like looking out to the Persian Gulf, rooms that overlook the Lusail skyline are equally enchanting (especially at night). The suites come in multiple sizes from the charming Junior Suites with windows separating the bedroom and bathroom to the one and two-bedroom suites that add living areas tucked into corners assuring that no space goes without a floor-to-ceiling window view. Many have windows in bathrooms, too.
Themed suites include the Lanner and Peregrine Suites with their four-poster wooden bed considered to be some of the most expensive in the country thanks to its inlaid mother of pearl and the duplex Presidential Suite on the top two floors that has separate living and entertainment areas. It includes a show kitchen, three bedrooms, movie theater, gym and dining room across its more than nearly 9,000 square feet.
Bathrooms have marble vanities with Clarins toiletries, rain-drenching showers, soaking tubs set by windows in many rooms and water closets with Japanese toilets. Walk-in closets have plenty of storage space tucked neatly behind sliding doors where you can unpack or make use of the range of amenities from straw beach and pool bags to flip flops and robes.
Instead of a minibar, these accommodations have “maxibars,” designed to impress with wine fridges, all types of refreshments and snacks, and bean-to-cup coffee makers.
The Fairmont Gold experience of Fairmont Doha
Fairmont Gold is the hotel brand’s hotel-within-a-hotel concept giving guests extra services atop the already decadent norm. It starts with in-room perks including more personalized service and access to a private lounge for various food and beverage presentations throughout the day. An evening happy hour lasts for two hours with an open bar and an impressive array of food; don’t miss the dessert spread later in the evening.
Guests in this room category also enjoy access to a private pool and patio overlooking the Persian Gulf. Other perks include a complimentary morning beverage delivered with the wakeup call, free dry cleaning of two items each day and the offer for a butler to unpack or pack your bags.
The dining at Fairmont Doha
If you like Indian food, you’ll want to try Masala Library where the tasting menu is almost a theater of colors and presentations. This is next-generation Indian food taking traditional recipes and adding a modern-day spin. Let the elevator whisk you up to the duplex restaurant Provok Asian Project where the expert Korean chef demonstrates his prowess and delivering Japanese and Korean dishes with flair. If the views from these floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor terrace are not enough, wait until you try the umami-focused menu that places a special focus on fermented dishes, fresh sushi and other creative dishes like a kimchi pizza and kimchi spaetzle.
The Latin restaurant, staffed by Spanish speakers from around the world, serves an impressive display at breakfast from live action stations. Fruit is carved by hand, smoothies and egg dishes are made to order, housemade yogurts come with more than a dozen toppings and the pastries section is incredible (try the alfajores). Later in the day, the menu skews even more Latin-inspired with fish tacos, empanadas, quesadillas and fresh seafood delivered daily. The restaurant offers beautiful views, but there is also a wine tasting room, private dining area and pescaderia section with a raw bar.
You can’t miss the towering glass cloche that is the center of the lobby bar and tea lounge. Several dozen bespoke tea pots line the wall while the glass cloches covers a table of decadent pastries, cakes and sandwiches to enjoy throughout the day. During afternoon tea, locals and guests intermingle in this bright and airy space. Fairmont Doha has quickly become a hub for top-notch dining among local.
The Qatari capital is fast-becoming a tourist destination thanks to it being front and center during the FIFA World Cup in 202 and being a hub for Qatar Airways. Whether it’s art and culture you’re looking for or spa and retail therapy, the Fairmont is well-positioned to get you where you need to be in a short span of time. Ubers are plentiful and cheap, and taxis are everywhere.
In Lusail itself, the Fairmont is close to Doha Golf Club and numerous shopping malls, including the famous Katara Cultural Village where outdoor air conditioning cools shopaholics exploring every brand from local to international. Designed like the canals of Venice, The Pearl is adjacent to the hotel with numerous shops and restaurants.
Culture seekers don’t have far to go to see the National Museum of Qatar and its famous Zaha Hadid-designed architecture. There’s also the Qatar National Library, the I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art along the water and famous Souq Waqif that really comes alive at night. Msheirib Museums contain collections about the history of the country, but there is great dining and shopping in the vicinity, too.
Being a small country, it’s easy to explore. There’s adventure: kite surfing, sand duning and camel riding. There’s out-of-town culture, too: don’t miss the UNESCO World Heritage Al Zubarah Archaeological Site.
Spas abound around Doha, but Fairmont’s spa impresses with its range of massage and beauty treatments. Go for a swim before or after in the hotel’s indoor pool or outdoor panoramic terrace pool overlooking the sea. Working out at the hotel is easy thanks to its membership health club. It has the latest equipment, personal trainers, live and virtual classes, and Hyperice recovery gadgets.
Like at sibling hotel Raffles, the staff don eclectic attire that is far from your signature hotel uniform. In fact, many look like they are wearing haute couture and headed out for a night on the town. Attention to detail at this hotel is impeccable, and you can expect that the more than 1,000 staff members that work in Katara Towers are on top of name recognition and personal preferences.
While you’re enjoying the world’s tallest chandelier suspended from the atrium (it’s 183 feet high), you can listen to the tunes of the lobby pianist. Tucked into alcoves, the concierge team has connections to almost every place in town. They do an amazing job helping guests. They can organize Mercedes airport transfers or city tours or simply suggest their favorite activities. A stay in this iconic building, however, is special whether as a stopover or the destination itself.
Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe.