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5 Reasons To Visit the New Raffles Doha

5 Reasons To Visit the New Raffles Doha


There is no question the new icon of Doha is the architecture of Katara Towers. It houses both Raffles Doha and Fairmont Doha. The crescent-shaped structure, inspired by the two intersecting swords, towers over the Lusail skyline by aqua-blue water. It will do for Doha what the Burj Al-Arab did for Dubai in terms of setting the new standard for luxury and drawing luxury-seeking travelers from across the globe. Of course, being the home base of Qatar Airways (named the world’s most luxurious airline by Pursuitist) will only help the already famous Raffles brand stand out in Doha, a city already known for its luxury hotels.

hotelRaffles Doha is a destination. Not only does it have celebrated dining, an all-suite layout with butler service and a spa unique in its offering, but it also is part of the Accor All Live Limitless program with a global following. Here are five reasons to put the new Raffles Doha inside the famous Katara Towers on your travel bucket list.

The suites

suiteRaffles never does anything without going all the way…and then some. That’s the feeling you get here when you enter the suites, each slightly different in size and layout given the building’s architecture. Foyers with hardwood floors lead you in past walls of mirrors, shelves of interesting books, long dining tables and separate living areas. The main feature of the room, besides two immense, high-definition televisions and more gold leaf and crystal at every turn, is the bedroom.

bedroomPlush beds with a quartet of soft pillows assures a solid night sleep. In addition to bedside charging outlets are wireless charging panels as well as iPads that control all of the rooms features (lights, blackout blinds, curtains, air conditioning and even the fragrance diffuser that can be programmed to release distinct aromas at different times to fit your mood). Intricate cornices, ceiling designs and Arabic wall motifs dominate the room giving one a true sense of place.

bathroomBathrooms, awash in marble, have dual vanities, gigantic soaking tubs, a pair of TVs, water closets with Japanese toilets and experience showers that offer rain drenching pressure from the ceilings as well as an array of wall spigots.

A range of specialty suites is available adding more living space, glamorous accoutrements in the living rooms and second bedrooms. For example, the more than 4,300 square foot Parisian Suite takes its inspiration from the Haussmann-style apartments of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris. The suite, which takes up the entire 30th floor, has its own cinema, study, gym and butler’s pantry.

The duplex Royal Suite spans nearly 10,000 square feet with living areas dripping with chandeliers, a majlis for hosting guests, a game room, cinema, show kitchen, spa with hammam, indoor pool and yoga room (on top of two separate bedrooms). All of this is accessible via private elevator.

The dining at Raffles Doha

restaurantYou won’t go hungry here given the number of options. L’Artisan serves all-day dining from an exhibition kitchen including an impressive a la carte breakfast, express business lunch menu and international menu. Alba is an Italian restaurant by three Michelin-starred Enrico Crippa who opened his first restaurant outside Italy in the hotel. The stunning design is made even more special by the number of dining options from a chef’s table experience to a Romeo and Juliet table on a balcony behind red velvet curtains.

barRaffles Doha launched the world’s largest book buying project (more than 40,000) to source books of all types, including many original versions of famous classics like Moby Dick and Robinson Crusoe. These are on display throughout the hotel, but there is no better place to enjoy them than in Blue Cigar where walls of books tower around you. A cigar sommelier offers background on the humidor’s collection while craft cocktails creatively themed around different books fill the menu. If you’re lucky to sneak into the secret room, you’ll be treated to a private setting for an even more special experience. It’s also possible to peruse some of those famous tomes, but you’ll need to don white gloves to touch them.

loungeSilk Road-inspired tapas are on the menu of the top-floor Acoustic Music Penthouse while Malaki on the lobby level offers afternoon tea (hugely popular with locals) as well as light meals and drinks. The hotel takes great care to offer a wide range of beverages from the most high-end spirts to zero-proof cocktails and beer (even sparkling wine). Local farms supply the menus to support as many regional businesses as possible.

The design of Raffles Doha

restaurantIt’s a who’s who of designers when you walk through Raffles Doha. Marcel Wanders was responsible for many of the public areas as well as the suites, which flaunt an upscale style that is stunning without being overdone. Crystal chandeliers curve like rounded sculptures rather than your traditional dangling model.

closetCurved arches fill the rooms; guest bathrooms sit within floor-to-ceiling mirrored cubes like a dramatic piece of modern art (a treasure box of sorts); walls of leather chests, drawers and cabinets are part of the walk-in closets behind sliding mirrored panels that look like a stack of Louis Vuitton trunks. Even the entrance to the guest room sits behind a wrought iron gate structure giving the impression of entering a private residence.

lobbyThe list goes on and on. But, there is nothing more striking than the world’s tallest kaleidoscope that dominates the main lobby. Rising several floors into what seems like infinity with a projection of clouds during the day and stars at night that reflect in the smattering of angled mirrors that line the walls. The result is a mesmerizing piece of art that almost commands you to snap a photo at different times of day.

bartenderIf you’re not sure who exactly is a staff member and who is a guest, no one would fault you. The general manager and team did not want the traditional staff uniform. Instead, the hotel tapped an eclectic designer to come up with unique fashion pieces for every outlet in the hotel. Front desk staff, the bell team, each restaurant, butlers and spa personnel each have their own designer outfits that look like something you would buy in a fashion boutique.

cinemaThe property is also the home of the country’s top events, including hosting the emir and other government officials with regularity. The ballroom here is one of the largest in the country (if not the largest with its dramatic chandeliers and soaring ceilings). The emir enters through a private entrance with a retractable porte cochere reserved just for royalty.

The spa

spaIt is only fitting that an all-suite hotel has an all-suite spa. Rather than a hallway of treatment rooms, each one is a private suite. They have an individual gym, whirlpool, sauna, steam room, shower and changing area. This gives the ultimate in privacy when seeking out a little pampering. The menu offers medical spa treatments using Dr. Burgener skincare products giving it an edge over other hotel spas.

The service is second to none with a doting staff. Even without a treatment guests have access to a separate fitness center. They can also use a sauna and steam room. Changing rooms have relaxation areas that are complimentary for guests to use.

Spas in the Middle East need to respect cultural norms, and this spa offers a range of private treatment suites to maximize privacy while not taking away the range of facilities accessible to all guests.

poolJust outside is a beautiful infinity edge pool overlooking the Persian Gulf. Cushioned lounge chairs line the pool, but shaded cabanas are especially popular to escape the near-constant sun.

The details

What makes a true luxury hotel is attention to detail. The fact that no stone goes unturned to make the travel experience one that is unforgettable and memorable in every way. From the Bentley vehicles that rush guests to the airport or around the city to the name recognition from staff, guests here will feel pampered throughout their stay.

butlerThe details are exceptional. By the pool, attendants lay out towels and bring chilled towels and water. In the elevators, cushioned benches provide an old-fashioned level of comfort as you ascend the tower. During check-in, butlers attend to the details ensuite. Guests can enjoy a rose cordial welcome cocktail in the process. Later, they can help unpack and repack bags as needed.

Even the shoeshine team has been professional trained by bootmaker John Lobb and team. On the marble vanities, crystal above-counter sinks sit beside an array of bespoke Frederic Malle fragrance toiletries. A partnership with Truefitt & Hill turns the shaving kits into upscale amenities with tubes of aftershave and shaving gel. In the top tier of specialty suites, gift boxes with a shaving stand and brush, large bottle of aftershave and high-end razors.

bedroomOn the coffee tables, a dozen glass cloche-covered plates have welcome snacks. These include Arabic sweets, fresh berries and almond-filled dates. Even the minibars are not just minibars, but dubbed “in-room boutiques.” That’s because they are in their own room behind mirrored doors. They have a bean-to-cup coffee maker, wet bar and customizable snacks and sundries. During turndown service, the staff delivers plush eyeshades and linen spray for sound sleep.

Looking for any plastic bottles? There aren’t any single-use plastics in the hotel, just one of its many eco-friendly aspects. A stay here is as exceptional for guests as it is for the environment.