Four Seasons is about to open its second property in the Qatari capital, but this time, it will make an even bigger splash with a private beach and residential tower at The Pearl. Pursuitist spoke with Mehdi Zaanoun, the general manager of the new Four Seasons Resort and Residences at The Pearl-Qatar to learn more.
With two Four Seasons in town, what makes this property’s location special?
In addition to delivering experiences and offerings for our short-term guests, we have created a distinguished rental program to meet the needs of guests relocating to Qatar for the longer term, as well as locals who would like to discover a new way of living by the water. Both Resort and Private Residence guests will become part of an exclusive international community where they can mingle at our restaurants and bars, relax in the spa or on the beach, and explore the many attractions that are just steps away from this vibrant waterfront destination.
With one to three bedrooms, our furnished apartments offer expansive living areas, a fully equipped kitchen, laundry, and a private terrace. Many also include an extra bedroom for a housekeeper or nanny.
The Pearl-Qatar is a man-made island, built on an ancient pearl diving site, and one of the city’s most prestigious residential areas. It is a lifestyle sanctuary with modern architecture and a dynamic urban community showcasing Mediterranean-style marinas, high-end boutiques and showrooms, art galleries plus entertainment and sports facilities.
What is your favorite feature of the hotel?
Our flagship dining destination, La Mediterranée, which celebrates the culinary artistry of world-renowned Chef Joel Robuchon, whose namesake restaurants hold nearly 30 Michelin stars, making him the most Michelin Starred chef to date. La Mediterranée will offer Mediterranean fare with strong French influence, an upscale yet inviting dining experience in an impressive indoor setting or by the terrace, with amazing views to the Arabian Peninsula.
We are very fortunate to be located on a private beach bathed in year-round sunshine with two outdoor pools surrounded by luxury cabanas where guests can enjoy drinks and snacks, amid landscaped grounds. For those bringing the kids along, our supervised indoor/outdoor Kids For All Seasons facility is a mini resort in itself.
What is the biggest challenge for hospitality at the moment?
As we embrace the pent-up demand for travel post-pandemic, at Four Seasons Resort and Residences at The Pearl-Qatar we are continuing to experience labor shortage impacts, combined with hospitality often having a reputation for being fast-paced and demanding. At Four Seasons, we are continuing to prioritize work-life balance as it is increasingly important among the younger generation, as well as the desire to build a career with a company that aligns with their personal values in such areas as sustainability, diversity, and inclusion. Our primary focus is on hiring talent with heart, as skills can be learned.
What were you doing before coming to this property?
After graduating from École Hôtelière de Lausanne hospitality management school in Switzerland, I began my career at Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris more than 20 years ago as an intern behind a cocktail bar. I then took a 14-year detour that saw me advance in management through food and beverage with various international hotel groups in France, the Americas, and the Middle East. I finally returned to the Four Seasons family in 2018 as General Manager for Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca, a modern Moroccan seaside retreat located a stone’s throw away from Morocco’s largest and liveliest city.
Why should tourists visit Qatar?
Qatar is a unique destination that has experienced rapid economic expansion over the past decade, offering a modern setting where residents from different nationalities, faiths and backgrounds can experience the rich experiences of the destination.
Qatar has much to offer, from wonderful museums and art galleries to a vast variety of dining options that will satisfy every craving. State-of-the-art sports and entertainment facilities also offer a variety of options when guests are not hitting the dunes or camping by the sea. Doha also features an unrivaled shopping experience, providing a destination that truly offers everything.
Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe.