I’ve stayed at a Kempinski property in the past (if I recall, it was in Moscow Russia many moons ago), however wasn’t expecting to find one in the glitzy Las-Vegas wanna-be Doha, the capital of Qatar in the Middle East. They’ve got most of all the perks and amenities that other hotels of this callibre do, but their specialty is suites, which is ideal for corporate stays where you have two or more team members in town, or for families.
It turns out that they have many properties in the Middle East, including Amman, Dead Sea, and Aqaba all in Jordan, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai Palm Jumeirah & Dubai (UAE), Manama Bahrain, Doha Qatar, Cairo & Soma Bay Egypt.
Technically, Egypt is in the Middle East but I always think of it as the Middle East since my visit there was after Israel, also many moons ago.
I ended up in a ‘share’ with the master bedroom, which was massive in size compared to most major city rooms in the same category. Each suite comes with a living room, a small dining room area, an ‘apartment’ bathroom (note that most bedrooms in the suites have their own bathroom although there are a few with three or more bedrooms where you have to use the one in the suite, which may be just outside the room.
The kitchen provides the basics you would need for cooking: pots, pans, some dishes, a tea pot, a kettle, a toaster, wine and champagne glasses and even a washer and dryer as you can see from the photo. (not great quality as it was taken on my iPhone).
The main flat has a flatscreen TV as well as a separate hands free phone, as does each bedroom. Like most hotels in this “star range,” they provide robes, slippers, hairdryers and ethernet cords for connectivity (in our case, we were not charged for daily Internet, whether we used a hard wired cable or used their wifi network – reliable for our stay despite the fact that I was there for a Summit and the majority of the guests were online daily).
If something did go down or on one occasion, they forgot to deliver our breakfast one morning, their response was fast. I was very impressed by the level of service. I wanted the air conditioner off – they had someone up there in five minutes and even brought me a heater, which may shock some as it was close to 90 degrees outside on some days.
That said, the rest of the hotel was so cold because of the central air, the heater took off the chill. Counter productive I know, but that’s the way international chains and stores like to play. (crank up the air so high that you need a coat and scarf to be comfortable more often than not). I find that this sad practice of over-the-top air conditioning is becoming more common and popular outside the western world now.
The closest are massive and in the main bedroom, there are two sets of them, one in the main room and one in a walk-in closet which separates the main bedroom from the bathroom, which includes a standalone tub and a shower with a variety of settings.
And, then of course, there’s the spa. I didn’t take in any of the packages while I was there (no time), but I did manage to get a short swim and steam room session in most days. (the sauna was unfortunately down when we were there). Take a look at the creative ceiling in the room which houses two swimming pools (both long enough for laps but one is shallow, one deep).
The W Hotel (Doha) is literally around the corner from the Kempinski and I spent a lot of time there – friends were staying there and we had drinks there most nights. The W, while the rooms are generally pretty nice (and they do also have suites – see below for regular room views and suite photos), the best thing about Doha’s W is the ambiance and the night club/outside bar activity after hours.
Below is a shot I took of the ceiling, a view you get as you make your way up the stairs from the lobby area to the first two floors, both of which house restaurants, bars and lounges.
As you enter the W, everything is in a midnight moody blue at night, from the lights outside (see far right), to the lobby, to some of the lights they use in some of the venues.
Below is a view of a W suite and a room:
They have two concept restaurants: Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Spice Market and Market by Jean-Georges. We also hung out in their various lounges: La Maison du Caviar, the Crystal Lounge, and Wahm, pretty much every night. The vibe here is great — you can hang inside in a dimly lit bar surrounded by booths inside and out, or by the pool, where there is a neighboring bar. Warning: the wine isn’t great and it’s overly priced, so I’d definitely opt for a mixed drink, margarita or a beer.
At the time of writing this, a cab to or from the airport should run you about $12. It’s best if they turn on the meters, or negotiate a price before you jump in.
For more on Qatar, check this section out and for an interesting post on the Murakami Ego exhibit, also in Doha, go here. For more on arts in general, go here. For great images and an overview on Doha’s Souq Waqif, go here.