Doha, the capital of Qatar, has fast become the ideal travel stopover. You can pack in a lot in just a few days and come out of the tiny Gulf state feeling like you’ve been to an authentic, and often unique, destination.
Where you sleep can be part of it. Here’s a quick roundup of five of the most deluxe hotel suites in Doha for an unforgettable stay:
E-Wow Suite, W Hotel
The Extreme-Wow Suite in Doha’s W Hotel has become a destination for a long list of celebrities, including actors Jeremy Irons and Amitabh Bachchan and models Kate Moss and Izabel Goulart.
This spacious 127-square-meter suite (1,367 square feet) is decked out in black and blue. You can hang in a swing chair, play pool with your friends, then have your meal catered through your own private kitchen and sit down for a meal at your own private dining table.
But what the W Hotel strives to do is astound. Spoiler alert! The sunlit corridor to your rooms is lined with tanks filled with exotic fish.
But the real element of surprise is in the bedroom. It’s likely you won’t notice it – because who expects the unexpected? – until you almost walk into its backside.
There at the edge of your bedroom, inspired by the Bedouin lifestyle, is a horse. A full-size, plastic horse. There’s no denying here just how intrinsic Arabian horses are to Qatar’s culture, and this is a beautiful homage to that. Oh, and it’s functional, for the horse is also a lamp.
W Hotel, West Bay Zone 61, Street 831, Building 262, Doha; +974 4453 5000
Sky House at Mondrian Doha
The look behind Mondrian Doha is the brainchild of Marcel Wanders – the so-called Lady Gaga of design.
His energy and wild ideas punctuate every aspect of this hotel. The designer’s take on Qatari design can be seen from the ground up, all the way to the hotel’s Sky House on the 23rd floor.
This two-story suite has 360-degree views of Doha and the blue Persian Gulf. But it’s what’s happening on the inside that really counts. You have your own cinema, game tables and a round sofa big enough to hold a dozen or so of your closest friends.
Hungry? Sit down to a catered meal with a (wooden) falcon perched on your chair. If you don’t feel like taking the stairs to your sleeping suite – don’t worry, you can take the elevator. Upstairs the sand-colored carpets are grooved like desert dunes rippled by the wind.
The walls, inspired by the folk tales of “One Thousand and One Nights,” depict images of a Dutch traveler to the Middle East.
Many modern-day travelers have wound up at the Sky House suite including Indian superstar actor and model Aishwarya Rai, fashion designer Manish Malhotra, socialite Paris Hilton and actor and singer Jennifer Lopez.
Mondrian Doha, West Bay Lagoon, Doha; +974 4045 5555
Opal Bridal Suite at Mondrian Doha
But J-Lo didn’t get ready for her concert in the Sky House. She used the ultra over-the-top Opal Bridal Suite instead. And frankly, why not?
Crystal mirrors and chandeliers line the long private hallway – a sort of practice run for the ultimate walk down the aisle for any blushing bride.
Go through the doors into a 600-square-meter space which includes a dressing room, make-up room and walk-through closet.
There’s a Majlis – or living room and a master bedroom – and a bridesmaid’s bedroom.
The pièce de résistance might well be the chandelier in the shower. But the surprise gem of this place is the private 24k gold Swarovski-encrusted elevator. It takes you directly to the Moonstone Ballroom for one of the grandest entrances you might ever make. You don’t need to be a star to use this space – but you might feel like one.
Mondrian Doha, West Bay Lagoon, Doha; +974 4045 5555
Royal Villa at the Sharq Village & Spa
For the quintessential VIP experience head to the Royal Villa at the Sharq Village & Spa. You’d be forgiven if you thought you were somewhere other than a hotel, because this villa is its own empire.
Overlooking the Gulf, the 2,099-square meter beachfront Royal Villa is based on a traditional Sheikh’s palace. Inside, five suites spread out across two stories. You have your own waterfall pool, gym, sauna and steam rooms. But if you fancy a little privacy, you can take over the Brazilian blue marble bathroom. The over-sized Jacuzzi tub with its 18k gold detailing almost looks big enough to swim in.
When you’re ready for company again, invite the whole clan to the suite’s vast outdoor Majlis overlooking the sea. The hard part will be getting everyone to leave.
Sharq Village & Spa, Ras Abu Abboud Street, Doha 26662; +974 4425-6666
Deluxe Suite at Musheireb Boutique Hotel
If all you want to do is spend a night curled up in Qatari culture and you’ve blown your vacation budget, you can make your destination the Souq Waqif.
There are nine boutique hotels integrated into the alleyways of this historic market, all unique and charming – but the five-star Musheireb Boutique Hotel is particularly special.
The deluxe room is exuberant yet understated: the plush headboards framed in gold; the oversized sofas reminiscent of old Italian homes. Yes, here Europe meshes with Arabia.
This delightful sanctuary feels like a homecoming, with its soft comforts and colorful pallets.
But what sets this room apart is its exoticism. Pull up a plush chaise lounge and soak up the atmosphere with the call to prayer sounding out from a minaret or watch the golden light bathe the Souq Waqif mosque, which expats affectionately call the Curly or Spiral Mosque.
The hotel’s right next to the camel and horse stables, while to the north there’s the Corniche waterfront promenade which wraps itself around the city reaching towards the celebrated Museum of Islamic Art.
Here you don’t really have to go anywhere to be somewhere. And you won’t break the bank either.
Musheireb Boutique Hotel, Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar; +974 4433 6666