QATAR CALLING
Business Traveller Middle East|March 2021
A swathe of hotels are opening in the Gulf State in the run-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup
GEMMA GREENWOOD

It’s a hive of activity in Qatar as the Gulf State gears up to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Construction of new mixed-use destinations with a tourism focus is in overdrive and hospitality developers are playing their part with the rollout of new resorts and hotels across multiple brands.

With the tournament expected to attract more than 80,000 football fans from all over the world, accommodating them all also calls for new innovative and sustainably-minded concepts to ensure Qatar’s hotel room inventory meets the 90,000 marks.

ADMARES Construction and Qetaifan Projects have joined forces to create 16 luxury hotels designed just for the games, bringing some 1,616 rooms to the market.

The four-story structures, located on Qetaifan Island North, not far from the 80,000-seat Lusail Stadium, will all feature a restaurant, lounge/bar, and 101 Scandinavian-style rooms and will be bookable on global travel sites like Expedia.com and Booking.com, according to developers.

What’s more, the occupant’s energy use will be measured and shared with them, empowering visitors to cut back on their carbon footprint and when the tournament is over, the hotels will be relocated and repurposed, although no details have been announced yet.

Back onshore and all the major regional and international hotel groups are fast-tracking their Qatar expansion plans, opening the doors to new properties this year and next, not only in anticipation of the World Cup but the positive repercussions of Qatar National Vision 2030, with the tourism sector earmarked as a key pillar for long-term economic growth.

Sheikh Nawaf bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, Chairman of Qatar-based Katara Hospitality, has big plans for expansion. The company currently has 42 properties but will grow this to 60 by 2030.

One thing’s for sure, visitors to Qatar will be spoiled for choice. If you are visiting this year or next, here are some new hotel options to consider, including two with huge water parks for some after-work recreation.

Palais Vendôme and Le Royal Méridien Doha

A lavish hospitality experience embodying classical Parisian elegance will set Palais Vendôme apart when it opens in Q1, 2022. This Luxury Collection Hotel with a palatial presence will feature 250 rooms, including two Presidential Suites, and will be part of a three-property complex. It will mark the entry of the brand into Qatar, offering global explorers a “unique gateway to this visionary destination”. Le Royal Méridien Doha, part of the same development, will offer a more contemporary style, reflecting modern French culture and design. The property, opening in Q3 this year, will house 250 guest rooms, including a Presidential Suite in one wing, while the other wing will offer 150 serviced apartments, Le Royal Méridien Doha Residences, with a range of options from studios to four-bedroom suites, ideal for extended stays and larger family groups.

Le Meridien Doha

Opening soon, Le Meridien Hotel Doha will occupy a 47-story building and feature 256 rooms and suites, plus 97 one-, two- and three-bedroom luxury serviced apartments, including VVIP suites. Six dining outlets, outdoor and indoor pools, a health club, and a fitness centre will also be part of the offering.

Banyan Tree Doha

Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts is on track to open its first hotel in Qatar any day now. Banyan Tree Doha, located in Mushaireb and part of the Doha Oasis project, will offer guests direct access to a signature department store, indoor experiential theme park, and exclusive cinema multiplex. A “sanctuary for the senses”, the property’s design ethos will reflect the four elements of life – earth, fire, water, and air – demonstrated in the trees of life that will fill the lobby with an air of calm. Accommodation will include 126 rooms and suites and 215 serviced residences with up to four bedrooms, complemented by an Altitude Club Lounge, Banyan Tree’s signature spa, a gym with an exercise room, nine meetings rooms, and multiple restaurants. They include Panya Lounge – a patisserie with Asian flare; Saffron – Banyan Tree’s signature Thai Kingdom restaurant; Qalamkarri (contemporary Indian); an all-day dining restaurant; and Vertigo on the 28th floor – a venue with a retractable roof, offering a breathtaking night-life experience with panoramic city views.

Rixos Doha Qetaifan

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