Grand Hyatt Doha
Doha, capital of Qatar, is perhaps one of the least known destinations of the Middle East, after the giants of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The Emirate tops the list of the richest countries in the world with the highest GDP per capita and the fastest growing economy in 2010. This growth and investment has created some stunning architecture and cultural highlights, such as the Museum of Islamic Art. In common with other destinations in the Middle East, Doha enjoys a mostly dry, warm climate, although many may find the summer months too hot at over 40 celsius.
We have stayed her twice, both times as a result of a layover when flying Qatar Air. As we departed both times before 9am, we have yet to taste the full breakfast here but as Qatar is becoming such a significant destination (particularly with the FIFA World Cup coming up in 2022) we have resolved to return asap to investigate Doha more fully. We had booked a suite on our first visit and were upgraded on our second so our rate included airport transfers, thus our arrival was easy. First time there were some minor technical problems delaying our check-in. Second time everything was perfect and swift. We were checked in in suite. I should advise at this point that it is worth searching for a best rate guarantee at the moment, as good deals are often available (contact us for advice).
The club lounge at this property was extremely spacious so even when it is busy you can find a space away from other guests. The hotel is increasingly part of the local community and there can be some large family groups here so the provision of numerous seating options is very welcome. There were times we were the only people in the lounge. Evening cocktail hour (currently 6-8 pm) offers a very good choice of still or sparkling wines and a wide variety of food including a number of desserts.
We only ate a light breakfast on our first visit as we were flying first class with Qatar Airways and left too early for breakfast on our second stay. However, there was a vast spread of continental breakfast items, as well as the option to order eggs.
The Grand Hyatt Doha's club lounge is one of the unsung heroes of the Hyatt chain - and bears a strong resemblance to another of our favourites at Muscat, Oman.
There is a large freeform swimming pool accessed from one level below reception so you can exit your room discretely attired in shorts and bathrobe without offending locals in the lobby area. It is though, understandably very popular with families. Our recommendation therefore is to take the very short stroll through the delightful gardens (how on Earth do they get lawns like that in this climate?!) down to the very safe shallow sandy beach. The water temperature is about 30 C as the bay is a virtual lagoon. The water is very saline too so you are very buoyant. All this makes for a very pleasurable bathing experience. As if that were not enough, there is a separate more conventional swimming pool along the far end of the beach surrounded by hedges.
The gym is very large and extremely well equipped for a hotel fitness centre. Alternatively, if you prefer to brave the heat, there is an outdoor jogging track (we recommend sticking to air-conditioned comfort whilst raising a sweat).
The spa contains two private couples' suites different in style but each with their own water feature - one has a small plunge pool and the other a jacuzzi (which we preferred). We tried a combination of head and foot massage and both were heavenly.
On our first stay, although we were only staying one night, we upgraded our stay using 6000 Hyatt Gold Passport points, as we didn't know when we might be back in Doha. We were delighted to be further upgraded to an Executive Suite with large terrace complete with dining table. On our second stay, we were surprised to be upgraded to a Grand Suite, which was large and on the corner. The highlight of the suite was the large balcony overlooking the hotel's beach and the Arabian Gulf (although note that in a desert country, everything outside gets dusty quickly). In addition, the room had a good-size lounge and bedroom, a large bathroom and a guest cloakroom.
Our diamond amenity was very generous. It included a bottle of wine, a box of dates and some fresh fruit as well as beautiful little jars of figs and cookies. It was nice to receive a local gift as an amenity - we believe all hotels should do this.
We loved sitting outside on our verandah, enjoying the dying heat of the day and watching the lights of Doha as evening approached. We would strongly recommend using a suite upgrade certificate here, as the suites are large and the facilities great.
As at the Grand Hyatt Dubai, a wide choice of dining venues is available, from traditional Arabian Mezza through Italian to genuine Thai. Isaan is a real Thai restaurant staffed entirely by a team of Thai personnel and won an award in the Time Out annual awards 2015 as best SE Asian restaurant in the Middle East.
Rocca is a more casual Italian bistro by the poolside offering real Italian specialities by Chef Marco Cherubini who worked in Rome for over a decade so authenticity is guaranteed.
The Grill is more eclectic and the site for breakfast as well as absolutely sumptuous brunches and lunches which include all the traditional Arabian dishes. Try the mouthwatering shish kebab cooked on a real charcoal grill. Dessert lovers will be in heaven when they see the buffet.
The Dunes bar offers a fantastic collection of wines and spirits from around the world in a cool environment perfect for entertaining or doing business and if you get peckish or want gifts, there is Biscotti selling beautiful chocolates, cookies, bakery and coffee.
We have enjoyed our stays at the Grand Hyatt Doha sufficiently to have made a commitment to return for a longer stay partly with a view to finding out more about Qatar. We are aware this going to be a very important destination with so many cultural world love;l events coming up. With Qatar Airways' increasing significance as a global airline it is clearly going to be an important stopover as well. The service we experienced first time not quite up to that at the Grand Hyatt Dubai. On our second visit things were perfect. Rooms are large and well equipped. The dining options are good and in many cases award winning. The leisure facilities are superb. The club lounge offers extremely good service and the F&B offering is certainly good enough to avoid additional spending. If you are looking for a hotel in Qatar, we would recommend staying here, especially if you have access to the club lounge either as a Hyatt Gold Passport diamond guest or by booking club room.