Shangri-La Hotel, Doha, the gleaming 50-story property located in the commercial district of West Bay, celebrated its grand opening on February 23. Shangri-La’s newest property in the Middle East brings the brand’s personalized luxury to the capital of Qatar. The property blends Asian Far Eastern style with Qatari Middle Eastern hospitality.

Shangri-La Doha lobby
The luxurious lobby

The hotel, designed to resemble a falcon’s head in recognition of Qatari falconry – the country’s historic and elite pastime – is adorned with museum-quality art pieces honoring the rich heritage of the Qatari peninsula which are on loan from the Sheikh Faisal Collection.  Strategically located close to the business and diplomatic areas, Shangri-La Hotel, Doha offers a direct link to the City Centre Mall, the city’s largest mall, and is only five minutes from the waterfront promenade.

Exterior of Shangri-La Qatar
The beautiful exterior view of the hotel

References to a traditional Arabian welcome begin when guests arrive at the hotel.  In the driveway, a prodigious bottle tree greets visitors, while a falconer in traditional garb with the recognizable bird of prey perched on his arm shows the warmth of welcome intrinsic to this part of the world.  Guests are presented with a cup of rich coffee, made by the hotel’s specialist coffee maker according to a nomadic recipe, to reflect another warm Arabian gesture that is the hotel’s signature blend of East meets East hospitality.

Falcon in Qatar
A Qatari falconer with his falcon

Light-filled luxury accommodation includes 272 guestrooms and suites and 42 serviced apartments.  The guestrooms, all with floor-to-ceiling windows and spectacular views of the city and Gulf, feature warm earth tones and amenities including a 47-inch Wi-Fi-enabled smart TV and Shangri-La’s signature mattress.  Complementing the chic interiors are spacious marble bathrooms fitted with premium toiletries, a deep-soaking tub and walk-in shower.

Shangri-La Doha
A guestroom at the Shangri-La Doha

Taking advantage of the 360-degree panoramic vista of the skyline and the glistening Arabian Gulf is the Horizon Club Lounge.  Here in the private sanctuary, located on level 42 of the hotel, Horizon Club and suite guests can enjoy private check-in service, complimentary refreshments all day and a host of exclusive privileges.

Luxury bathroom in Doha
Guest room bathroom
Shangri-La Doha apartment
One of the Imperial Apartments

Travelers on business and holiday alike will be spoiled for choice by the hotel’s leisure facilities.  An aquamarine lagoon-shaped pool lies invitingly on the 2,000-square-meter (about 21,528-square-foot) deck dotted with loungers – ideal for luxuriating in the year-round sunshine.  A shaded splash pool is located nearby for little guests to frolic in.  Surrounded by over 70 trees, the pool deck is a leafy, tranquil oasis in the middle of the urban cityscape.  Next to the pool area is the Health Club that offers a fully-equipped 24-hour fitness center, sauna and steam rooms.

SHangri-La Doha pool
The main pool

A haven of relaxation can be found at CHI, The Spa, the first luxury Asian-themed spa in Doha, where Asian wellness traditions are blended with botanical extracts, aromatic essential oils and natural Arabian elements to nourish the body and reinvigorate the senses.  An outdoor hydrotonic pool and eight private treatment rooms are available.

Shangri-La Hotel, Doha captures the essence of exceptional and international dining options with seven food and beverage outlets.  Sridan provides an interactive all-day dining experience where distinctive arches, intricate lamps and vividly colored tiles recreate a lively souq (market) atmosphere for guests.

The excitement of the Argentine pampas is modernized at Fuego, the only restaurant in the city to offer certified Argentine Kobe beef.  Decorated in deep burgundy hues with miniature horse sculptures displayed in the dining area and horseshoes dotting the wall, the informal and lively atmosphere is heightened by live folk music performed by an Argentine duo.

Yabby, the seafood restaurant, takes its name from the popular Australian crayfish and showcases the largest live seafood selection in Doha, and is a spirited celebration of the ocean’s remarkable flavors.

The entrancing Shanghai Club, opening later in the year, will be located on level 42 and 43 of the hotel.  At a height of 162.3 meters (about 532 feet) above ground, the venue will be Doha’s highest Chinese restaurant with authentic food presentations for lunch and dinner, as well as after-work drinks.  The Den, a European-inspired piano lounge, resplendent in polished wood and supple leather harks back to the glamour of a bygone era.

Qatar Airways is a great way to get to Qatar from the US. The airline connects LAX, JFK and PHL to Doha, with service starting in Boston and Atlanta later in mid-2016. With the new routes, Qatar Airways brings state-of-the-art aircraft, operating the new Airbus A340 XWB. I flew JFK to Doha in their Business Class cabin and it was quite a luxurious experience. I was also amazed by Doha’s Hamad International Airport, filled with luxury shopping, food and even a swimming pool and health club.