Mandarin Oriental Doha Near+Far rating: 8/10
Why stay at Mandarin Oriental Doha
Doha’s slew of shiny new hotels may be taking the spotlight, but when it comes to timeless low-key luxury in the Qatari capital, few do it better than Mandarin Oriental Doha. The hotel forms part of the shiny Msheireb Downtown Doha – dubbed the ‘world’s first sustainable downtown development’ and maze of gleaming limestone buildings and lanes hiding elegant residential and commercial spaces like trendy cafes, eateries, concept stores, museums and art galleries. At the heart of Msheireb is Mandarin Oriental Doha – situated on a climate-controlled square surrounded by shaded lanes. The hotel offers the white-gloved, quintessentially Asian hospitality the hotel group is known for – but intertwined with Qatari heritage and design touches. London-based firm David Collins was brought in to craft this Middle-meets-Far East aesthetic across the deceptively large hotel. Add to that the best restaurants and a beautiful rooftop pool with views over the low-ruse development and out to the ocean, and you’ve got one of the most understatedly luxurious hotels in the region.
Mandarin Oriental Doha forms part of the Msheireb Downtown Doha development, a new district in the south of the city billed as a sustainable smart city. The area is elegant and low-rise, with a peaceful, community feel and plenty of chic cafes and restaurants – which come alive with locals after 9pm. It’s a treat to wander Msheireb’s shiny streets from the hotel – past mosques, the Msheireb Museums, and highlights like creative hub M7 – home to exhibits and a concept store. Culture and art lovers will appreciate being at the National Museum of Qatar, Souq Waqif and Museum of Islamic Art’s doorstep- all city must-dos.
Rooms and suites: 9/10
David Collins studio perfected the hotel’s understated yet personality-filled design, which blends quintessential Asian luxury with heritage touches inspired by a traditional Qatari house – and the marriage is sublime. Rooms are awash in earthy shades of cream, fawn and taupe, with curved gilt ceilings reflecting the beauty of the desert dunes – complete with a modern take on traditional danshal beams. Other elements take inspiration from the city’s pearling heritage, while the gleaming Italian marble bathrooms are stocked with fragrant, oudy Atelier Cologne products. The 117 rooms, 42 suites and 91 services apartments are spread across various buildings of the hotel, which line a handful of lanes in the new development. There are 177 rooms, 42 suites and 91 services apartments – most come with balconies overlooking the low-rise rooftops – where unwinding with a sundowner overlooking the serene development is a real treat. The knock-out suite is the Royal Suite – an Arabian palace with an open-air courtyard and private plunge pool.
Food and drink: 8/10
Mandarin Oriental Doha has firmly established itself as a dining destination in itself, home to two of the city’s most popular and acclaimed restaurants. Helmed by Chef Izu Ani, Levantine-Mediterranean Izu is modern and minimalist, spread across two floors and a terrace and inspired by the chef’s own travels. Liang also cannot go a miss, serving the finest quality Chinese cuisine in an art-filled dining room with a killer wine and cocktail list. Elsewhere, Aqua is the hotel’s laid-back rooftop bar and lounge, while Mosaic serves as the all-day dining room, open from breakfast to dinner. Breakfast is a real treat, with a generous international buffet and plenty of a la carte options – plus the option to dine on a terrace overlooking Msheireb’s main square. Guests staying In suite level rooms can also use the exclusive MO Club – a private hideaway with dark wood features and an intimate, exclusive feeling, serving a smaller, but just as encompassing, breakfast menu, afternoon tea and drinks throughout the day. There’s also a charming Mandarin Cake Shop on the outside lane, a popular spot for coffee and a sweet treat.
Spa and facilities: 8/10
True to the brand’s focus on wellness and relaxation, the subterranean Mandarin Oriental Spa is a sublime space to retire to after a busy day, with an indoor pool, heated loungers, sauna and steam room. There are the usual treatments, plus more tailored, innovative therapies like Digital Detox treatment – designed to tackle burn-out – and Singing Sand Dunes, taking inspiration from local ingredients and healing methods. This is a truly traditional five-star hotel, so guests can expect a women’s hair and beauty salon, a high-tech fitness centre with mixed-gender and ladies-only training areas and a men’s grooming lounge. But the most delightful spot is the hotel’s sprawling rooftop area with a pale blue swimming pool framed by cabanas and loungers – offering beautiful views stretching from Msheireb to the Arabian Gulf.
The vibe: 8/10
Grown-up, refined, discreet – with well-dressed guests elegantly wafting through its halls and taking afternoon tea in the lobby lounge. There’s a more mature crowd, but families are welcome, and children are more than catered for.
While many hotels compete to be the flashiest, biggest, most daring or most creative, Mandarin Oriental Doha remains one of the city’s best hotels thanks to its inconspicuous, timeless and sophisticated approach to luxury. The hotel feels more like a members’ club than a hotel, from the dark and intimate lobby to the art-filled corridors and the acclaimed restaurants. There’s nowhere better for a serene and stylish stay in the Qatari capital, surrounded by arts, culture, and tasteful shopping and dining experiences.
Doubles from QAR1,400 (about AED1,410) a night; mandarinoriental.com