Stop number two on my Doha hotel-hopping circuit was the JW Marriott Marquis Doha City Center.
In choosing to give this hotel a try, I was heavily influenced by my previous positive stays at other JW Marriott hotels around the world.
In particular, I greatly enjoyed my time at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai last year, and the Doha location looked very similar in visual terms, as well as in terms of the hotel’s overall identity (both properties occupy high-rises in their respective city centres, both are branded under the “Marquis” label for large conference-style hotels, etc.), so I was very curious as to how the experience would compare.
Sandwiched between stays at the Ritz-Carlton and the W, my one-night stay at the JW Marriott would be booked at the cheapest cash rate of 550 QAR ($208), which confirmed me into a Deluxe King Room. As a Category 4 hotel within Marriott Bonvoy, the alternative would’ve been to pay 25,000 Bonvoy points for a free night, although the cash rate seemed to be marginally better value given my 0.9cpp valuation of Bonvoy points.
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JW Marriott Marquis Doha City Center – Location & Arrival
I took an Uber from the Ritz-Carlton over by The Pearl down to the JW Marriott in the West Bay district. West Bay is Doha’s main financial, business, and leisure district, and the JW Marriott is conveniently positioned next to the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center and the City Center Mall.
Meanwhile, most of Doha’s main tourist attractions, like the Souk Waqif, the National Museum of Qatar, and the Museum of Islamic Art are located across the harbour from West Bay, about a 10- to 15-minute Uber ride away. If the weather is nice, one can also walk along the corniche between West Bay and the older, more traditional parts of town.
The JW Marriott Marquis is relatively easy to find, although you should make sure not to confuse it with the Marriott Marquis Doha City Center on the opposite side of the mall, with the only difference between the two hotels being the “JW” moniker signifying an added level of luxury.
My Uber driver seemed a little unfamiliar with the lay of the land, and ended up dropping me off by the entrance to the serviced apartments, so I had to walk an extra few steps to arrive at the front entrance.
JW Marriott Marquis Doha City Center – Check-in
The lobby is warm and welcoming, though perhaps less grandiose than the sister location in Dubai. Upon seeing that I was a Titanium Elite member, the front desk associate invited me to the upstairs Executive Lounge for a more private check-in experience, which I greatly appreciated.
He called up to the lounge to inform them that I’d be arriving, while a bellhop helped with my luggage and offered to bring it to my room later.
And as I headed up to the 42nd-floor lounge and sat down at the front desk, the associate there was on hand to offer me a choice of a welcome drink. What an awesome start to this stay!
The rather chatty associate confirmed that, as a Titanium Elite member, I’d have access to the Executive Lounge between 6am and midnight for the breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres, and snack and drink services throughout the day.
Moreover, I would also be able to have breakfast in the Sridan restaurant downstairs as well – it’s always very generous when hotels let you choose between breakfast in the lounge or in the restaurant, as they’re only obligated to provide one.
After a few more rounds of small talk (“How long are you staying in Doha? Eight days? That’s… more than most people choose to stay…”), the associate also confirmed that I had been upgraded to a Deluxe King Suite, which was the result of my conversations with the hotel through the chat app prior to my arrival.
However, I’d also note that I was playing around with potentially redeeming a Suite Night Award here, and I saw that the pool of available suites included virtually all of the hotel’s suites, including the stunning 3-Bedroom Penthouse Apartment that retails for $2,000/night and clocks in at an insane 3,766 square feet!
Given my long-running good fortune with Suite Night Awards, I was very tempted to put in a cheeky request here, but to be honest I’d have absolutely no idea what to do with all that space. Having said that, if you find yourself in Doha with some Suite Night Awards to spare and an inclination to throw a debaucherous party or two, the JW Marriott’s 3-Bedroom Penthouse Apartment can be your venue of choice.
JW Marriott Marquis Doha City Center – Deluxe King Suite
Anyway, I soon took the keys to my more modest quarters for the night: Room 2006, the Deluxe King Suite on the 20th floor.
The hallways at this hotel were pretty typical of an older-generation JW Marriott hotel: elegant and tasteful, to be sure, but lacking the modern design sensibilities that you’ll find at newer locations like Singapore, Seoul, or Vancouver.
The Deluxe King Suite was excellent – nothing too outlandish compared to some of the most eye-popping upgrades I’ve received, but definitely far more space than I needed for the stay (especially considering that, thanks to jet lag, I would fall into a deep sleep shortly after my arrival in the afternoon until the early hours of the morning).
The living room was a long and thin rectangular shape, consisting of the pantry, sitting area, and work area in that order.
The housekeeping staff had folded some towels into the shape of a cute elephant in preparation for my arrival, as well as leaving some snacks and treats on the table as a welcome amenity.
The desk was a pretty comfortable space to work from, although the space around it didn’t have many power outlets, which I found to be a minor inconvenience.
The door to the bedroom is found around the corner at the far end of the living room. The bedroom was a large size, with ample space in which to move around.
It was odd that the wall-mounted television was situated all the way to the side of the bedroom, rather than directly facing the king bed.
Another odd design choice was the fact that the countertop in the bedroom had an abundance of universal charging outlets – I definitely appreciated that the suite had these, but I couldn’t help but wonder why they weren’t placed by over the desk instead.
Similar to the rest of the suite, the bathroom was large and functional, though not overly impressive in terms of style.
Only one sink was available instead of two, which was enough for my needs as a solo traveller of course, but perhaps unusual for a suite of this calibre.
Meanwhile, I had learned during my stay that this hotel was recently transformed from a Shangri-La into a JW Marriott as of April 2019 – and I guess they never got around to swapping out the bath mats, because I noticed that my mine still had the old Shangri-La logo on it!
Even though I intended to stay awake long enough to check out the evening hors d’oeuvre spread in the lounge upstairs, I ended up dozing off in the afternoon, waking up only after the evening hour had already ended at 7pm. And with that, I continued to sleep until breakfast the morning.
The Deluxe King Suite ticked all the boxes for my relatively lazy overnight stay, but if I had one complaint, it would be in line with the hotel overall: I found the design and ambience to be somewhat monotonous and lacking in character, certainly when compared to the Ritz-Carlton and W stays that would sandwich this one.
JW Marriott Marquis Doha City Center – Breakfast
Knowing that I’d have the choice between breakfast in the lounge or in the Sridan restaurant on the lower floors of the hotel, I decided to hit up both buffets in the morning.
The restaurant usually provides you with more variety, so I’d feast upon breakfast downstairs first, before retreating to the lounge for my second coffee.
Every JW Marriott hotel I’ve stayed at in the past has impressed in the breakfast offering, and the Doha location wasn’t about to disappoint either, going the full distance with a wide variety of Indian, Asian, and Western dishes.
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Each type of cuisine was served in its own distinctive bowls and platters, while omelettes and noodles were available to order at the live cooking stations. I went back for quite a few rounds of food, doing my best to sample a little bit of everything.
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JW Marriott Marquis Doha City Center – Executive Lounge
After breakfast in the restaurant, I headed upstairs to the Executive Lounge on the 42nd floor. The lounge occupies the entirety of the floor, wrapping around the building and providing guests with commanding views of the West Bay downtown skyline.
Guests may help themselves to Arabic coffee and dates as they enter the lounge.
Seating areas, both large and small, are scattered throughout. Some widescreen televisions are available for guests to catch up on the news, while snacks and soft drinks can be enjoyed in the lounge throughout the day, as well as serving as an easy grab-and-go before your head out for the day.
The dining area is concentrated in the space on the eastern side of the lounge. Several dining tables are available, including some booth-style seats by the wall, with the buffet spread situated at the far end of the room.
The buffet spread here in the lounge is certainly more limited than the Sridan restaurant, although you may still order egg dishes à la carte from the kitchen. As I had already completed my feast downstairs, I decided to forgo any more food and simply order a cappuccino instead.
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Oh, and I was absolutely enamoured with the coffee cup that they use in the lounge here, and was tempted to sneak one out to keep for myself!
As I mentioned, evening canapés are also served here between 5pm and 7pm, but since I had overslept the previous evening, I didn’t get a chance to scope out the offerings. My apologies guys – I do my best not to sleep on the job, but sometimes it happens!
The rest of the lounge consists of a business centre in the northwestern corner with a handful of computer workstations and a conference room, although I never saw anyone using these (nor did I see more than a handful of guests in the lounge at any time, for that matter).
I’d also like to shout out the exemplary service in the lounge, which was just as outstanding as my previous experiences with JW Marriott hotels had led me to expect.
Everyone was constantly checking in to see if I needed anything or wanted a top-up to my coffee or another cup to go. In particular, the in-lounge service manager Marie was a pleasure to chat with, and even helped me locate a pair of missing AirPods that I had left in my room after checking out of the hotel.
JW Marriott Marquis Doha City Center – Pool & Gym
Never mind that I had already hit the gym the previous day at the Ritz-Carlton; there was another hotel gym to check out here at the JW Marriott, so I headed downstairs to the fitness area for another workout.
To my slight disappointment, however, this one was decidedly more basic than the excellent gym facilities I had found at my previous hotel, with a limited set of benches and equipment to work with. I’d say it was exactly on par with your average hotel gym; nothing more, nothing less.
Finishing up at the gym, it was time to take a dip in the pool before checking out of the hotel in the afternoon. The outdoor pool facilities were a whole lot more impressive, and I loved how the area was decked out in tropical greenery.
I decided to go for a swim in the absolutely ice-cold pool, before chilling out on the deck for the next half an hour or so.
Then, since it was almost noon, I decided I may as well have lunch here as well, so I went to the pool bar to order a helping of chicken quesadillas for 70 QAR ($26). Eating and drinking by the hotel pool is never cheap, but at least the quesadillas were tasty.
I spent the rest of the afternoon finishing up some work in the Executive Lounge, before completing my 4pm late checkout and walking over to the third and final stop on my hotel-hopping tour: the W Doha.
The JW Marriott Marquis Doha City Center is a high-quality hotel by all measures, even if it was perhaps the least impressive of the three Doha hotels I patronized on this stay.
The JW Marriott brand is synonymous with an approachable rather than over-the-top level of luxury, but at some of their older properties like this one, that can translate into a semblance of plainness and lack of character on the hotel’s part. I thought the property would’ve benefited from some additional renovations during its transition from a Shangri-La in 2019.
Nevertheless, those minor criticisms were more than offset by the excellent elite treatment and service, and I left the hotel with positive impressions on the whole. Combine that with the convenient location in West Bay and the affordable Category 4 pricing (indeed, it’s one of a dwindling number of luxury-tier hotels that remain at Category 4), and this could very well be the hotel of choice for any Doha visitor who prefers the JW Marriott’s air of refinement over the exuberance of the nearby W.