Review: W Doha Ricky June 5, 2020

Review: W Doha

After two single-night stays at the Ritz-Carlton and the JW Marriott Marquis, it was time to finish off my Doha hotel-hopping tour with a six-night sojourn at the W Doha.

W Hotels are something of a collector’s item for me, so I was looking forward to checking out yet another location in the chain (and from what I had heard from a fellow W purveyor, one of the best). 

While I had booked the previous two stays with cash, I redeemed a Category 1–4 seven-night certificate for my stay at this Category 4 hotel. I had earned the certificate from the Travel Packages in the legacy Marriott Rewards program a few years ago, and needed to get it off my books as they approached their expiry date anyway, so I booked a seven-night stay even though I’d only be staying for six nights.

If you were redeeming points for a free night, then you’d pay 25,000 Bonvoy points per night at the standard rate, which is decent value against the usual cash rates at this hotel of $250–300 per night. 

In This Post

W Doha – Location & Arrival

Like the JW Marriott Marquis Doha City Center, the W is located in the West Bay downtown district, which is Doha’s business, financial, and leisure hub. The location is ideal if you’re in town for any of those purposes, whereas the major tourist attractions (like the Old Souq and the Museum of Islamic Art) are only a 10-minute Uber ride away.

After checking out of the JW Marriott, I casually strolled over to the W, which was just a few streets down. True to the brand, the hotel exterior consists of a wide fan-shaped awning that displays the “W” letter when you look at it from afar.

W Doha – Exterior

W Doha – Exterior

You wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the W also functions as one of the city’s premier nightlife hubs, would you?

W Doha – Entrance sign

W Doha – Entrance sign

W Doha – Entrance

W Doha – Entrance

The W Doha’s lobby is certainly an opulent space, but in a way that was more concerned with creative energy than glamour, which I appreciated.

W Doha – Lobby

W Doha – Lobby

With a polished white floor decorated in a striking Islamic geometric patterns and a lofted ceiling adorned with a symphony of blue pendant lamps, the lobby was a bold combination of the W’s colourful design elements with the principles of Islamic architecture. 

W Doha – Lobby decor

W Doha – Lobby decor

W Doha – Lobby decor

W Doha – Lobby decor

The furniture in the lobby lounge was varied and vivacious as well, providing ample space for the W clientele – which, hear in Doha, mostly consisted of wealthy locals in their religious dress and foreign models in mink fur coats – to sit around and socialize. 

W Doha – Lobby lounge

W Doha – Lobby lounge

W Doha – Lobby lounge

W Doha – Lobby lounge

W Doha – Lobby lounge

W Doha – Lobby lounge

W Doha – Check-in

It was a busy scene in the lobby when I arrived in the early evening, and I had to wait for a few minutes before I was assisted at the check-in counters. 

W Doha – Check-in desks

W Doha – Check-in desks

W Hotels tend to have some incredible high-end suites, so I had naturally reached out via the chat app prior to my arrival to see if I could secure a suite upgrade as a Titanium member.

However, on this occasion, my attempts fell flat: even after double-checking in the system, the front desk associate could only give me a one-category upgrade to the Spectacular Room, citing that no suites were available for the duration of my seven-night stay.

That was quite understandable, of course, because suite upgrades are a lot easier to come by on shorter one- or two-night stays than an extended seven-night stay. I asked the associate if I might be able to request an upgrade later on in the middle of my stay, and she welcomed me to return to the front desk at anytime to check if any were available. 

I was also informed of my privileges as a Titanium Elite member: breakfast in the Market by Jean-Georges restaurant from 6am until 10am, as well as access to the WIP Lounge on the second floor for a complimentary lunch (12pm until 2pm) and dinner spread (5:30pm until 7:30pm) with an open bar. Wow! 

W Doha – Elevators

W Doha – Elevators

W Doha – Spectacular Room

With that, I took my keys and headed up to Room 1523 on the 15th floor.

W Doha – Hallway

W Doha – Hallway

W Doha – Room 1523

W Doha – Room 1523

Having enjoyed some killer suite upgrades across my hotel-hopping journey so far, there was definitely a feeling of being “back down to earth” in a regular guest room, but of course the Spectacular Room was plenty comfortable for my needs. 

W Doha – Spectacular Room

W Doha – Spectacular Room

The design aesthetic of the room, and of the hotel overall, focuses on circular elements. This can be seen in the central set of curved walls that ensconce the king-sized bed, the geometric patterns on the carpet, and the orb-shaped armchair on the far side of the room.

W Doha – Spectacular Room king bed

W Doha – Spectacular Room king bed

The king bed treated me to five nights of very peaceful sleep. However, it’s worth mentioning that even though the check-in associate had mentioned that the 15th floor was sufficiently high to be undisturbed by the second-floor nightclub, although I still did hear a little bit of the cacophony coming up from below. 

If you’re a sensitive sleeper, you may wish to ask for a room on one of the highest floors, or perhaps consider staying at a hotel that doesn’t also double as a popular nightlife venue. 

W Doha – Spectacular Room television

W Doha – Spectacular Room television

W Doha – Spectacular Room chair

W Doha – Spectacular Room chair

The desk and pantry are also found on the far side, and both elements also follow the curved and circular design theme. That made the desk a little bit of an awkward surface to work from, but it was all I had. 

W Doha – Spectacular Room desk

W Doha – Spectacular Room desk

I appreciated the wealth of glassware and tableware over at the pantry, where I’d treat myself to a Nespresso every morning before heading down to breakfast.

W Doha – Spectacular Room pantry

W Doha – Spectacular Room pantry

W Doha – Spectacular Room pantry

W Doha – Spectacular Room pantry

The bathroom was small but stylish, consisting of a sink, toilet, bathtub, and rain shower. The shower had excellent water pressure, and made for a very refreshing cleanse after visiting the fitness centre or spending time in the Doha sunshine. 

W Doha – Spectacular Room bathroom

W Doha – Spectacular Room bathroom

W Doha – Spectacular Room shower

W Doha – Spectacular Room shower

W Doha – Spectacular Room toilet

W Doha – Spectacular Room toilet

I was pleased that the W Doha still carried Bliss toiletries, including a small bottle of face wash (which isn’t something you’ll usually find among hotel toiletries), even though they’re apparently going to phase out the Bliss partnership sometime soon. 

W Doha – Spectacular Room sink

W Doha – Spectacular Room sink

W Doha – Spectacular Room bathtub

W Doha – Spectacular Room bathtub

The Spectacular Room offered some views of the neighbouring West Bay buildings, as well as a sliver of the water around here.

W Doha – Views of West Bay

W Doha – Views of West Bay

Overall, my impressions of the room were quite positive and I enjoyed making it my temporary home, even though I still harboured hopes of checking out some of the W Doha’s higher-end suites.

W Doha – WOW Suite

If you’re a Platinum Elite member or higher with Marriott Bonvoy, you’re entitled to a suite upgrade at the time of check-in if there’s one available for the duration of your stay. You aren’t entitled to an upgrade in the middle of your stay, and the hotel is under no obligation to give you one – but you can always ask nicely.

That was exactly my play here. Having informed the hotel prior to my arrival of my enthusiasm for trying out one of their best suites, I then followed-up at the check-in desk on the third, fourth, and fifth nights of my stay, just to check-in and see if one of the W Suites or WOW Suites might be available. Always with a smile on my face, always with a happy-go-lucky attitude.

Eventually, on the fifth night, the girl at the check-in desk was pleased to let me know that a WOW Suite was available for the remaining two nights, and that I was welcome to move in! (Or maybe she just got tired of my persistent requests, but if that was the case, she hid it well.) 

I was therefore given the keys to Room 1301 on the 13th floor. Now there’s that familiar “end of the hallway” feeling! 

W Doha – Room 1301

W Doha – Room 1301

The 1,367-square-foot WOW Suite is the W Doha’s second-largest Vice Presidential Suite (after the Extreme WOW Suite). It’s located in the corner of the building, and as you first enter, you find a small office nook to your left, with the rest of the suite branching off via the hallway straight ahead. 

W Doha – WOW Suite entryway

W Doha – WOW Suite entryway

This was a much more lavish office than my little desk in the Spectacular Room, with a killer view of Doha’s The Pearl islands in the distance!

W Doha – WOW Suite office

W Doha – WOW Suite office

W Doha – WOW Suite office views

W Doha – WOW Suite office views

Turning the corner, and heading down the hallway…

W Doha – WOW Suite hallway

W Doha – WOW Suite hallway

…we arrive at the stunning living room!

W Doha – WOW Suite living room

W Doha – WOW Suite living room

W Doha – WOW Suite living room

W Doha – WOW Suite living room

Remember the emphasis on circles and curves in the hotel’s design identity? Well, here in the WOW Suite, the circular motif is brought to life in the form of hundreds of thin black threads suspended from the ceiling, forming a mini-curtain around the central sitting area.

The see-through curtain can be rotated along its circular rails, allowing you to either expose the sitting area to the rest of the living room or block it off entirely for a more intimate atmosphere on the inside.

W Doha – WOW Suite sitting area

W Doha – WOW Suite sitting area

This must be one of the most extravagant and boundary-pushing interior design elements I’ve come across at any hotel across all my travels, and there was almost a sense of regret in only being able to revel in my surroundings for one night.

What’s more, there was a very unique set of light switches on the wall…

W Doha – WOW Suite light controls

W Doha – WOW Suite light controls

…which allowed you to adjust the colour of the mood lighting! 

W Doha – WOW Suite disco lights

W Doha – WOW Suite disco lights

W Doha – WOW Suite disco lights

W Doha – WOW Suite disco lights

In addition to the oversized semi-circular sofa and the wall-mounted television in the middle, the rest of the living room consisted of a dining table adorned with a distinctive lamp, as well as a swing chair in the corner. 

W Doha – WOW Suite dining table

W Doha – WOW Suite dining table

W Doha – WOW Suite swing chair

W Doha – WOW Suite swing chair

I spent quite a bit of time swaying back and forth in the swing chair, taking in the panoramic views in the distance. 

W Doha – WOW Suite living room views

W Doha – WOW Suite living room views

Along the walls of the living room, you’ll also find a cabinet with the pantry and minibar inside.

W Doha – WOW Suite pantry

W Doha – WOW Suite pantry

W Doha – WOW Suite minibar

W Doha – WOW Suite minibar

That leads us into the master bedroom, where – you guessed it – yet another set of circular suspended threads provide cover for the king-sized bed.

W Doha – WOW Suite bedroom

W Doha – WOW Suite bedroom

W Doha – WOW Suite bedroom

W Doha – WOW Suite bedroom

Like the living room, I can’t think of another hotel suite with such a uniquely outlandish bedroom design (well, maybe the W Dubai The Palm for its own reasons, with its bathtub opposite the bed). 

Draw the threaded curtain all the way around here, and it’ll be a very private setting indeed – too bad it’d go to waste on this solo trip. 😉

W Doha – WOW Suite king bed

W Doha – WOW Suite king bed

W Doha – WOW Suite king bed

W Doha – WOW Suite king bed

Finally, the bathroom is connected to both the bedroom and the hallway by the foyer. To me, the bathroom didn’t live up to the same hype as the rest of the WOW Suite – it was fine by all metrics, but the lighting wasn’t great and it actually felt a little bit more outdated compared to the smaller bathroom in my Spectacular Room.

W Doha – WOW Suite bathroom

W Doha – WOW Suite bathroom

W Doha – WOW Suite bathroom

W Doha – WOW Suite bathroom

W Doha – WOW Suite bathtub

W Doha – WOW Suite bathtub

Nevertheless, the bathroom features were well-rounded, including a very large rain shower, double sinks, and a vanity table.

W Doha – WOW Suite shower

W Doha – WOW Suite shower

W Doha – WOW Suite double sinks

W Doha – WOW Suite double sinks

W Doha – WOW Suite vanity

W Doha – WOW Suite vanity

Because I planned to leave after my sixth night, I’d only have one night to enjoy the WOW Suite, but I was overjoyed to have that one night in the first place.

In between sitting on the swing chair, getting my work done in the private office, and catching some brief sleep in the snug embrace of a thousand thin black threads, I mulled over the lesson that rings true all too often in the pursuit of elevating your travel: persistence pays off. 

W Doha – Breakfast

Breakfast is served in the Market by Jean-Georges restaurant at the far right-hand side of the lobby. As a Titanium Elite member, breakfast was complimentary for my stay, and I headed downstairs on all five mornings. 

W Doha – Market by Jean-Georges

W Doha – Market by Jean-Georges

The staff members at breakfast were exceedingly friendly, greeting me by name every time I arrived, taking the time to walk me through the breakfast buffet on the first morning, and catching up with me on subsequent mornings about my plans in Doha.

W Doha – Breakfast spread

W Doha – Breakfast spread

W breakfasts rarely disappoint, especially in the Middle East and Asia, and the W Doha certainly lived up to its lofty expectations. There was an impressive variety of food on show, enough that I just about finished trying every item in the spread by the sixth morning of my stay.

The brand tends to place an emphasis on healthy living, as seen in the dedicated corner, covered in a sheet of grass, for healthy breakfast items. 

W Doha – Healthy corner

W Doha – Healthy corner

My favourites? Easily the sweet stuff: there was a rice pudding bar, which I loved, as well as a tray of freshly prepared pancakes and waffles, from which I had to limit myself to only one helping per day.

W Doha – Rice pudding station

W Doha – Rice pudding station

W Doha – Waffle and pancake station

W Doha – Waffle and pancake station

While there were no live cooking stations, you could order eggs prepared in your choice of style from the waiters roaming around, which would then be prepared in the kitchen and brought over to your table. Some of the specialty dishes included Eggs Benedict, Middle Eastern shakshouka, and Turkish menemen, and I cycled through the orders between every morning. 

W Doha – Executive WIP Lounge

In addition to the complimentary breakfast, the W Doha also provides a lunch and dinner spread in its Executive WIP Lounge, making it possible to take all three meals at the hotel if you wished. Indeed, the W Doha is one of the very few Ws around the world to offer a WIP Lounge for lunch and dinner (some other hotels do offer an evening happy hour, but no lunch spread). 

The WIP Lounge is also known as the Crystal Lounge, which serves as a lively lounge & bar in the evenings for the local Doha clientele, with seating for about 30 people inside. The buffet is spread out along the bar, and you may enjoy unlimited espresso or alcoholic drinks from the bar as an elite member as well.

W Doha – Crystal Lounge / Executive WIP Lounge

W Doha – Crystal Lounge / Executive WIP Lounge

I dipped into the WIP Lounge for lunch and dinner on quite a few occasions, when I wasn’t out and about in Doha and didn’t feel like leaving the hotel. 

W Doha – Executive WIP Lounge

W Doha – Executive WIP Lounge

W Doha – Executive WIP Lounge

W Doha – Executive WIP Lounge

The food offerings aren’t exactly gourmet, but they’ll fill you up just fine. There was a rotating selection of three hot dishes – usually a meat or fish dish, a savoury vegetable dish, and a pasta dish – as well as a soup of the day.

I’d also invariably order a drink to go with my meal – cappuccino in the daytime or wine at night. The staff here were also a pleasure to interact with, from the hostess at the front who’d let me know of any events that were happening at Crystal Lounge that night, to the Uzbek guy behind the bar who chatted with me at length about our respective journeys in life.

W Doha – Executive WIP Lounge cappuccino

W Doha – Executive WIP Lounge cappuccino

W Doha – Executive WIP Lounge red wine

W Doha – Executive WIP Lounge red wine

The Executive WIP Lounge is an example of the stellar elite treatment at this hotel – the hotel is under no obligation to provide elite members with three meals a day, and is extremely generous in doing so. 

W Doha – Restaurants & Bars

While I didn’t eat at any of them, the W Doha also offers a wealth of dining options for those who don’t have access to the WIP Lounge, or would prefer a full sit-down meal compared to the limited buffet selection.

Spice Market, on the third floor, serves up zesty Southeast Asian food. Meanwhile, the Market by Jean-Georges, where breakfast is served, also offers a Middle Eastern- and internationally-inspired menu for lunch and dinner.

W Doha – Spice Market

W Doha – Spice Market

The Wetox outlet on the ground floor serves up made-to-order juices, while the adjacent W Cafe allows you to fuel up with baked goods, breakfast treats, cupcakes and coffee brews.

W Doha – Wetox & W Cafe

W Doha – Wetox & W Cafe

Then let’s talk about the numerous bars at this hip-and-happening hotel. The aforementioned Crystal Lounge is one popular gathering spot, with every evening’s event rotating between themes like Ladies’ Night or Slavic Night.

The most lively spot, however, would have to be the Wahm Bar, which occupies the same level as the outdoor swimming pool.

W Doha – Wahm Bar

W Doha – Wahm Bar

By night, the outdoor pool transforms into a live DJ set, while the indoor Wahm lounge is located right next door. It’s basically a nightclub that’s frequented by many Doha locals, which adds a surprising twist to the experience of staying at this hotel as a guest.

I wasn’t in a partying mood on the first few evenings, but on the third day or so, I happened to pass through the lobby just as they were handing guests some free drink vouchers to promote that night’s event, so I decided I may as well head downstairs to check it out.

The Wahm bouncers seemed to be enforcing some kind of guest list policy for locals who weren’t staying at the hotel, but were happy to let me in with a flash of my room key (and upon checking my ID). 

It was certainly a lively spot, but I did have to dip back to my room pretty soon after some things threatened to getout of hand. 

W Doha – Pool & Gym

Lastly, let’s talk about the pool and fitness facilities, known as WET and FIT respectively.

These are usually some of the best parts of staying at a W hotel, but I must say that the W Doha’s offering was disappointing compared to its peers.

W Doha – WET pool

W Doha – WET pool

The pool consists of only two thin slivers of water, with the lower pool designed for casually taking a dip and the higher pool designed for swimming laps. 

W Doha – WET pool

W Doha – WET pool

Instead, most of the outdoor space was for lounging around: sipping a poolside drink in the daytime, and then throwing an outdoor party as part of the Wahm Bar in the evenings. 

W Doha – Pool bar

W Doha – Pool bar

W Doha – Poolside seating

W Doha – Poolside seating

W Doha – Poolside seating

W Doha – Poolside seating

Similarly, while I had held high hopes for the gym, it ended up being very limited in terms of both the square footage and the available equipment.

W Doha – FIT gym

W Doha – FIT gym

W Doha – FIT gym equipment

W Doha – FIT gym equipment

While it had all of the essentials – a few treadmills, exercise benches, machines, free weights, and an aerobics space – everything was jammed closely together, and it certainly didn’t compare very favourably to other W hotel gyms I’ve used in the past.

W Doha – FIT gym equipment

W Doha – FIT gym equipment

W Doha – FIT gym equipment

W Doha – FIT gym equipment

Since I had ample time on my hands, I ended up hitting the gym quite often, but I did wish I was back at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha with its much larger and well-equipped gym instead. 

Conclusion

It’s very rare that I stay somewhere for six days and just casually hang out, so as I left the W Doha on the sixth morning for my Qatar Airways flight back to Montreal, I felt like the hotel had been a temporary home of mine for the past little while. 

With gorgeous public spaces, very competitive guest rooms, and extremely generous treatment of elite members (including complimentary lunch and dinner in the WIP Lounge and a gracious upgrade to the stunning WOW Suite after my persistent requests), the W Doha left me impressed in many ways.

And as one of the few luxury Marriott hotels that are still designated as low as Category 4, it’ll also provide very good value for your Marriott Bonvoy points if you’re visiting Doha, especially if you’re staying as a high-status elite member. 

I’d love to continue hotel-hopping the next time I pass through Doha, as there are still a few properties (like the St. Regis) that catch my eye, but I’ll always have fond memories of the week I spent living it up at the W. And hey, I’ve still got a handful of those seven-night certificates to burn, so if I manage to get them extended to when the FIFA World Cup takes place in Qatar in 2022, I know where I’ll be staying then.

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3 Comments
  1. Avatar
    nunzio

    If other chance hopping hotels in Doha, take advantage for Qatar Stopover program to a catch a night in 5 star hotel at just 25 usd., a lot of choice and price unbeatable

  2. Avatar
    David

    You mentioned that this W was one of the few W hotels with an Executive WIP Lounge providing the lunch and dinner… do you have a list of the other W properties where they are providing this lunch and dinner benefit to the Platinum / Titanium members? I have yet to try out a W but this one seems decent enough for my needs… especially having all the meals included. Once again, thank you for the detailed review.

Ricky

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