Review: St. Regis Doha

Filed Under: Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest

I was landing in Doha at 10:05PM, and departing to Abu Dhabi the next day at 8:15PM. So I had a ~22 hour layover, though also had the intent of getting to the airport way early, given that the whole reason for the Doha “excursion” was to visit the new Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge.

In the past I’ve had some overnights near Hamad International Airport. The more convenient option is The Airport Hotel, which is located in the “secure” area. For a quick layover you can’t beat walking straight from your room to the gate without even having to clear security.

For a hotel close to the airport I’ve stayed at the Crowne Plaza The Business Park, which is just a short drive from the airport.

In this instance, though, I decided to stay at the St. Regis Doha, which I’ve wanted to review. I’m a big fan of the St. Regis brand, and figured this was a great opportunity to review this location. The St. Regis is near the Diplomatic District, which isn’t the most convenient if you’re simply transiting Hamad Airport, as it’s about a 30 minute drive away.

The rate for my stay was quite good, at 1050QAR (~275USD) for the one night stay. Best of all I booked through Starwood Luxury Privileges, which comes with the following perks at this hotel:

  • Upgrade on arrival if available
  • Early check-in if available
  • Daily full breakfast
  • One 100 USD food and beverage credit per room, per stay
  • Late check-out if available

So basically I’d get a $100 food & beverage credit, plus free breakfast. As a Platinum I could otherwise select free breakfast as my welcome amenity in lieu of 500 Starpoints, so basically I was earning an extra 500 Starpoints by booking this rate. Given that it was the same as the hotel’s published flexible rate, I thought it was quite a deal.

For what it’s worth, the St. Regis Doha is a Category 6 SPG property, meaning a free night redemption would cost 20,000 Starpoints. Given that I value those points at two cents each, paying cash for the stay represented a much better value.

I took a taxi to the St. Regis, which took about 30 minutes. On the plus side the drive to the St. Regis is along the waterfront, so the views are quite nice, especially at night.

As we pulled up to the St. Regis I was immediately impressed. The hotel is massive, though does look a bit sterile. I hadn’t realized until we pulled up that it’s actually right next to the dated InterContinental Doha, which was the first hotel I ever stayed at in Doha.

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St. Regis Doha exterior

Upon arrival a bellman immediately greeted me and directed me towards reception, which was located inside the lobby and to the right.

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St. Regis Doha driveway

The ceilings in the lobby were extremely high, made even more evident by the vertical display behind the reception desk, which put things into scale.

At check-in I was helped by an extremely friendly associate, who advised me I had been upgraded to a John Jacob Astor Suite. Woot! She further confirmed all the perks I’d receive for booking through Luxury Privileges.

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St. Regis Doha reception desk

I quickly walked around the lobby before heading up to my room. I was impressed by the sheer scale of the lobby, as it was massive, especially in terms of the height of the ceilings.

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St. Regis Doha lobby

At the same time there was something about the design which felt extremely sterile and uninviting. Usually I consider St. Regis lobbies to be among the most “comfortable” places to plop down in a chair and just watch people, but this lobby was so huge and symmetrical and lacked character.

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St. Regis Doha lobby

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St. Regis Doha lobby

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St. Regis Doha lobby

There were two exceptions. One was the very cool antique car which was “parked” on top of a water display.

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St. Regis Doha lobby

The other was the stunning floral display at both the forward and rear entrance. Those two things really made the otherwise sterile lobby a bit more inviting.

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St. Regis Doha lobby floral arrangement

Also off the lobby is Sarab Lounge, which feels intimate thanks to the partitions between the couches.

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St. Regis Doha lobby lounge

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St. Regis Doha lobby lounge

After a quick tour of the lobby it was off to the second floor, where my suite was located. My suite was at the far end of the gorgeous hallway.

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St. Regis Doha hallway

You always know you’re in for a nice suite when it has double doors at the entrance.

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St. Regis Doha John Jacob Astor Suite entrance

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St. Regis Doha floorplan

The suite was stunning, with a large entryway which led into the living room.

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St. Regis Doha John Jacob Astor Suite entryway

In the entryway was the minibar along with a Nespresso machine and kettle.

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St. Regis Doha John Jacob Astor Suite entryway

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St. Regis Doha John Jacob Astor Suite Nespresso machine

Across from that was a half bath, with a sink, toilet, and bidet.

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St. Regis Doha John Jacob Astor Suite guest bathroom

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St. Regis Doha John Jacob Astor Suite guest bathroom

The suite was huge, and even the living area was separated into two spaces thanks to an “arch”

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St. Regis Doha John Jacob Astor Suite living room

In the front of the living room was a desk with a comfy chair, and across from it were two chairs next to the door to the connecting room.

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St. Regis Doha John Jacob Astor Suite desk

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St. Regis Doha John Jacob Astor Suite living room

Past that was the living room, which had two couches and two chairs, set up in a way which was rather conducive to conversation (when you’re traveling by yourself, that’s less of an issue, of course). 😉

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St. Regis Doha John Jacob Astor Suite living room

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St. Regis Doha John Jacob Astor Suite living room

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St. Regis Doha John Jacob Astor Suite living room

The couch faced the TV.

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St. Regis Doha John Jacob Astor Suite living room

I was blown away by the welcome amenity. This was my first stay as a 100 night SPG Platinum Ambassador member, and one of the cool perks of that is that you get a single point of contact at SPG who helps you with your stays. I had explained to my Ambassador how much I loved planes, so he sure made me smile when I had the below welcome amenity waiting for me.

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St. Regis Doha Platinum Ambassador welcome amenity

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St. Regis Doha Platinum Ambassador welcome amenity

Separated from the living room by a door was the large bedroom, which featured a king size bed facing a TV.

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St. Regis Doha suite bedroom

Closer to the bathroom was a chair with an ottoman.

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St. Regis Doha suite bedroom

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St. Regis Doha suite bedroom

Past the bedroom was a vanity.

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St. Regis Doha suite bedroom vanity

And then past that was the bathroom, which had double sinks, a soaking tub, a toilet and bidet, a walk-in shower, etc.

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St. Regis Doha suite double sinks

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St. Regis Doha suite soaking tub

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St. Regis Doha suite toilet

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St. Regis Doha suite shower

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St. Regis Doha suite shower

As usual, the room featured Remede amenities.

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St. Regis Doha Remede toiletries

Overall I thought the room was gorgeous, though I’ll note two things:

  • The Wi-Fi wasn’t especially fast; not problematically so, but just not as good as I’d expect for a new, luxury city hotel
  • The construction was a bit shoddy; I find this to be the case in the Middle East in general, but you could tell some corners were cut in some areas, like the doors didn’t close exactly evenly, etc.

Five minutes after I got to my room the butler showed up to welcome me and give me a tour of the room. As I’ve written about before, I’ve never really understood what purpose butlers serve in the context of a St. Regis. I know they serve complimentary coffee & tea and you can get two shirts pressed per night, but aside from that I don’t really get it.

This butler was friendly and was following exact protocols I suspect, but I do wish they’d tone down the butler service a bit at times. For example, it was almost midnight by the time I got to my room, and I was tired. Perhaps it’s just me, but when I get to my room at that hour I just want to sleep, rather than get a rundown of all the things they can do over the course of my quick overnight stay.

Like I said, I think the guy was doing exactly what he was supposed to, but I’d love to see the general butler protocol be modified somewhat. For example, maybe if checking in after a certain hour, the front office associate who checks you in could ask if you’d like the butler to swing by to introduce themselves. On second thought I should have probably put the “do not disturb” sign on faster, but I’m usually still taking pictures of the room by the time the butler arrives, and don’t even think about it. No big deal, just some general thoughts from me.

Despite arriving late I woke up super early, and was treated to a gorgeous sunrise.

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St. Regis Doha sunrise view

It was so beautiful that I had to run outside to the pool and snap a picture from there. I especially loved the cloud reflections on the pool.

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St. Regis Doha pool

Shortly after sunrise I headed to breakfast, which is served in Vine Restaurant from 6AM until 11AM. I was the first guest in the huge restaurant, and chose a seat by the window which still had a view of the rising sun.

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant

The restaurant also had an outdoor patio, though it was still quite hot, so I chose to dine inside.

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant patio

The breakfast buffet was insane, as I’ve come to expect from hotels in the Middle East. The true sign of a good breakfast buffet is that it has pizza, and this hotel passed that test. 😉

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Doha Vine Restaurant breakfast buffet

While I had a $100 food & beverage credit, there’s no point in binge eating just for the purpose of spending a credit. I knew I was going to the Al Safwa Lounge where I’d get a great meal and Krug, so I didn’t utilize the whole credit.

However, since I had breakfast super early, I ordered some coffee and granola at around 11AM as lunch.

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St. Regis Doha room service

After that I decided to explore the property a bit. The hotel had a pretty cool extended patio area, with lots of comfortable outdoor seating. I imagine it’s a nice place in the evening when it cools off.

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View from my suite at St. Regis Doha

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St. Regis Doha exterior from pool

The patio area also has a view of the massive oryx statue which is in the garden.

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St. Regis Doha garden area

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St. Regis Doha patio

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View from my suite at St. Regis Doha

The hotel had a beautiful pool with lots of seating around it.

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St. Regis Doha pool

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St. Regis Doha pool

There’s also a great view of the building from the pool.

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St. Regis Doha exterior from pool

Past the pool was an artificial beach.

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St. Regis Doha beach

The hotel also had a good size gym with modern equipment, as you’d expect from a new St. Regis.

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St. Regis Doha gym

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St. Regis Doha gym

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St. Regis Doha gym

At around 4PM I checked out of the St. Regis and headed to the Hamad International Airport to check out the new Al Safwa First Class Lounge.

St. Regis Doha bottom line

While hotels in the Middle East tend to have some quirks, overall I was extremely impressed by the St. Regis. It’s a gorgeous property with a beautiful setting. My suite was gorgeous, and the overall setting was great as well.

The challenge with staying here on a layover is that the property isn’t especially convenient in relation to the airport. But for a stay in Doha I’d definitely consider returning to the St. Regis.

Do you have a favorite hotel in Doha?

  1. Hi Lucky,

    I’ll be staying at The St. Regis Macao in a couple of months, and I believe it just opened for business in Dec 2014. Perhaps you are able to do a review of the property before then? 😀

  2. Great review. I like how you maximize benefits like F&B from overnight stays. However, and maybe it’s just me, I don’t travel to exotic places just to eat in the hotel …

  3. I’ve not stayed in any Doha hotels in the four years I’ve lived here but I can give lots of advice on their bars and restaurants! Think I’ve been to every one in the St Regis! If your ever staying there over a weekend you should try out the raggae night on the beach!

  4. I just spent four nights there and stayed in the same suite, and your review was spot on. I had a wonderful stay, loved the property, AND visited my son who is on a job there! I really like your in depth trip reports, thanks!

  5. I don’t like the suite, it looks very ordinary and vanilla, sort of like a cookie cutter hotel room.

    The St. Regis in Abu Dhabi blows it out of the water.

  6. @Sandy – I stayed at the St. Regis Macao last week. It was absolutely terrible and is not on par with other St. Regis properties. No SPG recognition, terrible service, non-existent/constantly tardy butler and staff that are trained to only handle a 20 room Aloft at best. You’re better off spending your money at the Sheraton Macao down the block.

  7. @wtl44: Thanks for the heads up. I was debating between Sheraton and St. Regis, and I thought the latter would’ve exceeded the expectations of many since it is a brand new property. I guess not….

  8. I stayed in a Caroline Astor Suite at the St. Regis Doha and I’m surprised at some of the things you gloss over or don’t mention in your fawning review.

    You make a passing aside at the dodgy construction that really deserves more highlighting. In my suite, the manual blackout curtains all had terribly poor tracks – constantly jamming (indeed, one curtain rod came away in my hands) with some just completely unable to be fully closed (annoying if you are jet lagged and need to sleep whilst it’s still daylight outside). The lamp lights flickered dully for a very long time after being switched off at night (to the point I had to unplug them, as I felt like I was trapped in a low rent disco). Drainage for water (especially given water leaked) in the bathroom was poor [On bathrooms, it’s interesting that the Caroline Astor Suite has a better bath (decent freestanding) than your John Astor Suite] . Wireless phone in bedroom had problems.

    The outrageous and ridiculous in-room minibar deserves special highlighting. First, it’s locked and requires a guy to come to your room to unlock. Once unlocked, you’ll find it’s not been replenished between guests so you have to waste time waiting for the guy to run back and forth to replenish. In replenishing, don’t be surprised if it’s not restocked up to stock level required (meaning you might be sticker for consumption you didn’t use, with surprise charges after you depart) – mine had one Whiskey short that was only caught when I had another attendant lock the damn thing back up again after seeing the minibar price list that wanted to charge 35QAR (almost 24 times the supermarket price, or more than the power of 8) for a 1.50QAR Sprite (it was more expensive even that ordering through room service, where 25QAR was the price). If I hadn’t been adamant that I hadn’t consumed that “forgotten” Johnnie Walker miniature (and as it had only been a short time after I had the mini bar opened up before asked that it be locked back up again once I saw what a massive rort it was) no doubt I would have been stung 80QAR for something I hadn’t had – seemed like a scam to me (I can understand a standard mini-bar maybe not being restocked properly between guests, if turning over rooms quickly, but this minibar required a special employee to both unlock and lock it – with the contents treated like gold, priced as much anyway – so it smelled very bad that it had not been restocked before it had been previously locked up). I don’t mind paying a convenience tax for mini-bar use, but not when it’s grossly extortionate like that.

    This appears not the only scam this hotel runs. Ask for a taxi (and specifically a taxi, with staff even saying “here is your taxi” as they seek to put you in their car) and hotel staff will try to put you in a grubby (it’s saying something that the local taxis are way cleaner) hotel “limousine” (actually a cheap arse basic Toyota) pretending it’s a taxi – without any mention of this false substitution or any mention of price. It’s only if you question the driver (who will be rude, surly, and drive so dangerously that you fear for your life) as to why there is no taxi meter, that you’ll be snarkily told “not a taxi, hotel limousine” and then told the price (it was 80QAR to the airport when the price was snarled at me as we were pulling out of the hotel front entrance – I suspect it’s a much higher price if you get the airport without asking earlier – why’d anyone pay at least 30QAR more than the cleaner, nicer official taxis charge is beyond me, which I guess explains the outright deception).

    Add that to hotel F&B charges are pretty overblown compared to international norms (and certainly local costs) and you feel like you are being exploited.

    So, all in all, nothing particularly fantastic room wise and some downright dodgy practices (and construction/fit-out) and I certainly won’t be returning nor recommending to anyone else (and I’ve very surprised you do – I’m sure you are aware of these issues).

  9. Any reason why the W Doha is not in the hotel review list?

    You can find it by googling W Doha Onemileatatime, but the google text says Initial thoughts on my amazing stay at the W Doha Hotel?

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