IT DOESN’T COME AS A SURPRISE THAT THE ST REGIS DOHA IS COINED AS ‘THE PERFECT URBAN ESCAPE FOR YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES’. CRAIG FERRIMAN IGNITES US WITH HIS REMARKABLE STAYCATION BUT WE CAN’T HELP BEING OVERLY JEALOUS.
St Regis has always been synonymous with class and it’s often referred as the address to stay at in Doha. It’s built so beautifully and impossible to miss from the sea – a halfway house between the hectic West Bay skyline and the residential and recreational island of The Pearl. This is a hotel that doesn’t want to be compared to any others. It wants to be in a league of its own and though I’d visited it many times, my stay there this time made me realise just how leagues ahead of the rest this place is.
The hotel is like a castle. Long corridors with crisp white walls, separate wings and many outlets. It’s easy to get lost in it. I had the pleasure of staying in an empire suite with two king size bedrooms, a lounge that was bigger than my apartment, a dining area and two en-suites with the master bathroom having a TV in the bath so you absorb a movie or TV show while soaking in the tub.
The rooms have classical white walls and cream carpets, but, have wonderful touches like the black archways that lead into the bathroom, or the ante-chamber filled with closets for hanging clothes and a chaiselong to sit on while pondering what to wear! It’s also the only hotel I’ve ever known that still has a nineteenth century tradition of a butler service. Natalia introduced herself to me once I’d checked in and was on hand to assist with anything during my stay.
Not long after I’d arrived, hung everything up and pondered what to wear, I started getting to grips with the geography of the property. Not that easy it must be said, the place is huge! Or feels it anyway. I got to The Rooftop for a sparkling aperitif and enjoyed the unrelenting glamour of the place. A DJ was spinning some house music as guests started the evening and the place got busier as the evening went on though it was a touch windy that night. As long as there isn’t a breeze, it’s a great space to gather and a good party spot.
My first night dinner was in the main international dining venue, The Vine. My innate snobbery set low expectations and I rather anticipated a mass food bog standard buffet service but I was warmly surprised. It was a buffet, but, it was far from bog standard and the standard was high. A great range of international options were served in the spacious and refined dining room. The Vine also has plenty of outdoor seating where fresh stands served barbecue seafood and I tucked into a little lobster having tried some hummus and Arabic salads inside first. The evening food packages there are well priced and service from staff is impeccable. The Vine also serves a good breakfast. The buffet serves mostly what you’d expect from Western to Arabic hot options to fresh fruit and yoghurts but it was the small menu of a-la- carte items that you can order which give the breakfast distinction. The crab royal for example was good. It’s poached eggs to order on bread with a little crab and went down a treat. There are a number of excellent dining options and short of having an extended stay there, it would be impossible to eat in all of them. I did have lunch in Gordon Ramsey’s casual dining outlet, Opal. Outdoor terrace seating is ideal in the cool afternoon breeze looking out to sea with a menu of popular European bistro dishes and the full range of choice from the Raw Bar which is attached to Opal. The Raw Bar kind of does what it says on the label so I opted for a platter of sushi before opting for the battered fish and chips. The chocolate and amaretti pudding with crème Anglaise got me into a pre-prandial state perfect for a late afternoon slumber by the pool. You’ll have seen pictures of the pool in any promotional literature for St Regis. The Olympic size pool punctuates the open space between the two wings of the hotel. I swam the 50 metre length of it and was ready to lie down again in a side sunlounger though saw larger groups gathering as cabals in cabanas!
Food guilt kicked in on day two after eating so much so I headed to the gym. Their gymnasium is rather big but rather empty too or at least it felt that way every time I visited. Perhaps I was just lucky but it did feel as if I had the place to myself and there was no fight for one of the many treadmills or cross trainers.
On my last night I made a pleasant discovery. A new pop-up restaurant has launched by the pool called Riyasat. Tables laid out with lanterns and lots of fairy lighting make for a sunning setting with the backdrop of the hotel and a view of the beach. Staff brought food from a set menu of Northern Indian dishes which contained more than a bit of kick to it. The food was delicious. So much to do at St Regis and never enough time. You can’t fault them. They give you a slice of paradise and leave you wanting to come back for more. ✤
GO: CALL 4446 0000 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION.
THE ROOMS HAVE CLASSICAL WHITE WALLS AND CREAM CARPETS, BUT, HAVE WONDERFUL TOUCHES LIKE THE BLACK ARCHWAYS THAT LEAD INTO THE BATHROOM, OR THE ANTECHAMBER FILLED WITH CLOSETS FOR HANGING CLOTHES AND A CHAISE-LONG TO SIT ON WHILE PONDERING WHAT TO WEAR!”