Shangri-La Doha is the lat­est of the new ho­tels around the Doha Exhibition and Con­ven­tion Cen­ter to come on­line, at the open­ing of which we caught up with the Pres­i­dent and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of Shangri-La In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel Man­age­ment Lim­ited, Greg Do­gan.

All good things take time,” de­clares Greg Do­gan. It's open­ing day at the Shangri-La Doha. The dis­tilled calm of the Hori­zon Club on the 42nd floor is in stark con­trast to the colour and ex­cite­ment in the lobby, where prepa­ra­tions for the big evening are un­der­way. An evening eight years in the mak­ing. It has been a long wait. “But we are happy and proud to see the fi­nal prod­uct. It is mod­ern but the owner has also adorned the ho­tel in unique art­work and ta­pes­tries; he is a man with good taste in Arab an­tiques.” Of course the prop­erty is owned by Al Rayyan Tourism In­vest­ment Com­pany and the man in ques­tion is Sheikh Faisal bin Qas­sim Al Thani! So yes, it can be said that he is a man of good taste and the ho­tel re­flects that.

Eight years is a life­time, even in the re­silient ho­tel in­dus­try. But the chang­ing tides that have been re­shap­ing the for­tunes of the coun­try and re­gion have had lit­tle ef­fect on the ho­tel as new floors went up. “All the driv­ers which led us to an­nounce this ho­tel eight years ago are still very much present. The in­fra­struc­ture projects are on track, the air­port is still be­ing ex­panded and the Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict con­tin­ues to grow. The new con­ven­tion cen­tre is a huge plus,” says Do­gan. “We have been able to re­alise the orig­i­nal vi­sion we had for the ho­tel; even the plans for all seven planned food and bev­er­age out­lets have been fol­lowed through. In fact we are more pos­i­tive than ever now, look­ing at the mar­ket and the fu­ture that is be­ing planned for the coun­try. The ho­tel will blos­som when all of these var­i­ous fac­tors come to­gether.”

The 50-storey ho­tel, de­signed to re­sem­ble a fal­con's head, has 272 rooms and 42 fully fur­nished ser­viced apart­ments in ad­di­tion to a health club, the Chi spa and seven unique F&B out­lets – in­ter­ac­tive all-day din­ing at a lively Ara­bian souq at Sri­dan, au­then­tic South Amer­i­can favourites at Fuego (serv­ing beef flown in di­rectly from Ar­gentina), fresh seafood pre­pared at Yabby, clas­sic and con­tem­po­rary Chi­nese cre­ations at Shang­hai Club (open­ing soon), beau­ti­fully de­signed pas­tries at Lobby Lounge, light re­fresh­ments at the al fresco pool­side bar and clas­sic cock­tails at The Den, Doha's first non-smok­ing pi­ano lounge. “It's a ho­tel with char­ac­ter where we have been able to take the best of what Qatar has to of­fer, in terms of lo­cal nu­ances, and blended them with our sig­na­ture Asian style,” says Do­gan. “This is re­flected in ev­ery­thing from the IDs to the uni­forms where lo­cal at­tributes are added to make the of­fer­ings cul­tur­ally sen­si­tive.”

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