NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL
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.”