Hotel Hotspot: Raffles Doha is coming for Atlantis The Royal’s crown
Raffles Doha drips with opulence and exclusivity, vying to be the Middle East’s most luxurious hotel property.
As the copper-gilded Bentley door draws closed and our chauffeur pulls away, we quietly look at each other. This will be no ordinary weekend. A 30-minute cruise through Doha’s flashing lights from Hamad International Airport leads us to Raffles Doha. A smiling doorman welcomes us by name and then leads us to our butler, Abderrahman. That’s right, our butler. Refreshing drinks and cold towels at the ready. Abde chaperones us to our Urban Suite for an in-suite check-in. Bags are brought to the suite. Abde offers to unpack them as he carefully lays fresh treats on a marble table. Tapenade, saffron truffle chocolates and the ripest blackberries.
First impressions matter; here, the wows come thick and fast. The hotel is neither classic nor traditional. Instead, Raffles Doha offers New World waterfront luxury drawing upon regional and international influences. From the building’s soaring Katara-inspired design to the grandiose Wonka-esque atrium of iridescent blues and silvers, Raffles Doha is a decidedly modern hotel informed by luxury where the guest is at the centre. Painstaking attention to detail is poured into everything: the design, restaurants, partnerships – and even Abde’s handwritten notes.
Raffles Doha is an all-suite property
With ten styles to choose from, we stayed in the Urban Suite. The Urban Suites are larger than many one-bedroom apartments at over 100 sq metres. Lofty, vaulted ceilings accentuate a bright, comforting space. We customise our room fragrance and walk laps around a marshmallow-soft king-sized bed. Pale white leather walls absorb daylight flooding through the suite’s floor-to-ceiling windows. A cooling teal accent wall faces the textured metallic atrium that houses a second bathroom and – our favourite feature – the hidden, speakeasy-like kitchenette equipped with Nespresso machines, Newby teas and more.
A generous balcony overlooks the neighbouring Fairmont Doha, Mondrian Doha, Lusail Marina and the waters of the Arabian Sea. Marbelised, spa-like bathrooms feature bespoke Frederic Malle toiletries, bathtubs big enough for two, a rain shower and a heated marble towel stand. Adjacent, a warm, leather-clad walk-in wardrobe accommodates short or long stays with oversized vanity and Dyson hair appliances.
Where to eat and drink at Raffles Doha
As with all our stays, food plays a disproportionate role. Hotel guests can float between Raffles Doha and the adjoining Fairmont Doha’s dining options. PROVOK at Fairmont Doha, under Chef Taimoo Sun, stood out the most among Fairmont Doha’s restaurants.
Alba by Enrico Crippa is the jewel in Raffles Doha’s crown, affording guests an insight into Piemontesi cuisine: think rare white truffles, eggy plump agnolotti in roasted meat sauce and saffron-stained risottos. Enrico Crippa is one of the world’s best chefs; while he is not always at Alba, some of his Piazza Duomo team, which has held three Michelin-starred since 2012, now lead Alba.
Thierry Motsch helms L’Artisan offering Mediterranean cuisine delivered under a deft touch, with technique and finesse.
Raffles Doha’s Blue Cigar Lounge, with its John Wick-style theatrics, stocks over 6,000 books, including 200 original first editions, some from the 1700s. Complete with Cuban cigars, plush chairs, and a featured glowing bar, Blue Cigar is the place to end the evening or unwind after travelling.
Slip into something more comfortable
Raffles Doha’s spa suites seriously impress. Private saunas, steam rooms and plunge pools can be found en route to the massage treatment beds. Raffles Doha offers various wellness treatments in partnership with Dr. Burgener, a Swiss skincare guru. Gold & Green Caviar Facials are available, naturally, but our Total Bliss Massage left us feeling relaxed, energised and ready to face Doha’s many sights.
Raffles Doha’s modern, kitted-out gym facilities are enough for a weekend, but serious athletes should hop, skip and jump over to Fairmont Doha’s incredible fitness centre.
Would we return to Raffles Doha?
Butlers, Bentleys and suites do not come cheap. However, Raffles Doha offers a one-of-a-kind stay that is as luxurious as it is unforgettable. The hotel daringly tempts GCC and international travellers as an attractive alternative to the region’s most talked about opening, Atlantis The Royal. Raffles Doha’s focused luxury quietly lies in the details, not in opening concerts, music videos and a raft of name chefs. Raffles Doha offers a stay that comes across as both curated and calculated.
GO: Visit www.raffles.com/doha for reservations and more information.