Opulence is just the norm in Qatar, where the subway has a business class section and Friday breakfast is a competitive sport.
It takes something really spectacular for a new hotel to stand out in this area, like spending five years building a brand-new structure in the shape of the nation’s crest.
The Katara Towers, a recent addition to the Doha skyline, are split between the Fairmont and the Raffles hotel chains. Each takes up half of the 300,000 square meter structure, which is fashioned to resemble two Qatari scimitars crossed.
The two hotels inside Katara Towers are co-managed by Accor.
These identical twin hotels, which are situated along the Persian Gulf’s turquoise seas, are each opulent in their own special manner.
The Raffles, an all-suite hotel on the left side of the structure, is influenced by fine art. A white grand piano can be found in the lobby, with a 42-meter (137-foot) kaleidoscope-like projection on the ceiling casting light over it.
A private theater is available, replete with plush red velvet seats and specially made delicacies made by hotel chefs. Live concerts are held at the Acoustic rooftop bar, which also has a crystal-lined bar that is shaped like a whiskey tumbler.
The fittingly titled Raffles Suite, which spans two hotel floors and boasts a private swimming pool, internal elevator, hair salon, and even a hammam, is the highest-end accommodation.
The cocktail and cigar bar Blue Cigar, with its gloomy deep-blue décor and ceiling-high bookshelves, has a James Bond vibe.
Yet those towering bookcases aren’t just for show. A guest will be questioned about their favorite author while a cigar sommelier chooses a stogie or a waitress serves sliders on blue-tinted buns.
It’s likely that a member of staff will bring a copy of a rare book by that particular author to the visitor within an hour. International specialists in rare books were sent to assemble the hotel’s remarkable library.
A first edition of “Moby Dick” and the oldest known printing of Homer’s epic “The Odyssey” in English are two of the collection’s highlights.
Visitors can browse the pages themselves with the aid of a magnifying glass and a pair of gloves, or they can ask a staff member to read a particular passage to them.
On a recent trip to the Katara Towers, Angela Moore, who handles worldwide PR and communications for Qatar’s tourism board, played the role of a traveler.
She remarked, “I see a lot of hotels in my work. Many hotels believe that all they need to do is provide a great room with a lovely view, but what Fairmont and Raffles are doing here goes beyond mere glamor. Each house is magnificent and specially designed for each visitor.
The Malaki Raffles Lounge is a popular spot for afternoon tea.
So how does a visitor decide which portion of the structure they would like to reserve a room in?
The managing director of both properties, Christian Hirt, argues that each hotel has a distinct type of clientele.
When asked how to distinguish between them, he responds, “Raffles guests are discerning travelers seeking novel, distinctive, and cultural experiences. Couples and families seeking to take advantage of the hotel as well as the exciting location are among the Fairmont’s frequent travelers who wish to experience the location and local culture in an authentic way.
Guests at the Fairmont can choose between views of the Doha skyline or the Gulf.
The Fairmont has a lively atmosphere from the moment you enter.
The walls are textured with squares of 18-karat gold, and the world’s largest chandelier, measuring 56 meters (183 feet) high, sparkles gold and pearlescent light down on you.
The Fairmont’s design idea is inspired by yachts, another pillar of luxury culture.
The Persian Gulf may be seen from rooms facing east, which are elegant and pleasant in tones of white and blue. Curved white velvet headboards that resemble one of the nation’s most recognizable symbols, the pearl, surround the beds.
The nautical theme is still present, albeit faintly; consider seashell sculptures, hurricane-inspired bedroom lights, and art books featuring pictures of the world’s waters.
The I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art in Doha also features tables and other room accents with colorful tile inlays, a classic Islamic design. For more information about this tradition, pay a visit.
Blue and white glass give the opulent bar Provok on the 33rd floor a light, spacious feel while also maximizing the light from the intense desert heat.
Middle Easterners enjoy falconry, and the neighborhood souk has a whole wing (pun intended) devoted to the birds and their opulent lifestyles in some of Qatar’s most opulent homes.
So, it seems sense that the Peregrine and Lanner, two of the Fairmont’s most expensive suites, are named after different species of falcons.
Both properties offer courteous and discrete service. The fittingly called British fashion label No Uniform, which has also designed uniforms for upscale hotels including Claridge’s in London, outfits front desk personnel and concierges with custom-made suits and gowns.
Raffles bellhops and doormen wear sharp three-piece suits with top hats, while female Fairmont personnel wear long sleeves gowns with vibrant floral accents.
A place that is about to happen
One of the main structures in Lusail, the second-largest municipality in Qatar, which was built on reclaimed land to follow a narrow stretch of the Persian Gulf, is Katara Towers.
It is located five kilometers (three miles) north of the Katara Cultural Village and about twenty kilometers (12.5 miles) north of Doha, the capital.
In this region, there is the Lusail Stadium, which served as a key World Cup venue in November and December of last year, most notably for the World Cup final between France and eventual champion Argentina. There is also the Formula One racetrack, which hosted the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix.
In January 2023, the Fairmont and Raffles hotels had their public debuts.
Prior to that, it was utilized by FIFA officials and, rumor has it, members of the Qatari royal family during the World Cup.
The most prominent element of Qatar’s national crest is a pair of crossed scimitars. The government unveiled a new insignia last fall, which also occurred to be the same time the building’s construction was completed.
Coffee cups and jewelry are only two items in the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar that have the double-sword motif. But, this is the first time the shape has manifested as a building.