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The wow factor

The wow factor

Set in a place where tradition meets cutting-edge architecture, the new W Doha Hotel & Residences is another addition to the Gulf city’s growing game plan.

The glamorous hotel isn’t far from Doha’s Museum of Islamic Arts in the Corniche and neither is it far from the sounds and spices of the Souq Wafiq. This marriage of tradition and modernity is also the key inspiration for the hotel’s interiors.

“Our design inspiration came from local art, architecture and the elegant curves of Qatar’s indigenous black pearl,” says Keith Hobbs, founder, United Designers of London. “We recognised the need to produce something new and progressive for Doha to reflect an emerging and forward thinking city.”

Hobbs explains that the classic luxury style hotel already made its mark in the city; however, there was a seemingly large gap in the market for contemporary interiors.

“We wanted to capture the luxury of Arabian imagery but with a modern touch,” he explains. “The approach we took with W Doha was one of openness and respect in regards to the Arabic culture and history. We wanted to honour the beautiful elements of Arab art and tradition, but approach it with a global modernity and coolness.”

Using a concept Hobbs described as “quiet, defined extravagance,” United Designers used symmetrical designs, clean lines, sliding doors, sheer curtains and innovative lighting to truly energise and define the spaces.

While walking around the hotel, one is expected to recognise curvy forms reminiscent of the pearls that inspired major aspects of the overall design. The lobby, entitled the Living Room, features curved stairs along with 179 hand-blown hanging lanterns inspired by the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

“We also wanted to create a contrast between light and dark and reveal dramatic and sweeping spaces with closed, tranquil private areas,” adds Hobbs.

Hobbs believes that one of W’s design signatures is its immense effort in successfully incorporating local ambience and flavour. “For example,” he states, “at the new W Doha, there is no mistake that the guest is in the Arabian Gulf and there are many nods to tradition, but within a contemporary setting.”

Designing hotels is starting to become a greater challenge by the day with the world becoming a more global marketplace and guests getting increasingly sophisticated and well-travelled. Hobbs explains: “[Guests] have very definite ideas about what they need and want from a hotel: it is a place to work, play and relax. They need the design elements and design philosophy of their hotel rooms to really work for them.”

The rooms and suites feature an array of options including an exclusive Extreme Wow suite on the 15th floor boasting an extravagant 320m2 of space with the finest sea views, luxury finishings, technological accessories including a Bang & Olufsen Audio/Visual system with surround sound, a private meeting room, a pool table, private bar, massage rooms, an aquarium and an oversized bathroom.

Aimed to be W’s version of the Presidential suite, “the wrap-around windows afford great cinematic views and from this came our inspiration: glossy film star glamour with an Arabian touch. The palette is dark with a blue highlights while the interior is organised to be in consistent sync with the views,” describes Hobbs.

Another magnificent suite is the W suite. It takes many of its features from the aforementioned curvature of the black pearl with rounded sofas, circular coffee tables and Foscarini’s curved Twiggy floor lamp. Black lacquer and dark wood are featured throughout the accents of yellow in the cove lighting and generously scattered cushions.

“Further lighting is provided by Flos’ super bright multi-bulb Taraxacum,” adds Hobbs. “Heavy curtains wrap around the peremetre of the suite opening at the touch of a button to reveal floor-to-ceiling windows. Views of the surrounding cityscape can be enjoyed from a swinging chair by Ferlea, hung precariously close to the edge.”

Other rooms and suites include the Spectacular room, the Marvelous room, the Cool Corner suite, and the W residences. The hotel also accommodates three-reduced mobility rooms, fully equipped to cater to the special needs of physically challenged guests.

In the bedroom of the W suite, a king-size bed with a rounded headboard is enveloped in black fringe curtains creating a boudoir effect. Hanging overhead are three Tom Dixon pendant lamps with a metalised copper mirror finish providing a warm glow.

The geometric screens of the Bliss Spa is another key addition to W Doha, once again combining ornamental Arabic patterning with a contemporary twist, including nine treatment rooms as well as a special VIP suite. But no hotel is complete without its F&B spots.

W Doha offers a combination of sleek designs and Arabian glamour featuring the cosy Spice Market lounge, overlooking the glittering Gulf with handcrafted screens creating intimacy around a raised dining space.

Other places include Market by Jean Georges, the W Café, Crystal, basked under the sparkling glow of the Baccarat ‘Zenith’ chandelier and Wahm, a cool by the pool spot revealing splashes of orange, burgundy, pink and yellow to create a bold and playful backdrop to its oberall traditional setting.

Also, opening this month is the hotel’s newest addition, the La Spiga by Paper Moon restaurant featuring an Italian cuisine inspired by the authentic details of Paper Moon; a family run Italian restaurant that first opened in Via Bagutta, Milan.

The Italian-inspired decoration includes, but is not limited to, plush leather seating, dark wooden panels, a bold purple backdrop and the signature Paper Moon ‘wall of fame’, showcasing familiar faces of celebrities, blended together to create a vibrant and sophisticated ambiance.

The eye-catching disco ball- inspired pizza oven done in a bronze mosaic finish, lights up in order to give off a spinning impression.

The restaurant has been designed to expose all its functions including tinted yellow units enabling the diners to see the kitchen and bar with the crockery and the food preparation on display. Transparent cabinets on the walls are adorned with yellow boxes filled with wheat corns; a nod to the restaurant’s name.

And as easily as all these sections of the hotel seem to come together, Hobbs assures that the process was no walk in the park: “Architectural design is a difficult and lengthy process. Few people realise this because they only see the glamour of the opening night but there are 20,000 details you could potentially get wrong.

“The W brand encourages an openness that was incredible fun to work in,” Hobbs shares. “Our challenge was to really get to know and love the city…to successfully bring together all of the craftsmen and artisans needed to create the W Doha.”

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