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.

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