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Old Sep 22, 11, 10:06 am   #1
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: California, Istanbul, Doha
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Courtyard and Renaissance in Doha

I had a brief stay at each of these properties, which must count as among the more obscure additions to the portfolio. They were originally scheduled to open for the Asian Games (December 2006), and are now in sort of a soft-opening stage.

These are twin towers of about 40 stories (one of which also encompasses a Marriott Executive Apartments) with connected lobbies. The hotels are also connected on the second floor to the City Center Mall in the West Bay area.

Some of the pluses and minuses:

-- The design is pretty ugly. The lobby of the Renaissance is OK; the Courtyard is typical for the brand. However, the rest of the common areas are a cheap, pseudo-Arabic style typical of many of the high-rises in Qatar, with low-quality shiny marble floors, phony wood paneling, and poor fixtures and finishings. The Renaissance rooms are exceedingly underwhelming in my opinion; the Courtyard rooms are more typical of the brand.

-- The food and beverage seems like it will be great. Most of the outlets -- New York Steakhouse and bar, Brasserie Centreville, Ipanema Churrascaria, an Italian place, and Glo lobby bar -- are not open yet, but should be welcome additions to Qatar. Champions Sports Bar, which is open now, will be an excellent addition to the options in the country, though the food was not very good. There is also a 24-hour cafe off of the Courtyard lobby, with light food as well as pastries and coffee, which will fill a needed niche. The minibar prices are also reasonable for this category; e.g., QAR 20 (about USD 5.5) for a 750 mL Evian and QAR 15 for the 330 mL version or can of soda.

-- The outdoor pool (on the seventh floor between the properties) and large gym, sauna, and steam look impressive.

-- A lot of the service is off to a poor start. The internet didn't work for most of my Courtyard stay. For the rest of it, and for the Renaissance, it was painfully slow. The front desk seemed to lack organization, and check-out was a fiasco. There was no complimentary bottled water in the Renaissance room. Of course I chalk some of this up to growing pains -- although I would have thought that they'd bring a strong opening team from Marriott, which didn't seem to be the case -- but some of the other aspects just reflect poor thought, e.g., when removing the key card from the slot by the door, all of the electricity goes off, including the clock radio; the cable television didn't work; water from the shower got all over the floor on the Courtyard side, and the shower on the Renaissance side was incredibly small; and the TV channel list provided on the nightstand bore no resemblance to the actual channels. These were small matters individually, of course, but put together, plus many others, it really left sort of a frustrating taste in my mouth.

There is an executive lounge, though I have dropped to lowly Silver so had no access.

Overall, at around the same prices as the other four- and five-star hotels in Doha (e.g., Sheraton, Four Seasons, W, Movenpick, forthcoming Shangri-La all within nominal walking distance), it is inferior, but the location is great; being connected to the mall makes it among the most convenient options for business travelers in Qatar.
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Old Sep 22, 11, 11:39 am   #2
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Thanks for the update!

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