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Old Sep 22, 11, 10:06 am   #1
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Marriott-family hotels in Doha, Qatar

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!

Cheers.
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Old Oct 24, 11, 4:09 pm   #3
  
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2 Nights in Doha: Ritz, Marriott, or Renaissance?

Hi all!

Part of my honeymoon in 2012 includes two nights in Doha, Qatar. This is really only a stopover between the Seychelles and the Maldives. We'll be checking in one night, doing a desert safari the next day, and then flying out the following day. I'm not sure which property to choose.

The Ritz looks awesome, and I definitely have a surplus of Marriott points... so that's intriguing. However, since we aren't going to spend too much time there, is it worth it? Should I just stay at the Renaissance or Marriott? I see that they are cat 3 and 4, respectively. I'm sure Marriott will have another Cat4 night Megabonus, which means I could stay there for effectively zero points.

I know nothing about the location of the properties so please chime in. Also, there isn't a thread that compares these three hotels so perhaps we can just use this one as a starting point for that.
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Old Oct 24, 11, 11:09 pm   #4
  
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I've stayed at the Ritz. Very nice. Isolated. I'd probably go for the Sharq Village and Spa before the Ritz due to the distance from the airport.
I haven't stayed at any other Marriott location but I'm familiar with the city; I've also stayed at the Four Seasons.

The advantage of the Marriott and Sharq Village is that they are close to the airport. It's been ~3 years since I've been to Doha but the traffic can be terrible at all times of day and night.
What time of day does your flight leave Doha?

Based on your itinerary, I'd go for either Sharq Village (a Ritz property) or the Marriott.
Next on the list, I'd go with the Renaissance, followed by the Courtyard. (They're colocated so I suspect that there isn't much difference between them)
My last choice would be the Ritz due to the distance from the airport; you're not staying long enough to justify that much driving time.
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Old Jun 24, 14, 5:27 pm   #5
  
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Have a 20 hours transit in Doha, wondering if I should use my cat 4 voucher on Marriott or Courtyard? Courtyard has a higher rating on TA and closer to town. I will touch down at 5am and leave at 12 midnight. Any advice? Which hotel would allow an early check in at about 6am? And perhaps allow me to enjoy the breakfast? Hehe
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Old Aug 4, 14, 11:43 am   #6
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Marriott Marquis City Center Doha, Qatar

Just noticed on Marriott's website that this property opened yesterday.

Doesn't have a Category listed yet.

"The brand has just announced the opening of a new property in Doha’s West Bay district, where three hotels currently known as the Renaissance Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott and Marriott Executive Apartments Doha City Center become one as a new Marriott Hotel opens.

Explore the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel, centrally located in Doha’s Diplomatic area, only 15 minutes from the Doha International Airport. Towering above the West Bay business district, this contemporary hotel's unique location features panoramic views of the Doha’s skyline, Arabian Sea and the Corniche.

Has this listed for the exec lounge:

* Open: Sun-Sat, Open: 0600am - 12am
* Complimentary food:
- Hot buffet breakfast
- midday snack
- afternoon tea
- hors d'oeuvres
- dessert
- late night snack
* Complimentary non-alcoholic beverages
* Honor bar
* Business services, for a fee
* Complimentary pressing
* Two dedicated private lounges located on the 8th floor of the South Tower
with an outdoor terrace and on the 42nd floor of the North Tower with spectacular panoramic views of Doha.
* The lounges also offer complimentary wireless Internet in the lounge, complimentary happy hour from 5:30pm-7:30om daily and 2 hours complimentary use of the private meeting room."

Last edited by SkiAdcock; Aug 4, 14 at 11:48 am
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Old Aug 5, 14, 1:54 pm   #7
  
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I think this is the same hotel that used to be the Renaissance.
I made a reservation for the Renaissance awhile ago, and now it's coming as Marriott Marquis (with the same address). People at Marriott were equally confused about this change or whether the hotel is currenly open for business. Any update on its status would be appreciated.
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Old Aug 5, 14, 4:26 pm   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxVO View Post
I think this is the same hotel that used to be the Renaissance.
I made a reservation for the Renaissance awhile ago, and now it's coming as Marriott Marquis (with the same address). People at Marriott were equally confused about this change or whether the hotel is currenly open for business. Any update on its status would be appreciated.
"where three hotels currently known as the Renaissance Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott and Marriott Executive Apartments Doha City Center become one as a new Marriott Hotel opens."
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Old Aug 5, 14, 11:20 pm   #9
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiAdcock View Post
"where three hotels currently known as the Renaissance Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott and Marriott Executive Apartments Doha City Center become one as a new Marriott Hotel opens."
Duh, thanks!
I wonder if they remodeled all 3 to have a consistent decor.
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Old Sep 4, 15, 9:52 am   #10
  
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I stayed at the Marriott Marquis City Center back in Feburary. Great property with big rooms. I didn't get to use the lounge, but I did have lunch at the restaurant downstairs which is excellent. Service was quite good as well. I did a little write up on my trip report (hosted on FT) .
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Old Sep 4, 15, 11:46 am   #11
  
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Just checked out after a two week stay, I was never there during the three brand days, but now both towers are of similar finishings. As a Platinum was upgraded to a Junior Suite, great views of the city and beyond to the Gulf. Two Executive Lounges one on the 42nd. floor and the other tower on the 8th. Breakfast selection is generally repetitive but speaking to the new head chef a change is coming. Evening lounge has a selection of a soup, 3-4 hot plates, appetizers, cheese etc. which changes daily.
An Olympic size swimming pool is located on the 7th floor between the two towers plenty of seating in the sun or shade.
Best feature of this hotel is the staff represented by 63 different nationalities working in harmony with each other. The executive staff were outstanding,
courteous and friendly which made our stay very memorable.
Not a 5 star Marriott, but a solid 4 star in my opinion.
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Old Sep 5, 15, 3:09 pm   #12
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Thanks for the update. Much appreciated.

Cheers.
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Old Feb 26, 16, 12:34 am   #13
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I just finished a five-night award stay at the Marquis City Center Doha. Some impressions:

The Room: I was assigned a top-floor (43rd), corner room in the North Tower. This was, by far, the largest hotel room I've ever been assigned, easily surpassing all the suites I've been lucky enough to experience in my 25+ years of serious travel. (I should note that I'm a lowly gold, so no suite upgrade for me, unlike kiwimagic's experience.) The room measured ~14m x 10m at the max points, and about 12m x 6m was floor-to-ceiling windows, with stunning views of the South Tower and the Doha skyline.

Getting a corner room was not surprising; there are only eight rooms on the upper floors of the North Tower, so your odds are pretty good.

Power outlets were difficult to find, and convenient power outlets were even rarer. For example, to charge my laptop while watching TV required me to move one chair against the window, adjacent to a floor outlet. I also used the USB port on the TV to charge my phone - again, as a matter of convenience.

Speaking of TV, there were several English news/movie channels available on a 32" Samsung, so no complaints there. However, the Samsung screen looked as tiny as an early iPod when viewed from the bed ~9m away!

The Lounge: As kiwimagic mentioned, evening service always consisted of one soup/stew/chowder and three other hot dishes (usually fish, chicken and beef and one or two starches). But, the dishes were not just random selections: each night was a different theme - Mexican, South Pacific, Brazilian, etc. And, the staff went the exta mile to make it an experience. For example, on Mexican night, the salad sideboard was cleared-away and replaced with all the fixings for Tex-Mex nachos & queso. And, every condiment (as well as the main dishes) was clearly labeled.

Four brands of beer are offered, but only one each of red/white wine. Liquor was also available.

The staff was terrific, ensuring each guest was well-attended. And punctual - they started taking drink orders right at 1730, notifying each guest of last call at 1925, and had the area cleared of food and drink by 1935.

Breakfast was also varied, different selections each day of my stay. The Marriott Rewards desk, located to the left of the ground-floor check-in, informed me that there is no restaurant breakfast option for elites.

The lounge experience was so pleasant that I did not try any other foof/beverage outlet on the property.

Getting there: Taxis are not expensive, but I decided to take the 777 "limited stop service". The bus departs the airport three times per hour and costs about $3 for two rides. There's a stop at the Center City mall, directly attached to the Marriott by a 2nd floor walkway.

It took just 28 minutes to get to the airport in light early morning traffic. It just can't get any easier or quicker.

The 777 bus is also useful for visiting Souq Waqif or the MIA, just make sure to note on your favorite mapping program where the stops are located near the MIA.

I took the 777 bus four times during my stay; each time I was the only passenger.

If you'd rather walk to the MIA, it's about 4.2mi along the Corniche - a very pleasant walk.

The Mall: the attached mall includes a large Carrefour. This turned out to be a lifesaver for me when I broke the handle on my suitcase and was able to find a replacement there. (This was during an earlier visit, back in the days when the property was a Renaissance.)
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Old Feb 26, 16, 1:35 am   #14
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I have stayed here a few times since my initial report, most recently on a PointSavers award, which made it the same price as the old Marriott close to the airport, and a good value compared to the cash rate.

I don't see the need to add to the reviews here, but I am curious about the rebranding. Marriott Marquis seems like a weak brand to me, and I wonder why they changed, especially in light of kiwimagic's report that they have harmonized the furnishings. This is surprising to me because the previous Courtyard tower was built -- in the room design and layout as well as furnishings -- to look like most other Courtyards. (I am assuming that they didn't redo the bathrooms?)

This must have been a costly effort, which occurred pretty soon (three years or so?) after the hotel's initial opening. Anyone know why? Perhaps they thought that they could get higher rates, at least from the former Courtyard rooms, but given the glut in Doha I am not sure that that would be a great assumption. Maybe there is another Courtyard in the pipeline, which would be a nice addition to the market.
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Old Feb 26, 16, 7:14 am   #15
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LRD, thanks for the update/trip report. Much appreciated.

Cheers.
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