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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Confusion reigns over conflicting reports about Sheraton refurbishment plans

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Yes, the Sheraton Doha is set to undergo a multi-million dollar renovation. But whether it will be closed to the public during the work – and for how long – is uncertain. 

According to Hamad Abdulla Al Mulla, CEO of Katara Hospitality, which owns the Sheraton, the 31-year-old hotel will see a complete overhaul to the tune of $137.3m to $192.2m, Al Sharq reports.

During the interviewAl Mulla told the newspaper that the hotel will not stay open during the work, which will see the entire building, including the rooms, restaurants and access road being renewed and redesigned.

He added that the hotel would remain under the management of Starwood – who owns the Sheraton brand – when the work has been completed, but hinted at a name change.

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Ashraf Seissy, deputy manager of the Sheraton, confirmed to Doha News that a renovation was planned, but would not comment on whether the hotel would close during the work. 

However, a receptionist there said that the hotel would indeed remain open during the renovations.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman at Katara Hospitality said the earlier remarks made by Al Mulla were correct, but that the group was still working out the details.

Delayed renovations

A complete renovation of the hotel has been in the pipeline since at least 2011, when it was originally announced by former general manager Steven W. Kalczynski.

At the time, he confirmed plans for three new restaurants, a new pool, refurbished meeting spaces and an overhaul to the lobby – work which he said would be carried out in 2013.

He estimated the project would take two years, but did not say if the hotel would close for the refurbishment.

It’s worth noting that the hotel underwent a major $20 million overhaul in 2002, but remained open throughout. 

“Time for a change”

Newly arrived Sheraton Doha Complex Manager Thomas van Opstal is currently out of the country and unavailable for comment, but when interviewed for this month’s ABODE magazine, he confirmed that he’d been tasked with overseeing the hotel’s transformation:

“It’s one of Doha’s oldest hotels. It’s a hotel where a lot of things have happened. It’s time for a change now though, so we’re looking at a major renovation in the next few years. That’s why I’ve been sent here, to oversee it.  When it’s completed I believe the Sheraton will once again be the number one hotel in Doha.”

Thoughts?

Credit: Top photo by Vobios; second photo courtesy of Sheraton Doha on Facebook

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