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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Construction begins on third Doha Kempinski hotel in Msheireb

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Shaza Kempinski Doha
Shaza Kempinski Doha

Following the official opening of Qatar’s second Kempinski hotel, work has just begun on a third similarly branded luxury building, on a site opposite the Museum of Islamic Art, New York-based architects have said.

The 15-story Shaza Kempinski will be wrapped in glass that features a geometric, “Islamic-inspired Arabesque pattern,” according to architect firm Soma.

Groundworks and construction of the hotel foundations are already underway and according to the hotel’s website, it is expected to open sometime in 2016.

Kempinski Marsa Malaz banquette
Kempinski Marsa Malaz banquette

Unlike the two other Kempinskis in Doha – one in West Bay and the new Marsa Malaz at the Pearl-Qatar – this new hotel is being billed as an “alcohol-free, Sharia-compliant destination.”

Facilities at the 180-room hotel are set to include a roof-top pool terrace with a celebrity chef-run restaurant, spa, ballroom, cigar lounge and two restaurants inside the complex, as well as three basements.

Its smooth facade has been designed to imitate the “Mashrabiya” figured window screens that are popular in the region, but these have been silkscreened on to the glass, then adapted. The pattern will be denser on areas where more privacy is required and more open on aspects which need extra light, architects said.

When the hotel was first announced at the Arabian Travel Market in 2013, it was also set to include an art gallery in the lobby and estimated a completion date of Spring 2016.

Marsa Malaz

Meanwhile, the Marsa Malaz Kempinski hotel on The Pearl-Qatar has officially opened its doors to guests after an apparent last-minute delay last month.

The five-star, Alfardan-owned hotel was billed to launch on December 1, and even on the day of its supposed opening, its own website featured a ticker-tape countdown.

But it remained closed throughout December, much to the disappointment of residents who had been anticipating the launch of what is the only venue on the man-made island licensed to serve alcohol.

The hotel quietly opened its doors on Jan. 7, initially offering short tours to potential guests who were able to get light refreshments in its Cafe Murano, on the ground floor.

It began taking bookings for its rooms several days ago and, so far, two restaurants, a cafe and a cigar bar are open, with more to follow in the coming two months, General Manager Wissam Suleiman told Doha News.

He refused to provide a specific reason for the late opening, saying only: “We were fine-tuning the hotel.”

The hotel is mostly aimed at attracting Qatari guests, in addition to other visitors from the GCC. But Suleiman said he hoped Europeans would also be drawn to the venue, particularly in the spring months.

What’s open

El Faro, Marsa Malaz Kempinski
El Faro, Marsa Malaz Kempinski

International restaurant Sawa – which means “together” – is open all day and is led by Germany-born Executive Chef Mattias Roock, offering a mix of European, Arabic and Asian food.

Also open is Spanish eatery El Faro, meaning lighthouse, which is only serving dinner at the moment.

It has an outdoor terrace, tapas bar and smaller wine bar, and has a laid-back vibe with a colorful, Picasso-inspired handpainted mural along its main wall. Its menu includes staples such as paella, tapas, pintxos and salt cod bacalao.

Bohemia bar manager Simon Mhaidat
Bohemia bar manager Simon Mhaidat

Bohemia cigar lounge is reputedly the Middle East’s first molecular bar and is headed by Simon Mhaidat, who has won 186 awards throughout the world for his drinks expertise.

While not cheap – some of the more special cocktails are priced at QR250 to QR350 each – the making of them is a piece of theater, involving dry ice, dramatic lighting and other special effects.

Suleiman, the general manager, told Doha News that two more restaurants – Levant-inspired Al Sufra and Italian Antica Pesa – would open in February.

Construction of the building that will house Latin restaurant Toro Toro as well as a branch of the well-known Japanese eatery Nozomi is underway and these restaurants are set to open by March ahead of a planned grand opening in the spring, Sulieman said.

They will be joined by a roof-top bar and club, spa cafe and beach grill restaurant.

The health club, gym and children’s club are already open. The 3,000-square-meter Clarins spa is still under construction and is expected to launch next month.

While the beach and seven outdoor pools are already open, they are currently only for the use of hotel guests.

Artwork

The resort features a number of distinctive sculptures and pieces of art. In the lobby is a Murano glass and metal sculpture called Tree of Life, which features 12 glass birds to represent the months of the year.

At the main stairwell are four dramatic chandeliers, also made from Murano glass. A total of 44,000 screws hold together the pieces of glass, which took three months to assemble on site, a hotel representative said.

A horse statue outside the Marsa Malaz Kempinski.
A horse statue outside the Marsa Malaz Kempinski.

The 18 meter-high bronze horse sculpture that stands at the entrance to the hotel car park is by Qatar-based Iraqi artist Ahmed Al Bahrani, and was painstakingly put together from 25 separate pieces.

Work is still underway to some of the rooms, but once complete the hotel will have 281 bedrooms including 69 suites, two presidential suites and two royal suites, all with 24-hour butler service.

Hotels galore

Elsewhere, at least three hotels are also under construction in the nearby QR20 billion Msheireb district, on the other side of Souq Waqif, with similar planned completion dates to the new Kempinski.

The Mandarin Oriental, which will have 158-room hotel with 91 serviced apartments, was first announced in 2010, but after some delays is not expected to be finished until next year.

The other two hotels are the Al Wadi Hotel, part of Accor’s M Gallery Collection, and a 181-room Park Hyatt. When they were initially announced, the projects aimed to open in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Qatar is significantly investing in increasing the number of hotels, as it gears up to develop its tourism strategy ahead of hosting the World Cup in 2022.

As part of the national tourism strategy launched last February, the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) plans to extend Qatar’s appeal to visitors from across the globe, and has a target of 7 million annual tourists by 2030.

Banana Island
Banana Island

This is a significant increase from the 1.2 million visitors who came to the state in 2012 and to make it a reality, will need around US$45 billion investment from the government and private sector.

Banana Island resort is one of the recent additions to Doha’s hotel pool when it started taking its first guests at the beginning of this month. And the Sheraton Doha reopened last month after a nine-month refurbishment.

Meanwhile, the country’s first Mondrian Hotel is set to open later this year. Situated next to Zig-Zag towers and Lagoona Mall, 31-story hotel will have 270 rooms, including residential suites and two penthouse floors.

Do you plan to check out the Marsa Malaz? Thoughts?

59 COMMENTS

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Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

Impressive building! But before I book I need to clarify whose version of Sharia the hotel is compliant with. Al Qaradawi? Al Baghdadi? Someone else? That’s a pretty big claim for a hotel to make. Are the laborers and workers treated ethically? That would be a good start!

Restie
Restie
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

It’s usually though a board of scholars. You can check with them and they can provide you the information, banks and investment funds have it.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Restie

Do you have a link or reference or something? I truly am curious. Seems like a vague claim, but I’d be interested to see what’s behind that phrase.

Restie
Restie
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Here is a link that a Google search brought up, but you should contact the entity or holding company for the hotel for details, most are very upfront with it.

http://umkeprints.umk.edu.my/1503/1/paper%20108.pdf

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Restie

That’s a really interesting article. Thanks. Can’t tell when it was written, but I’m assuming recently, as the most recent reference was from 2011. It sounds like Malaysia is really working hard on it, but there are still discussions over how to make it a real official process and certification. I also agree with their assertion that this is a true niche market and that it will be difficult to entice non-Muslims. Still, interesting read about a country that seems to be doing a good job at market evaluation and finding out what customers will pay for.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Restie

Islamic banks do have boards of scholars to set the guidelines for Shriah-compliant operations, but definitely not hotels. I have never seen any hotel having such a board and I don’t think there is any. I assume what they mean here by Shariah-compliant is alcohol-free and possibly a ladies only gym and swimming pool. That’s it.

Restie
Restie
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

No, there are hotels that also rely on the same system of boards to determine compliance, either in financial terms, operations, income sources, types of services provided and values, similar to SRIs.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

R u fine or out of your senses. Maybe drunk mode.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

If it’s such a simple matter, can you please enlighten everyone? Stating that the hotel is alcohol-free is self-explanatory and black and white. But stating that it’s Sharia-compliant is as gray as it gets. It’s like the architect saying that there will be more than 2 floors, but less than 2,000.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Did u even read the complete posting. If not read it again. And keep that bottle down and read

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

I read it. Did you want a dissertation on each paragraph of the article? What stuck out to me is what I commented on. That’s what the comments section is for. You shouldn’t make so many assumptions about others.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago

Stop the personal attacks, please!

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Agreed. Whether you are for or against the concept of sharia compliant hotels, the hotel should clearly explain what that means for its customers on its website. Sharia might sound scary to some westerners but if it basicly just means it is a dry hotel and will serve halal food some westerners might not mind it (for example Mormons or recovering alcoholics).

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Good advice! before I book my next travel, I’ll have to clarify whose version of Bible that hotel is compliant with.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  DJ25Q

Fair enough. But when was the last time you heard a hotel claim to be Torah-compliant?

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Never heard of, but plenty exist
this will help
http://www.totallyjewishtravel.com

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  DJ25Q

“Never heard of, but plenty exist?” Wow, if that won’t convince me nothing will!

You linked to a travel agent, not a hotel. Their Orlando trip stays at the Sheraton. I guarantee the Sheraton in LBV does not go out of their way to be Torah-compliant (I’ve stayed there). There are other travel agencies that cater to other types of people, for example, homosexuals. I doubt they would organize trips that stay at gay-only hotels.

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

exactly, and did not see a Christian compliant or Pudist compliant either
but seen Kosher, Sabbath compliant, Halal Food…etc

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  DJ25Q

I think you just proved my point that nobody makes these claims, so why would a world wide brand like Kempinski publish that their hotel is Sharia-compliant? Seems counter intuitive to increasing business. Can you provide a website for a hotel that is advertises itself as kosher compliant? I will gladly stand corrected, but you only provided a link to a Jewish tour group that stays in regular hotels that definitely aren’t kosher.

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Not only hotels, even airlines and restaurants have such classification for food. Why would Kempinski advertise for Sharia compliant ? Kempinisky can give a better answer, but I clearly see that they target certain customers in here, just like having one more hotel theme in their group, or adding one more item in their menu of services. As for kosher hotels, hope this quick google serach will help:

http://www.mykosherhotel.it/en/index.php
http://kosher-hotel.at/

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  DJ25Q

Interesting. I stand corrected. Doubt that I personally will try to book there, but I’m not their target market, just like I’m not for this new Kempinski.

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago

nice building indeed -so pleased to see a modern current building going up instead of the pastiche rubbish

Andrew
Andrew
6 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

It looks quite a bit like Jean Nouvel’s splendid Institut du Monde Arabe building in Paris. I’m sure that’s just a complete coincidence though…

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

I agree, architecture here is so bland

Ola
Ola
6 years ago

“The hotel is mostly aimed at attracting Qatari guests, in addition to other visitors from the GCC” This seems to be standard rhetoric from the new hotels. Same stuff was spewed out by Banana Island. Poor PR to indicate racial preferences. Such narrow mindedness is unique to this region. I would have thought these international brands would be immune to such silliness.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Ola

Clearly you have no idea how businesses are operated.. What does this have to do with racial preference… ?? They have a target group which they believe they can maximize value from.. So they cater to them.. The same way as having hotel staff who speak chinese to cater and attract chinese tourist or having london hotels with Arabic menus and Arabic food through room service ..

Qatar will never really be able to attract western tourists.. Best is stop over tourists or business travelers.. However over the years the number of Kuwaiti tourist had increased massively .. And right next door is a country with over 20 million people and no cinemas who are looking for an outlet… There are the cash spending tourist I want to target …

As for local expats there will always be alternatice options to cater to them

Restie
Restie
6 years ago
Reply to  Ola

Narrow mindedness? Please never start a business yourself or allow anyone to give you control of a marketing budget.

I went to a resort in the Maldives that was catered towards Germans, I had a great time, but it was completely Germanified, in terms of cuisines, language and social activities. You know why? Because 85% of the guests were German or Swiss. I booked because the price was right, but on my return when I started to research the hotel I saw it was marketing purely for Germans (I booked through Expedia).

Narrow mindedness may also include you, when you vilify the region for something that in business is referred to as knowing your customer.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Sharia complaint seems an odd claim to make, a building can’t be sharia compliant. If they find guest sharing a room who are not married will they perform a public stoning to death?

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I wondered about that too, thus the question in another comment about which version of Sharia? Do they have a special closet where they keep the rods for guests and staff that earn lashings?

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

@disqus_aknoj75W58:disqus
I vote you up for the most stupid comment for this year.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Thanks for your encouraging words. But remember, the year is young! 🙂

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

I don’t think it’s a stupid comment though, considering the punishment requirements for Sharia law found in the following links. If they follow what is prescribed in these links then they will need to have a set of rods or whips for the lashings, a set of (hopefully sterile) cutting devices for when hands and feet need to be lopped off, and a set of stones for the really egregious offenses. Which is why I stand by my original question: what version is this hotel governed by? (And who would want to stay in a place like that? Sounds like Hotel California….)

http://www.discoveringislam.org/sharia_punishments.htm

http://m.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11391650

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudud

Asinine Thinker
Asinine Thinker
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

You made the “Asinine Thinker” think twice 🙂

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Oh, you got a ticket for over speeding, pay in cash or card ?
wait, it’s unfair to pay cause you are a tourist, right?
can you explain how different is the punishment of fornication according to you?

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  DJ25Q

Not sure exactly what you mean by this comment. If you’re inferring that I wouldn’t pay a fine for speeding, I fortunately haven’t received one in many years, but all the fines I have received for speeding in my lifetime have been fully paid.

As far as fornication goes, I stay true to my spouse. What other people do on their own time is none of my business!

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

did not answer me yet

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  DJ25Q

I think my response is waiting approval from DN staff. Also, I think my first explanation regarding waiting for approval from DN staff is also awaiting approval, both comments used variants of a three letter word that starts with s and e ends with an x…..

Restie
Restie
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Punishments aren’t carried out by third parties, they are to be done through a judicial and penal system.

Your comment is silly, it’s as if a hotel in the West saying it abides by all local laws, rules and regulations and you ask if they have the lethal injection in the closet.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Restie

I agree, is definitely is all a bit tongue in cheek. But hotels in the West don’t explicitly say “we abide by all rules” when promoting their hotels. It’s just assumed. So when a hotel goes out of their way to advertise Sharia compliance it looks silly, kind of like my comment! (Did Kempinski check to ensure that their version of Sharia lines up with the local government?)

Restie
Restie
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Why does it look silly to advertise Sharia compliance? You aren’t their target market but there is a market in this region that would like to easily follow their religion whilst on holiday, and having a hotel that is compliant to it makes it easier to do so.

BTW, there are hotels in conservative parts of the West that do advertise their ability to cater to religious parties, for example hotels with Shabbath elevators so Hasidic Jews do not have to ‘create fire’, hotels that do not allow cohabitation between un-married couples in Utah and hotels that are dry in parts of the South to attract evangelical Christians.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Restie

Fair enough. The document you provided was interesting. It doesn’t sound like there are any “official” certifications or ways to prove that a hotel truly is “Sharia.” Though with claims of Sharia from a wide array of types of groups worldwide, I think it’s fair to not quite always know what’s behind each proclaimer’s intent. Malaysia looks like they’re doing a great job of definition development. Hopefully other nations will follow suit. There certainly seems to be a niche market for it.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

http://www.crescentrating.com/……..helpful site to those travelling looking for specific properties or services to cater to the muslim traveller. Already several properties listed here in Doha. http://www.crescentrating.com/qatar-halal-friendly-accomodation.html. Many countries already listed with such properties.

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Not all hotels are guest friendly,which is very clear. The term Sharia compliant implies no alcohol to offer, besides serving Halal food only, and maintaining privacy in common areas ( similar to restaurants here that have separate sections for families ). If you were violating the “no guest sharing” policy, then expect hotel/authorities to charge you for your acts.

Asinine Thinker
Asinine Thinker
6 years ago
Reply to  DJ25Q

You forgot to mention, it also means #nohomo

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago

Definitely…it’ given.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

But would you agree that it would probably be easier in Qatar for a gay couple to check into a hotel room together than an unmarried straight couple as long as they are inconspicuous about their “preferences” while in the hotel’s public areas?

Asinine Thinker
Asinine Thinker
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Totally agreed!

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Stoning in public isn’t your thing, then there are at least 2 other Kempinski plus other non Sharia compliant hotels to pick from. Do you know what happens when you violate ” no room sharing ” policy in other non Sharia hotels?

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Could Doha news please do an article on the 2 and 3 star hotels that are being built for the football fans for WC2022?

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

We’re keeping an eye out!

DEEM
DEEM
6 years ago

Yes, we called in to Marsa Malaz last week…. Well it’s right across the street. It really is impressive. The staff were superb, taking time to show us around and explain what will be opening soon. We enjoyed a beer in the very impressive Bohemia cigar lounge… Every drink and cocktail you can think of, and a very impressive pair of humidor full of Cuban cigars. As noted by the reporter…. Not cheap… But I wouldn’t expect it to be. The gym, spa and beach will be opened to non guests – they say- for the usual fee, and there will supposedly be a non- resident membership system too.
I was impressed. We’ll go again.

Asinine Thinker
Asinine Thinker
6 years ago

Mark my words, this hotel will start selling alcohol in no time.

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

It already does sell alcohol

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago

It does sell. Not one bar but I think so 9 or 10 bars

Althani
Althani
6 years ago

fail

Asinine Thinker
Asinine Thinker
6 years ago
Reply to  Althani

Did you just learn this word?

Althani
Althani
6 years ago

Fail

Elusive Snake
Elusive Snake
6 years ago

I highly doubt the opening of this hotel in 2016!

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