Story and photos by Ben Philip
A new hotel that recently opened in Qatar is taking charitable giving to a whole new level. K108, which debuted in March in the Old Al Ghanim area of Doha, is a concept hotel that gives all of its profits to charity.
All. Of. Its. Profits.
The hotel is an homage to the late father of its owner, Yousuf Hussein Kamal, who inherited the land where the hotel is situated. Kamal is also Qatar’s Minister of Economy and Finance.
That’s where the “K” comes from. The “108” refers to the hotel’s 108 rooms and its rate of $108 per room per night.
Since its opening, K108 has relied entirely on word of mouth and social media to attract customers, said Marius Abbouchy, COO at Diafah Investment Company, which is owned by Kamal. “We classify ourselves as donors rather than a business. Our aim is to give people the best quality experience while at the same time giving to those in need,” he said.
For many residents, K108’s main attraction is Yum Yum, a bustling restaurant with a menu that changes every couple of days depending on the ingredients available to Chef Hugo Coudurier, who has worked in renowned restaurants in Paris and Las Vegas.
Coudurier’s experience contrasts starkly with that of the staff. Some 80 percent have never worked in a hotel before, General Manager Tommie Liem said. That’s because employees were hired on the basis of their passion for giving and caring, he added.
Other points of interest include the hotel’s endearingly reasonable prices; water for 1 QAR and cans of coke for 1.5 QAR from the mini-bar, for example.
A rooftop pool, cafe and spa are also supposed to open this summer.
The profits K108 earns are given to “individual tailored charity cases,” with decisions made on a case-to-case basis, Abbouchy said.
“For example, we may be asked to give a percentage of our profits to children to put them through schooling, but this is only done once it is established who is most in need. The rest of the profits are given to the Kamal Foundation which re-distributes further.”
In the future, K108 may expand abroad. But for right now, it’s happy to call Doha home.
“We believe Doha has the right clientele as they appreciate what we are trying to achieve,” Liem said. “Once we are 100 percent established here, there may be plans to make the hotel international.”
What do you think about the idea? Has anyone been out to visit yet?