Put your Thanksgiving hats away, it would seem that the festive season is now upon us! In Qatar, this means National Day on 18 December, swiftly followed just one week later by Christmas (and more turkey), and without stopping for breath, it’s time to bid adieu to 2018!
If you are the sort to feel somewhat harassed and harangued by friends and family at this most joyous of times – another tie or bubble bath set for the collection, monosyllabic kids on the PS4, the TV remote missing again – then why not rest your weary head for the night at one of Doha’s luxury hotels?
To that end, I direct you to the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel – funnily enough, in Doha, and at one end of the City Center-Doha shopping mall. A large, glittering building comfortably sat back from the main road, the hotel has firmly placed itself as one of the city’s most popular hotels. This weekend we would be finding out why!
Check-in was a breeze, thanks to the professional and informative reception staff, and up we went to the somewhat palatial room – really quite impressive, with a snazzy carpet complementing the cream and dark wood décor. And ask for a map for the bathroom, as it’s huge! However, there was no time to dally, as our stomachs were rumbling, so we found our bearings and headed out.
Dinner was at Cucina, the hotel’s signature Italian restaurant. Weaving our way through the crowded tables, we were afforded a ringside table overlooking the open-plan kitchen. Manager Alberto and his amicos proved to be an excellent front of house team, but the star of the show was Chef Claudio. Such a personality! He told us he has lived in Doha for the last 18 months, having previously worked in Africa and Brazil, and that he wanted to bring a little bit of Italy to Qatar. We watched as he bustled around the restaurant, personally delivering his sumptuous platters of food to expectant diners.
And we were not disappointed with ours! Chef Claudio brought out a huge sharing platter, part of their current festive promotion, with salads, breads (including gluten free), meat and fish dishes, cheese, and dips. The idea, he explained, was to dine as the Italians do – take your time, enjoy the food, soak up the ambience. So we did as instructed, savouring each delicious mouthful. Quite some time passed in enjoyable relaxation…
Next up were the main courses of salmon and steak fillets, accompanied by potatoes and mushrooms. Thank goodness we were taking this slowly! We finished with tiramisu and fruit salad, a delightful way to end proceedings.
One absolutely splendid night’s sleep later and we opened the curtains to reveal a bright and sunny day with an incredible view overlooking the bay. We hurried down for a quick breakfast – just about everything you could want is available, from eggs and freshly pressed juices to steak and vegetable curry – and then it was off to the spa.
It was our first time to Saray Spa, and our first word upon entering? ‘Wow!’ Serene and luxurious with a faint allure of lemongrass…most inviting. Something new was on offer for us, a couple’s massage, and so after changing and waiting in the sumptuous relaxation lounge, we placed ourselves in the hands of our cheerful ladies. One hour later, a cup of signature Saray tea in hand, we literally felt like new people. Muscles soothed, tensions relieved – this was going to be a regular treat.
Sadly this brought our staycation to a close. Deliberately taking our time to pack up our few chattels, we were loathed to leave but as the saying goes: ‘all good things must come to an end’. We departed feeling completely rested and, with the thought of the weekend’s chores ahead, wondering why we hadn’t booked another night …
Take advantage of the hotel’s many promotions as an excuse to leave the house this festive season. Treat yourself (ok, and maybe a loved one) to an overnight stay and spa treatment at this premium Doha hotel to fully recharge those batteries in style and luxury.
For reservations and enquiries, call 4419 5000 or visit the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel website
Author: Sarah Palmer
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