Yesterday, Marhaba had a sneak preview of the new St Regis Doha.

The building is truly impressive. A sweeping driveway leads up to the first-floor main entrance, where parking attendants whisked our cars away. There’s none of that park-it-yourself-and-walk nonsense here. Then a line of white-gloved butlers welcomed us in and handed us cool towels so we could wipe away the stresses of the Doha traffic.

The lobby is decorated in polished marble in cool, neutral shades. Carved panels break up the space and add an Arabian touch to the décor. The reception area has individual desks with armchairs for guests so they don’t have to stand at a counter to check in.

We were taken to see a standard guest room. Even the ‘standard’ rooms come with the St Regis signature butler service. You won’t find tea and coffee facilities in the room – it’s your butler’s job to make it for you. The high standard of furnishings and décor don’t stop at the room door. We particularly liked the TV above the bathtub, and the elegant pointed arch over the entrance to the room. And the mattress was the most comfortable this writer has ever sat on.

We also got to see the Caroline Astor suite, which was feminine without being frilly. Here we were greeted with a sample of the hotel’s signature Bloody Mary, the delicious and non-alcoholic Spice With Mary. (An important piece of St Regis history: each hotel has its own variation on this iconic drink.)

The hotel will have a total of 10 restaurants and bars, including 2 by Gordon Ramsay. One of the executive chefs is Michelin-starred. At the reception following the tour, we sampled hors d’oeuvres from the various menus the hotel will offer. We’re looking forward to trying more – especially the ‘ultimate afternoon tea’.

The St Regis Doha is accepting bookings from 1 April 2012.