W Doha Hotel… WOW!

I just spent two nights at the W Doha, and all I can say is WOW!

I’m starting to think the W Hotel brand is actually bipolar. I’m not generally a fan of their US properties, as they’re style over substance, in my experience — I find the furnishings to be cheap, service to be bad, and elite recognition to be lacking. It’s quite sad, because Hyatt’s Andaz properties are among my favorite hotels to stay. In the US I actually kind of prefer aloft properties to W properties, since I find they do a much better job of managing expectations.

But I’ve stayed at quite a few W properties internationally, and absolutely love some of them. For example, over the past year or so I’ve stayed at the W Taipei, W Sentosa Cove Singapore, and W Guangzhou, and they were all absolutely fantastic beyond words.

They had excellent elite recognition, gorgeous rooms, and amazing public facilities. Sadly they’re such a far cry from their US counterparts.

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W Taipei Suite

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W Sentosa Cove Singapore Suite

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W Guangzhou Pool

I just stayed at the W Doha, which I’m happy to report is in the same league as the other international W properties I’ve stayed at over the past year or so. It’s just an absolutely gorgeous property.

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W Doha Lobby

I proactively got upgraded to a Wow Suite, which certainly felt very “50 Shades of W.” Admittedly it’s not totally my style, though it was 100% true to the brand, which I appreciate.

The room had mood lighting in both the living room and bedroom which changed colors every few seconds.

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W Doha Wow Suite Entrance

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W Doha Wow Suite Living Room

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W Doha Wow Suite Dining Room

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W Doha Wow Suite Bedroom

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W Doha Wow Suite Bathroom

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W Doha Wow Suite Shower

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W Doha Wow Suite Bathtub

As a Platinum guest I could have complimentary breakfast in the Market by Jean-Georges restaurant.

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W Doha Market Restaurant

In terms of other awesomeness, the hotel has a club lounge, or WIP Lounge, as they call it. This makes it the second W I’ve been to with a club lounge, in addition to the W Guangzhou.

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W Doha Lounge

This lounge served breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And we’re not just talking nibbles, but a legitimate buffet. There was hardly ever anyone in there, so I sat there quite a bit sipping on cappuccinos while getting work done, and certainly had a meal or two there.

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W Doha Lounge Dinner

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W Doha Lounge Dinner

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W Doha Lounge Dinner

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W Doha Lounge Dinner

Simply an awesome hotel. I got a proactive suite upgrade, the service was excellent, and the club lounge was awesome (possibly the most extensive I’ve seen at any W property).

Now why can’t US W properties be even a tenth this good?

Comments

  1. Yeah. I have to agree with you that W properties in the US have been unimpressive, but the W Hong Kong’s corner room is a great room. The breakfast spread at “Kitchen” is amazing as well.

  2. I agree, havn’t been to Doha, but the Asian properties are so much better than the domestic ones. Sentosa, HKG and Koh Samui are all really Amazing hotels. I haven’t been to South Beach but my Wife and Sister go there and really like it too. But then you go to a W like Atlanta and you scratch your head and say “Is this the same brand?”.

  3. I don’t quite agree that all domestic US W properties are lacking in service. I’m SPG Plat and have had good service at all US W properties (and have been upgraded at all of them). I do think that the US properties are usually older, so they don’t benefit yet from any refurb which might make them seem a bit more luxurious–compared to many of the international properties which so often are newer or even brand new. I also think many of the US properties were sited and intended to be the party spots they are…which isn’t as true for many of the international properties. For those that don’t like the W party sense, the domestic Ws are less likely to be appealing for that reason.

  4. Don’t think this is only the case for W hotels. In my overall experience Asian hotels are way better than US hotels no matter what brand you are comparing. Asian properties tend to be newer or newly renovated and the service beats the US by many miles.

  5. One more agree vote on international vs. US properties. I’ve stayed at the W HKG 5-6 times, and each time has been excellent. Koh Samui was pretty great also – was upgraded to a room right next to the beach.

  6. I am inclined to agree with Santastico — Asian Westins also tend to be quite a bit nicer, and often better with elite recognition, than US Westins; same with Sheratons, etc. Perhaps it is most apparent with Ws because at least a mediocre Westin is typically still a comfortable place to stay, but when a W has poor service and/or cheap or poorly chosen furnishings, the whole thing just ends up being annoying. (My least favorite is the W Montreal, where most spaces in the hotel, including the guest rooms, are obnoxiously dark and thus hard to work in.)

  7. Mood lighting throughout? Crimson lounging area and bedroom? Multi-person shower? Let’s just say this doesn’t seem to have been designed for solo business travelers or families LOL!

  8. Why stop at saying all International hotels are better than Domestic. The same goes for international airlines vs domestic ones. No surprise here.

  9. I think it has to do with cultural significance. The philosophy is “We’ve attracted a western brand. We need to make this as big, bold and awesome as possible.”

    Second, for US brand hotels, there’s maybe 2 in a city. Lets take London for example, there is only 1 W hotel in London. In New York there are 4 (then another one right across the river in Hoboken).

    Third is the clientele. With so few W hotels (or SPG hotels – again comparing London to NYC as an example) internationally, the number of elite members within the country is quite low. Therefore when a top tier elite is booked at their hotel, there really is nothing to stop them from showering the guest with perks galore because:

    A-The hotel is there to be a statement (a profitable statement for owners) but a statement none the less about having attracted a western hotel.
    B-The clientele is probably all international travelers. You won’t see many local (by local I mean nationals) guests in the hotel.
    C-Even with international travelers, I would imagine most of them do not earn status as quickly and as easily as someone who can mattress hop in NYC.

    I would be interested to see the service of the W Shanghai compared to a Chinese branded luxury hotel as I think that’s a better comparison than a foreign W hotel to a domestic W hotel.

  10. interesting- I didn’t even know there was one in Doha.

    I agree, Lucky, that W hotels in the US are often subpar compared to their international siblings, but isn’t that by and large true of most major hotel chains?

  11. I’ve had limited experience with the W brand, but have stayed at a few. Most recent was the W in SAN, which was a disaster. Awful service, cheap decor, and the events they held there every night might have been high on the cool factor but made being an actual guest difficult. I went out for the evening with friends and returned to the hotel in my tshirt and shorts to find a full scale fashion show going on in the lobby with bouncers at the door and cameras all over the place. I had to fight my way to the front and throw my key card in front of security to be escorted into the event and to the elevator.

    Oddly enough my favorite W in the US was the Foshay in Minneapolis. There were still functionality issues within the room but at least the service was outstanding and the whole “remodeled bank” aspect was nice aesthetically.

  12. @ Franklyn Miller — Generally I think that’s a fair assessment, but you definitely see TONS of locals / nationals in the W Doha, although not as much for the rooms as for the F&B venues.

  13. @Diamond Vargas – I agree, when I made that statement I really was only thinking about people staying in the hotel not just visiting for F&B. That can be typical in any hotel if the restaurant is good/has a well known chef attached to it.

  14. I hate staying in that part of the world with all the fancy hotels knowing that they where all built by slave labour, ruins any enjoyment I could get out of them.

  15. Barcelona W is tremendous. Got upgraded to cool corner suite & supurb Bfast at restaurant included. Great spa although I hate those European bikini bottoms not sure what other Ws I’d be interested in but I want to go back to Barcelona W.

  16. “I hate staying in that part of the world with all the fancy hotels knowing that they where all built by slave labour, ruins any enjoyment I could get out of them.”

    Do you feel the same way when you stay in hotels in places like China or Singapore?

  17. “The room had mood lighting in both the living room and bedroom which changed colors every few seconds.”

    You CAN disable the color-changing…. right?

  18. I love that lighting! Agree that the W Hotels are bipolar – it’s always a gamble for me staying at W’s and recommending to staff. I’ve had wonderful stays at the W French Quarter New Orleans, a corner suite upgrade at W Istanbul and have toured W London. Whereas on the flip side, I’ve had issues at W NY and W DC over the years. I love the décor of the W hotels away from the beige blah of the other chains (a few Sheratons come to mind) and that adds a touch of fun to the hotels. Shame they aren’t consistent.
    Now that Qatar flies from Philly to Doha, good to see that the W is a good option for me now

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