After saying goodbye to India following a wonderful three weeks touring Kerala, I managed to squeeze in an overnight layover in Doha, Qatar. My flight from India departed at 9:20am and landed in Doha at 11:30am. I found that dealing with Indian airport security wore me out and was quite tired upon my arrival in Qatar’s capital.
The Crowne Plaza has a free airport shuttle and I had given them my flight & arrival information in advance. My flight was slightly delayed so I was worried what would happen when I got there. Thankfully when I exited the terminal there was a row of hotel desks including one for the Crowne Plaza. The desk agent knew who I was and quickly called the shuttle driver over. The driver was ready for my arrival with my name and everything. (Nice touch!)
Before getting into the review, I want to mention that the rate for a normal room for the night of my stay was 855 Qatari Rials or $235 USD. I opted to use 20,000 IHG Rewards Club points to book my stay and felt with a redemption rate of over $.01 per point, I was doing quite good.
The Crowne Plaza Doha – The Business Park is located about five minutes from the airport in the old part of the city. The hotel is located right on the main road coming from the airport, which makes it convenient for a layover. Additionally, the Corniche, Islamic Art Museum & Souk Waqif are all within a twenty minute walk.
If you are looking to be in the newer part of the city with all of the mega malls and skyscrapers then this isn’t the hotel for you. On the other hand, you get a more traditional experience with the opportunity to hit up a few key sites, so I think it is worth the trade off.
This Crowne Plaza has a nice selection of facilities given its location in a business park. In addition to the typical gym and spa facilities, the hotel has an amazing rooftop pool. When I visited, it was full of Europeans who were seemingly enjoying either a vacation or a stopover on their way to/from home. With so many people in the area, I didn’t get a chance to snap a photo, but I was surprised with how nice everything was. I just didn’t expect it in a business hotel near the airport.
When I arrived at the hotel, the front desk agent immediately greeted me as an IHG Platinum member. She also informed me that I had been upgraded to a Presidential Suite. This particular hotel has about 8,000 different hotel categories, but from what I can tell, there are 8 Presidential Suites along with a slew of other categories. In what was a nice touch, she also escorted me to my room to make sure everything was to my satisfaction.
During our trip up to the room, I asked if my suite would include lounge access. She politely told me that it did not. (IHG almost never gives lounge access to Platinum members.) After seeing my sad face, she thought it over and asked how long I would be staying. I told her I was leaving early in the morning and would just use it for the evening appetizers. She then agreed to give me access.
My room was quite large and included a living room with an attached 1/2 bathroom and a bedroom with a large bathroom including shower and bathtub. While all of this space was mostly a waste for one person, it was a nice and comfortable room. The decor was modern and comfortable and I found both the living room and bedroom to be places that I wanted to stay in. When we arrived in the room, there was a personalized letter from the manager, two drink vouchers and a plate with cookies, fruit & cheese waiting for me. Nice touch!
This hotel has a surprising number of restaurants and bars. With everything from traditional cafe selections to a Brazilian Rodizio, they have almost everyone’s tastes covered. Most of the restaurants are located in the lobby area surrounding the atrium. Outside of the lobby, you will find a pool side restaurant and bar on the 7th floor and the Executive Lounge on the 6th floor.
As I mentioned before, I was given access to the Executive Lounge. This gave me a chance to try out their selection of appetizers which included a number of cold selections along with a few hot dishes including: Dal, Lamb Stew & Fried Fish. While the fish had been sitting out and wasn’t exactly hot, I found it to be tasty. The same goes for the Dal & Lamb Stew. Among the cold selections was the normal variety of cheese and crackers along with various salads and sandwiches. Combined with the open bar, it was a delightful way to spend the evening.
You can probably tell by now that I don’t have a lot of bad things to say about this hotel. This trend will continue as I talk about the staff & service. From the desk agent at the airport, to the front desk agent and the staff in the Executive Lounge, everyone was helpful and polite. The level of service provided was above what I would normally expect to receive at a Crowne Plaza.
As mentioned earlier in the review, this hotel is within walking distance of a few key sites. I had originally planned to spend the entire day and night in the city, but fatigue and the comfort of my room got the best of me. I did manage to spend about three hours walking around and visited the Souq Waqif & the Corniche. While I didn’t get a chance to go inside of the Islamic Art Museum, I did see it from the outside.
There is a ton of construction going on in the area down by the water as Doha is trying to build more tourist facilities in its battle with the neighboring Emirates. I found the city to be clean and the people to be friendly. The Corniche is well kept and simply beautiful. Watching all of the old wooden ships sailing around added quite a lot to the atmosphere. Had I wanted to go, all of the new mega malls were a quick taxi or bus ride away. In short, this is a nice place to visit.
With a massive and welcoming lobby, comfortable rooms, great facilities and a top notch staff, I don’t really have anything bad to say about the Crowne Plaza Doha – The Business Park. As Doha opens its new airport and continues to grow as a key airport hub, I think it is set for a tourism boom. This hotel’s location made it easy to get to/from the airport while also giving me the ability to get a small taste of Doha. I really enjoyed that. If you are laying over in Doha and need a place to spend one or two nights, then I highly recommend this hotel.