OHLALA’s Craig Ferriman returns to Msheireb to explore Accor’s first MGallery boutique hotel in Qatar.
Once upon a time, Msheireb was the breathing heartbeat of Doha. As the city evolved, it became a bit of a backwater as West Bay developed, and the city centre effectively moved elsewhere.
Things go round in circles and, now, Msheireb has been resuscitated and given a whole new lease on life. The neighbourhood has been reimagined with light-stone buildings and a tram system that meanders through the buildings, transporting office workers, passersby, and café customers around and through it.
Currently, there are only three hotels open in Msheireb and I checked one out: Alwadi Hotel Doha MGallery, a property in the Accor Hotels portfolio. Despite occupying 20 floors, it retains a boutique feel and, starting from my first impression of the sweet scent in the lobby, high standards were a hallmark of my visit. I stayed in a stunning suite that overlooked the Souq Waqif. From ground level, I knew we were close to it, but from my fifth-floor vantage point, I could see that this was quite the bird’s eye view! The outlets are all impressive and enhanced my stay. O’Glacee’s is the bar and restaurant on the pool deck and serves a delicious selection of comfort classics like burgers, pizza, and a very tasty fish and chips that I tried during its happy hour.
Meanwhile, a projector showing live sport on a giant screen gives the place a relaxed feel. Oh, and the pool doesn’t just have loungers by it – there’s loungers built into the pool, making it a great spot to simultaneously read a book, receive some rays, and stay cool! Le Colonial, on the first floor, is where breakfast is served, although it’s open all day.
Based on my experience of breakfast, I’ve started recommending that everyone goes there because it is a wonderful setting with efficient staff and an excellent, but not exhaustive, menu. Le Colonial keeps it simple and lets you choose between fresh fruit, yoghurt, or granola and then lets you pick an egg dish of your choice. I had the tartine, which was a delicious pairing of poached eggs and crushed avocado on toast with a drizzle of lemon.
The balcony here looks out across Souq Waqif, although it was a little windy during my stay, so I stayed indoors, admiring the rich woods and naked bulbs in decorative arrangements that add a trendy and bohemian vibe. Sofra, the Lebanese-themed dining room on the lobby level, is a warm and intimately lit cavern of a place with wooden dividers where you can hide away and get lost in a plethora of dishes.
I enjoyed the mezzes that took over the table in no time. I couldn’t help but notice the quirky repurposed drinking vessel in which the fattoush salad was served. Both the quality of the cooking and the impressive standard of the beverage menu were highly commendable.
The gym is full of new equipment and, due to pandemic-induced restrictions, I had it all to myself as the hotel keeps numbers down to ensure social distancing. I really loved my room, and it was a wonderful space to spend some time away from home. Spacious and comfortable, its warm shades of beige and brown made it feel very homely.
The spirit of the souq travels across the road to the hotel, with light tiling and chiselled edges in the interiors adding an old-world desert feel to the surroundings. The bathtub was huge and a definite highlight of the suite. There were hisand-hers sinks with deep, hollow bowls and plenty of space to store stuff. The proximity of the property to places of interest is something that makes a stay here so worthwhile – Msheireb Museums, Souq Waqif, and the corniche are all a short walk away.
Confession: I enjoyed haggling with the traders at the shopping emporium as it meant that my efforts will be rewarded with returning to the luxury of doing nothing at Alwadi Hotel.
For more information, please visit www.alwadihoteldoha.com or call 4009 9999