A few weekends ago I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to go and stay in the Grand Hyatt Doha. It was convenient for me because I'm getting ready to take a vacation with my family and we wanted to try a mini-trip travelling with a baby - so the Doha trip was a perfect test run.
The Grand Hyatt in Doha is out by the West Bay Lagoon and features 249 rooms and 91 guest residences (ranging from 2-4 bedroom) which are basically serviced villas. We stayed in a suite on the 5th floor (the top floor) and had a nice view of the beach and the lagoon beyond. When booking the room we explained we had a baby with us and when we walked into our suite we noticed that the hotel had provided a bottle warmer, sterilizer and of course a cot - some nice touches.
The room itself was what you'd expect of a 5* hotel - big screen tv, sound system, comfortable furniture and of course, a coffee maker! The bedroom was three separate areas - the bathroom, a closet area for bags and then the actual bedroom, with a window between the bathroom and the bedroom, and then 2 sliding doors from the bedroom (on adjacent walls) that went out onto a wrap-around balcony with the view down to the beach.
One of the nice things about the hotel is that there's not much traffic around it, so its quiet and peaceful. Across the road from the hotel is a mall which is a pretty standard one with nothing much notable about it apart from 2 things: 1. It has a Carrefour and 2. It has a Paul restaurant in it (I love their onion soup). Back to the room... I spent quite a lot of time hanging out on the balcony, there was one of those big wicker day-bed things out there and I just parked on it for quite a while.
The wifi worked literally everywhere I went in the room and the hotel, I didn't find any dead patches anywhere at all in the room, something I find quite often when styaing in hotels, laying on the bed and you can't get a decent wifi signal - not a problem this time.
Because we were in a suite, we were on the Grand Club level, which has the Grand Club lounge - essentially it's an all-day complimentary food and drink lounge - with alcohol for those interested. I especially liked the pour your own Carlsberg beer tap! Also in the lounge are soft drinks, baked goods and depending on the time of day, various food items laid on (eg breakfast, lunch or dinner). There's also large screen TV's and I saw a few staff members at desks in one corner of the lounge, I wasn't sure what they were for but I think they were there to help book excursions amongst other things.
The pool by the hotel is shaped a bit like a U and is more of a pool for floating around and playing in than for swimming laps - if that's your thing, there is an indoor 25m pool for that. Also a short walk from the outdoor pool through the gardens is the private beach and was the location for the very first time ever my daughter went in the sea :) It is a sandy beach and I didn't find any rocks when walking out into the water - just sand.
For food, we tried out the all day dining place, The Grill, a bar called Dunes, and a Thai restaurant called Isaan. The Grill is where we had breakfast each morning and it was a buffet style breakfast with an extensive range - there was a bakery churning out breads and delicacies. The hot food counter and an egg station, a waffle counter and then a very large selection of fruits, yoghurt's and breakfast cereals.
Dunes is a really nice bar that's not too large and features a nice fireplace. It was really nice to catch up with a friend I hadn't seen in a few years and sitting next to a fire - yes I know we're in the middle east but it was still nice, a touch of home (for me at least).
Isaan was the hotels signature Thai restaurant and features a pretty large menu and when we were there, was clearly very popular with local residents in Doha. The pricing is actually quite low but the portions are smaller - more of a Tapas approach almost. We tried a bunch of things but the 2 that really stood out for us were the Tom ka Gai (lemongrass chicken soup) and the Larb ped (spicy duck salad). One other thing that really stood out here was the speed of service, I think between ordering and receiving the first plate was less than 5 minutes!
While we were visiting the hotel, it was the last weekend before Ramadan began, and there was a final brunch before which was amusingly named the farewell brunch. The Grill is the location where this brunch is held, and it has recently won Time Out Doha's coveted Best Brunch 2013, so we knew we were in for a good time. The place was packed, I couldn't believe it, and by 3pm people were actually doing the Conga - over 100 people in a Conga line dancing around a 5* hotel restaurant, it was quite an experience and very different to what you see here in Muscat! There was so much food on offer I won't even bore you with that, but the one thing that was really good were the short ribs - delicious!
The final part of this review is written by Mrs Sythe, who went for a 90 minute spa treatment at the Jaula Spa.....
From the moment I walked into Jaula Spa for my appointment, I felt very welcome. The spa was pleasantly warm and the sounds of water babbling were very relaxing.
I was first brought into the waiting room which had a large pool of water with some lovely floating flowers and given a small glass of cucumber flavoured water which was very refreshing and delicious. From there Mitka, the most fabulous massage therapist met me and took me to the treatment room which was luxuriously lit with muted light.
She asked me some intake questions, so she could be sure that she wouldn't do anything to make me uncomfortable. For example, have I had a surgery in the last 12 months or any health conditions.
After that I was led to the dressing room and shown a robe that I was to change into. From there I went into the treatment room and Mitka left while I made myself comfortable and after a minute or 2 she came back in.
After we established how hard I liked my massages, I can't really say what happened. I vaguely remember being asked to turn over and then being woken up.
I was so blissed out by the time my massage was over! I haven't felt so relaxed in a long time and this was honestly one of the best spa experiences I've had.
After I dressed, I was shown back to the waiting room with the water pool and given a cup of green tea which was also very nice. I would have loved to sit for longer but mommy duty called and I had to go.
And thats the end of the review! As it happens, the Grand Hyatt here in Muscat are giving away a trip for 2 (with flights from Qatar Airways) to visit the Grand Hyatt in Doha - all you have to do is put your business card (or contact details) in the bowl at the Majlis or the Mokha Cafe and you could win! They'll draw the winner on the last day of Ramadan - and why not go there for an Iftar - at RO 12 net it's a pretty good deal!