Hotels Trips

Review: St Regis Doha (Empire Suite upgrade)

a living room with a couch and a coffee table

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St Regis Doha

Staying at any St Regis is a treat, but when you get an insane upgrade to a 2000 sq ft Empire suite, it’s a pinch me moment.   Our stay at the St Regis Doha was the final night of our trip through Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and provided a 5 star exclamation point. The only thing that could have been better was to have done it outside of Ramadan so we could have enjoyed a St Regis champagne sabering, but perhaps, it was the off-peak timing that got us such an insane upgrade. Here’s what it’s like to stay at the St Regis Doha in a 2000 sq ft Empire Suite, one of the best suites in one of the best hotels in all of Doha.

a large building with a pool in front of it
View of the St Regis Doha from the Arabian Sea

Stay Details:

  • When: May 2019
  • Where: Doha
  • Loyalty: Marriott Titanium and Amex FHR
  • Rate: Roughly $200/night + taxes – booked with Amex points and FHR
  • Upgrade: Base room to Empire Suite

 

The St Regis Doha

The St Regis Doha is an impressive property with two towers overlooking the Arabian Gulf. Having stayed at two St Regis properties earlier in the year, ( Rome and New York ) I was eager to try out a third. The hotel is roughly 20 minutes from the airport and offers truly 5 star accommodations near the diplomatic district.

The downside of the hotel is that it is further away from tourist sites that may be of interest like the Souq and Corniche, but the quiet beach is fantastic if you’re seeking some needed R&R. I will note that there is a metro stop near the hotel which will put you downtown in 10-15 minutes.

We heavily considered the Ritz Carlton as well, but ironically, properties that were once SPG tend to offer much better upgrades to Marriott Elites than do legacy Marriott properties, and you get comped breakfast, something Ritz doesn’t offer. This last perk was somewhat moot because of Amex FHR offering breakfast as a perk of booking.

a table with food on it
St Regis Breakfast for 4 – comped with Titanium Elite status and Amex FHR benefits

Background and booking

This was booked via American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts for roughly 20k a night ( $200 ). My buddy Dave booked two rooms, and then attached my Dad’s Marriott number to the reservation. Since my parents are lifetime Titanium members we figured this would help with upgrades, but we honestly had no idea. Stacking both Amex FHR and Marriott status, as this stay illustrates, can result in multiple category upgrades, and enjoying benefits of both programs.

Using Amex points vs Marriott

American Express allows you to use points to book hotels at a valuation of $0.01 per point. Usually I wouldn’t advocate this redemption value, but if you’re sitting on a lot of points, and it makes more sense than transferring into the partner program – go for it. This is a Marriott category 5 property which ranges from 30k to 40k per night.

Marriott and Amex are partners so you could transfer, but you actually get a far better value redeeming within Amex. Additionally, you also get the added benefits of Fine Hotels and Resorts

a screenshot of a graph

Value of booking via Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts

In addition to the benefits of your Marriott Status ( ours was free breakfast as Titanium ) you would also get the following. This is also per room

  • Daily breakfast for two
  • Room upgrade at check-in, when available
  • Noon check-in, when available
  • 4:00 p.m. check-out guaranteed
  • Complimentary Wi‑Fi
UNIQUE AMENITY

US$ 100 Food and beverage credit to be used during your stay

Arrival to the St Regis Doha

We arranged for airport pickup which was seamless and very professional.

a black car with open doors

Once arriving at the hotel we quickly realized how dead it was. I have no idea the level of occupancy, but we saw very few people. This is the 2nd time I’ve been to a Muslim country during Ramadan, and this was par for the course, and ultimately why we probably got such a fantastic upgrade.

We skirted the traditional check-in experience and were whisked straight into an elevator. It wasn’t until we reached the last room on the floor that I knew we were in for a treat. Once the doors opened up, we were checked in and introduced to our Empire Suite.

First Impression of the St Regis Doha Empire Suite

You can tell in this video. I was floored. The Suite faces the Arabian Sea with floor to ceiling windows and two enormous bedrooms that face North and South. The main living area faces East and provides dramatic sunrise views.

St Regis Doha Empire Suite living room

With electric curtains, seating for at least 8, a desk, and views that show the full potential of Doha, it makes for a lavish living space. You can see the pool and villas below.

a beach with a body of water and a large body of water

Dining Area

Immediately behind the living area is a dining area. The morning of our departure we had continental breakfast here ( for 4 ) that was quite a site to behold. You can really see the Middle Eastern feel with the arches and stone floors.

a dining table and chairs in a room

Bedroom One

The first bedroom is immediately to your right when you enter the suite and faces south. If this were a stand alone room it would be enormous. Full seating area, two work desks, and tons and tons of light.

The Bathroom with Bedroom 1

Soaker tub, rain shower, dual vanity, warm floors, and Remede spa products. Look at the depth on that soaker tub – unreal!

a bathtub in a bathroom with a view of a city and water

Half Bath off living room:

a bathroom with a mirror and sink

Bedroom #2

Similar to the first bedroom, but in a different layout albeit feeling smaller.

a bed with a view of the ocean

Bathroom #2 with Bedroom #2

Couldn’t really go wrong with either layout as this one was huge as well with another soaker tub, and another rain shower. However the north view was of another building, and it only featured a single vanity.

Butler Service + $100 Food and Beverage Credit + Dining

As with all St Regis properties, our room came with a Butler. Personally, I find this service to be something that is cool to talk about, but I like to handle more own reservations, etc. In this particular setup, you could reach them eiher via phone, or you could WhatsApp them. Most every request we had…from Afternoon Tea in room, to dinner, to breakfast was all handled via WhatsApp

When we first checked in there was some misunderstanding as to whether we could have a private sabering, but since it was Ramadan this was unavailable since it involved alcohol. I’m not really sure how this works because you can order alcohol to the room, which we did with a few beers, but they wouldn’t open a bottle of champagne for their sabering. Perhaps it was because a hotel staff member would have to do it, but then again, they opened the beer bottles…

Speaking of Afternoon Tea.

Since it was a little past noon we thought that we’d put our $100 per room F&B credit to good use and have afternoon tea. The problem, again, was the lounge where we’d normally have it wasn’t serving it because of Ramadan.

I think they felt bad that they couldn’t make an in room sabering happen because they offered to the  Afternoon Tea presentation in room.

This was a first to be done in room that I’ve ever had ,and they didn’t spare a single detail. Ordinarily this would be served in the Sarab Lounge, and as you can see in the picture, they had quite a few pieces to carry.

a group of food on a table

a table with food on it

When we first ordered Afternoon Tea we thought that we’d get it pretty quickly, but after roughly an hour we began to wonder what was going on. Then…when it was delivered by a multi-person team we understood why.  We thought we’d get a smaller interpretation fo the tea, but then the full hurrah arrived. Again, this just speaks to the level of St Regis hotels.

Afternoon Tea is a treat for my family and something we have done all over the world. It’s always interesting to see how different countries will interpret the meal, and here in Doha, it was filled with a lot of Arabic sweets. Everything was wonderful.

Breakfast the next morning

I’d mentioned this above, but we received 4 continental breakfasts in room as a perk of status and Amex FHR.  We were flying out very early in QSuites and knew we’d have access to their amazing lounge. This meant two thngs: we didn’t want to sacrifice sleep to visit the restaurant, and two we knew we could have some good food in the lounge. The night before we message the butler and let them know what we wanted.

This was one of the only problems. Breakfast was late. We order it for delivery at 6am thinking we’d have a solid half hour to chat, and probably longer if they were early. We needed to leave the hotel at 6:30am and it arrived after 6:20. That meant that the coffee and fruit we would have enjoyed mainly went to waste which made all of us feel bad.

Gordan Ramsey

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures during the meal at Gordan Ramsey, but as you’d assume it was quite nice.

Pool and Spa

The St Regis Doha has an absolutely enormous, Olympic size pool situated between each of its towers, lined with villas and loungers.  You can also relax in cabanas, or if you’re willing to splurge, use a villa with a small plunge pool and have direct access to the adjacent pool. Extending beyond the pool is a relatively wide beach and a fantastic view of the Doha shore/sky line.

a swimming pool on a beach

There is also a Remede spa. I didn’t have a chance to visit, but it offers a full array of services including sauna and fitness facilities. The gym had guests using it, and as a result, I didn’t photograph it. Here’s an image from the hotel website:

a room with treadmills and computers
courtesy of stregis.com

Common Areas of the hotel

As you can imagine from the sheer size of the property, the common areas are pretty impressive. Particularly, the display with a supercar piqued my interest 🙂

a car in a building

Overall:

I would stay at the St Regis Doha again in a heartbeat. The suite was drop dead gorgeous, service sublime, and if I’m ever in Doha for more than a night, I’m keen to get out and explore. The ability to hop on the metro at the front of the property means the location being a bit further away from the Souq, etc isn’t as big a deal, and you get the added benefit of having a drop dead gorgeous property to enjoy.

a group of tall buildings with lights on the top and a beach

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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