Hilton Doha: A Review

by: xtian001

In: Entertainment | Food | Qatar | Reviews

4 Jun 2012

We love everything about Hilton Doha!

I booked online through http://www.hilton.com and was able to contact VENILLA MARIMOOTOO, Executive Secretary & PA to GM, and asked if it is possible to get an early check-in as online booking states that check-in is at 3 PM. Some emails after, I got confirmation for a morning check-in. Great communication and no hassles for such request if available. I was assured that we would be taken care of especially that we were HHonors Gold Elite members and we were not disappointed.

View from the balcony on the 16th floor

Enjoying the panoramic view of the Gulf from our own balcony

Being a HHonors Gold Elite, we were upgraded to the One Bedroom Suite overlooking the ocean and the pool. It has its own balcony with panoramic sea view. Big, big space with simple modern furnishings. A Nespresso machine is available to use, a TV in the receiving room and bedroom, and you’re provided a separate area with a work desk. My daughter was looking for some cartoon channels but sadly didn’t have access to any but you have your usual dose of news channels (english and Arabic) and other foreign channels. We were also given a welcome fruit plate, some nuts and a birthday cake for my daughter. Xianelle loved the Chess set and we spent hours playing with chess while lounging in the receiving area. I’m not sure how the Presidential 2 bedroom Suite differs from the King one bedroom suite aside from the number of available rooms and the space but for a family of 3, the King One Bedroom suite would more than satisfy your need for relaxation and space.

One Bedroom Suite

The Receiving Area and Dining

Dining and Receiving Area

The Bedroom was great as you also get to have a panoramic view of the gulf and areas of the City. You have a full walk-in closet leading to the bathroom with separate stalls for a shower and toilet plus a lovely tub. Bath amenities are from Peter Thomas Roth. Can’t get enough of the Bath Gel! You have the option of a bidet and a shattaf (hand held bidet).

The Bathroom

Peter Thomas Roth Bath Amenities

You actually have 2 Rain shower heads available to you, a stationery ceiling rain head and a handheld rain shower head. The only thing they can probably add is to provide sea salt available for the tub.

A big plus for Hilton is a usable, “swimmable” beach which is quite rare in Doha. Pool is also nice and gets a shade from the hotel in the afternoon which is good for those who don’t want to get burned by the heat of the sun. The kids’ pool has a shaded area so kids can swim even in the mornings.

Beach

The Pool at night

Service was outstanding. Really felt welcomed by staff and they were always ready to help. The moment you go to the reception, you are offered lime juice to quench your thirst and even when just staying at the magnificient lobby, the concierge comes up to you to offer you the same. Fast response from housekeeping for needed American plug converter.  Valet service was quick and when we decided not to bring our car, a Karwa taxi was hailed by the concierge for us. A service car is also available for 50QR.

The beautiful lobby

Breakfast at the executive lounge is good and filling. They serve breakfast from 6:30 to 10:30 AM, afternoon tea from 3 to 6 PM, and evening drinks and snacks from 6 to 8 PM. They had a number of alcoholic drinks available from 6 to 8 PM but as someone whose body can not tolerate alcohol that much, I didn’t even bother to try. They might need to add more staff as the one assigned can get overwhelmed at peak times. You have your typical beef bacon, foul medame, cheeses and breads, etc.

Executive Lounge on the 22nd floor

Cereals, nuts, smoked salmon, cheeses, bread and more

Breakfast at Mawasem was good and has enough variety from cheeses, salads, fruits, breads, etc. You have an assortment of american, indian and asian cuisine which from your typical breakfast.  Xianelle loved their waffles which she topped with whipped cream and chocolate.

Mawasem

Fresh Fruits, Jams and pickled fruits

Free WiFi anywhere! Go to the beach, the lobby, and update Foursquare or your Facebook and twitter. You’re always connected. I tested the in-room wifi and got an average download speed of 400mb and upload speed of 300mb.

We’ve been to Trader Vic’s in Ritz-Carlton Bahrain many times and would have wanted to try the one in Hilton Doha.  We tried to book seats for Trader Vic’s but sadly you had to reserve 2 weeks ahead due to the overwhelming demand for seats. Trader Vic’s serves signature Asian-Polynesian fusion dishes while you enjoy the vibrant three-piece live Cuban band. You can not fault Hilton for this as it only means that Trader Vics is really doing well. Although Hilton guests should be able to get seats as requested.

Xianelle was not able to try the Kidz Paradize where kids can be left securely by parents so that the kids can enjoy doing activities in the hotel. Hopefully, we’ll have time next time we come. They also have the eforea spa at hilton and fitness by precor for guests.

What makes Hilton stand out from the other hotels in Doha? Hilton Doha is new, clean, fresh and looks terrific. You can not ask for better service and we felt well taken care of by the staff. It is centrally located at the business center, close to the City Center Mall, and Corniche.  The Pool and Beach are great too!

note: Send me a PM if you want to get in touch with Ms. Venilla Marimootoo.

Takashi Murakami – EGO

by: xtian001

In: Entertainment | Qatar | Reviews

13 Apr 2012

I’m not sure how many people in Qatar can appreciate Art and Qatar Museum Authority’s work in bringing artists and their art here in Doha but I have to give it to them. For Art lovers, and even for those who are not, Qatar has been bringing some of the best exhibitions around the world. One of them is Takashi Murakami’s – EGO. We have been planning for the longest time to visit the Takashi Murakami – EGO Exhibition but we only found time last night.

The outside of Al-Riwaq Exhibition hall was enveloped by Murakami’s signature flowers and face so those passing Corniche would be able to get a glimpse of what the exhibit is going to offer. Upon going in, you’d be greeted by “Takashi Murakami” himself. Xianelle was so excited and was running around looking at the items displayed as the colors were so bright at lively. Children can enter free while adults have to pay QR25. I think students have some discounts as well. As I was going in, there were some teenagers trying to go in the main exhibit and were asked by the guards how old they were. One was 15 while the other was 16 and was told that they can just go in without paying so I guess their age limit is quite loose, which is good, so that more people can go and enjoy the exhibit. For QR35, you get a ticket to “Takeshi Murakami – EGO” at Al Riwaq as well as “Gifts of the Sultan” at Museum of Islamic Art (Temporary Exhibit Hall).  You get a QR10 discount as the “Gifts of Sultan” entrance is supposed to be QR25. You can actually buy the tickets and go use them on another day so there was no pressure to see everything in one day.

I won’t go into details as I’d let you judge yourself by the meager number of photos we were able to take. The only gripe I have about the exhibition is you can’t take photos inside the main exhibit, which of course is not surprising. It’s just that the exhibit was so colorful and “kawaii” that you want to have a photo of each item you see inside. Still, I’d recommend going there. Well worth it!

Takashi Murakami – EGO

Where: ALRIWAQ Exhibition Space
When: 9 February – 24 June
How much: 25QR
Visit: http://www.qma.com.qa/exhibitions/ego/
In a sentence: It’s the single largest collection of work by the legendary Japanese artists ever displayed
in one location.

Murakami – Ego features over 70 monumental pieces from 1997 to the present. It’s the single largest collection of his work ever displayed in one location. It’s also a lot of fun – a technicolour world of anime, sculptures, circus tents and murals from one of the world’s most renowned artists. Make sure you check out the merchandise stand.

Vodafone Qatar sucks!

by: xtian001

In: Qtel and Vodafone

30 Mar 2012

I don’t really want to say a product or a service is bad until it gives me enough reasons to do so. I’ve been one of Vodafone’s 1st 1000 customers since they launched and after all the disappointments, I think it’s time to give up on their service.

I’ve subscribed to their Freedom plans when they launched and the service should auto recharge every month from my credit card. For the past 2+ years, aside from poor reception in several areas, I’ve had problems with their recharge service. This has happened more than 5 times now. Usually, if they can’t deduct from my credit card for reasons unknown to me, I would have to call them and they’d get the service back up in a  day. Still, if you’re someone who relies on his phone a lot for important calls, you’d know how frustrating it is to not be able to make calls when you need to.  What more if you can’t make calls for 3 days? What if there was an emergency?

Last Wednesday, Vodafone deducted the amount from my credit card to recharge my plan. It did push through as I got notification on my mobile about the transaction. However, I was barred from making calls and decided to call Vodafone about the issue. They said that it was a service error on their part but can’t pinpoint nor fix it easily. What was funny and irritating was that the person on the phone actually advised me to buy a recharge card for me to be able to make calls. What? Are you kidding me? The reason I took a Freedom Plan was for me not to be hassled with looking for a recharge card when I need to make calls. Isn’t that the main reason why people get a recharge service? so “Duh”…

After several more calls from Wednesday to Friday, and not having a way to make calls with a phone, I conclude that even having a great phone becomes useless when you can’t have a decent service from your mobile provider. I did get a message from their Twitter Rep that the service might return after 24 hours, meaning Saturday afternoon. But as Senator Miriam Santiagosaid, WAH!   Imagine not having mobile service for 4 days? That is impossible to accept. Even friends who have commented on Facebook about my rant have commented how disappointed they are with Vodafone’s service and transferred to Qtel’s service. I can’t blame them.

So, goodbye Vodafone, hello Qtel.

Who wants a fancy number from Vodafone? Double 7 9 5 Triple 2 9 ? Call me.

We’ve heard about Pork cuts being sold at Qatar Distribution Company (QDC) a month ago but since our bacon and sausage buying splurge we never got the chance to visit. A colleague went there the week after news came out about the pork cuts but went home disappointed.   We decided to go visit QDC this afternoon as our bacon stock has run out and we’ve been planning on having pancakes, eggs and bacon on the weekend.

So, in addition to the Pork Sausages and Pork Bacon, it seems QDC has been slowly adding more Pork products. You now have Fresh Gammon Joints (200QR for 3 Kg), several Salami types (38-57QR), Honey Roasted Ham Shank (272QR), Parmaham (27QR), Mortadela (20QR), Italian Antipasti Selection (49QR), Prosciutto and more cold cuts. The Fresh Gammon Joints (fillet ends) look really good. Do take note that Gammon Joints are salted as they are usually roasted or boiled, you need to soak them in water before cooking.

We were able to ask some Filipinos who were buying the Gammon Joints if they were good and was told that they were quite tender. One Filipina was buying 3 Gammon Joints (3 kilos)at 200QR each as her daughter was going to celebrate her birthday. We didn’t buy the Gammon Joint as we deem it too expensive. If it was a different cut, we would probably have bought one.

Fresh Gammon Joints (200QR for 3 Kg)
Assorted Salami types (38-57QR)
Honey Roasted Ham Shank (272QR)
Parmaham (27QR), Mortadela (20QR)
Italian Antipasti Selection (49QR)

Fresh Gammon Joints

Fresh Gammon Joints and Salame (sic)

Honey Roasted Ham Shank, Parmaham, Mortadela, Prosciutto

Honey Roasted Ham Shank, Parmaham, Mortadela, Prosciutto

Qatar Taste and Fun Food Festival 2012

Qatar Taste and Fun Food Festival 2012

We just came home from visiting the Qatar Taste and Fun Food Festival 2012 being held at the Doha Exhibition Center  which started last Feb. 8 and would end tomorrow (Feb. 11). Mavis and I were able to visit last night but decided to go back this afternoon as we wanted Xianelle to also experience the Qatar Food Festival. We had fun at last years’  2nd Annual Doha Food Festival (as it was called then) so we didn’t want her to miss it this time.

The area provided by Qatar Tourism Authority has been made bigger and the layout is quite better for both visitors and those taking part in the food festival. Instead of the back-to-back layout of food stalls last year, they provided an open square layout where they placed some bouncing castles and play areas for kids. Food servings are still at 5-15QR. Anyway, as a whole, I’m sure anybody who goes there would enjoy the festival atmosphere. They could have provided more entertainment ( a concert or two), and more seats, but it is much recommended to go to this week.

Below are some food recommendations from the different stalls at the Qatar Taste and Fun Food Festival 2012

Intercontinental Doha
Intercontinental Doha

Paella Valencia w Seafood at Intercontinental Doha

Paella Valencia w Seafood at Intercontinental Doha

Chili con Carne Basket

Chili con Carne Basket

La Cigale Hotel

La Cigale Hotel

La Cigale Hotel

La Cigale's Beef Paillard w/ Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

La Cigale's Beef Paillard w/ Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Orxy Rotana

Oryx Rotana's Angus Beef Burger

Oryx Rotana's Angus Beef Burger

Doha Sheraton

Doha Sheraton's South American Chicken Empanada

Doha Sheraton's South American Chicken Empanada

The Ritz-Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton's Marinated Salmon w Lemon Risotto Citrus Foam

The Ritz-Carlton's Marinated Salmon w Lemon Risotto Citrus Foam

Dana Club

Dana Club

Dana Club's Tempura Fish and Chips

Dana Club's Tempura Fish and Chips

Movenpick

Movenpick's Chocolate Ice Cream

Movenpick's Chocolate Ice Cream

Movenpick's Espresso Ice Cream

Movenpick's Espresso Ice Cream

Movenpick's Pistachio  Ice Cream

Movenpick's Pistachio Ice Cream

W Doha

W Doha's Sushi Rolls Cut on the Spot

W Doha's Sushi Rolls Cut on the Spot

 

About our blog

It's been 10 years since the San Juan Family started their blog documenting their lives in this little spot called Qatar. Follow Chris, Mavis and Xianelle as they share what Doha has to offer.

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