Rest Your Head - SHANGRI-LA’S HAMBANTOTA RESORT

SHANGRI-LA’S HAMBANTOTA RESORTHAMBANTOTA, SRI LANKA

It was while on an expedition commissioned by Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan to retrieve the tooth of the Buddha, that 13th century explorer Marco Polo first laid down his moorings on the isle of Ceylon. Enamoured by its ivory coastlines and emerald jungles, its port markets laden with fragrant spices bound for the trade routes of Asia and the resplendent abundance of its mineral heritage, he found fit to proclaim it “undoubtedly the finest island of all its size in the world.” He wasn’t wrong. Ceylon – or Sri Lanka as it became in 1972 – has captivated the hearts of explorers and bohemian wanderers for centuries; and today, countless more still come to the teardrop isle in search of a soul connection with the intangible.

Set upon the grounds of a former coconut plantation and hugging a stretch of island coastline not as yet overrun by tourism, Shangri-La’s Hambantota resort is a retreat towards rediscovering Sri Lanka’s wild heart.

Sprawling across almost 59 hectares it’s the country’s largest resort, with 300 rooms and 21 suites. With two main wings cascading away from the central reception lodge it has the lush, earthy feel of an eco-resort. 4,000 king coconut trees strong and resplendent with riotous tropical gardens, guest accommodation is situated along cooling breezeways with constant sight-lines to the ocean. Décor is earthen and tropical, with wooden floors, hand-woven rugs and cerulean splashes of blue that draw your eye outwards towards the horizon. Where possible, natural materials are used throughout the space married with Sri Lankan art and handicrafts.

The property also boasts the brand’s first CHI Ayurvedic Spa – a holistic retreat where treatments are tailored to each guest’s individual well-being requirements. Here, guests can indulge and rebalance with a signature herbal treatment in one of a dozen treatment rooms, before sipping a cup of Ayurvedic tea on an overwater relaxation terrace.

Committed to preserving the island’s rich cultural heritage, Kadamandiya (a traditional artisan village at Shangri-La’s Hambantota resort) offers a unique glimpse into the traditions of Sinhalese culture. Visitors can explore the studio huts that house painters, potters, weavers, sculptors and other artisans whose wares are available for purchase, while in the evening the space is transformed into a performance area for traditional dance, music and Angampora displays – a martial art indigenous to the island.

Marking the jewel in the property’s crown is its par-70 landscaped 18-hole golf course designed by Rodney Wright – the only one on the entire island. The course is laid out over a coconut palm plantation, taking players through water features and lush fairways complete with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. Unique in its attention to detail in the realms of biodiversity and protection of natural habitat, the course was crafted with sustainability in mind – repurposing an abandoned sapphire mine, restoring vegetation and re-introducing birdlife to the area.

Shangri-La’s Hambantota resort offers a tantalising array of dining options that hero the best of Sri Lankan culinary traditions. Enjoy alfresco dining at Bojunhala and indulge in a classic island breakfast of Sri Lankan hoppers, alongside an array of international delicacies. Head to Sera for dinner amid a hawker’s market of the most vibrant street-food from across Southeast Asia. Or, pull your caddy up off the green and make directly into Ulpatha, the resort’s signature clubhouse and bar, to quench your thirst on an unparalleled selection of malt whiskies.
For the resort’s best views, Gimanhala Lounge at golden hour is the place to be. With its sweeping vistas across the ocean and the resort’s garden terraces, it’s the perfect spot for a sundowner cocktail before dinner, or a Sri Lankan high tea experience, complete with a tutorial from the resident tea sommelier.

Sri Lanka continues to be a balm for the soul, and Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort may just be its most opulent hospitality contender yet.

Rest Your Head - ROSEWOOD MIRAMAR BEACH

ROSEWOOD MIRAMAR BEACHMONTECITO, U.S.A.

Rosewood manages almost two dozen one-of-a-kind luxury properties in a variety of countries, each hotel embracing the brand’s “A Sense of Place” philosophy to reflect the individual location’s history, culture and sensibilities. The Rosewood collection includes some of the world’s most prominent hotels and resorts, not least The Carlyle in New York and Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, as well as new classics such as Rosewood Beijing and Rosewood London, both award-winning properties in their own right. Located around 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles, Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito, which is slated to open this summer, will be the brand’s third property in California.

Montecito is situated within the county of Santa Barbara and is one of America’s most affluent and exclusive areas. The region is renowned for its stunning landscape, amiable year-round climate and spectacular residential architecture. Rosewood’s resort will open on the site of the former Miramar Beach Hotel – an important 100-year-old landmark in the local community, and a once-cherished destination for bygone beach getaways – and will serve as both a world-class destination and a gathering place for locals and visitors alike.

Spread over nearly 16 acres of prime beachfront real estate, Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito will offer 122 guestrooms and 48 suites, many of which will be located within single-story cottages and bungalows. Guests will be treated to every service and luxury they have come to expect from a Rosewood property, including an oceanside bar and restaurant with an outdoor terrace, a signature restaurant, four further eateries, two swimming pools, a deluxe spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center, beach club and screening room. And whilst early morning yoga on the beach and sunset walks by the sea will be the norm, the most exciting part of Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito, is that it will be the first resort in Santa Barbara to offer beachfront suites, allowing guests to walk directly from their lodgings onto the pristine sand.

Rest Your Head - ANDAZ DELHI

ANDAZ DELHIDELHI, INDIA

The vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Delhi – the traditional and present-day capital of India – is regarded as the heartbeat of this diverse nation. It is a bustling and heady mix of new and old, holding onto centuries of traditions and heritage, yet challenging stereotypes with modern technology, colourful nightlife, world class shopping and an emerging food and restaurant scene. Upon arrival one is always struck by how fast paced and densely populated this ever-sprawling city is. It is truly a feast for the senses.

With an incredible array of historical monuments and fascinating sites to visit, as well as bustling local markets and a diverse range of festivals and celebrations happening throughout the year, Delhi has now become a travel destination in its own right. As such there is no shortage of accommodation options for discerning travellers. But with the opening of Andaz Delhi in Aerocity 18 months ago, a new high standard was immediately set.

Andaz’s motto ‘Global in scale while local in perspective’ is evident in the unique ambience and philosophy of each Andaz property, and the brand’s Delhi outpost doesn’t disappoint. On the contrary, Andaz Delhi truly reflects the vibrancy and energy of Delhi, its contemporary and pared back design aesthetic, complete with clever touches and chic detailing, perfectly illustrating the heritage of its diverse location and making the hotel itself a worthy destination.

Upon arrival, hosts welcome guests with the story behind the book that sits in each of Andaz Delhi’s 401 rooms and suites – ‘401 Reasons to Fall in Love with Delhi’. Written by travel writer Fiona Caulfield it is the hotel’s tribute to Delhi.

Every guest room is hung with its own original piece of artwork representing one of the reasons to fall in love with Delhi. It soon becomes apparent that local inspirations are dotted throughout Andaz Delhi and are an intrinsic part of every stay. Wooden floors, crisp white linen, thoughtfully positioned lighting, an oversized day bed, a generously proportioned desk and closets that resemble travel trunks from a bygone era make guest rooms feel like cool loft-styled apartments. Large soundproofed windows, kitted-out with black-out blinds, offer arresting views over the busy airport.

Andaz Delhi offers several dining and drinking options, each with its own unique ambience. Fashioned in the style of a European food hall, yet utilising locally sourced ingredients and artisanal products, AnnaMaya is a colourful option for all day dining and offers a varied menu of international and Indian dishes. Meanwhile, live music, an inviting lounge, a well-stocked cocktail bar and a sumptuous interior design scheme combine to make the hotel’s Hong Kong Club a unique multi-level nightlife destination. For a more relaxed drink, Juniper – India’s first gin bar – is the perfect spot to socialise with friends, or while away few hours being entertained by mixologists and their home-infused gins.

To unwind, the onsite Andaz Spa with six treatment rooms offers innovative treatments using an apothecary approach based on guests’ Chakra energies. A 24-hour fitness centre, pool and sundeck complete the hotel’s leisure offerings.

A vibrant and lively addition to the city’s hotel scene, Andaz Delhi is infinitely more than an airport hotel, offering guests memorable stays that both embrace the energy and cultural diversity of Delhi and cleverly showcase the Indian capital’s inimitable spirit.

Rest Your Head - THE RETREAT AT BLUE LAGOON ICELAND

THE RETREAT AT BLUE LAGOON ICELANDGRINDAVIK, ICELAND

Located in the heart of an 800-year-old moss-covered lava flow on the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland’s unique man-made geothermal spa – Blue Lagoon – is famous the world over, and routinely billed as one of earth’s health-giving wonders. Just a 30-minute drive from Reykjavik in the island’s southwest, Kim Kardashian has swum in its clear blue mineral-rich waters, as has Justin Bieber and Beyoncé, all of them basking in its unique composition which features three active ingredients: silica, algae and minerals. But Blue Lagoon is also one the country’s most crowded attractions, with one million visitors descending upon its geothermal waters last year alone – a number which is only set to increase as Iceland’s tourist industry continues to grow. Bill Gates sidestepped the lagoon’s overcrowding issue when, in 2015, he reserved the entire lagoon for a private swim. But not everyone has Gates’ financial clout.

Until recently, discerning travellers and the celebrity crowd had never had a five-star place to rest their heads in the vicinity of Blue Lagoon, but this has all changed with the opening of The Retreat. A 62 all-suite luxury hotel within the Blue Lagoon complex, The Retreat it a hospitality game-changer for both the world-famous spa attraction and the country.

Furnished in tasteful Scandinavian style, all suites offer floor-to-ceiling windows so that travellers can best take in the destination’s unique setting, complete with deep freestanding tubs overlooking the surrounding volcanic landscape. There are five types of suite to choose from, ranging from four layouts of junior suite all at the same price point, to the top-of-the-range 60sqm “Moss Suite” complete with a separate lounge and 26sqm private balcony. Suites on the hotel’s lower level have private terraces facing the lava fields and surrounding waters. Many also have direct access to the geothermal waters via private terraces. Upper level suites have private balconies and benefit from dramatic, sweeping vistas of the moss-covered lava fields.

Unsurprisingly, wellness is a big component of the onsite Retreat Spa, which offers a range of deluxe amenities including a steam room, in-water massages and a cold well, plus a full-service restaurant serving sushi and fresh-pressed juices. Spa guests staying at The Retreat can also take part in a Blue Lagoon Ritual, whereby guests travel through a series of interconnected rooms, covering their bodies with healing silica, algae and minerals as they go. And if all the healing and pampering gets too much for you, beyond the lagoon complimentary yoga classes are also available, as are guided hikes and bespoke tours to see the Northern Lights.

Rest Your Head - THE RITZ-CARLTON CHICAGO

THE RITZ-CARLTON CHICAGOCHICAGO, U.S.A.

When the established elder statesman of Chicago’s luxury hotel scene reopened late last summer after an 18-month USD100 million refurbishment, general manager Peter Simoncelli said of the Ritz-Carlton property that takes up a decent chunk of North Michigan Avenue’s marble-clad Water Tower Place, “What this hotel looks like today is nothing like it was before.” Simoncelli wasn’t wrong. Whilst the 434-room hotel had gone through a series of refreshes since opening in 1975, the most recent major renovation marked the first true overhaul of the property’s high-profile public areas, the guiding principle being to give the Ritz-Carlton Chicago a better sense of place, at the same time weaving in nods to the city’s status as a pioneer of modern architecture and creating more harmony between the building’s grand interior and historic exterior.

Designing beautiful and functional spaces where people live or stay is what BAMO does best, and the San Francisco design firm excelled at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago. As the elevator doors open onto the 12th floor of Water Tower Place – the hotel’s reception level – it is obvious that the property has been reborn. Guiding the eyes upwards are two rows of soaring 19-foot American walnut-clad fins that reference the vertical forms of Chicago’s skyscrapers. There, a splendid, floating wave-like sculpture by Czech company Lasvit, crafted from 616 orbs of hand-blown glass in four shades of blue, evokes nearby Lake Michigan. The biggest piece of art in the property, “Flying Wave” is one on a long list of the hotel’s new art collection, which plays a major role throughout Chicago’s revitalised Ritz-Carlton. A massive piece called “Wallpaper with Blue Floor Interior” by Roy Lichtenstein is fittingly located in the ground-floor lobby, not far from the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Upstairs, on accommodation floors 15 through 30, in addition to creating new modern yet minimalistic earth-toned guest rooms – each of which comes equipped with a decent desk, sitting area, well-stocked mini-fridge and a Nespresso machine – the renovation included upgrading the bathrooms in all ninety suites to give them a tranquil, spa-like feel, with rain showers and deep soaking tubs. Refashioning the fitness center to make the gym bigger and create a new large, window-lined space that looks out on the lake, has created a fantastic space for guests to work out whilst enjoying views of the Navy Pier. This is assuming, of course, that one has time for gym in the windy city: Chicago is renowned for being a friendly city, hails visitors with a very Midwest welcome, and has repeatedly been voted the number one place in the world for having fun and enjoying metropolitan life.

Rest Your Head - ONE&ONLY GORILLA’S NEST

ONE&ONLY GORILLA’S NESTKINGI, RWANDA

There can’t be many hotels on the planet which can offer guests an audience with mountain gorillas. Yet, the One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, slated to open in late 2018, will do just that. Known primarily for its luxury beach resorts, One&Only is actively evolving its brand with the introduction of nature resorts – two of which are in Rwanda.

Located near the village of Kingi and set within the enchanting mists that surround the foothills of the Virunga volcano range, this new grass-thatched traditionally-styled Rwandan lodge, will guarantee an hour-long encounter with one of the eight local families of mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Guests will also be able to explore the Virunga conservation area, which consists of eight major volcanoes, most of which are dormant yet known far and wide for these endangered mammals.

Virunga conservation area ranges from Northwestern Rwanda covering Volcanoes national park, southwestern Uganda covering Mgahinga gorilla national park and eastern Congo covering part of Virunga national park. Whilst this region is well known for its endangered mountain gorillas as well as its golden monkeys, there are many other authentic experiences that nature lovers and adventure tourists can enjoy while visiting the Virunga Mountains. These range from forest walks and volcano hiking, to trekking, birding and visiting Dian Fossey’s original scientific base, Karisoke, founded in 1967 to study endangered mountain gorillas.

After their gorilla encounter, guests at One&Only Gorilla’s Nest will be able to refresh in their simple, en-suite, rustically-furnished lodgings, take a long hot shower, feast on farm-to-table cuisine served in the lodge’s restaurant, and relax in an onsite spa which draws on traditional African elements to provide a range of unique therapies.

Rest Your Head - BAGLIONI RESORT MALDIVES

BAGLIONI RESORT MALDIVESMALDIVES

Established in the mid 1970s, when Roberto Polito – working with his wife Lisa – opened his first hospitality establishment in Tuscany, Baglioni is a family-owned business which prides itself on taking guests on a journey through Italian style, culture and tradition in each one of its nine exclusive hotels, which are mainly housed within period buildings located in the historical centres of Europe’s major cities of art.

Opening this summer, Baglioni Resort Maldives will be a departure for the upscale Italian hotel brand, in that it will usher in a less formal and more subtle vision of elegance and hospitality. This fresh new direction is courtesy of the family’s younger generation, namely Guido Polito, the group’s CEO, who is guiding the company towards innovative new international projects which will inject a youthful glow into the Baglioni brand.

Just a 40-minute hop by seaplane from the Maldivian capital of Malé and set on the bone-white sands of secluded, private Maagau island in Dhaalu atoll, Baglioni’s first tropical resort will feature 96 garden, beach and over-water villas, including a two-storey three-bedroom presidential villa. All will be ocean-facing. Some snake out towards the enticing Indian Ocean. All will be decked out in the finest linens and decorated with supreme Italian taste and style thanks to close attention to detail, the careful selection of materials and a skilful balance between tradition and modernity.

Four restaurants – including an al fresco Japanese eatery serving up fresh sushi under the stars – will cater to guests’ every gastronomic need. A dive centre with resident marine biologist will offer child-friendly scuba experiences in addition to the vast range of traditional Maldivian aquatic offerings. Guests will be able to burn off cocktail calories in the yoga pavilion or a beach gym set on the sands. And for those for whom no vacation is complete without a little pampering, a deluxe spa will offer Ayurvedic and Thai therapies utilising indigenous Maldivian ingredients.

Awash with natural beauty, oozing luxury and finished with Italian flair, Baglioni’s new paradise isle looks set to provide the brand’s exclusive international clientele with unforgettable stays seamlessly blending relaxation, sport and gourmet dining.

Rest Your Head - THE HENDRICK’S HOTEL

THE HENDRICK’S HOTELAMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

Named after mischievous Prince Hendrick – a colourful character who married into the Dutch Royal family and whose love of women was well known – boutique hotel flair and eccentric elegance exude at this quirky 25-room hotel, located on the Prins Hendrikkade in the city centre, facing the IJ waterway and just a stones-throw from Central Station.

Housed within two 18th century buildings which are joined together internally but appear as separate houses to passers-by, the property was formerly occupied by Twentsche Bank. The buildings then fell into disrepair and were inhabited by squatters, until a few years ago when the current owners were able to purchase the properties, and, in conjunction with Fusion Interiors, set about converting them into a funky boutique hotel.

     The designers’ creative approach to the hotel’s decor and theming is what sets apart The Hendrick’s Hotel from Amsterdam’s other boutique properties. Individually designed guest rooms are themed around trade, travel and romance – all major players in the world of Prince Hendrick. The lobby has been designed in the style of Prince Hendrick’s living room, complete with bookshelves brimming with eclectic antiques from the Prince’s personal collection. Ropes reimagined as light fittings and a huge yacht wheel hanging on the spiral staircase add a nautical feel to the proceedings, create a unique atmosphere and bring-to-life the Prince’s interesting and slightly playboy-esque world.

     Whilst every bedroom is different they are separated into eleven room types. “Royal” rooms feature ceilings with exposed beams and are decorated in silvery greys and royal blues with gold accents. Two have deep red freestanding baths. The Vault Suite is the hotel’s largest room and very much one-of-a-kind in Amsterdam – the characterful, open-plan space occupying the area that was once-upon-a-time a 17th century bank vault. Today, double-glazed windows and privacy curtains keep wondering eyes from seeing what goes on inside the suite. And even the hotel’s Do Not Disturb signs say that the guest inside is busy “having way too much fun”.

The Hendrick’s Hotel is outwardly an establishment where one can enjoy both the cultural highs and naughty lows of the famed Dutch capital. But what goes on behind it’s closed doors is another story.

Rest Your Head - MGM COTAI

MGM COTAICOTAI, CHINA

More than two years late and millions of Dollars over budget, MGM Resorts International’s second Macau offering finally opened a few months ago, just off the main Cotai Strip, in the heart of the former Portuguese colony taken over by the Chinese in 1999.

MGM’s striking new 1,390-room, 35-storey, US$3.4 billion resort-hotel-casino is designed to resemble a giant, glittering tiered gold, silver and bronze jewellery box. It is nothing if not incredibly eye-catching. The eastern side of MGM Cotai looks out toward the airport and South China Sea, and at the property’s main entrance, the largest lion in the MGM collection (over 36 feet tall) is gilded entirely in gold leaf. But the massive gilded Panthera leo that welcomes guests off the strip isn’t a patch on what’s going-on inside.

The hotel’s main lobby (featuring gold ingot-shaped tables), is a mere vestibule for the impressive four-storey high atrium named “The Spectacle” located at the centre of MGM Cotai. The size of a football pitch, the immense space features 25 LED walls displaying natural settings, China’s cities, artworks and even visitor-generated content, and is bordered by vertical gardens and a bevy of restaurants. In fact, it is MGM Cotai’s strong culinary focus, including an impressive line-up of internationally celebrated chefs – including television star Graham Elliot and famed alchemist Mitsuharu Tsumura – coupled with a stunning interior design aesthetic, which gives the mammoth property a sophisticated edge over its hospitality neighbours on the Cotai Strip. Add to all this a superb, predominantly Asian 300-piece art collection (that encompasses 28 Qing dynasty carpets, collages and abstract paintings), and an atelier courtesy of Chinese fashion designer and haute couturier Guo Pei (she designed the trailing yellow gown Rihanna wore to the 2015 Met Ball), and the result is almost certainly the most elegant and refined casino-resort complex in Cotai. And this is without going upstairs to check out the hundreds of pastel-hued rooms and suites, which include Lofts in the main building and Villas in The Mansion – an invitation-only hotel within the hotel.

Rest Your Head - THE CURTAIN HOTEL

THE CURTAIN HOTELLONDON, U.K.

The London members’ club landscape has changed drastically in recent years. Previously they were mostly generally centred around the West End, Belgravia and St. James’s, with a smattering of private haunts outside these hubs. But today the City of London – the United Kingdom’s’ financial epicentre – is home to a concentration of new, upscale members’ clubs, many with bijou onsite hotels. Designed specifically to cater to the capital’s high-spending business fraternity and upwardly mobile creative types, these clubs offer facilities, space and hotel rooms hitherto unavailable at most of their West End counterparts, and they are proving to be so popular that more are being planned and launched in the City to feed the growing demand which shows little sign of abating.

Everyone knows about the Soho House group. If you want to climb London’s social ladder, eavesdrop about the hippest local happenings and rub shoulders with East London’s fashionistas, Shoreditch House is still the place to do it. Occupying a converted biscuit factory in a street-art-strewn East End alleyway, roughly-hewn semi-industrial Shoreditch House was the original City of London members club, and to a great extent the forerunner of (and started the snowballing demand for) the plethora of members’ clubs which exist today within the City’s square mile.

But Shoreditch House it too large, too brash and too in-your-face for many, who have veered towards to joining members’ clubs which cater more acutely to their business needs and entertaining clients, rather than partying through the night. One such newish members’ club is The Curtain, unveiled a year ago by renowned party king and New York hotelier Michael Achenbaum. Outwardly more hotel than members’ club, The Curtain boasts over a hundred guest rooms of varying shapes and sizes, all of which feature a king-sized bed, gorgeous marble walk-in rain shower-cum-steam room and undoubtedly the best in-room mini-bars this side of the Atlantic. Granted the smallest are more akin to crash pads, but the super-fast wi-fi is free and rooms are laden with cutesy yet functional touches such as bluetooth Marshall speakers. The Curtain also has one of the best 24-hour gyms in the square mile.

Guests booking The Curtain Suite (at around one thousand Pounds per night) even get free use of a Porsche Boxster for the duration of their stay, subject to booking direct with the hotel. Now that’s a swishy perk that any discerning Cultured Traveller would be hard pushed to pass up.

Rest Your Head - H HOTEL LOS ANGELES

H HOTEL LOS ANGELESLOS ANGELES, U.S.A.

Hotels are evolving all the time and are becoming more about convenience, location and functionality than fancy frills, roominess and luxuries. Hilton’s new Curio brand is a case in point. Created for travellers who seek to discover their local surroundings and enjoy authentic experiences, Curio is a global collection of distinctive four and five-star hotels that aims to connect guests with their destinations via well-considered and functional properties. Just as the word “curio” can refer to something of interest, unique or even rare, each Curio property is different from the next, with just individuality being a common thread, along with the quiet reassurance of the iconic Hilton brand name behind every location.

Just steps from the terminals of LAX – the fifth busiest airport on the planet – H Hotel is a cleverly curated hospitality experience which has gone a long way to rewriting the traditional American concept of an airport hotel, without compromising the convenience of its super convenient central location. Denver-based interior design firm Design Force drew inspiration from the hotel’s location with a design scheme that recreates the flight experience, whilst offering a modern reprieve from the stresses of 21st century air travel.

A modern, industrial façade, appointed with azure hues, accentuates the hotel’s mid-century architectural style. Inside, eight individual gravity-defying works fashioned by American artists across many mediums, and curated by NINE dot ARTS, gently evoke flying and frame Los Angeles’ relationship with air travel, both historically and in the abstract. At reception, digital work “Blue Yonder” by Moodspace depicts the changing sky during the course of the day, inviting guests to check in and let go.

Upstairs, most of the hotel’s 168 guest rooms and suites feature soaring 3.5m ceilings and huge windows that offer a fascinating overview of the bustling LAX grid in full swing. Lush paints and neutral tones add to an uplifting sense of hovering in the clouds. In fact, H Hotel is very much a window into a world suspended in mid-air – akin to having a peaceful, luxe and unrushed transit break. Temple Spa toiletries, Nespresso machines and large TV screens equipped with Google Chromecast complete the premium pre-flight experience.

Rest Your Head - THE WESTIN DOHA

THE WESTIN DOHADOHA, QATAR

The Qatari capital’s Westin is very much a contemporary 21st century incarnation of the well-known American hospitality brand’s mainstream hotel offering, and, certainly in the case of Doha, a veritable haven from the downtown scene outside the property’s manicured grounds.

Located slap bang in the middle of the city in Bin Mahmoud, directly across the road from the Radisson Blu (one of Qatar’s longest-established hotels), The Westin Doha complex is positioned on one of the city’s busiest routes, Salwa Road, offering easy access to all parts of the sprawling Qatari capital.

Embodying literally everything a discerning businessman or seasoned leisure traveller could possibly want in one convenient, central location, somewhat unusually for Doha, it is very obvious that a lot of time, care and consideration went into the design of the Westin’s 365 uber-chic rooms, suites and villas. Yet, despite the hotel’s size, the property is well laid out and easy to navigate, via various swimming pools (indoor and outdoor plus a wave pool) and an array of leisure facilities including squash courts, a fitness studio and a generous “Heavenly Spa” with separate male and female wings and nine treatment rooms.

Reminiscent of mini slick, New-York apartments, deluxe rooms boast giant heavenly beds each topped with an expansive stitched headboard in mink leather, above which a backlit etched metal screen is hung with contemporary Arabic artwork. At the foot of the bed, a cool tweed-upholstered 2-metre chaise faces a gloss curved TV console and surround that lends another complementary finish to the cool overall design aesthetic, which is more than a little Tom Dixon-esque. The bathroom-cum-wardrobe-cum-dressing area is a luxurious affair, bedecked with mosaic walls, Travertine tiling, marble surfaces and dark wood flooring. The spacious walk-in shower has a marble bench and offers a variety of showering options, with a giant sliding glass door adding a semi-industrial edge. Brushed and glossy brass touches throughout add a classy, Deco-like feel to The Westin Doha’s vast range of utterly comfortable and supremely functional accommodation.

If you can have all of your business meetings in the hotel there is really no need to venture outside The Westin Doha until it’s time to leave for the airport. Everything you need is onsite, including a range of six restaurants, cafés and bars catering to a variety of gastronomic tastes. Stand out are Sabai Thai which serves the best authentic Thai cuisine in the country, and Hunters Room & Grill where you can select an excellent piece of meat and have it grilled to perfection by South African chef Bradley. Doha is generally a pricey place to eat out well, but this is not the case at the Westin, where menus are expansive, reasonably priced and refreshingly offer good value for money.

Some of the best-designed and competitively-priced accommodation in the city, combined with the hotel’s extensive facilities and central downtown location, make The Westin Doha an ideal spot for business and leisure travellers alike to set-up base camp when visiting Qatar.