by Lizzie Porter and Travel writer, The Telegraph, April 19, 2019
Mondrian Doha's three-bedroom, two-storey Penthouse Suite is one of the most joyfully boisterous suites in the Middle East. Expect quirky design by Marcel Wanders and a spread of treats and amenities, from a scarlet pool table to a baby grand piano, that make hosting guests almost a prerequisite.
It would almost be rude to stay in the two-storey Penthouse Suite and not host guests, or throw a do of some sort. With its expansive double-height dining room, entertainment room and tip-top sound system, this is the suite to book for a celebration.
On the 23rd floor, and covering 849sq metres (9,100sq ft), it has sweeping views over Doha from the lounge, which is decorated with hand-painted, oversized blue-and-white vases. A kitchen is on hand for residents or staff to prepare whatever delights guests might expect at the 12-person dining table.
Upstairs, the master bedroom is well thought out, with custom furniture by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders - we particularly liked the reading lamp resembling an Arabic-style lantern. Murals depict modern interpretations of the Arabian Peninsula of old: mosques, trading ships and falcons, traditionally used for hunting in the Gulf, are among the striking drawings.
Other regional influences have been incorporated into the suite’s design: camel-coloured carpets have ripples reflecting the Qatari desert, while modern mosaics in gold and marigold yellow adorn bathroom walls.
What to expect
The suite's hub is clearly its lower floor, which is ideal for hosting and entertaining, whereas the upper-floor bedrooms are made for crashing when the party’s over.
The entry-level's entertainment room, complete with scarlet-coloured pool table, baby grand piano and lipstick-red chairs, provided hours of fun, whether in use for an after-dinner game of pool or morning-after lounging, curled up with one of the grey-bound books. Admittedly, in our case, titles such as Odyssey of the Psyche or The Financial Crossroads didn't have us gripped, and we turned on the oversized television instead.
Each of the three bedrooms has an en suite amply stocked with large-size Ciel Reserve toiletries, and each was equipped with remarkably easy-to-use lighting and curtain controls. In a pleasant move away from some of the brasher suites found in the Gulf, the Penthouse’s quirky, playful, memorable design makes it a place to linger.
The double-height dining room, decorated with white candles and neo-baroque-style wallpaper, is the star of the show. Although the lift connecting the suite’s upper and lower storeys may seem excessive, it may in fact prove highly practical for parties involving guests with mobility issues.
Not so keen
The shower and toilet in the master bedroom’s en suite flooded after use, a fault that has hopefully since been rectified.
At Mondrian Doha, Marcel Wanders’ colourful and agreeably off-kilter design has created an incredibly fun hotel - without it feeling forced.
During our stay, young Qatari men deposited their Porsches with the free valet service outside, while other locals and guests caught up at the ground-floor Magnolia Bakery. On the terrace beside Walima restaurant, a mixture of expats, Qataris, businessmen and holidaymakers mingled, warmed on the surprisingly chilly winter evening of our visit by patio heaters, woolly blankets and coals fuelling the shisha pipes set between the tables.
A buffet breakfast is served in CUT by Wolfgang Puck, the chef’s first restaurant in Qatar, while Walima restaurant serves what it describes as “delicious Middle Eastern cuisine” - although anyone with a knowledge of the region’s food beyond a falafel sandwich might find themselves disappointed.
We had to order an extra dish because two of our small plates were essentially raw vegetables: “carrot purée” on the menu consisted of some uncooked roots. The trio of cauliflower tasted of nothing and the burrata salad was begging for some balsamic vinegar. On the upside, the lavash (flatbread) was divine, while the steak kebab was cooked to perfection, and the wine list well-conceived.
Overall, hotel service was relaxed but on point. Mondrian Doha has clearly - and sensibly - recognised that a sniffy front desk does nothing to lure guests in. One let-down was again in Walima, where menu knowledge was lacking: one waiter didn’t know what a tenderloin was, while we had to ask twice for water, which should have arrived immediately.
The pool (surrounded by black and white tiles clearly inspired by Islamic architecture) was suitable for a dip rather than serious swimming, and winter visitors might crave a few more outdoors sunbathing spots. The ESPA-branded spa includes 12 treatment rooms, and what the hotel claims is Doha’s first traditional Turkish hammam.
Mondrian Doha is in West Bay Lagoon, next to the conspicuous Zig Zag Tower buildings. It’s not the most pleasant location in Doha in terms of sightseeing - closer proximity to the superb Museum of Islamic Art, and the renovated Souq Waqif, would be a plus. But nothing in Doha is very far away and taxis are easily called from the front desk to all parts of the city.
Standard rooms at Mondrian Doha (+974 4045 5555) start from from QAR750 (£160); the Mondrian Doha Penthouse Suite starts from QAR50,000 (£10,500).
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This article was written by Lizzie Porter and Travel writer from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]