Ritz-Carlton’s luxury Sharq Village & Spa is a self-proclaimed ‘beachside resort celebrating the fusion of modern and traditional values in the heart of Doha’, and we were thrilled to experience that such words were amplified meticulously throughout our staycation.

As I approached Sharq Village and Spa I actually felt a little giddy with anticipation. The nature of the resort is that of a traditional Qatari desert village with the elegant modern accommodation spread across 14 traditional style villas. 174 rooms and suites are set amidst these whitewashed residences each around tranquil courtyards with rooms overlooking the vast pool areas,
the stunning water front of the Arabian Gulf or the lush manicured gardens which surround the resort.

 

 

The ability to marry contemporary, cutting edge service and facilities with traditional architecture and surroundings is no mean feat but Sharq Village and Spa has succeeded in this – effortlessly. The Ocean View King suite combines decadence and traditional Arabian elegance. The vast veranda style balcony with its mahogany, trellised balustrade is perfect for couples, families or businessmen wishing to enjoy the balmy evening air whilst enjoying a sense of seclusion and privacy. Whether standing looking over the pool and gardens, speckled with large lanterns illuminating the walkways or gazing at the Gulf meeting the sun as it sets on the horizon, one is immediately drawn into the sense of luxury and peacefulness. Rooms and suites, including Beit Al Shyoukh – The Royal Villa- boast rainforest showers and deep soaking baths with amenities supplied by iconic British luxury brand, Asprey. The fusion of state-of-theart technology and luxuriant décor may make it very difficult to venture beyond the walls of your accommodation.

 

 

Throughout the lobby the elegant tones of a Grand Piano lingered in the air as I made my way to dinner, admiring the stunning Chandelier suspended high above me. The molten glass globules, descending from the ceiling, glowing and illuminating the Pianist seated below highlighted the clever way in which contemporary features make every space unique.

 

 

My final destination of the evening was Parisa, meaning Angel, the sea-view restaurant with enviable views across the landscaped grounds and Sea beyond. After ascending up a staircase whose curves hug yet another stunning piece of suspended illumination, I discovered that the tone of Parisa is that of understated elegance and the stone-topped tables and wrought iron furniture adorned with blue and white crockery gave a fresh feel to the dining area.

 

 

The food was far from predictable or mundane. The appetisers included an array of salads such as Mast-O-Artisho comprising Labneh, artichoke and walnuts delicately seasoned with mint and lime juice as well as meat based dishes such as Dolma Mix with minced lamb, rice, eggplant and peppers in a tomato sauce. More Persian delights were cooked and presented in traditional clay pots, the highlight of which was definitely the Slow Cooked Lamb and Spinach with Red Beans. All of the food is so refreshingly authentic and brilliantly executed, however, the show-stopping dishes certainly come from the Charcoal Grill. Beef, lamb, prawns and fish are given a vibrant kiss of both colour and flavour with a blend of saffron and onions. Dessert was dominated by staples such as halva and crème brulee infused subtly with rose water and saffron, once again to further infuse the palate.

 

 

Following such an indulgent dinner, breakfast in bed or rather on the terrace of my suite was a very welcome start to the day. Fresh fruit, pastries and western staples such as hash browns, eggs and sausages set me up nicely for my Spa experience which followed. The large, heavy wooden doors open into a series of rooms around a central courtyard with a calming water feature, which to all intents and purposes looks like a typical Qatari Village dwelling. The 50 minute signature massage treatment was further evidence of the importance of bespoke experiences for every guest and the quest for excellence in every area of the resort.

 

 

After a light, lazy lunch in Al Seef and further idling by the vast, glistening pool I ventured to Al Liwan – roughly translated as The Terrace – which is the hotel’s buffet style restaurant for their Seafood Themed Buffet Night. The décor is mesmerising and decadent with the centrepiece being a series of central archways below which are planters containing miniature topiary. In addition, traditional carvings are illuminated from below giving a further sense of grandeur. There was no way that I could fail to be impressed by the surroundings or the food on offer. Large ice filled chillers displayed bountiful amounts of crustacea and freshly prepared fish. Lobster, oysters and delicately crafted, colourful sushi and sashimi combined with a plentiful plethora of salads and freshly baked breads.

 

 

The live cooking stations were as much a treat for the eyes as the palate and allowed diners to tailor dishes to their own exacting standards. Truly an oceanic odyssey. Sad to be departing after feeling refreshed and thoroughly spoiled my experience was topped off on the final morning by breakfast, this time back in Al Liwan. All of the continental staples such as cold meats, cheeses and salads were there in abundance along with the crustiest warm breads, fresh fruit taking in every colour of the rainbow and delicious flaky pastries. The stations which housed every imaginable type of grain, seeds and dried fruit was a first for me and the live omelette station was fabulous. Sharq Village and Spa is the kind of resort that will leave you feeling that you will run out of fitting adjectives to describe it before your visit is over. Breathtaking, decadent, stunning, resplendent – I could go on and on. Truly an experience not to be missed when visiting Doha! ✤

 

 

“WHETHER STANDING LOOKING OVER THE POOL AND GARDENS, SPECKLED WITH LARGE LANTERNS ILLUMINATING THE WALKWAYS OR GAZING AT THE GULF MEETING THE SUN AS IT SETS ON THE HORIZON, ONE IS IMMEDIATELY DRAWN INTO THE SENSE OF LUXURY AND PEACEFULNESS.”