Emille Loyola-Artigas experienced a midweek getaway that paused time at the iconic Sheraton Grand Doha.

My husband and I decided on a mini getaway in the middle of the week. So, after we dropped the children to school, we packed for the day and headed to the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel. We arrived with a sense of anticipation and excitement as lately, we have been cocooned in our daily routine and surely needed a break together. While we have visited the property several times over our years in Doha, typically to experience some of the most popular restaurants around or make the most of its fantastic recreational facilities – this would be our first actual stay in a room.

As always during my visits, the staff, from the valet to the reception, gave us a grand, warm welcome from the moment we reached the driveway all the way to the lobby. We headed towards the reception and even from afar, the team were already greeting us with smiles and served us Turkish coffee while we waited for our keys. We could not help but still be in awe of the grand lobby, how it has kept its grandness and heritage, true to its character all this time.

The Sheraton Grand Doha was Qatar’s premier five-star international resort and convention centre built in 1982 and remains one of the country’s main landmarks in the city. Affectionately dubbed the iconic ‘Pyramid of the Gulf’, due to an outstanding architectural design that stood alone for many years as a feature of Doha’s cityscape, the project took pride of place while the rest of the city rose around it. Now, more than 40 years later, the hotel remains a firm favourite among locals and tourists alike. I cannot return often enough.

A walk through the mezzanine corridors on a lush royal red carpet led us to our room, a bright, airy and ultra spacious Deluxe Guestroom with Seaview. We are balcony fans, so we were immediately drawn towards that space which overlooked the pool and the panoramic view of the Arabian Peninsula. It’s amazing how quiet and serene the room seemed. We felt we could be anywhere. Truly, we had the sense that we had left the outside world behind the moment we stepped into the lobby.

And this was just the beginning of our little getaway.

Breakfast makes or breaks my day; I simply cannot function without it. So, we decided to enjoy this most important meal first before checking out the facilities and the fitness centre. We headed to Al Hubara where a fine selection awaited. The spread was everything you could want for breakfast, from cheeses (where I fully indulged), to salads, sausages and pancakes. For our personalised eggs, we ordered omelette and Eggs Benedict. The service was warm, welcoming, not over intrusive but very attentive, even the chef himself came to our table to check on us.

I went back to our room to catch up on a few tasks on my laptop, taking advantage of the workspace which I found so cosy. It was so comfortable, I even wished I could stay there a little longer! My husband is a devoted swimmer, but we had left his goggles at home, so he made a quick stop at the City Centre mall literally across the street – a great illustration of the convenience of this location.

I could not miss the chance of using the fitness centre which is, in my view, one of the largest and best facilities in the country. The sprawling area holds classes both indoors and outdoors, it houses some of the best padel courts in Qatar, indoor squash and tennis courts, yoga and spinning studios with amazing views and the fitness centre with personal trainers. I work out regularly and welcomed the chance to enjoy the topof-the-line and extensive equipment. The centre boasts the most modern Technogym machines and expert trainers are on hand to offer support as well as provide you tailor-made programmes and complete body assessments, which are available from the morning until midnight. I thoroughly enjoyed the cardio step ladder with the sea views.

After a rigorous yet enjoyable workout, I joined my husband at the beach area. Without a doubt, this was my favourite part or the day, as I relaxed on the comfortable sun lounger. The weather was amazing, the sound of the sea calming and with the gentle music in the background, I was completely lost in the moment.

We opted for the Pool Restaurant for a late lunch once we had worked up enough appetite. It was a beautiful walk in a tranquil environment to reach there and we chose to sit on the terrace overlooking the sea and enjoy the weather. The menu is not overflowing but it has everything you could want for a light midday meal, from salads, sandwiches and burgers to mains like fish and chips, chicken skewer, striploin steak and more. Everything was enticing but, in the end, we chose Pink Sauce Pasta with Chicken and Caesar Salad with chicken, which were creatively served and palatably delicious.

I could not decide, but I guess, the next thing was my real favourite part of the day. We headed back to the pool and plunged into the oversized Jacuzzi right by the beach facing the horizon. The temperature was soothing and complemented the weather, and the pressure of the jets was simply perfect and precise. It really felt as if time had stopped and the day was paused; aimless and undefined it was an open time in which to playfully see where the winds of fate would take us for the rest of the day.

But time didn’t stop.

Our visit was almost over before we realized it and we decided to stay and wait for sundown in the Jacuzzi. Soon enough, the picture-perfect sunset danced away and we were at the centre of it all.

As we walked back towards our room, we had smiles on our faces and a sparkle in our eyes. We truly never imagined that a day’s break could feel like a week’s holiday. We spoiled ourselves with the bathroom and shower which could have been made for royalty with their marble fittings and Eco Fresh Camella amenities. And then it was back to the lobby for check out and a return to the real world.

It was a day. But it felt like we were away longer and I cannot think of any other way to experience a mini-break that packs it all in. We left feeling rejuvenated, recharged, ready and inspired to go back to our routine. ✤

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