The Perfect All-Rounder

Whether travelling for business or pleasure, Liz O’Reilly discovered that Pullman Doha West Bay has you covered.

My first impression of Pullman Doha West Bay was of the sheer size of the place. The lobby is expansive, its pale marble tiled floors increasingly the sense of space, and the accommodations are even more impressive.

We arrived as the hotel played host to registration for a major national sporting event and the atmosphere was buzzing. But even with so many people coming and going, the staff were welcoming and efficient and my check in was quick and easy.

I was soon on my way to the 30th floor and my Executive Suite and I think I can honestly say, I have rarely stayed in such generously proportioned accommodation. The large, comfortable living area housed a full lounge suite as well as a good-sized dining table and TV, plus mini bar and facilities for making tea and coffee – all without feeling in the least crowded. Pale walls and light wood panelling enhanced the feeling of space while thick carpeting underfoot gave the impression of luxury and the amazing view from expansive windows was mesmerising.

Just inside the door, a guest washroom meant visitors did not have to enter the bedroom which was separated from the living area by generously sized wardrobes – complete with iron and ironing board, safe and hairdryer and a separate area for luggage storage.

The bedroom itself was, once again, huge with a well-placed desk to work at, a large TV and, of course, a super comfortable king-size bed. Special mention must go to the pillows, oh the pillows. Sink-in soft, yet at the same time supportive, they put me in mind of resting on clouds and sent me shopping for similar at the end of my stay.

I was impressed to see a series of fun sign cards on the desk offering the use of a Pilates ring, free weights and more – each with mini-workout instructions on the back. You simply call the gym and they will bring you your chosen piece of equipment if you opt to workout in your room – a really great idea if you don’t have time to get to the fitness centre. I particularly loved the bathroom with its deep tub and walk-in rain shower. The provision of refillable toiletries from C.O. Bigelow, the oldest apothecary in America, was another luxurious touch, of which I took full advantage. And a box bearing a range of travel essentials such as cotton buds, a shower cap and a toothbrush, each in sustainable packaging, illustrated the amount of thought that’s gone into making guests feel comfortable.

On the 31st floor, I encountered the Executive Lounge – open to those in certain room categories – a cosy, yet sophisticated space offering tea, coffee, drinks and snacks available throughout the day. And then it was back down to Avenue, the all-day dining restaurant on the ground floor, for a very welcome lunch.

After several hours of travelling, the bright, airy space with its plum and light green seating was both comforting and refreshing and I was soon tucking into a plate of braised chicken in spinach sauce with fresh, crunchy steamed veggies. The chicken was tender and moist and the sauce rich and moreish – so, I went back for seconds.

A range of other choices was available, from baked fish and beef stroganoff to salads and a tempting dessert counter but, mindful of an afternoon’s activity ahead, I decided the chicken was plenty for me.

From Avenue I set out to explore the hotel, starting at the top with the Penthouse Suites – four suites over the highest floors that are both spacious, at up to 350sq/m, and luxurious. Pullman Penthouses offer Stunning views, expansive master bedrooms with en-suite Jacuzzi, and a vibrant coloured Majlis for up to 13 guests. With two master bedrooms, a studio room and two bathrooms as well as vast dressing areas, fully equipped kitchens and living and dining areas, these indulgent suites really are something special.

Back downstairs, I discovered the meeting rooms, from the standard business spaces with all the latest in audio and visual tech to the Al Thuraya Ballroom with its stunning Swarovski crystal ceiling ornaments and mashrabiya screens giving a nod to local heritage.

On the third floor, I made a pitstop at Echo Pool Café which sits beside the gorgeous outdoor pool where families socialised in the sunshine and children played. The space feels protected as if in a canyon amongst the high-rise buildings of West Bay and I came back later to sample the Jacuzzi with an iced lemon water from the bar as the sun set – for sure the perfect way to round off the first day of a business trip.

One thing to mention is that I noticed a lifeguard on duty throughout my many return trips during my stay, always a good sign that the hotel is taking its guests’ safety seriously. The neighbouring gyms, both male and female, again boast floor-to-ceiling windows giving users a bird’s eye view of the pool. And there’s a variety of top-of-the-range equipment, including Technogym, Concept2 and Kinesis One, ideal for those who don’t want travel to interrupt their fitness routine.

Close by, the Pullman Spa, which has separate areas for men and ladies, offers impressive wellness experiences with treatments from premium brand Sothys, a Moroccan Hamam and the beauty boudoir. Cream walls and pale wood invoke a sense of calm and relaxation, while the reflective tiles in the sauna and wet areas were sparkling clean and inviting.

On my second day, I headed to BiCE, the hotel’s Italian restaurant for both breakfast and lunch. My morning meal was deliciously creamy scrambled eggs topped with cold cuts and fragrant fresh bread. And at lunchtime, I was eager to try the Italian menu, going for Marluzzo al Cartoccio con Frutti di Mare. A mouthful indeed, but my excruciating Italian pronunciation was worth it when a paper-cooked, or papilotte, parcel of black cod, resplendent with a very generous topping of seafood, all in a delightful tomato-based sauce with a head of baked garlic on the side, arrived at my table.

The cod was perfection, flaky and moist, while the seafood was superbly tasty, the different flavours and textures melding together in an oceanic symphony. And I’m a sucker for roasted garlic, so that went down an absolute treat, it’s pungency perfectly complementing the subtlety of the seafood.

Later, I ventured to The Junction, the lobby café for a light evening bite of refreshing Caesar Salad – a portion so large it could easily have satisfied two people – and was impressed by the creamy tanginess of the dressing amply coating the crisp salad.

On leaving The Junction, I spotted the Artist Playground by Pullman, a vibrant corner of the lobby where a mini gallery displays works from photography to paintings. Eye-catching and fun, it’s a great space to spend some time and there’s the promise that the display will be different each time you come. All too soon it was time to bid farewell to Pullman Doha West Bay, leaving behind those amazing pillows and the pool café, which had become my de facto base. But I look forward to a return visit. This really is a hotel that’s great for business or pleasure and ideally situated in the heart of everything. ✤