Tareq Derbas and Paul James: excited about the upcoming opening of the St Regis in Qatar
The St Regis hotel, set to open in Qatar by the end of the year, will create “a new luxury experience”, according to company officials who said that the property was set to offer the highest quality accommodation in Doha.
Gulf Times spoke to global brand leader for St Regis and the luxury collection, Paul James, and the general manager of the hotel, Tareq Derbas, who discussed the brand and its offering.
The St Regis, part of the Starwood Group of hotels and resorts, is scheduled to open in Doha by the end of 2011, and depending on the opening of another property in Abu Dhabi, will become the first hotel carrying the brand’s name in the Middle East.
James, visiting Qatar to monitor the progress of the hotel project and discuss pre-opening and opening plans, declared that work in Qatar was going according to schedule.
“We’re on track, and we hope to have the soft opening by the end of the year,” he explained.
“Starwood has been in this part of the world for a long time – we have a very deep and long relationship within the Gulf states and this is part of a long term plan for us,” he said.
With 12 hotels three years ago, the brand will have 24 when the Abu Dhabi and Doha properties are complete. As well as expansive development, the company relies on its reputation in New York where it remains among the top three commercial hotels on a yearly basis having been launched in 1904.
“Understanding the region as we do, we knew that Doha was the right place for us – we have a lot of loyal customers here,” he said, adding “if anything, we feel we have waited too long to come here!”
“The market here is aware of the St Regis brand – it will be something to be received very well by our local customers,” added Derbas.
He explained that the hotel will have 336 rooms as well as other facilities including a ballroom and a number of top quality food and beverage outlets from chefs which Derbas described as “the best that Doha can offer”.
He added that the property would have “the finest address in Qatar” and described the location as “perfect”.
A staff of 700 will arrive in Qatar three months ahead of the hotel opening to receive their complete training and to ensure that the finishing touches have been applied to the property.
One of the hotel’s unique selling points is the butler service and this property will hold the brand’s largest contingent of butlers in the world with 50 on hand for guests.
“One of the areas in which we will excel is the butler service,” said Derbas, adding “it is not a matter of someone looking after your food and drink – it is someone who will take care of all your affairs in the hotel and the city.”
“It’s not an add-on,” added James, “the butlers can make sure your stay matches your exact needs and requirements.”
The hotel’s spa was designed in conjunction with Remede, and they are unique to St Regis, explained James.
The representatives insisted that the hotel intends to become an important part of the local culture, and a significant part of the country’s growth, especially ahead of the World Cup in 2022.
“St Regis hotels are also central to being part of the city they are within – it’s not a parachute hotel, these hotels succeed because they are part of the society,” explained James.
“Fundamentally, it’s one of the few luxury brands that has been designed with today’s luxury customer in mind,” he noted, adding “it’s highly connected, highly global, with particular needs and requirements – we have the good fortune to be building a brand with that global perspective.”
The hotel is owned by Resorts Development Company (RDC), and James said that the synergy between the owners and St Regis had led to a “wonderful” partnership, with both parties in tune with each other.
Derbas noted that the owners shared the ideal of “becoming an icon of luxury” in the local market, and praised their efforts in launching the hotel here.
Expressing his satisfaction at the ongoing project, James noted his excitement about the opening of the property and the launch of the brand, which he described as “uncompromising,” as an exclusive “address” and “bespoke” – three qualities that are bound to prove popular with local and high-end customers.
Follow us on our social media channels: