I spent a night at the Oryx Rotana as I had a long layover in Doha and used Qatar Airways' program where they put you up in a hotel for $125 (for passengers in economy class, which includes immigration fees, hotel, transportation to hotel and all meals).
The hotel is across a small road from the airport. They have a poorly marked shuttle bus that parks in the parking lot and runs occasionally. Very difficult to find. On the other hand, once you know your way around, the hotel is literally a 3 minute walk from the terminal building.
On the positive, the hotel is brand new and very impressive looking, inside and out. The deal called for a 3* hotel and the Rotana was far better than that and in that sense exceeded my expectations.
The room was very large and extremely modern with everything designed futuristically. They have a ton of buttons on the wall controlling lights, temperature, do not disturb sign etc. - the buttons were not all labeled and not very intuitive, but I managed. The bed was large and very comfortable. They had a large plasma TV with about 70 channels (and yet none of them showed the UEFA Champions League).
The bathroom was heavenly, including a very large shower area and a rain-drop shower head on the ceiling. It had a toilet and a bidet. However, as someone pointed out, it only came with one large towel and did not have shampoo - which was quite bizarre. (I did not bother calling to try and get some.)
Under the Qatar Airways deal food was provided separately in one of the conference rooms, so I did not get to try out the restaurants which appeared very posh from the outside. There seemed to be plenty of food and of good variety in the room, including at odd times (I grabbed breakfast before 5am and it was fully stocked). There did not seem to be any drink options beyond water during the day (and orange juice and coffee for breakfast).
Now, for the things that were not so great:
- The pool is not free, they wanted 75 riyals (~$20) even though the place was completely empty.
- Windows were dirty on the outside. There was a sand storm of sorts, but it didn't seem that out of the ordinary so they must have some plan for keeping it clean (that wasn't working)
- There are no cabs whatsoever at the hotel, nor will they call one for you. Instead, they try to get you to use a limo service which is 4x as expensive. The simple, if annoying, solution is to walk the 3 minutes to the airport terminal and grab a metered cab from there.
- They had some truly ridiculous policies at checkout. Now, I will allow that some of the bizarre rules may be government-imposed due to the nature of the Qatar Airways-guaranteed visa I happened to be on. But it felt like being in a bad movie. My flight was at 8:05am and they said I had to be at the airport by 5:05 and will get a wake up call at 4:05. I protested that it was way too early and explained that I needed only 5 minutes to get down to the lobby (no luggage whatsoever) but they said it was impossible to change their rule and the computer would automatically call me 4 hrs before take off. I said I would leave the phone of the hook and they said they would send someone to knock on my door if I didn't answer (which they did). As if that wasn't bad enough, their shuttle busses run at :10 and :40 past the hour, and they decided it would be unacceptable to get me to the airport at 5:12 so they wanted me to take the earlier shuttle at 4:40 and thus they woke me up a full hour before that, at 3:40am. And when I (of course) wasn't there for the 4:40am (because I went back to sleep and planned on taking the 5:10am shuttle) they kept calling back and sending more people to knock on the door. At least no one tried to enter the room. But the lights did suddenly come on at one point. Now, it is possible that I accidentally pushed some weird setting, but at the time I felt like someone from the outside was controlling the lights and trying to get me to wake up and leave, very big brother.
I know this sounds small and petty, but when you are tired and getting ready to go on a 14 hr flight little things matter, and being repeatedly woken up an hour earlier than is necessary, in the middle of the night, is simply unacceptable from a customer service perspective. Fundamentally, they made me feel uncomfortable and out of control, and that is simply unacceptable.
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- Also Known As:
- Oryx Rotana Doha Hotel Doha