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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Sharq Village and Spa - Revisited

Sharq illage and Spa at night

It is some time since we wrote our review of the Ritz Carlton Sharq Village and Spa, and when they contacted us to request an update we jumped at the chance to view the hotel again.

My reasons were partly selfish - I already know by reputation and experience that the hotel is excellent. However, the chance to be shown round the hotel in person was too good an experience to miss.

We visited on one of Doha's few dull and grey days. I was warned that the day would not do the hotel justice, but the courtyards still looked superb.


According to the public relations manager, legend says that the Sharq village and Spa lies on the remains of an ancient village.

In a story she said they had got from the Emir himself, an ancient souq was founded by a noble Sheikh.

According to the story, the village first prospered as traders settled, building ornate homes around courtyards and furnishing them with treasures brought back from their travels.

Then, after some centuries, the village was abandoned - until recent time, when it was rebuilt as the Sharq Village and Spa.


The Sharq Village maintains the village-like athmosphere, with ornate villas or 'beits' built around courtyards each functioning as a separate hotel.

Each villa is attended to by its own personal butler.

In the center of the complex lies one feature the original hotel did not have - a large and intricate swimming pool, floodlit at night.


On our trip we ate at the Al Liwan, a restaurant that is also a favourite of the Emir.

Sea bass

A Lebanese starter of delicious cold salads and olives was followed by sushi, prawns straight from the open grill in front of us, sea bass and lamb cooked in the Qatari style - all topped off with the traditional Om Ali*.

The buffet is varied from day to day, so there is no guarantee you will have the same selection! The chef is currently planning to have both Indian and Greek style buffets.

Negative points?

For the sake of balance we always try to look for negative points as well as positive points, although it is harder than most with the Sharq Village and Spa.

There are two small points.

Planes flying directly overhead could get annoying, although the sound is muffled in the main area of the hotel.

And having to walk outside between the buildings is fine now, but would be unpleasant during the hottest summer months. Partly because of that, there are golf carts ready to whisk guests between the buildings.

And finally...

The verdict remains the same as our first visit - absolutely fantastic!

Agree or disagree? Remember, on our Doha hotel page you can rate Doha hotels, or even leave your own review.

Also see our full review of the Sharq Village and Spa

Om Ali: an Arab dish which can best be described as a sort of cross between rice pudding and bread pudding (and tastier than both!)

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