I was so glad I did. It was a perfect way to 'close my relationship with Qatar'.
I got a Four Seasons BMW Series 7 to the hotel. Eric the driver was great to talk to.
At the hotel Jason (Director of Rooms) & Manuel (F&B Director) were waiting to greet me in the lobby. They are 'old friends' & it was so good to chat to them in a relaxed/informal way. Todd the 'new' GM was away when I arrived.
It was 9am and I was taken up to my corner suite. I was not asked for a credit card "as they know me" and there was breakfast fruit, juices and muffins. A very thoughtful 'gift' to find after a night flight from London.
A Good Sleep is One of the Greatest Luxuries in Life
I then went to sleep for a few hours. What great beds, blackout curtains and sheets. The bed was a piece of heaven. Hope the Dorchester hotel bed I recently ordered, for my Barbican, London place, is as good.
When I woke I checked with with the hotel about Emirates & my missing luggage, as I wanted my swim shorts to exercise. I was told my bag was now coming on the 7pm flight and so went back to bed. Emirates' incompetence wrecked the start of my stay.
The Library & Cigar Bar
That evening I met some of my closest friends in the Four Seasons Doha bar. The staff were brilliant, the evening so perfect and the drinks the best. However, thanks to Emirates I was still wearing the clothes I had slept in on the plane the previous night.
Back at the Suite
I got back to my suite just before midnight and was stress & upset to find my luggage was still not there.
There was an incredible selection of canapés left as another 'gift' but I was too angry to eat and emailed & Tweeted away my frustration with Emirates instead.
I woke at 5:30am, got my missing bag and sorted myself out (eg sending shoes to be polished, shirts laundered etc).
Then I submitted my complaint to Emirates and answered emails, Tweets etc
The staff at the pool welcomed me back with such warmth, like the bar staff the night before, and I loved the improvements at the pool.
I had a relaxing swim before it became a 'soup' of inconsiderate kids splashing & being a pain. Welcome back to the Middle East.
Better was chatting to spa members I had not seen for a year. However, they all talked about the problems caused by the low oil price and changes in Qatar that are not for the better.
My suite had been cleaned when I returned and I appreciated it even more. Large with good views but not the more opulent luxury of 'newer' Four Seasons in the Middle East.
My only issue was having a shower with Crabtree & Evelyn bath products and thinking it is not a product, in my opinion, that fits with Four Seasons brand and I was not keen on the smell.
Brunch in Elements
Next it was brunch in Elements in the hotel with more of my fabulous Doha friends.
I started going to the sushi counter and they made me my usual ugari (freshwater eel) sushi special dish. 12 months away and it was like I had only been away for a week. Only at Four Seasons.
During brunch the melt in the mouth beef Wellington with rich creamed potatoes, the pan seared foie gras and fresh oysters from France were some of the food highlights.
It was fun to meet Executive Chef Ahmad, Frances (the restaurant General Manager) again and an afternoon of laughs and perfect service.
Back to the Bar
I spent the evening back in the Doha Four Seasons' bar where Vincent (the Bar Manager) was the perfect host/company, the very dry Grey Goose martinis exceptional and the new martini glassware beautiful.
The ideal place to work on www.sifrew.com and email Four Seasons Senior Management with positive comments about staff of the hotel etc.
I woke after a perfect night's sleep and ordered room service breakfast. I wanted the Weekend Financial Times with this but its delivery is always problematic in Doha.
I got the king crab Benedict with grilled potato rosti and 'caviar' with fresh orange juice. An incredible way to start the day but I wish this hotel would not call dyed fish roe caviar.
Coffee By the Pool
After a swim, I met a friend who I have worked with in Bermuda and Qatar. In fact I recruited him to Qatar. His is now fully seconded to the Qatar Central Bank and so good to talk to.
Lunch in 'Market' the W Hotel
I was picked up from the Four Seasons by a CEO of one of the banks, and he & a former work contact, who is also a special friend, had lunch.
Over an excellent lunch they also told me about the problems caused by the low oil price and people in so many sectors who had been asked to leave or uncertain about their future. It all made me think about the fact I had been in Qatar for the 'good days' and had left at the right time.
Back & the Four Seasons
Back at the Four Seasons I swam and then visited to spa. I was shocked to find how many good staff had left there.
Family & Good Friends are the Most Important Things in Life
Then I went to visit a friend who is dealing with a major illness. Her bravery and optimism made me feel even more thoughtful after this encounter.
Back at the Four Seasons' Bar
Back at the hotel I met with a former employee of the hotel. She had so much to tell me and I was in an odd emotional state after the afternoon and all I had heard about Qatar. It was not the best way to spend my final evening but convinced me that this was going to be my 'final' visit to Qatar. I want to remember it as the place I loved.
Dinner in Elements
I went down to dinner in Elements. The sushi on the 'appetiser trolley' blew my mind it was so good but I assumed the soft shelled crab being cold was a mistake. However, I was told it was intentionally served that way, SO WRONG.
I got blacked cod curry with fried rice as my main course and it was creamy delicious comfort food from the gods.
During dinner I sent Four Seasons Toronto etc messages, despite the poor WiFi in my part of the restaurant.
Back in the Bar
I went there one more time where Gerard made me the best very dry Grey Goose martinis and I had a final chat with the staff, learning me favourite bar manager (Petra) is now at Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, this made me so excited.
Back at my suite Executive Chef Ahmad had sent me a modern take on Arab mezze. I adored the truffle hummus.
I woke to find a message from Todd the GM inviting me to coffee.
What a fascinating chat we had. A serious guy with Caribbean experience etc but I was far convinced by his argument that personal service is more important to customers than whether the hotel is refurbished/has luxurious facilities.
Breakfast Outside at Elements
Next it was breakfast outside at Elements. There were so many staff who wanted to say hello and the dim sum & noodle soup were perfect but the birds a pain.
Last Swim In Doha
I then swam for a last time in Qatar. So many good memories from my 9 years there.
The poor check out guy was thrown when he asked me when they would see me again & I said '"probably never". It was a bit like when Four Seasons New York asked about my New Year stay and I said "sort of OK".
Jason was there to say goodbye and I got a Four Seasons BMW to the airport using the WiFi, as the driver did not seem keen to talk.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻 (6 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - the hotel gets 6 'teddies', despite it clearly needing updating/refurbishing. Maybe I agree with Todd about personal service more than I think. Meeting so many faultless Four Seasons staff I have known for years helped to make my last stay so special, as well as the various innovative food gifts sent to my suite. My tip:- eat in Elements, you will be impressed by the food & staff.