Grand Regency Hotel

Trip Start May 06, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Qatar  ,
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Grand Regency Hotel - Doha

This hotel is only 4 months old. It is rated as six star ( I had wondered what the sixth star was for - unfortunately not what I thought). It is on a roundabout! Web link??

It is a reasonable hotel for the rates they charge. Similar look to the Marriott in Brisbane - very similar chandeliers. Four restaurants all of which were good - a bit more expensive that other places but good compared to home.
Buffet There is an all day buffet on level one which has about 10 hot dishes, salads, bread, and deserts. Cost is QR 90 about $32 AUD. Very good value but no Moreton Bay bugs - I will miss those. It did have a white chocolate fountain which reminded me of the Sofitel, Brisbane.
The waiters were interesting to watch. As soon as you sit down they take the serviette from the wine glass and put it on your lap. They then expertly fill your glass with bottled water - no alcohol in this hotel. They use all of the mannerisms of a good wine waiter including twisting the bottle as they raise it and walking with one hand behind their back as they approach. They must all dream of one day pouring a decent glass of Aussie red. I was waiting for them to pour me a sample in the glass and ask me whether to see if it was corked.
Alkut Lounge - serves light meals such as the Capriccio sandwich I had. A lot of Italians in this hotel. As the young Asian waitress gave me my food she said "Bon Appetite" - a flash of Basil Fawlty came in to my mind when he was serving the Duck A L'Orange. I had to try hard to stop laughing. The tea came in a three cup plunger teapot - with a teabag - no chance of it getting in to your cup.
As I sat there eating the sandwich I looked up at a picture of a Falcon standing over its dead prey ( a white bird) with blood gushing from its neck. Tasteful. Falconry is big in Qatar - you can buy one at the markets (Souq).
As I ate, it was about 6:00 pm, I heard the sounds of a grand piano and tunes such as Bridge Over Troubled Waters ringing through the expansive foyer. I later went to see who was playing - no one - it was recorded - the grand piano was there with lid open and a mellow sound coming out - like a pianola.

I also noticed that there was a doorman, three men waiting to drive you somewhere or pick up your bags. I counted 4 female cleaners who were continually moving with their trusty little water bottles filled with magic blue liquid, spraying it on anything and rubbing it briskly to make it shine. The lift doors were cleaned 4 times while I ate my sandwich. The doors were gold - of course.

The stay was quite pleasant. I had an allocated driver who would pick me up each morning at 7:15 and drop me back at about 2:30 - depending on the size of the parking lots at the roundabouts. They kept checking to see if I had anything from the Mini bar - fat chance - 7 Up and diet pepsi.

Each morning I would wake up at about 3:30 - bloody jet lag. (My clock has been on Australian time for 51 years - will take some time to adjust.) I would open my window and look out at the sun through the dust cloud. The sky is white - not blue, the sun is white- not yellow, the dirt is white - not dark brown, the buildings are white or off -white - not green or blue or orange or brown or anything else. ( I have since been told that white fights off the evil spirits - they must be colour blind).
Anyway my view was across two large vacant allotments (about 120 metres all up to a Lu Lu's Department store (there is also a Lu Lu's Hypermarket that I shop at). There was black bitumen in the open car park - at least a different colour - although this should be white - given the temperatures above 40 degrees. No babies or dogs would survive ten minutes in a car in this place. (Might bring Player over here for a visit - one of our dogs)

Just below me there are some men in full blue overalls, white scarves and hard hats and sunglasses. When they take their hats off they look like the invisible man - only there hands are visible I watched them work for three days. The first day there were only two men. Both were sitting down on the ground with a piece of black marine ply between there legs. They were sawing them into two. They had built a little shelter out of concrete blocks and plywood but chose to sit in the sun to saw. They had not been to Year 8 wood work and learnt how to use their shoulders and bodies to saw wood. They did have wheelbarrows which would have made reasonable tables. Later on in the afternoon about 6 other men joined them. They stood around while a couple used shovels to make concrete on a large open board. I worked out that they were making concrete footings for security fencing. Six footings the first day. The next day there were more men - 12 footings were made. What a life - working in the great outdoors using state of the art materials and machinery. Something to aspire to as you are growing up.

(When I walk out in the sun during the day - I am blinded by the glare and my eyes dry out because of the heat - I am okay when I am wearing my golf sunglasses.)

Note: there is a 10% service charge and a 7% tax added to each bill. I hope the workers get their dues.
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