La Cigale Hotel - Doha, Qatar: A member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World (a hospitality organization representing 450 of the world's grandest hotels, resorts and spas), La Cigale had to pass an anonymous inspection on eight hundred stringent aspects; covering a spectrum of features to bag the much revered membership. The hotel is a progressive five-star luxury property that is frequented mainly by business travelers for its state of the art technology and plush vibe.
La Cigale is not very strategically located; in fact it’s a daunting task to access any major business or leisure destination from the property. You need taxis to ferry you to various locations within the city and since Qatar taxis don’t normally go to hotels to pick up guests, I had to opt for the hotel transport to ply me around.
First Impression/Lobby: The bellman greeted me warmly as soon as I arrived, which was a good first impression. After a long, exhausting trip, I didn’t really feel like carrying my bags to the hotel until I had someone at the reception to take care of it for me.
The lobby was large, beautiful and aesthetically designed with an elegant art deco flair and a massive chandelier welcoming guests at the entrance. There were huge, imposing columns flanking the striking chandelier along with a prominent and eye-catching flush of gold, white and black used generously in the interiors. La Cigale’s lobby was truly fetching with a mix of sophistication, sheen and unusual style.
Reception: Check-in was fairly quick and easy. My reservation was located promptly and I was assigned my room. However there was a slight hitch, my suite wasn’t ready yet (it was being cleaned). So I decided to wait at the Sky View Bar until they had it fixed for me.
The Suite: The junior suite was comfortable, well-appointed, tastefully done up and extremely luxurious with plush furnishings and world-class amenities. The facilities at the suite were completely in tandem with five-star standards. There was a separate living and bedroom area.
A listing of nothing less than fifteen different types of pillows, a goose-down duvet and a relaxing mattress made for some added comfort.
The bathroom was spacious, neat and well-designed, with a separate bath and shower (a feature that is on the brink of extinction in this age of value inns and economy hotels). Adorned with stylish fittings and Hermes products, the emphasis was clearly on pampering the guests with a few indulgent trimmings.
The suite was replete with both basic as well as top of the line gadgets like electronic curtains, free wireless internet, time-shifting services recording 24 hours of TV shows relayed previously, in-room management remote control-the works. As far as futurist technology went, there was nothing else that I needed in the suite.
Room Service: Room service was prompt, efficient and punctual, something that I have come to expect at most five-star luxury hotels. The food was prepared and presented well-it was a nice, decent effort but not particularly extraordinary.
Housekeeping: The Housekeeping service was top notch. Not only did they leave my room sparkling clean each time, but also kept plenty of water when I requested for it during the turndown service.
They also went ahead and neatly folded and stacked the clothes that I had left lying on the bed, something that I hadn’t expected them to do.
Restaurant: The quality of the food during breakfast buffet was first-rate. There was a large spread of really fresh and appetizing food. There was an egg station in a corner, which was quite nice since you could have your eggs and omelets customized according to the way you wanted them. Really good.
As for dinner, I ate at the main restaurant of the hotel, La Cigalon, which was touted to be absolutely fantastic. Hence, of course I went there with very high expectations.
I asked for a ravioli and steak, medium rare. The ravioli was average, just like the room service food. It was decent but not outstanding- I didn’t really have any complaints but then I wouldn’t offer any recommendations either. When the steak made its way to my table, it looked nicely cooked. However once I cut into the meat, it was dark red, cold almost frozen on the inside. It wasn’t what I wanted and I had to have it sent back to the kitchen to be re-done. Needless to say, I don’t recommend the restaurant.
Pool/Spa/Activities: The hotel has a single indoor swimming pool and it was open only when the spa was open, thus restricting convenient access to it since I had to schedule my trip to the pool only within the stipulated hours.
The spa is extremely elegant, well-appointed and visually striking, while offering a host of exclusive wellness services. There is also a well-stocked fitness center on the second floor featuring all advanced exercise equipments.
Overall Impression The La Cigale Hotel would be truly Bombastic and worth recommending for a business traveler but not so much for a leisure traveler. The property has several amenities that would be useful and essential for the corporate traveler including wireless internet service, fax machines, a well-equipped business center, state of the art meeting facilities and other handy features.
The facilities provided in the suite are also good for a comfortable, relaxed and luxurious stay. The staff was responsive to my needs and was prompt and efficient in dispensing their services, so I wasn’t particularly disappointed on that front either. It’s just that the property is more suitable for business travelers vis-a-vis vacationers, who won’t find the location, the recreational facilities and the food very appealing.