General Hotel Management Ltd (GHM), the inimitable creator of stylish hotels and resorts worldwide, has entrusted leading multidisciplinary design firm WATG, and its interior design studio, Wimberly Interiors, with its third property in the GCC region, The Chedi Katara Hotel & Resort, Doha, Qatar. Responsible for some of the world’s most iconic hospitality landmarks, WATG has drawn on its 77-year legacy to reimagine Doha’s luxury landscape with its interpretation of Mughal heritage with a touch of Ottoman influence. Scheduled to debut in November 2022, The Chedi Katara will offer 59 elegantly-appointed rooms and suites as well as 32 villas complemented by world-class culinary concepts along the beachfront of the Katara Cultural Village.
“For 30 years, GHM has introduced the exquisite touches of Asian hospitality to wondrous destinations all over the world, melding refined luxury with the best of each locale’s offerings. We recognised WATG and Wimberly Interiors’ mastery in honouring a sense of place and authenticity by seamlessly infusing sensory cues from the land and culture into beautiful design solutions,” said Tommy Lai, chief executive officer of GHM. “This strategic partnership aligns well with our vision to expand GHM’s distinctive presence at the most captivating and culturally significant destinations with The Chedi brand’s relentless pursuit of hospitality and design excellence.”
Sandwiched between desert and sea across a 66,000 sqm plot, the design of The Chedi Katara Hotel & Resort is heavily inspired by Mughal architecture and features elements of Ottoman heritage. The hotel is comprised of 91 rooms, suites and villas in addition to five epicurean venues that include The Restaurant, The Lobby Lounge, The Cigar Lounge, The Beach Club and Marsa Katara. The orientation of the hotel offers all guestrooms, lounge and restaurant areas privileged views of the main pool and private beach.
“With The Chedi Katara Hotel & Resort, we kept in mind the architectural elegance of the locale and fused this with the avant-garde building’s design, materials and colours, with subtle but apparent injections of The Chedi’s rich legacy,” said Jeremy Heyes, Senior Vice President, WATG London. “The result is an authentic design that embodies the destination and breathes new life for all who enters to relish.”
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From carefully detailed frame fretwork, to ensuring precise accuracy behind the hotel’s figurative elements and mouldings, all design elements of The Chedi Katara were curated to be authentic to the fabric of Mughal design. The décor bears great Arabic influence in both old and new. Inspired from an exploration trip to Rajasthan in India, much of the façade is adorned with chhatris that is typical of traditional Indo-Islamic and Indian architecture. Refined details carved out of stone were also specially made to splay across the palatial building.
The epitome of understated luxury, the regal Lobby Lounge makes a charming centrepiece upon guests’ arrival. Fashioned out of a typical Mughal courtyard, the lounge’s 10m high ceiling and walls adorned by original Mughal and Indian-inspired artworks capture the grandeur of The Chedi Katara, alongside elegant hung tapestries of Ottoman influence. A large window becomes a transformative moving canvas framing the nearby sea, reminding guests of their impending stay in a tranquil oasis. The lounge opens to a balcony which overlooks the main pool below and unblocked views of the beach.
Few changes were made to the property’s master plan to leverage on its unique location, Which included its situation at the northern end of the famed Katara Cultural Village, nestled between the Arabian gulf on one side and a canal on the other, allowing for dual-accessibility to the hotel from either within the village or from Lusail expressway through the canal road. A public promenade in the original structure was removed to let guests wander along palm-lined courtyards and easily access the private beach to sunbathe. A separate stand-alone signature pier restaurant, Marsa Katara, was constructed for indoor, outdoor and private dining, made accessible by a long jetty ride across the azure blue waters.
In tackling Qatar’s challenging climate, WATG’s architects ensured that the property remains mostly enclosed and air-conditioned in its meticulous planning. Glass screens are installed in areas typically left open to the elements in temperate conditions. Working with the Indian and Mogul design language, the screens were glazed to appear as authentic and close to the building’s original architectural details, rather than stand out as something visibly foreign.
“We are thrilled to debut Doha’s new beachfront landmark that will showcase modern sophistication while remaining respectful of the majestic lustre of its Mughal heritage. The Chedi Katara, which will bring GHM’s signature services and A Style to Remember to life, is the ultimate compliment to the Qatari’s palatial lifestyle,” said Morton Johnston, General Manager of The Chedi Katara Hotel & Resort.
The Chedi Katara Hotel & Resort is the latest property opening for GHM, adding to the group’s strong pipeline of seven projects in destinations like Taiwan, India and Thailand. This includes The Chedi El Gouna, an upcoming beachfront resort slated to open in 2022 on the Red Sea in Egypt.