Review: A ‘daycation’ at the Doha Mariott Hotel

So far in 2015, we have enjoyed a long haul trip back home to the UK, two heavenly mini breaks in the region to Muscat and Dubai, and two relaxing ‘staycations’ in our adopted city of Doha, at the St Regis and the Grand Hyatt. Yup, thus far I think it’s pretty safe to say that all vacation bases have been covered. But what happens if you’re in desperate need of a break, but only have one day to play with?

There’s only one answer in my book: a ‘daycation’.

We had seen a voucher in The Entertainer for buy one get one free day passes to The Marriott including use of the hotel’s beach and pool. At QAR 250 (GBP 45) for us both, this is a bit of a steal. A little further around the coast from our usual haunts in West Bay, in a part of the city affectionately known as ‘the old airport area’, this hotel is a place we would usually bypass en route home from the airport, or dismiss in favour of nearby Sharq Village & Spa where we got engaged. I was quite excited to finally visit and see what it was like.

Expecting interiors akin to the clean and airy space of its counterpart, the Marriott Marquis, City Centre, we were a little disappointed to find a rather dated-looking lobby which was lacking in character. Rich stayed at this hotel back in 2011 when he came to Doha to assist in Al Jazeera’s production of the Asian Cup, and he thinks things have definitely gone downhill since then. This must be due in part to the growing competition of the booming hotel industry and proliferation of five star resorts in the thriving West Bay area, but it is sad to see a place with so much Doha history (this hotel outdates even the iconic Doha Sheraton which was built in 1979) being left to rack and ruin.

I perked up a little however, when we discovered the gorgeous, bright corridor which led us through the hotel’s spa, and out into the sunshine.

The pool area, which was surrounded by relaxing-looking cabanas and comfortable loungers, was heaving, so we followed a palm-lined path down to the quieter haven of the beach.

The yachts of Doha Sailing Club lined the waters in front of us, and past them sat the stunning city skyline.

It was the perfect place to sit back and relax for a few hours, while reading a book and admiring the view.

It was from this spot that I tried to reconcile my thoughts about this hotel. Yes, it is cheap, but given the distance we travelled and the shabby-chic feel, I wouldn’t have wanted to pay much more than that to use the facilities for the day. On the other hand, it is a fantastic place to bring children, due to the numerous sports facilities dotted around the place.

Look at the athleticism! @richbyles #fiance #basketball #showingoff

A video posted by Follow Your Sunshine (@polbag) on

(Adults can obviously get involved too).

My favourite thing about this hotel however, was actually technically not on Marriott soil. About 200 metres offshore is a sand bar which stretches far out into The Corniche. We swum to it through the deep, still waters of the Persian Gulf, and when we found the white sand of the sea floor rushing up to meet us, we put our feet down and stood up. There, right in the middle of the ocean, we walked as if on water, towards the city view in front of us until we found the perfect vantage point from which to sit in the shallows and watch the sun begin to dip behind the city. I obviously have no photos of this moment, but it was just a little bit magical.

We swum back to shore feeling hungry and ready for home. And after a quick stop at the little foyer coffee shop, that’s where we went.

Would I return? Probably not. But the Doha Marriott Hotel gave us a couple of really special moments, which will remain forever more in my Doha memory bank.

Do you ever take yourself off for a ‘daycation’? Where’s your favourite place to go?

The details:

Doha Marriott Hotel
Ras Abu Aboud Street
Building 2
Street 920
Zone 28

The Entertainer deal


  1. May 10, 2015 / 7:02 am

    A daycation?! I need to get on this I think! Such a shame when old hotels go a little rough around the edges, though that little island does sound magical!

    Lauren xx | The Lifestyle Diaries

    • May 11, 2015 / 5:42 pm

      Do it! It's really fun planning out a day of 'holiday' type activities not far from home! The island is amazing, I want to go back with provisions and stay there for hours at some point!

      Polly xx

  2. May 10, 2015 / 9:48 am

    I have to agree it does look a little retro, I prefer the clean lines and modern feel of somewhere like the W. Anyway, I still love the idea of a daycation and great to get some time by the pool.
    Lots of love,
    SilverSpoon London

    • May 11, 2015 / 5:43 pm

      Same. You couldn't get somewhere more different to the W here in Doha really. Still love the history to it though – it was one of the first hotels Doha ever had! It was definitely relaxing 🙂

      Polly xx

  3. May 10, 2015 / 10:49 am

    A good spa day is a winner for me – the right spa can leave you feeling like you've had a weekend away 🙂

    • May 11, 2015 / 5:45 pm

      I completely agree – a spa can not be beaten! I must book one soon 🙂

      Polly xx

  4. May 12, 2015 / 1:24 pm

    A daycation, like that term! Hopefully they will spruce up the interiors soon. Love your orange bikini, Polly

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    • May 15, 2015 / 12:40 pm

      I'm sure it's on the cards, they definitely need to do something before business dries up. It's got a lot of potential! Thanks love, such a comfy bikini!

      Polly xx

  5. May 14, 2015 / 12:33 pm

    Yeah, so I'm here in London getting rained on and you're looking fabulous on the beach in a bright orange bikini #jealous 😉

    • May 15, 2015 / 12:41 pm

      Haha! You are aaaaalways welcome to come visit and sit next to me on a beach looking even more fabulous Frankie! Just say the word!

      Polly xx

  6. May 15, 2015 / 12:39 pm

    I only just heard of the concept of a daycation this week and it sounds like a great idea! Shame the hotel wasn't quite what you may have expected but it did make me smile reading about Doha 's corniche as I'm sat poolside along the Abu Dhabi corniche ��

    • May 15, 2015 / 12:44 pm

      No way!!! Are you on holiday?! How long are you there for? I am very much looking forward to these blog posts 🙂 you are only about half an hour away from me right now, shame we couldn't have organised a little meet-up. Next time!

      Polly xx
      Ps. Daycations are my new favourite thing !

  7. May 20, 2015 / 6:59 am

    What a great bikini, looks like you had lots of fun, the hotel looks lovely hopefully they will freshen it up shortly Lucy

    • May 20, 2015 / 12:05 pm

      Thanks so much Lucy! It's Victoria's Secret 🙂 I hope they do, it would be such a shame for it to go downhill and definitely don't want it to be shut down – it has so much history!

      Polly xx

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