Since I have shared the experience my family and I had at The Torch Doha (read the blog post HERE), now is the time to share our experience at Marsa Malaz Kempinski at The Pearl Qatar when we checked in during the Eid holiday specifically on the 14th of September.
My family & I checked out of The Torch Doha on the same day, drove straight to Marsa Malaz Kempinski where the scene was as busy as the day we checked in at The Torch. Understandably so, I instinctively knew we had to wait for our turn to check in since the lobby was quite crowded and all reception desks were occupied checking in its guests.
Sadly, since we were coming from an amazing experience at The Torch, we couldn’t help but compare the two hotels. I’ll try to be objective as much as possible while writing this because I have a lot on my mind.
WARNING! THIS POST MAY COME OUT AS A RANT.
As I was saying, the lobby was crowded with guests coming from all over the region who were accompanied by their house helps whose nationalities were mainly from the Philippines (maybe you can see where I am going with this). Anyway, my sister & I were patiently waiting in queue to check-in and beside us were a group of 4 young ladies draped in their abayas (I’d say an arm’s length away from us). As I saw a reception desk free up, a hotel employee (who I didn’t get the name of unfortunately) approached us, asked us “Checking in?” which I replied with a “Yes” and then she asked “Are you with them?” while pointing to the ladies in their abayas. My sister and I were both dumbfounded by the follow-up question of this employee as it seems she was trying to imply something?! I mean, I don’t know, could she have mistaken us for their friends which we highly doubt since we were not even closely beside them nor looking at their direction. Could she have mistaken us as their chaperons / their help? Like I don’t know what to think here but that question made my sister & I obviously confused. It felt upsetting as she stereotyped us based on our nationality. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud to be Filipino plus I admire our hardworking countrymen who serve as house helps in this region and other parts of the world but I wish that this employee didn’t generalize. Ok, let’s say we were house helps, what if on that day we were on our day offs and saved up money to afford a night’s stay at the hotel, don’t we deserve the dignity & respect to be treated as paying customers? I mean seriously, why would she feel the need to ask if we were with those ladies who were wearing their abayas? I truly don’t know if we’re just being too sensitive here or if there is a true merit for us to feel this way.
During the check-in, our front desk agent was quite swift to the point that he forgot to inform us about the timing & location of breakfast for the following day plus he missed out on letting us know the facilities we could avail of. I overlooked this since I was aware that other guests were still waiting for their turn to be assisted.
We made our way up to the 3rd floor where our deluxe rooms were located which to be perfectly honest were truly GORGEOUS! Out of all the hotels I have stayed at in Qatar, this hotel’s deluxe room hands down takes the first place. What won me over was the size of the room plus it had a spacious balcony which not all deluxe rooms have. The design was luxurious plus well thought out and the bathroom is amazing though closet space was limited. I booked a twin room as my sister, brother and I were sharing one room hence I had to request an extra bed for my brother to sleep on.
Since we had time to kill before our dinner reservation at Toro Toro, my mom, sister & I explored the property and the facilities. It seems the only facilities you can use for free are the gym, pool and steam room but I may be wrong about this because we were not properly informed during our check-in and we had to find out for ourselves. The use of the sauna will cost you extra as we were told by the hotel employee who showed us the steam room.
The extra bed we paid for was nowhere in sight when my sister & I got back to our room (which was around 5PM); so I made a call to the hotel’s guest services to follow-up on this. The guest services agent, whose name I didn’t pick up, told me that the bed will be delivered in a few minutes so I requested in a rather calm manner for an extra towel due to the fact that they only had 2 bath towels available which meant one of us won’t have a towel. She replied with “The room is registered for 2 only” which I was shocked about, so I asked “How come? I checked in 5 people and for this room there will be 3 people.” For our room it was obvious that there were three occupants since we even paid for an extra bed. I mean the extra bed is not for our luggage to sleep on! Common sense, 3 beds = 3 people! Then she reiterated “The room is registered for 2 people”; at this point I was already quite annoyed. I was annoyed because of the first instance where my sister & I were stereotyped and then this happened. It seemed like this agent was stingy about giving out towels. So I reverted with a sarcastic question “Since the room is registered for two, this means I can’t request for an extra towel?”. Based on my experience from other hotels I have stayed at, I didn’t have to debate this much when I requested for anything. Five star hotels I have stayed at always grant any request I throw at them without any question and they even ask if I would require anything else. This on the other hand was quite the opposite. Anyway, the agent eventually said “Ok, I’ll send up the bed and the towel” so I thought everything was in order.
I stepped out of the room again, came back after an hour to find the bed already provided but the towel was missing. At this point I just lost my energy, I was stressed out from the lack of cooperation and I didn’t even bother on following up on the towel because I lost my will to fight even though I shouldn’t have felt this way in the first place.
I have not included the dinner experience we had at Toro Toro but you can click HERE if you’d like to read it! 😉
That evening after returning for dinner, I called guest services again to inquire about the timing for breakfast since we were not informed about it and the agent (whose name will not be mentioned) answered my call. I am not 100% certain but she seemed to be the same agent that I spoke to regarding the extra towel judging purely from her voice and her attitude. Again, I didn’t let the fiasco that happened earlier affect my manner. I asked politely “Hi, I just wanted to ask a question.”, which she replied with a grumpy toned “mmmm”. Of course that reply got my blood boiling. So I continued with the same manner “I just wanted to ask, what time does breakfast start?”, her blunt reply was “6.30”, then I asked where and again with a blunt reply “Sawa”, so I finished the conversation with “Ok, thank you.” then she just suddenly hung up the phone. I mean how unprofessional can you get? It’s either she doesn’t like doing her job, she has a very unfriendly attitude, she wasn’t properly trained or worse she was being discriminatory since I didn’t have a western or Arabic surname. Either way, it spoiled the name of the hotel for my family & me.
Now let’s jump to the morning of the next day, 15th of September. Still giving the guest services agent the benefit of the doubt that maybe her training was to behave in an unfriendly way during a call, I dialed guest services but this time another person answered. I asked her until what time breakfast is served which she replied with a courteous tone “Breakfast is from 6.30AM to 10.30AM at Sawa in the Lower Ground level” so I just said “Thank you” which I thought would be the sign for her to abruptly put down the phone but to my surprise she didn’t, she even asked me if I had other questions before ending our call.
Moving on, we went for breakfast at Sawa where the treatment was quite the opposite of what we’ve gone through the day before. Staff at Sawa were truly friendly, welcoming and even though they were fully booked plus hectic, the staff always had a smile on their face. They came to our table without being called just to ask if we needed anything, to ask us if we were enjoying our breakfast and to refill our drinks. The breakfast spread was massive with numerous choices for the picking but the service we got overshadowed the food that was on display. We were much more pleased with the staff than anything else and this made us question the type of training that was provided to other departments.
Upon checking out we did receive an apology from the lady who was assisting us. She asked us how our stay went which at first I didn’t want to answer but my mother urged me to tell her about the instances we faced and the lady seemed genuinely remorseful about what happened. She made a note of it on her notebook and assured us that this was not the standard of the hotel plus we shouldn’t have gone through with all that trouble. I made sure I gave her the rude agent’s name not to sabotage her but rather for management to address her training.
Anyway, my sister rates her overall experience at this hotel a 2 out of 5 stars but since I was satisfied with the service at Sawa, I would rate my experience a (3 / 5). I guess that’s not a surprise to some of you. Would I recommend it? If you’re after a beautiful room only, sure, go ahead but do proceed with caution.
Location: Costa Malaz Bay, The Pearl Qatar, Doha – Qatar
Tel. no.: +974 4035 5555