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Review: Katara Hills Doha, Hilton LXR Hotels & Resorts (2023) [Qatar]
My Europe trip with parents brought me to Doha simply because I wanted them to try out the QSuites on the way home. In the meantime, there new very expensive Hilton properties that recently opened, and the Katara Hills in particular intrigued me due to its over the top cash rates. It’s a part of the LXR, Hilton’s top luxury brand. So, I thought ending a trip in the most over-the-top way might be exciting.
Katara Hills Doha, Hilton LXR- Booking
The cash rate for this hotel is ridiculous, starting from $1600 and can go upwards to $3000 a night! Fortunately, it’s part of the Hilton Honors program, where I was able to redeem a Free Night Reward from my Amex Hilton Honors Aspire Card for 1 night.
I had my eyes on this property since the early days when it’s listed on Hilton’s site where it used to charge 95k points, and redeemed that to book one more night. It’s now 120k points per night for the base Sea View Room, so I’m happy to get some sort of an early bird discount!
Also, we were upgraded to the 1 Bedroom Villa Katara View just around a week before our stay!
Katara Hills Doha, Hilton LXR- Location
The hotel is located on the south end of Katara Green Hills. As the name suggests, it’s a long stretch of green hills, but nearby is the Katara Cultural Village where you can see some interesting art pieces and architectures.
Getting around Doha is easy and inexpensive with Uber, and is possibly the best way also considering the city’s car-centric infrastructure.
Katara Hills Doha, Hilton LXR- Check-in
Before our flight the day before, a representative from the hotel by the name of Marie sent me a message through Whatsapp to welcome us to the property and asked if there are special requests to make our stay better. I only asked for a rollaway bed, and I was glad to find that it was free! Honestly, I was a bit scared that they’d charge an exuberant price considering the cash price of this property.
The next day, we arrived to the hotel at around 5pm from Paris. An Uber ride from the Hamad International Airport costed around less than $10 and took ~20 minutes. The property has a security guard outside to only let guests or drop-offs in.
Once we arrived, we happened to check-in with Marie, the staff who has been messaging me.
The process was smooth, and she explained the elite benefits. As Hilton Diamond we’d get:
- Free breakfast for 3
- Spa credit of 200 QAR (~$55) per person
- Welcome amenities in the room
I’d say that the extended breakfast benefit to 3 guests is awesome since none of us would be left out!
Marie then escorted us to our Villa, numbered 3. Another staff then carried our luggages and we hopped on to a buggy. Ah, reminded me of The Bodrum EDITION!
Katara Hills Doha, Hilton LXR- Villa Layout
The property has a spiral layout, and Google Maps have a pretty nice top-down imagery of it. Our Villa #3 is on the deeper end of the spiraling layout of the property consisting of 15 individual villas that ensure maximum privacy. Villa #1 would be the biggest one right down in the middle, and the order descends down the road from the cul-de-sac.
Despite the hotel being opened since last December, there were still constructions going on, and I even see some villas have their windows covered in tarps.
The laminated wood structures really go well with the greeneries surrounding the property. From a design standpoint, it’s similar to EDITION Hotels.
The geometric structure is quite adorable!
Parking space is provided, free of charge! I believe I saw a family hosting a birthday party in a few villas down, and had quite a few of cars parked.
Katara Hills Doha, Hilton LXR- 1 Bedroom Villa, Katara View
The interior of the villa is downright gorgeous! The measurements are 164 m^2 or 1765 sqft, which is the largest hotel room I’ve been in and beats out the Carlton Suite I received at The Ritz-Carlton, Astana in Kazakhstan, by a small margin.
Marie gave us a quick tour of the villa to show the features. To start, the villa has a wide living room with plenty of plush seatings and a floor to ceiling window for clear view of outside and the pool.
Master controls are located just next to the villa’s entrance. It controls lights, AC, and curtains on the living room space.
As requested, my rollaway bed has been setup. Again, the hotel does not charge for rollaway beds, and they’re not shabby either! They’re basically the twin version of the king bed, and it felt real top-notch.
Next to my bed is the living room TV, and underneath is a Bluetooth player that you can easily connect with your device.
There are two sun hats that you can borrow. Either for relaxing by the pool, or walking in hot sunny Qatar. They were greatly appreciated, especially after getting used to the cold in Europe!
The hotel does not have a fitness center, but workout equipment are provided.
Alternatively, you can borrow these electric bikes that can be great for cruising around the green hilly parks nearby. No helmets provided, however.
There’s tons of welcome gifts when we arrive. First, a thermos filled with herbal tea and dates are provided.
On the dining table, there’s Voss water, a bowl of fruit, including dragonfruit, and assorted chocolates, baklavas, and nuts.
On top of that, everything in the minibar is complimentary!
Even these dried fruit snacks on top of the kitchen, as well.
The kitchen amenities aren’t shabby either. All it’s missing is a stove.
Moving on to upstairs lead to the master bedroom.
Just behind the door is the vanity mirror with the bed on the other side.
There’s a mini fridge in one of the vanity’s cabinets.
A safe is inside the shoe closet in the corner opposite of the vanity.
Bedroom was nice and spacious, although my mom noted that she can’t turn off the lights on top of the spotlight above the bed.
There are 2 bathrooms: guest bathroom on the first floor and the second just behind the bedroom. They were sadly the biggest disappointments of the villa, and I’ll explain why after showing the amenities, but you may get some ideas after looking at the pictures.
The bathroom has a minimalist design.
Dental and shaving kits are provided. The toothbrush with wooden handle wasn’t too shabby!
The tub is huge and bath salts are also provided by the soap on the sink.
Shower pressure was good, but there were times where getting hot water took quite a while.
Bath toiletries were by BVLGARI. I never knew that they made toiletries too until I stayed here. They had very pleasant tea smell.
So what’s bad about them? The walls and floor felt unfinished. Walls were rough and unfurnished, and splotches of dried paint can be seen on the floors. It’s worse on the guest bathroom below.
The shower wasn’t sealed properly either.
On the last day, just a few hours before checking out, I had the bidet leaked whenever I flushed the guest bathroom’s toilet without ever using it.
While it didn’t really negatively impact my stay, I still felt quite disappointed considering the rampantly high prices they charge per night.
To leave things on a more positive note, the villa’s most prolific feature are the private pool and the deck. It’s a great place to just relax and possibly get some work done, or not.
The Katara View upgrade makes the view from the pool more appealing as the base Sea View villas are facing an ugly and mostly empty giant parking lot before they see the sea water down the horizon. A single glass panel on the left has not yet been installed in my villa, which further proves that this villa is still a work in progress.
The pool’s temperature defaults at 34C, which is quite warm. If you wish to change the temperature, you can call the front desk through the villa’s phone or Whatsapp. A technician will then come to the villa to change it for you. Even though the service is quite prompt, I wish they make it so that guests can change the temperature themselves, just to make it more convenient for the guests.
Still, I took full advantage of the pool each morning from this villa. There’s just an awesome feeling of jumping straight into the pool right after waking up!
Katara Hills Doha, Hilton LXR- Breakfast
Breakfast is located in Gymkhana next to the Spa building. Gymkhana is a Michelin-starred Indian restaurant based in London, and the location in Katara Hills is their newest addition.
There’s a rather ominous, but pretty cool statue next to the restaurant named Qatar Welcomes the World by Bachir Mohamad. After knowing the statue’s name did I figure out that the back of the statue is the country of Qatar.
The interior was nice, but quite empty during our breakfast time. We typically see few other guests in the restaurant.
For the first day, we chose to eat on the outside part of the restaurant. Even though there were enough shades, I myself wasn’t used to the heat (my first time in a Middle Eastern country, by the way). If you wish, you can also have your breakfast be in your villa instead. Free breakfast will still apply for elite members!
Breakfast here is a la carte. For Hilton Gold or Diamond, they can choose one of the following breakfast set menu below (per person).
For the first day, I chose the Katara Breakfast. It comes with pastries, fruit plate, eggs benedict, and choice of drinks.
Eggs Benedict tasted great with these fried potato pancakes! But, shame that there was no caviar like the menu said.
The next day, I ate solo as my parents’ flight back home was a day earlier than mine. I ordered the Gymkhana Indian Breakfast. It consists of masala omelette, soft bread, uttapam, and mango lassi.
I particularly enjoyed the uttapam, which is like a savory Indian crepe. The chutneys that come with it were splendid. The nice server Anushka, let me have another serving and have it charged under my non-present parents’ portion of their breakfast benefit.
Breakfast tasted good, but I felt they didn’t offer enough for the price they charge. For the Katara Breakfast, the most expensive menu, have the eggs benedict be the standout part of the menu. The rest were just pastries and fruits with some drinks.I enjoyed the Indian breakfast more, but there wasn’t enough portion I feel. At least compared to other hotel breakfasts, I didn’t feel quite stuffed here.
Also, the atmosphere while eating felt isolating and awkward at times. It’s not really the fault of the staff, but considering that there weren’t a lot of guests, I ended up being the only guest eating in my final breakfast. So I can’t help but feel like I’m being watched constantly while trying to enjoy my meal as the staff try to be attentive towards me. This is coming from someone who’s no stranger when it comes to dining alone and traveling solo! Eating felt tense instead of relaxing.
I did not try what Gymkhana had to offer for lunch or dinner, but the villa has a comprehensive in-room dining menu that’s pretty much the same, at least for breakfast.
Katara Hills Doha, Hilton LXR- Spa
The only other facility of the Katara Hills is The Spa. It offers treatments, steam room, and Jacuzzi.
As part of Hilton Diamond benefit, we were given 3 pieces of paper, each with 200 QAR (~$55) credit towards spa treatment. While it’s a nice gesture, we decided to skip on it after we found out that one of their cheapest treatments start at around $350. That’s about 4x as much as what I paid on the Rudas Baths in Budapest, and that comes with an unlimited time at the bathhouse plus a 60 minute massage!
Also, despite the Katara Hills being a part of the LXR brand, it does not fall under Hilton Resorts, which excludes the possibility of using the Hilton Aspire’s resort credit towards the spa treatment.
Nonetheless, I was able to get a peek inside the facility. It looks nice, but this is pretty much the extent of the facility. If you’re interested in getting a treatment, they recommend that you book an appointment.
My stay at the Katara Hills Doha, LXR is pretty good. The villa interiors are very gorgeous, and is a pretty good choice for families with free rollaway beds and huge amount of space. Chilling in the private pool is very awesome indeed, and the vibe is quite serene. Service was very prompt and friendly as well.
But, the property still needs work as there are still construction going on, and the villa I stayed on had unfinished bathroom that didn’t paint the same picture as the rest of the villa’s features.
Even with the hard product all furnished and functional, the exclusive nature of the property can bring isolating and odd vibes at times. Odd meaning that I can’t really figure out what this property is trying to be or accomplish. While the villas themselves are very nice, the lack of facilities don’t really give a hotel or resort feel and ends up leaning towards an ultra-luxury vacation rental feel instead.
Despite my complaints, me and my parents still enjoyed our stay here. But, I think once is enough to satisfy my curiosity about this property. I would still recommend trying it if you have the points or Hilton free night award to spare, but if I’d make a return stay, I’d only do it if I have a free night award that’s about to expire, and if I happen to pass through Doha.