jeudi 24 août 2017


And that mood followed me to Casablanca.

I love flying Qatar Airways; it means frequent transits through Doha. Before, I was not much interested in breaking my journey, despite very long flights such as my flight with QR: Houston to Doha to Jakarta, with a short break at the Doha airport. Also I was unduly influenced by the media depiction of Qatar in the Western Press and the heavily anti-Israeli tone of the Al Jazeera TV headquartered in Doha. I had caught flights on QR from Cochin, Colombo, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta; and then change planes at Doha and flown on to New York or Boston or Miami. It never occurred to me to have a stopover in Doha and visit the City.
Qatar Airways is the carrier of the brand Qatar, as my satisfaction grew with QR, I wanted to venture out and see Doha. QR and Qatar are synonymous as there are no other airlines based in Doha, unlike United Arab Emirates, home of Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia, FlyDubai etc.
Qatar Airways and Tourism Qatar offer a promotion during the summer months (unbearably hot days) when passengers are encouraged to stop over for a day or two with no additional charges to the fare. I began to take advantage of this offer. I had a slew of 5 star hotels on the offer and on my last stopover, I chose Marriott Marquis City Centre Doha Hotel, right in the centre of the Commercial Business District of Doha.
Marriott is an American Brand but the comparison stops right there, there is nothing American about this hotel, everything reeks of Qatari Hospitality.
I had stayed there once before, and I was amazed that many of the staff, including the Manager of the Front Desk, Marcel, remembered me and offered a warm welcome. He instructed that I be given a nice room, as I remembered the high floor corner room of my previous stay. Similar room was offered and thus began a two day in which I barely ventured out of the hotel, made lots of new friends and enjoyed the offering, a diverse breakfast, chance of dipping in the pool, a spa. But what made my stay this comfortable was the Executive Lounge situated in the 8th Floor, which is open 24 hours a day but during certain hours of the day, there were food and wine offering.
After breakfast, I would retire to the room to do some writing and then drop by the Executive Lounge for a cup of tea. On the very first time I did that, the Executive Lounge usually is not occupied at that hour, I had the pleasure of a conversation with SK, a Zimbabwean from Cape Town, South Africa.  We talked and reminisced about Zimbabwe and South Africa and the beautiful city of Cape Town (along with Sydney, Rio, San Francisco, Vancouver), considered to be one of the more beautiful cities in the world.
I walked around the hotel, was greeted by the Guest Relations Officer, a petite lady from Nepal, who introduced me to a Hospitality Intern from Penang in Malaysia. Being a traveller, there is always room for some conversation or other; times were spent with pleasant conversations.
On my return to the Executive Lounge, that bundle of energy, Manisha, who is a perfect hostess, joyously greeted me. When they have so many guests, I am surprised that they remember someone who passed through the hotel for one night some months ago. Samjhana from Nepal reminisced about our last conversation when we talked about her place of origin, Lumbini, the place of birth of Buddha! They were both attentive whenever they were on duty.
Between the three of them, SK making Earl Grey tea and Manisha feeding at the Happy Hour time and filling up my glass with South African Sauvignon Blanc and Samjhana stopping by often to enquire whether I needed something more, I felt very content and had no complaints about time passing slowly. There were other people in the Lounge, Ragesh, Robinson and two very attentive young men and a lady who seemed to be in charge behind the scenes.
Hospitality industry now ranks among the first in the service industries and the character it takes to be successful in it, include pleasant mannerisms, a genuine interest in engaging the visitor and a desire and ability to establish a relationship.
I particularly liked to offer a welcome to the two students, one from Malaysia that I mentioned above as well as one from Aalborg, Denmark.
Two days went past quickly; I felt I was on vacation even though that was not the purpose when I landed at Marriott Marquis Hotel in Doha.
It was one of my most enjoyable hotel stays and I wish to thank SK, Manisha, Samjhana and others I have mentioned.
Few hours before I left the room, to go to the airport to catch a flight to Casablanca, there was a handwritten note left at the desk in the room, with a box of chocolates. I truly appreciated the gesture.
 A wide variety of food was offered at the Executive Lounge during the Happy Hour from 5 30 to 7 30 pm.
 The indefatigable Manisha of the Executive Lounge

 Samjhana from Lumbini, Nepal 
A new friend  from South Africa .
 A hand written note of thanks, which was much appreciated.
a very content traveller, well relaxed at Marriott Marquis City Centre at Doha, Qatar.