Community members in Qatar have been in mourning this month following the sudden death of Martin Foltin, a German expat who lived in the country for 25 years.
Foltin used to work at the W Doha Hotel and grew up in Qatar. He was buried this week after passing away on July 31 at the age of 35 years old in a motorcycle accident in his hometown of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany.
Foltin’s family is well-known in Qatar because his father Gerhard became the Sheraton Doha hotel’s first-ever general manager in 1977. He remained in that post for 33 years.
“Doha was a city which Martin and his entire family call home,” Foltin’s wife Ana Figueiredo Foltin told Doha News.
A Doha childhood
Martin Foltin arrived in Doha as a four-week-old baby in 1980.
According to his wife Ana, Foltin grew up with the Sheraton Doha as “his playground,” favoring the housekeeping department, home of the guest’s complimentary goodnight chocolates.
Foltin attended Doha College and graduated in 2000, before studying for a degree in Hotel & Catering Management at Guildford University in the UK.
He met his wife Ana at university, and both moved back to Doha after his graduation. Foltin then joined the opening team of the Four Seasons Doha Hotel in 2005.
According to his brother Chris, Foltin had always wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps in the hotel industry:
“He had so much potential and there is no question that his ultimate goal of becoming GM was around the corner – he always had aspirations at being the best in the business.”
He added jokingly, “In fact, he said to me on many occasions when we were little, that when we grew up, he would be hotel manager of the Doha Sheraton and I would be serving behind the counter at McDonalds.”
Foltin moved to Bahrain last year after working at the W Doha for six years.
During his time there, he managed the Market and Spice Market, before being promoted to assistant director of Food & Beverage at the hotel.
“Many will remember his charismatic smile and good humour as he welcomed and entertained guests who were often his childhood friends and the close-knit Doha community,” his wife Ana said.
A spokeswoman for the hotel told Doha News that his former colleagues were devastated by the news of his death.
“With profound grief we offer our condolences to Martin’s family. He was very dear to all of us. A true hotelier that contributed to make the F&B scene at the hotel & the country what it is right now. A hallowed place within our hearts is where he will always stay.”
Earlier this week, the W tweeted out their condolences to the family:
In loving memory of our friend and colleague Martin Foltin. Forever missed but not forgotten. pic.twitter.com/xpUseUYfxH
— W Doha (@wdoha) August 8, 2016
Friends have also been sharing their memories via Twitter, and established a memorial website in his memory.
Martin Foltin…What a guy…So many laughs we shared…Especially the years 2013-2014 were great we had such a… https://t.co/RWVYDrNEHq
— Nikos Kaloudis (@nkaloudi) August 3, 2016
According to his wife Ana, Foltin had hoped to return to Doha in the near future.
“Qatar was never far from the heart,” she told Doha News.”He had a dream to return one day as the general manager of one of the leading hotels in Doha.”