Katara Hospitality mulling $1.6 billion offshore hotel in Qatar
A New York architect has designed a 1,000-room offshore hotel for one of Qatar’s largest hospitality firms, a US$1.6 billion “icon” for the 2022 World Cup.
Manuel Castedo told Doha News he spent nine months designing the Silver Pearl Hotel, a pair of 30-story semicircle towers connected by an atrium. Unlike artificial islands such as the Pearl-Qatar, the hotel would be supported by piers that allow water to flow beneath it, Castedo said.
The exterior would be constructed of stainless steel and glass, illuminated at night by LED lights that Castedo said would create the illusion of a shimmering pearl.
“The idea is not to duplicate a Hilton that you could find in New York,” he said. “The idea is to create something very separate and unique.”
This is M. Castedo Architects’ first project in Qatar, although the owner said his firm has previously designed buildings in Saudi Arabia.
He added that Doha is “known for pushing the envelope” among architects, and that he hopes that the Silver Pearl Hotel will be one of several “icons” constructed in the country for the upcoming international football tournament.
The designs were prepared for Katara Hospitality, which owns a collection of hotels in Qatar and abroad, including the Sheraton Doha, Sharq Village and the Ritz-Carlton.
Katara would still need to agree to fund the project as well as commit to the construction of the infrastructure, and obtain the necessary approvals before the vision becomes a reality, Castedo said.
Katara would also have to decide on a location. Castedo said he’s presented two possibilities: one just off the coast in Doha Bay, or his preferred option of approximately 1.5km offshore.
Katara Hospitality officials were not available for comment.
Guests would access the hotel via a vehicle causeway, by private yacht or helicopter. All of the rooms face outwards onto the water, with the common areas furnished and decorated “in the spirit of the Arabic tradition,” Castedo said.
“Even though it looks space-aged, the whole project is meant to showcase the culture of Qatar,” he said. “It’s a paradise in the middle of the ocean.”
World Cup demand
The number of hotels planned and under construction in Qatar is growing rapidly as hospitality operators prepare for the spike in demand driven by the World Cup.
Official figures show the volume of visitors to the Gulf country is also quickly increasing. The country attracted a record 1.5 million guests in the first half of the year, a 7-percent jump.
Nevertheless, some predict that there will be an insufficient number of tourists both in the lead up and aftermath of the tournament to support all these new hotels.
Qatar’s hospitality industry is currently dominated by high-end, luxury offerings. The country’s hotel room inventory has grown by an average of 13.4 percent annually and reached approximately 13,600 rooms by the middle of the year, according to professional services Deloitte.