Residents of The Pearl-Qatar have voiced disappointment at the delayed launch of the Marsa Malaz Kempinski hotel, which failed to open as planned yesterday, Dec. 1.
Until late last week, the five-star Alfardan-owned property, which will be the first hotel on the man-made island, was still scheduled to open on time.
Yesterday, its website was still carrying a banner counting down the hours and minutes until the expected soft opening of 3pm. The timer has since been removed.
A spokesman for the hotel confirmed yesterday that the launch has been postponed. When contacted by Doha News, he declined to give a reason for the delay, or a new date for when the hotel was expecting to welcome its first customers.
It is not clear what will happen to those who had already made bookings at the venue.
Within the last week, a giant bronze statue of a horse was erected just outside the hotel’s main entrance. Meanwhile, Marsa Malaz has been drumming up interest in the hotel on Twitter by featuring “sneak peek” photos of its interior:
— Marsa Malaz Kempinski Doha (@MarsaMalaz) December 1, 2014
Many Pearl residents have been anticipating the arrival of the hotel, which will signal a return of alcohol sales to the island in some capacity, three years after a ban was first imposed.
While some residents said they were upset about the delays, others voiced skepticism that the Dec. 1 deadline would ever have been met.
One Pearl resident, Andrea Richmond, said:
“Pity it didn’t open, but hardly a surprise. We would appreciate one real date … that means more the ten false ones.”
Others were concerned about the impending opening, wondering whether the island, which already gets congested during the evenings and on weekends, would be able to cope with the influx of extra visitors expected.
Expat Barbara Zook said:
“I have just moved from the Pearl. One of the reasons was the one way in, one way out of the Pearl issue. With the addition of the Kempinski opening the increase of traffic both morning and night was a huge concern.”
Residents have already aired safety fears about regular traffic gridlock causing problems for emergency vehicles trying to get on and off the island at its sole access point.
However, lead developer United Development Co. (UDC) told Doha News last month that it did not plan to build any additional access/exit points for the Pearl.
When it does finally open, the Kempinski hotel is planning a soft launch, with only a few of its eventual 11 bars, cafes and restaurants expected to be functioning, including Arabic family restaurant Sawa, European-style Cafe Murano and Bohemia bar.
The remainder – including a roof-top nightclub; Levant-inspired restaurant; Spanish tapas restaurant; Toro Toro, which will provide Latin American fare; an Italian restaurant; and a branch of Japanese eatery Nozomi, are planned to open in early 2015.
It will also have leisure facilities such as a 150m private beach with a cafe and pool bar, outdoor swimming pools, water sports facilities, a tennis court, yacht jetties and a Clarins spa.