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All photos courtesy of Msheireb Properties

Construction of a new QR500 million luxury spa and hotel based on “Arabic and Islamic wellness principles” has commenced in northern Qatar.

The Zulal Wellness Resort, which was announced yesterday by Msheireb Properties, is being billed as the country’s “largest spa and wellness center.”

Spread across some 28 hectares on the northern tip of Qatar (about 120km from Doha), the resort will cater primarily to tourists.

Msheireb Properties

Zulal Resort

In a statement, Msheireb’s CEO Abdulla Hassan Al Mehshadi said:

“Zulal Wellness Resort will be a calm haven for international visitors where they can enjoy health and wellness experiences which bring a true taste of the region.

While strengthening our development portfolio, our latest project also brings vital investment to the country, enabling Qatar to grow its tourism sector.”

Work on the resort began in November, and the project is expected to be completed by the end of April 2018, the main contractor Al Sraiya Contracting said on its website.

What’s at Zulal

In addition to its beachfront, the resort will include separate housing facilities for tourists traveling with and without their families.

Msheireb Properties

Zulal Resort

Shared facilities will be accessible to people staying in both resorts.

Additionally, health and fitness will be encouraged in a “playful, interactive way” via family activities and classes for adults and kids.

“Utilizing herbs and ingredients which are indigenous to Qatar and the region, Zulal Wellness Resort will be the first wellness destination the region to bring focus to Islamic culture and values, and give international visitors a truly Middle-Eastern experience,” Msheireb said in its statement.

Crowded market

The Zulal development is the latest in a series of resorts being planned around Qatar. Many appear to be trying to woo the same type of clientele – Muslim families.

For example, just last year, the Simaisma Resort, also in northern Qatar, opened its doors to the public.

Simaisma Resort

Al Dana (three-bed) villa at the Simaisma resort

The alcohol-free development describes itself as a family getaway. It is run by the Murwab Hotel Group, the relaunched hotel operating arm of Katara Hospitality.

Meanwhile, another resort that’s coming up soon is the Vichy Célestins Spa Hotel by Retaj.

It will be located next to the Aqua Park on Salwa Road, around 30 minutes’ drive from central Doha, and about the same distance from the Qatar’s border with Saudi Arabia.

Retaj

Vichy Célestins Spa Hotel by Retaj

Also dry, the resort will have a medical spa, an artificial lake and a waterfall. It was slated to open late last year, but has since been delayed.

Nearby, the Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas, which is owned by Al Rayyan Hospitality, is being constructed on 257 acres of land.

Hilton

Salwa beach resort rendering

It is expected to open in 2019. Features include a water park, marina, dive center, cinemas, pools, health club, spa and retail space.

Some 13 restaurants, bars and lounges are also planned.

Thoughts?

Msheireb Properties

Rendering of phase 4 at Msheireb Downtown Doha

Construction of the final stage of Doha’s upcoming downtown area will soon get underway, after the site’s developer announced it has awarded a contract for the project.

Phase four of the Msheireb Downtown Doha development will be overseen by a joint venture between Qatar-based Teyseer Contracting Co. and Consolidated Contractors Co. (CCC), a Greek firm.

In a statement this week week, Msheireb Properties said the last phase will include a public plaza as well as 11 buildings to be used as apartments, offices and shops.

Five-star hotels and a medical office building are also planned across a total floor area of 132,000 square meters.

Additionally, there will be six underground parking areas and a link to the Msheireb station. The largest of the network’s stations, it will serve as a hub that connects the red, gold and green lines.

Msheireb Properties, which is a subsidiary of Qatar Foundation (QF), declined to give a timeline for expected completion of the final phase of the project.

Qatar Rail

Al Mayeda TBM breakthrough at Msheireb station in 2015.

However, on its website, CCC states that it should be finished by July 2020.

The value of the contract has not been publicly disclosed.

Major projects

CCC is already involved in several high-profile public projects in Qatar.

For example, it along with local construction company Midmac is finishing up the Sidra Medical and Research Center.

Sidra

Sidra Hospital

It took over the project just days after QF sacked Spanish firm OHL and Contrack International in mid-2014.

And less than a year later, CCC also replaced a consortium led by OHL for construction of the main Metro stations at Msheireb and Education City.

Qatar Rail terminated the consortium’s contract last May in a letter to the London Stock Exchange.

Redevelopment

The QR20 billion (US$5.5 billion) Msheireb Downtown project has been under construction for more than seven years and is being built in stages.

However, it has already missed some deadlines.

The plan is to redevelop the old commercial area into a modern district that brings together retail, residential and commercial buildings, as well as hotels and cultural and educational entities.

Lesley Walker / Doha News

Lobby at Company House, Msheireb Museums

The heritage quarter, which includes the Msheireb Museums and Eid Prayer Ground, is already complete and open to the public.

A new national archives is also on the corner of the site, near the falcon souq at Souq Waqif.

Meanwhile, a school, Qatar Academy Msheireb, opened its doors on the downtown site in 2015.

And last September, the Qatar Financial Center (QFC) announced it would be relocating to Msheireb as part of an effort to woo more businesses to the area.

Msheireb Properties

Rendering of phase 4 at Msheireb Downtown Doha

The district will also have a multiplex movie theater, with Novo Cinemas saying it will open a branch in the under-construction Galleria Mall later this year.

The entire Downtown Doha project will include shops and a cultural forum that features two art house cinemas and a performing arts theater.

In addition to the 100 commercial and government buildings, Msheireb will have 900 houses and apartments, eventually accommodating a residential population of 2,600 people.

Thoughts?

QFC/Twitter

Rendering of redeveloped Musheireb district

Qatar residents living near the Msheireb Downtown Doha development will see a new multi-screen cinema open in the neighborhood this year, Novo Cinemas has announced.

The cinema will include regular and “7-Star” screens that have VIP services and reclining seats. It will be located inside Msheireb’s The Galleria shopping center.

That mall is still under construction, but when completed will have 100 stores. It will include an Al Meera supermarket and a children’s entertainment zone, Msheireb said earlier this month.

Msheireb/Facebook

Msheireb Galleria mall

Novo already operates at the Pearl-Qatar, 01 Mall in Abu Hamour and recently opened a 19-screen complex at the new Mall of Qatar.

In a statement, Novo CEO Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen said:

“We look forward to developing a cultural and innovative cinema space for this revolutionary neighborhood with the help of Msheireb Properties.”

Msheireb’s progress

The QR20 billion Msheireb project is still under construction and has seen some delays.

When finished, it aims to combines commercial, residential, retail and cultural entities in one development.

Msheireb Properties

Rendering of redeveloped Msheireb Doha Downtown

Last fall, Msheireb Properties CEO Abdullah Hassan al-Mehshadi said work on the first three phases of the project is “80 percent complete.”

He added that the company is working with Qatar Rail on the fourth and final phase.

So far, the development houses a museum that opened last year and one school – Qatar Academy Msheireb.

A mosque is also occasionally open to the public during Eid prayers.

Thoughts?

Note: This article has been updated to reflect that the number of screens has not yet been determined.