During my around the world trip with dad, we had three nights in Doha, and decided to stay at three different hotels. After spending the first night at the Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha, we spent our next night at Katara Hills Doha, a Hilton LXR property (this is Hilton’s independent luxury hotel brand).
I was really curious about this hotel, as it was quite literally the single points property in the world I was most curious to stay at. The 15-villa property opened in 2022, and is located on an artificial hill, with nightly rates often being around $2,000 per night.
So, what did I think of Katara Hills Doha? While the property has beautiful villas and staying here is an amazing use of points or a free night certificate, it’s not a property I’d return to. To me it felt more like renting a villa than staying at a hotel, given the lack of amenities.
In fairness, I’m probably not the target audience for this property. I imagine families from the region might appreciate the space and privacy that villas here offer, even if there’s a lack of public facilities. Let’s get into the review…
Booking Katara Hills Doha LXR
Rates at Katara Hills Doha are around $2,000 per night, including for the night that we stayed. If you are going to book a cash stay here (which I wouldn’t really recommend, but…), I’d do so through the Hilton Impresario program, which offers extra perks.
- The hotel generally charges 110,000 Hilton Honors points for a free night award; you can often buy Honors points for 0.5 cents each, which would be the equivalent of spending $550 per night here
- I redeemed a free night award that I earned with the the Hilton Aspire Card for the stay; the card has a $450 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and offers so many amazing perks, so I got quite a deal on this stay
The information and associated card details on this page for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by OMAAT and has not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Katara Hills Doha LXR location
Katara Hills LXR is located in the Katara Cultural Village. The hotel is about 25-30 minutes from Doha Hamad International Airport (DOH). It’s within a 10-15 minute drive of most of the places you’d want to visit in Doha, ranging from Souq Waqif, to Lusail (including Al Maha Island), to the Museum of Islamic Art.
In the more immediate area, we visited some of the newer developments, like 21 High Street, featuring lots of shopping and outdoor air conditioning. Doha has developed very nicely since the last time I visited (due to all the World Cup construction), and now has a lot more to offer. Unfortunately I found almost everything to be totally deserted. I guess Qatar is taking the “build it and they will come” approach.
Katara Hills Doha LXR lobby & check-in
We arrived at Katara Hills at around 2PM. We were confused as we first pulled up, because an employee directed us to go to the spa rather than reception.
As it turns out, the reception building was fully under construction. Even though the hotel opened about six months ago, I guess it’s still not fully operational?
The spa area had been turned into a makeshift lobby, except it was quite small. There was the reception desk, and then there were two chairs across from it.
The people checking us in were friendly, and offered us Arabic coffee and dates, along with a welcome mocktail, as they processed our check-in. It wasn’t terribly seamless, though, as they had to go to different buildings to get each of these things.
Eventually they informed us that our room would be ready in about 45 minutes. The issue is that the hotel has no public facilities, and it was over 100 degrees outside, so at first we decided we’d just sit in that reception area. But then a spa guest showed up and we felt a bit bad using the seats, so we decided to go to a nearby mall to hang out for a bit.
I mean, you’d think a $2,000 per night hotel would have literally anywhere for guests to sit, but not here.
We returned at around 3PM, and were then brought to our room. The hotel has golf carts that they’ll drive you around on.
All the villas are along one winding road — I quite like the farmhouse-style exteriors of the villas.
I also noticed that there was still quite a bit of construction going on, and many of the villas seemed to not be complete yet. So we never saw any other hotel guests when going to or from our rooms, but we did see dozens of construction workers.
Katara Hills Doha LXR villa
We stayed in villa number eight, a king one bedroom villa with private pool. This is the base room (no Hilton Honors Diamond upgrades), and was roughly halfway up the hill.
Outside the villa were two bikes, which could be used during the stay. However, given the temperatures outside, we never ended up using them.
Villas at Katara Hills are a generous 1,765 square feet (164 square meters), and are for the most part very nicely appointed. Even though I saw pictures online, I was pleasantly surprised by how the villas looked in person. On the ground floor, there was a huge living room with a couch and two chairs, along with a large TV in a wall console.
The hotel offers rollaway beds at no extra cost, so we had one of those brought to our room. This is the perfect sleeping arrangement for two people, since each level has a full bathroom.
Katara Hills doesn’t have a gym, so there was some gym equipment along the windows, including a yoga mat, resistance bands, and free weights.
There was then a dining area and kitchen — the dining table had six chairs, and there was a small kitchen with a microwave, a sink, and a refrigerator.
Waiting on the dining table was a lovely welcome amenity, consisting of fresh fruit, bottled water, all kinds of tasty local sweets, and nuts.
The attention to detail could be improved a bit, though, as the welcome card didn’t even spell my name right. I mean, c’mon, can’t you copy and paste correctly?
The in-room minibar was complimentary, though the selection was rather random. There were two tonic waters, two Red Bulls, three Ritter Sport chocolates, and three bags of pistachios.
There was also a coffee and tea setup, with a Nespresso machine, a kettle, and a variety of Dilmah tea options.
The ground floor had a full bathroom, with a sink, a toilet, and a walk-in shower.
Toiletries were in reusable BVLGARI wall-mounted containers.
One major selling point of Katara Hills is that each villa has a private outdoor pool. The pool deck was quite nice, and featured a couple of daybeds, and a decently sized pool.
What was less inspiring was the view. While base rooms here are described as offering “stunning sea views,” I’d say the view could more accurately be described as “dazzling parking lot views.” Our villa overlooked a massive, almost entirely empty parking lot. Not exactly the most inspiring view.
On the plus side, I thought the view was prettier at night.
There was one particularly strange thing about the outdoor area. There was no handle to open the sliding glass door from outside. So to open the door from outside, you basically had to press both hands against the glass, and try to slide it to the side. Is that seriously how it’s intended to work, or have they just not gotten around to installing door handles?
Anyway, the villa continued up on the second floor, which could be accessed by a staircase right by the entrance (and there’s a door as soon as you get to the second floor).
The upper floor had a comfortable king size bed, along with a chair in the corner, plus a TV on a dresser.
Behind the bed was a long table with a vanity, which could also double as a desk, if needed. The bathroom was hidden behind the wall, in the sense that the door just blended into the ribbed wall design.
The bathroom had double sinks, a soaking tub, a walk-in shower, and a toilet.
While I was for the most part impressed by the finishes in the villa, there were some areas that almost felt unfinished, like the below space next to the sink.
All-in-all, the villa exceeded my expectations, and we were very happy campers with the setup.
One other thing to note — Katara Hills doesn’t serve any alcohol on-property, allegedly because Katara is considered a “cultural village.” Qatar has strange laws about alcohol nowadays. It used to be that alcohol could only be served at hotels, while now you have some hotels that don’t serve it, while you have some venues at non-hotels (like Al Maha Island) that do serve it.
What made Katara Hills not serving alcohol even stranger is that there were wine glasses in the villa, and the room service menu even showed alcohol. I’m not sure if it was temporarily allowed during the World Cup, or what…
Katara Hills Doha LXR Gymkhana Restaurant
Gymkhana is Katara Hills’ all-day dining restaurant, and it’s located right next to the spa. The restaurant is an offshoot of Gymkhana London, which is an Indian restaurant that has had a Michelin star for nearly a decade.
The restaurant is cute, with about a dozen indoor tables, plus an outdoor terrace with roughly the same number of tables.
We decided to have dinner at the restaurant, since we’re big fans of Indian food, and we ordered the tasting menu. While pricey at 450 QAR per person (~$123) per person, the quality of food was excellent, and there was way too much food (in retrospect, we could have probably shared one). You can find the menu below.
I’ll let the pictures of the food speak for themselves — the meal was very, very good, but I felt bad wasting so much food.
Katara Hills Doha LXR breakfast
Breakfast at Katara Hills can either be enjoyed in the Gymkhana Restaurant, or via in-villa dining. Since I’m a Hilton Honors Diamond member, breakfast was complimentary for us. Below you can find the breakfast menu.
While the set menu breakfast was generous in terms of quantity, I didn’t love the breakfast experience overall:
- The restaurant was dead quiet (there was no music and no other guests), and it almost seemed like the same guy may have been serving and cooking
- I asked for water with breakfast, and was brought a bill for that, which is ridiculously cheap for any hotel, let alone a luxury one
- We weren’t served any food for about 30 minutes, and then everything came at once, to the point that it could barely fit on the table, and stuff had to be rearranged so there’d be enough room
- The food quality was just okay — this isn’t like one of those luxury hotels where you can tell they just freshly baked croissants, etc.
To drink, we had some orange juice and some coffees — I had a cappuccino, which was just okay.
The breakfast then included a pastry and bread basket, fresh fruit, and yogurt.
Then I had eggs benedict (described as coming with “caviar,” though it must have been invisible), while my dad had the cooked to order eggs.
Katara Hills Doha LXR spa
The only other amenity that Katara Hills has is a spa (which, as mentioned above, is also currently being used as the hotel’s reception). It’s not a particularly large or impressive spa area, but rather is all about privacy.
There are a few individual treatment rooms, one of which had a private steam room, sauna, and jacuzzi.
Spa services were very expensive — we’re talking $300+ for most treatments.
Katara Hills Doha LXR service
The staff at Katara Hills Doha seemed well intentioned. Admittedly we didn’t actually interact with staff that much, given the lack of amenities. We primarily interacted with employees at check-in and check-out, and the restaurant servers were also pretty friendly.
The only other funny service story I can share is that my dad is a big walker (he walks for hours a day), and he wanted to go on a morning walk, before it got too hot. There were only big glass bottles in the room, so he wanted to get a plastic bottle if possible, since that’s easier to walk with.
We went to reception and asked about this. There were no plastic bottles at reception, so the staff member called a colleague, and a few minutes later he showed up with the below… lol.
Why I wouldn’t return to this hotel
Katara Hills has gorgeous villas, and it’s a great use of points or a free night certificate. I’m so happy I checked out the property, because I was curious. However, I don’t have much of a desire to return.
At the end of the day, this property lacks the things I like about a luxury hotel. I like properties with good facilities, ranging from several bars and restaurants, to a gym, to a nice pool area, to other amenities. Here you’re basically renting a villa, with the only amenity being a single restaurant and a very expensive and small spa.
I get who this property is theoretically targeting. There are families who will appreciate having such a large, private space, but it’s also not for me.
Let me say that while I wouldn’t return, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t stay here. If you appreciate having such a big private space and have a free night certificate or points expiring, absolutely check out this hotel, since you’re paying just a fraction of retail cost. Just know what to expect.
Katara Hills is a unique all-villa Hilton LXR property. On the plus side, the villas are pretty — they’re spacious, have private pools, and feel pretty high-end. Furthermore, the hotel’s Indian restaurant is very good.
That being said, otherwise I have a hard time getting excited about this hotel. It lacks amenities, as there’s no gym, no bar or social space, and no big pool. The views also leave a bit to be desired, at least from some villas.
What do you make of Katara Hills Doha? Would you stay here?
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (Rates & Fees).