Mandarin Oriental Doha spa to offer 'truly gender separated areas'
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Mandarin Oriental Doha spa to offer 'truly gender separated areas'

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Mandarin Oriental Doha, Qatar, is set to launch in 2016 with a truly gender segregated spa. Developers say the spa will be unlike those of competing operating brands, which typically only have separate changing and thermal bathing facilities.

Sean O’Connor, group spa manager for design and development at Mandarin Oriental told Spa Opportunities that western competitors in the luxury hospitality market are nearly all remodelling their spas in the Middle East due to pressure from local tourism departments to provide completely gender separated reception and waiting areas, public areas, as well as separate fitness facilities.

“Our competitors have merely dropped in their usual western formula and have not considered the important cultural aspects,” said O’Connor.

Developer and owner Msheireb Properties has worked with Mandarin Oriental to also make the spa accessible for disabled people – something O’Connor claims other operators are remodelling to provide for.

The 160-bedroom property, which will offer 95 serviced apartments, will also have a full salon under Mandarin Oriental’s in-house operation, in addition to a Mandarin Oriental Barber Shop that is connected to the spa’s male changing room. The barber shop has treatment rooms for facials, waxing, manicures and pedicures.

The segregated changing rooms each feature a lap swimming pool, while thermal bathing facilities are being designed and supplied by specialists Barr+Wray.

In addition to treatment rooms for men in the barber shop and therapy rooms for women in the ladies spa, there will be two VIP suites with dedicated elevators from the car park below so that guests can come and go in complete privacy. O’Connor said: “These are like a spa within a spa – and we have two of them!”

Group director of spa at Mandarin Oriental, Jeremy McCarthy, added: “The VIP suites in the spa are unique in that one can be connected to one of the locker rooms, giving us the option to include the entire wet areas of one side of the spa as part of the suite, should it be needed for a deluxe private spa experience.”

O’Connor noted that the location of the property – adjacent to the Souk Waqif and the city’s business centre in West Bay – means that the target clientele are not similar to those of competing facilities, most of which have beach locations.

“We do not have a beach location so we will likely not attract the family market as our competitors do,” said O’Connor. “Instead we have focused on the executive market. We are going for the high end business and leisure traveller who is seeking serenity and the charm of peace and quiet.”

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Mandarin Oriental Doha, Qatar, is set to launch in 2016 with a truly gender segregated spa. Developers say the spa will be unlike those of competing operating brands, which typically only have separate changing and thermal bathing facilities.
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