With very little fanfare, presumably because this is not necessarily the best time to be spending the marketing budget, Hilton has opened a new resort in Qatar, around 85km from Doha.
It looks very interesting – it has its own water park and 3.5km of private beach.
In general, Middle East resorts outside Dubai, and to a lesser extent Abu Dhabi, are substantially cheaper than Dubai itself.
The added benefit here is that Doha is exceptionally well served with direct flights from the UK on Qatar Airways, including departures from Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh. Cardiff may return too. There is also a direct British Airways service.
Even better, you can book Qatar Airways flights with Avios – and you will get to experience what is generally regarded as the best Business Class seat in the world, Qsuite. Here is our latest Qsuite review.
Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas, Doha
Take a look at the resort website here.
Unfortunately the new-look Hilton website is big on pictures and low on words and you won’t be any wiser about what is going on.
It is a HUGE development and it isn’t quite clear how much of it is hotel and how much is residences or commercial.
Here is a map, click to enlarge:
What you’ve got is a marina with the 362-room Hilton hotel directly behind it. Stretching away to both sides along the beach are 84 villas, which appear to have direct beach access. There are a further 31 villas in the ‘Arabian Village’.
Behind the hotel is the Desert Falls Water and Adventure Park, which is the largest theme park in Qatar. The park promises “28 thrilling adventures with 56 rides/slides”. Entrance is free to hotel guests.
There is also a conference centre behind the hotel, which is presumably how it intends to fill the rooms outside peak season.
In terms of pricing, I looked at October half-term (16th-23rd October or 23rd-30th October). This is usually the most expensive week of the year for Middle East resorts, apart from Christmas and New Year.
Rooms, which sleep four on two queen beds, start at QAR 6,277 for seven nights (£1,262 or £180 per night). A 2-bed villa is, admittedly, less of a steal at £3,611 for a week, but we paid more than that in Crete last October – and it wasn’t exactly warm. You need to double that for a beach villa with a private pool like the one above.
I wouldn’t take this pricing too seriously, however. I expect it will fluctuate as it tries to find a market.
In terms of Hilton Honors redemptions, it is coming up at 47,000 points per night over half term. At £180 for cash, you are getting close to the ‘standard’ return of 0.38p per point.
I’d like to tell you more about Hilton Salwa Beach but I can’t. The Hilton website has very little to say and I’ve seen virtually no PR. I have no idea how quick the 85km drive is from Doha (taxis are very cheap though) and no idea what else may be available in the vicinity. I don’t know how much is actually open so far – it seems to be opening in stages, with the first villas being bookable last Winter.
It is owned and presumably funded by the state-owned Katara Hospitality group which also owns The Savoy and Grosvenor House hotels in London.
You can find out a little more on the Hilton website here.
How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (October 2021)
There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
The Platinum Card comes with a limited time bonus of 60,000 Amex points (converts to 120,000 Hilton Honors points) until 2nd November 2021.
Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.
You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 9th November 2021), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)