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Breaking Travel News interview: George Westwell, director, Cheval Residences
George Westwell, director of Cheval Residences, right, joins Mohammed Almarzooqi, group managing director for Cheval Property Management, left, and QIMC chief executive Abdul Rahman Al-Ansari, to celebrate the new property

Breaking Travel News interview: George Westwell, director, Cheval Residences

Luxury serviced apartment specialist Cheval Residences will be opening its first apart-hotel in Doha, Qatar, in 2020, following an agreement with Qatar Industrial Manufacturing Company.

Here Breaking Travel News talks with George Westwell, director of Cheval Residences, to find out more about the property and what it will bring to the competitive hospitality market in the city when it opens in 2020.

Breaking Travel News: Congratulations on the new property signing in Doha, Qatar. What do you hope Cheval West Bay ApartHotel will bring to the hospitality sector in the city?

George Westwell: We are really delighted to have been successful in our bid for what will become Cheval West Bay.

Situated at the heart of the Corniche waterfront in Doha, we believe this imposing development will bring visitors a new opportunity to experience luxury leisure travel in a city whose focus, we understand has quite heavily sat within the corporate sector.

The property itself will offer 350 apartments, from an open plan studio to a three-bedroom apartment, benefiting from incredible views of the bay and city area, featuring floor to ceiling windows, refreshing rainforest showers and ultra-modern kitchens.

In keeping with customer expectations, Cheval West Bay will provide guests with exclusive use of a gym, spa, outdoor swimming pool as well as a selection of restaurant and fine dining options.

Doha as a destination boasts many hotel and apartment brands that have a more visible global presence than that of Cheval.

But that in itself has been a clear benefit to the success of our bid.

We will look to bring the essence of a multi-award winning London based serviced apartment brand whose portfolio is as diverse in its product as it is streamlined in its standards of service, to a region from where a great many existing customers are from.

BTN: How did Cheval settle on Doha for its first overseas excursion? The city is perhaps less well established than rivals Dubai or Istanbul, for example?

GW: The fact that Doha has not been considered as well established for leisure travellers as Dubai or Istanbul will allow Cheval to set a high standard of both product and service for those who will inevitably follow during this time of growth within the tourism sector and with the 2022 World Cup just five years away, Cheval West Bay will be open and welcoming guests from both the middle east and long haul destinations.

In the wider picture, the City of Doha is undergoing a major transformation as part of the preparations for the football world cup and it is exciting for Cheval to be involved in this process to bring Doha and Qatar to a worldwide audience.

BTN: Will it be a predominantly business market you are focused on? Which source markets do you anticipate will be key to the success of the property?

GW: With leisure and business tourism being a key component of Qatar’s National Vision 2030, we anticipate welcoming guests from both of these important sectors which together will create a balanced client base throughout the annual cycle. 

With nearly half of inbound visitors to Doha in 2016 being from the GCC region it is imperative that we offer both quality of accommodation, service and facilities that best represent the needs and expectations of the customer.

We believe that the successful source markets with be geographical in nature and with this first apart-hotel being a comprehensive mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments we will be well placed to meet the needs of both the regional and international traveller whether visiting for business or leisure purposes. 

Cheval as a brand offers a strong infrastructure that create not just brand awareness but will drive business opportunities for Cheval West Bay with the support of international sales teams and our central support network; a combination which we believe provides us with the knowledge and expertise to deliver a product that will sit well within the bigger vision for Doha over the next decade.

Cheval West Bay ApartHotel is scheduled to open in 2020

BTN: You have partnered with Qatar Industrial Manufacturing Company for the property. What can you tell us about that relationship? How did it come about?

GW: When the decision was taken to investigate management opportunities within the Middle East region, we undertook a partnership with Serviced Apartment News and their summit programme to provide Cheval with the opportunity to discuss our ideas and to network with key potential partners during their Dubai summit way back in 2015.

As a result of this activity we were afforded the opportunity to make an application and ultimately present our brand to QIMC. 

The rest they say is history…

Cheval as a brand and as a group of dedicated hospitality and property professionals were deeply honoured to have been selected for QIMC’s prestigious development. 

We believe our partnership will be strong and long lasting bringing a fresh approach to both product and service that will surpass expectations within the ‘Doha’ of the future.

BTN: How well established is the serviced apartments sector in Doha and the Middle East more generally? Will this be a stepping stone to your further expansion in the region?

GW: The demand for serviced apartments continues to grow across the Middle East. 

In Doha in particular the apartment sector showed the highest levels of occupancy within the hospitality sector in 2016 and with the average length of stay of between seven-11 days across all standards of apartments, we believe Cheval WestBay will represent both a solid investment and business model which will quickly lead the way to further opportunities for expanding the Cheval ApartHotel brand not just within the Middle East but also within other key territories such as North America, India and Europe.

The process of identifying potential partners and opportunities continues to move forward and we are confident that we will be able to share with you further news of expansion in the not too distant future. 

Cheval Residences

Cheval Residences offers a collection of the most desirable serviced apartments and residences, located in some of its most sought-after neighbourhoods of London.

Each residence has its own individual style, yet all share the same ethos and levels of service rarely enjoyed outside the world’s finest hotels.

Find out more on the official website.