“I moved here from the U.K with my family in 2013, just before the summer kicked in. The thing that’s incredibly good about Doha is how welcoming everyone around us was when we got here, and how it continues to be like that now. The beauty of Qatar is that it’s a small place where you’ve got so many connections; most people from here are from a home country that’s far away and everyone’s so welcoming to new people because they know what it was like for them to make the transition. It was hence extremely easy for us to make friends here.
I’m very lucky I get to live with my family. I’ve got a very supportive wife and 2 little boys, who love it here. My boys have got friends from all over the world. They understand that there are differences in the way people are brought up, in their religion, their cultures, and in the lives that they’ve experienced before coming here.
One of the reasons we moved here was to have the access to Asia, and other parts of the Middle East that would’ve been much more difficult to get to from the U.K. Before the pandemic hit, we were lucky enough to travel to so many places – South Korea, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bulgaria, Georgia, etc.- some of these which we’d have never done from the U.K.
The pandemic was very challenging for everyone in the hospitality sector, given the background of our work. However, we understood and supported, not welcoming people, because our priority was to keep everyone safe and protecting the real frontline workers who are responsible for keeping the people healthy. Working at a hotel where we couldn’t have visitors was bad, but we managed it really well at the JW Marriott Marquis. We protected everyone’s jobs, made some sacrifices internally to make that happen, and we were quite lucky to have jobs to come back to. We made sure our residents were given the most comfortable surroundings and the best possible experience in difficult circumstances.
The hospitality sector is a great one to work in. I feel very privileged that I don’t have to sit behind a desk, doing a 9 to 5 job. Being able to interact with people, over a coffee, or building friendships with them, while they contribute to our business at the same time, and being able to call that work, is something I’m grateful for.”