If you are flying out of Hamad International Airport Doha, Qatar HIA, you will need to know the best airport lounge to pick and your lounge access depends on what class of flight you have booked, which airline you are flying with and whether you have high status with an alliance like Oneworld, Skyteam or Star Alliance.
Opened in 2014 with the hope of turning the Arabian Gulf city of Doha into a global aviation hub for Qatar Airways. HIA now handles more than 30 million travelers a year. This may well be the most luxurious airport in the world with the very best airport lounges in the world. Read on for which lounges you can and should access on your next layover at Hamad International Airport Doha.
If you are flying in Economy or Premium Economy, you can get free entrance to some of Doha’s airport lounges using your American Express Platinum card with its unlimited Priority Pass (contact me via our concierge for a referral for extra free bonus points) or you can buy a Priority Pass separately. You can also access most Priority Pass lounges for free using the FREE Amex Gold Card with its two free Lounge Club passes.
1. Al Safwa First Lounge
Al Safwa First Lounge (pictured above) is probably the best airport lounge in the world and is located on the third level Duty-Free Plaza South of Hamad International Airport.
The lounge is accessible to Qatar Airways and Oneworld First Class customers. It is not, however, open to top tier members of Oneworld (Emerald) and is, in fact, one of only very few Oneworld First Class lounges where a top-tier Emerald status card won’t get you in.
To access the exclusive First Class facility you have had to present a boarding pass for a First Class Qatar Airways flight at the reception desk or you will be forced to use the Al Mourjan Business Class lounge outlined below (which is still great, just not quite as mindblowing!).
The Al Safwa First Lounge is a gleaming example of Arabian grandeur and elite exclusivity in a refined setting. It is designed for those who enjoy the finer things in life and want to make the most out of every moment. Every inch, every feature, and every facet of this airport lounge is specially designed to create the most luxurious lounge experience ever imagined.
The lounge’s scale, architecture, and design is amazing. The lounge space is massive, with very high ceilings that make it seem even larger than it is. It features a beautiful minimalist design, with predominant light sandstone colors, creating a peaceful and exclusive ambiance.
From the reception, you travel up a very long and impressive hallway, which leads to the lounge’s central area. The hallways feature artwork from – amongst others – Keith Haring, as well as a water wall, making you feel at a museum rather than an airport lounge.
Several side corridors open into additional spaces, including a prayer room, a spa (where unfortunately you have to pay for treatments and showers), a mini-hotel with several sleep rooms (complimentary to passengers that have a layover of at least six hours), a duty-free shop and a business center with several iMac workstations
At the end of the hallway, you enter the lounge’s central seating area, which is a triangular space with a spectacular, tube-enclosed water fountain. There are several types of seats present in this area, featuring a design that ranges from comfortable to artsy. There’s also a ‘terrace’ under the roof of the airport’s terminal with some more seats. There is far too much space for the number of passengers that the lounge needs to accommodate, so it feels fabulously spacious, almost empty!
The lounge’s restaurant and bar are located adjacent to the main seating area and feature plenty of tables. The space is quite bright because of the very large windows that not only embrace the Arabian sunlight but also offer nice views across the airport.
The restaurant has an open kitchen, and you can choose from several buffet stations or dine a la carte. I was there during breakfast time (my Qatar Airways Airbus A380 flight to Paris left at 8 am) but I did not eat too much since I did not want to kill my appetite shortly before my First Class experience.
From the lounge, it was a 15-minute walk to the gate, where the Airbus A380 was ready for boarding.
2. Qatar Airway’s Al Mourjan Business Lounge
The Al Mourjan Business Lounge is located on the third level Duty-Free Plaza South of Hamad International Airport. The lounge is accessible to Qatar Airways and Oneworld Business Class customers and customers with OneWorld Emerald status of equivalent.
We have reviewed the Al Mourjan Business Lounge once in 2015 and then again before my flight on Qatar Airways in Business Class on their A380 Doha to London Heathrow.
Even long before you reach Qatar Airway’s Al Mourjan Lounge, you’re shuttled through quite an architectural experience, all bronze steel, etched glass, air, and light. The lounge is actually quite difficult to locate; look for an escalator with a member of staff at the bottom who will check your boarding card.
Once you have arrived, this luxurious experience rivals any five-star boutique hotel. From the moment you enter, your senses will be treated to a beautiful portrayal of Arabian heritage, a refreshing resort-like ambiance, tantalizing a la carte and buffet dining, and the signature hospitality that Qatar Airways takes pride in.
Al Mourjan lounge at Hamad International Airport in Doha is astonishing and enormous. It is accessed via a very long escalator at the bottom of which your boarding pass is checked by two burly ‘bouncers’ (to save you a long journey if you’re not entitled) it takes some time to realize you are actually in the lounge.
The lounge is vast, about the size of two football pitches, and is clearly one of the best Business Class airport lounges in the world. There is a water feature at the entrance, about 20×40 yards, it’s huge and gives the place a calming atmosphere, with tiny jets of water which move around in the pool. There is also a huge chandelier that seems to rise from the pool to the lounge upper level with a spiral staircase curving around it.
This lounge is utterly luxurious, spacious, spotless, and private with groups of high back rattan chairs that remove you from everyone else. The lounge is divided into many small areas with self-service cold drinks and hot beverages scattered around the lounge.
There are buffets with sumptuous choices of fresh Asian and Arabic specialties kept topped up even at 2 am. On our return journey, we visited the lounge for breakfast and found it surprisingly full and service not very quick though it is possible to order fresh eggs any style and the fresh fruit selection was very good.
Yes, the disadvantage of this lounge is, even though it is great, it gets very very busy.
The restrooms are immaculate with fresh orchids and there were also sleep pods and computer areas. Truly a super experience when you are tired, between flights.
3. Oryx Lounge
The Oryx lounge offers a comfortable atmosphere to sit, relax, and enjoy the superior hospitality provided by the Oryx lounge staff. It is located immediately below The Airport Hotel.
This lounge is the business class contract lounge used by carriers departing Hamad International Airport that are not Qatar Airways or Oneworld. The lounge is also accessible to Qatar Airways and Oneworld Business Class customers and customers with OneWorld Emerald status of equivalent. These passengers may choose to use the Oryx Lounge when the Al Mourjan Business Lounge gets too full.
The lounge offers food and beverage services, a smoking room, a business center, lockers, a quiet zone, an internet facility, and a gaming room for kids. While the Al Maha airport lounge is undoubtedly exceptional, it can get terribly crowded. When it is overcrowded, the Oryx Lounge has the advantage with equally good food and a more relaxed atmosphere. They also have shower facilities.
Economy passengers are able to gain access to the lounge for a nominal fee (currently QAR 200).
4. Qatar Airways First Class Lounge
Don’t get mixed up between this airport lounge and the Al Safwa lounge, this lounge is allocated to Qatar Airways Platinum frequent flyers as well as Oneworld Emerald who aren’t flying premium class.
The First Class lounge is located on the second level Duty-Free Plaza South and offers facilities that include complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, shower facilities, smoking room, and family rooms. The lounge is accessible to Qatar Airways Platinum as well as other Oneworld airlines Emerald frequent flyer customers and eligible guests.
This is absolutely not the best First Class or even Business Class lounge in Doha airport but is a good option if you have status and are not flying premium.
It has two dining areas one a la carte area with Arabic and western dishes and one buffet area with salads, soups, sandwiches, and a couple of hot dishes. Alcohol is available on request.
5. Business Class Lounge
The Business Class lounge is located on the second level Duty-Free Plaza South and offers facilities that include complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, shower facilities, smoking room, and family rooms. The lounge is accessible to Qatar Airways Gold and Silver as well as other Oneworld airlines Sapphire frequent flyer customers and eligible guests.
When comparing this Oneworld lounge and the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business lounge, the Qatar lounge wins. The Qatar Al Mourjan lounge is 5-10 times larger than this Business Class Lounge and the best food seating and luxury can be found in the Al Mourjan Business lounge. In fact, the food is fairly similar in both lounges but there are more dishes so more choices in the Al Mourjan Business lounge.
6. First and Business Class Arrivals Lounges
First and Business class ticketed customers of Qatar Airways can access the First and Business Class Arrivals Lounges upon arrival to the airport. They are located both before and after immigration. Facilities include complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, a business center, shower facilities, and a smoking room.
7. Al Maha Services Lounges
Combining comfortable and award-winning service, Al Maha Services Lounges are your Priority Pass lounges in Hamad International Airport Doha. Facilities include complimentary Wi-Fi, shower facilities, smoking area, television area, reading materials, and a business center.
Book this lounge in advance as well or use your Priority Pass, Diners Club, or Lounge Key to gain access even if you are flying in economy.
Enjoy spacious lounge areas, a complimentary buffet with hot and cold dining items, soft drinks, and house wines and beers along with television, magazines, and newspapers.
8. Unaccompanied Minors Lounge
There is an exclusive unaccompanied minors lounge at Doha Airport, Qatar. This lounge provides a safe and welcoming environment for children of all ages. It offers a variety of facilities, including Televisions and video games, play areas, toys and puzzles, Snacks and refreshments, and Child-friendly washrooms and amenities.
Unaccompanied minors are escorted to the lounge while they wait for their transfer or departing flights. When flight boarding begins, they are escorted from the lounge to the aircraft. Only designated airline personnel can enter the lounge; no other staff or passengers are allowed access.
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