Krug for breakfast in the Al Mourjan lounge at Hamad International, Doha

This is my review of the new business class lounge at Hamad International airport in Doha.

Back in August I covered the launch of the Qatar Airways lounge complex at the new Hamad International Airport.  All 10,000 square metres of it.  I was there two weeks ago and can now review the Hamad International Al Mourjan lounge, used by Qatar Airways business class passengers, in full.

Here are the other articles in this series on Qatar Airways:

The Qatar Premium Lounge at Heathrow

Qatar Business Class on the Boeing 777 Part 1 and Part 2

Qatar Business Class on the Boeing 787

This page of the Qatar Airways website describes the Al Mourjan lounge in more detail.  The amazing thing is that this is NOT the official Qatar Airways First Class lounge. That facility, to be called the Al Safwa First Class Lounge, is still under development.  This is one of the official publicity photographs of the stairs to the upper level of the Al Mourjan lounge, which stretches over two floors:

Qatar Hamad lounge 1

The reality, of course, is never as glamorous.  Especially when you arrive at 5.30am in the morning and your brain is still operating on UK time, where it is 3.30am!

The lounge is broken down into a number of zones.  The key thing to know is that the main dining area is upstairs – this was not clear to me until I walked up there.

Let’s start downstairs though.  At the far end is the second restaurant, which focusses more on casual snacks.  I initially stopped here for a coffee and a croissant.

Al Mourjan lounge Doha Qatar dining

and

Al Mourjan lounge Doha Qatar dining 2

There is nothing especially flash about this, although it is worth noting that you still get waitress service for your drinks.  Just off from this area are two rooms.  One is a childrens playroom which, to be honest, could be bigger and more inviting – although it is bigger than the facilities in the BA lounges in Terminal 5.

Directly opposite the childrens playroom is the grown-up playroom!  When did you last have a go on one of these?

Al Mourjan lounge Doha Qatar pinball

(set to free play of course!) or one of these:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha Qatar football

Moving out of the dining area, you come to the h-u-g-e central zone which is made up of small groups of seating.  There are numerous coffee and snack stations scattered around.  Here is an official PR photo which is far better than anything I could manage:

Qatar Hamad lounge 2

I was impressed to see this on a table:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha Qatar newspaper

Remember that it was about 6.30am Qatar time so 4.30am London time – yet they already had the UK newspapers downloaded, printed, bound and ready for you to freely take away.

To the left of this area is another separate mini-lounge with another bar.  The seats here are totally different, each with an in-built iPad!

Al Mourjan lounge Doha Qatar chair ipad

The same area also comprises a business centre.  This is genuinely huge.  You could run a decent sized company from this space without any difficulty!  This photo shows less than half the space:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha Qatar business centre

By this point I was ready for some hot food and a proper drink, so I ascended the spiral staircase which straddles a huge ‘lake’.  This lake is effectively the size of the Servisair lounge in Heathrow T1!

I settled down with a glass of Krug (£125 per bottle at UK retail prices) and some waffles.  It is fair to say it is the first time I have had Krug for breakfast, or indeed anywhere outside a formal wine tasting.

Al Mourjan lounge Doha Qatar krug

There is another full bar up here along with two different food stations:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha Qatar food

Finally, there was something I haven’t seen before in an airport lounge.  There is a separate dining room just for families.  You can sit at a proper table with your food whilst your kids run around and create as much noise as they want, without disturbing the rest of the lounge.

Conclusion

Despite the embarrassingly early hour, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Al Mourjan lounge.  It is an interesting mix of a serious eating and drinking facility with some of the silly games and technological quirks like the iPad chairs you would expect in a Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.

It is lacks anything, it is a ‘cosy corner’ – you are constantly aware of the scale of the lounge, and indeed the airport.  It is a substantial improvement on the Emirates facilities in Terminal 3 in Dubai, although I have not yet made it to the new satellite terminal there.

After a couple of hours and a quick visit to the toyshop downstairs, it was time to board my Boeing 787-8 back to Europe.  My original plan was to fly to London but a change in Qatar Airways scheduling meant that the 787s had been deployed elsewhere.  Rather than fly another 777, I decided to fly to Zurich instead and then pick up a connecting flight home on BA.  More on that in the final part of this series which will appear early next week.

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Comments

  1. Erico1875 says:

    Looking forward to using this in April :-)

  2. Did you visit the arrivals lounge?

  3. Fabulous. Shows you what happens when there is competition. Qatar, Etihad, Emirates are in direct competition on a truly global basis. Just look at any flight map at any time of day to see their reach of operations.
    In contrast BA has a monopoly at congested airport and has little incentive to improve products or service. Whilst that continues and no new airport is built, British Airways will exploit its position and its 3 division products will continue to be offered.

    • “Shows you what happens when there is competition”

      …and an oil-rich government with practically limitless cash behind you.

      I’m not saying BA shouldn’t watch and learn from the middle eastern airlines but it’s not entirely fair to compare legacy western carriers to them.

      • It isn’t about the money, it is about geography (the rich world is no longer just in the Northern Hemisphere), land for building six runway airports, no legacy union agreements, no legacy pensiom agreements, modern fleets with low running costs.

        Emirates, for eg, finance all of their aircraft in the commercial market in the same way as any other airline.

        • Erico1875 says:

          And little Bangladeshi, Indians and Sri Lankans to work 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week, in 40c heat for £100 a month before being bused to their 12 bed steel container in the desert.

          • Minus the 40 degree heat, this is of course the same deal that exploited and abused migrant fruit pickers and agricultural workers experience in the UK of course ….

  4. Hi Raffles, i realise you were not in transit but just wondered if you got a feel for how the terminal might be for connecting passengers, and how long a layover might need to be to make use of the lounge. Ofcourse, feedback would also be wekcome from those who already have experience of transiting Hamad. Try to figurewhether my future preferred routing to far east from EDI will continue to be via LHR, or to switch to DOH or AUH.

    • We spent 6+ hours here in September arriving at 11.30pm. It is not comfortable for. that length of time when all you want to do is sleep. Initially the lounge was very busy but after most flights had left there were about 10 transit pax competing for the small number of long leather bench like seats. Other seats are totally uncomfortsble for sleeping. And then the floor buffers start. And the pax who are wide awake on their mobiles telling their friend what a different time zone they are in. The snack food and drink areas are open 24 hrs but the main restaurant shuts down. Although we were able to get some omelettes made for us at 5am. I didnt investigate the single sex quiet rooms so there may be bed like chairs available. Also, i think there may be a hotel with airside access, I should have researched if it was possible to book a room. I say this because Qatar provide a room FOC if your transit is +8 hours with no other earlier flight options. Take earplugs and eyeshades!

    • It is all one terminal so a 3.5 hour layover would be enough to spend, say, 2 hours in the lounge.

    • The QR flight from Edi leaves on a 787, then with either a 2 hr or a 8 hr stopover, but the forward flight to Asia wont necessarily be on a 787. For KL it’s on an A330-200, or wait 20 hrs (!) for a 777. Although 2 hrs is just enough time to connect it doesn’t give you time to enjoy the lounge, whilst the 8 hrs in the lounge will have lost its amusement after about 2 hrs there.

      I’d much prefer to use CX or MAS if only for the convenience of a 13/14 hour non stop flight where I can get some sleep, I don’t mention BA as they never have redemption availability.

      • Yes, I agree and for redemptions there is two added problems. Firstly, 80k avios e
        Ow J compared to 60k BA to most se Asian destinations. This is important to me as I’m finding it increasingly difficult to collect sufficient avios. Secondly, award availability seems harder to come by on the early morning short transit time connections. My preference at the moment is overnight flights with MH but they are avios-hungry from London too but offset by lower tax and fees.

  5. Do you know what facilities are available for BA First passenger’s?

  6. If I read this correctly BA First PAX can use the Qatar lounges?
    http://www.oneworld.com/ffp/lounge-access. (Search for Doha)

    This seems to back it up too..
    http://www.ausbt.com.au/photos-qatar-airways-opens-new-al-mourjan-business-lounge-in-doha

    And it sounds like the Qatar First class lounge will be open by the spring, just in time for my BA First flight home back to Blighty.
    http://www.dotwnews.com/m/focus/qatar-airways-al-mourjan-business-lounge-opens-at-hamad-international

  7. GUWONDER says:

    The international transit process at DOH for my trips from Europe to the Indian subcontinent was smooth and fast. I’m not sure it is always like that, but I’ve had good transit experiences there. Even for a two or three hour transit at DOH I was able to use this lounge for well over an hour even on the 2 hour transits.

    The only word of warning I have about this lounge at DOH is that the showers and bathrooms seem to have a recurring water disruption problem that hits suddenly and unexpectedly in the lounge even as other bathrooms outside of the lounge still have running water. It’s not a comforting thought when you realize that the option to wash the hands after toilet use may require exiting the bathroom and even perhaps the lounge to try to find a bathroom with functioning water.

    • Thanks to all for helpful feedback. The most offputting part is middle if night UK-time transit.

  8. I presume after the F lounge is open then this business lounge will ‘downgrade’ and Krug will not be offered anymore.

  9. OT: IHG European flash sale coming up 00:01Thursday 30th for platinum and one day later for everybody else. Seems bookings must be via the app. Deals ranging from £29 through £169 per night. Some good values, and some crazy nonsence, not least at our old favourite Wembley which is a whopping £89/night; what is $70 at current exchange rates!? Just my luck to be asleep on a plane so I’ll be missing out on plum pickings yet again just like the last 20.12 offer.

    • ComeFlyWithMe123 says:

      How do you know what Hotels are included in the Sale if it doesn’t start until Thursday?

  10. I transfered through last week from CGK to MAD. Had about 3.5 hours from 04.00 till 07.25. The breakfast to order process didnt seem to start till near six although the buffet options were available far earlier.

    They have a nice area that is marked as gentlemens VIP room. I went in there trying to find the showers. There were loads of enclosed booths with 2 large chairs, foot rests and tv. I ended up waiting in one while Mrs pablo showered and was approached by one of the staff members. Turns out that the booths are for VIP,s or passengers with a long transit time. my three hours was not long enough and had to leave. (Guess I wasnt a VIP) They are nice quiet areas though if you do have a long time and want somewhere to rest.

    • Flying ZRH-DOH in J connecting to AUH where they only ofer F or Y. Consequently flying in Y the short leg. Question: As BA Emerald and coming from a Business flight will I have acess to the new Qatar lounge? Or which lounge can I use during transit if connecting to a flight in Y?

      • You will have access to the first lounge which I think is called Al Maha. It is up the staircase next to the large yellow teddy. The lounge is specifically for oneworld emeralds and for first passengers on airlines other than Qatar. There is another lounge by the same name next to it which is for sapphire and or business passengers.
        They are supposed to be quite nice although not quite as nice as the Al Mourjan.

        The final option would be to use the Oryx lounge (I think your status would get you in) although this accepts paid access so might not be as nice.

  11. I’m a bit late commenting but currently reading this from the lounge. I think it’s great – probably the best lounge I’ve been to. I’m here early afternoon and the lounge (and rest of airport) is practically empty. I’m pretty sure that there are more staff here than passengers. Lounge staff are also very friendly. No wait for transit security.

    James, I wouldn’t want to spend too long in this (or any) lounge as it’s not really great for sleeping, but personally I would say it’s better than connecting at LHR.

    Combined with my first Qatar flight which was excellent, I would go out of my way to fly Qata via Doha again.