Review of the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan business class lounge in Doha

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This review looks at the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan business class lounge in Doha.

You can read the rest of Jamie’s series of articles from his trip to Indonesia, covering British Airways, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways in business class, by clicking here.

Over to Jamie ….

I was on my way back to the UK, flying Qatar Airways’ business class product for the first time.  The review of my Qatar Airways Bali to Doha Boeing 777-300ER flight is here. I had landed at Hamad International Airport, Doha with a three hour stopover before my next flight. Normally I would be unimpressed at the prospect of such a wait but as this gave me the chance to experience Qatar’s flagship business lounge – the Al Mourjan lounge – I was intrigued.

I’d never been to Hamad International Airport before and was facing sensory overload before I got anywhere near the lounge.  It seemed enormous and lavish. Huge video screens and gigantic modern art were everywhere.  An animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex snarled at me (for sale at a mere $5,000) and a massive and imposing hungover looking Pudsey Bear stared down at me and many other stunned passengers.

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

Some of the most wonderful and surreal looking children’s play areas I’ve ever seen were scattered around the building too.

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

This was all somewhat unexpected but I thought boded well for my lounge visit. It didn’t take long to find as the airport signage was good. It is located on the third floor of the Duty Free Plaza South.  A quick glance at my boarding card by a staff member allowed me onto a dedicated escalator which took me up to the reception.

The lounge accepts Qatar Airways and oneworld First and Business Class passengers, although there is also an amazing First Class lounge too which Rob reviewed here.  If you are flying Qatar Airways in Economy – no codeshares, no partner airlines, no frequent flyer miles redemptions – you can also purchase access to the lounge. Prices vary online but it looks to be in the £75-100 region, so far from cheap.

The entrance reception had a simple design with a long desk.

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

I handed over my boarded card and watched as the lady behind the desk started to input the relevant details into her computer. Then her face became expressionless and she asked if I could please wait a moment. A moment turned into several minutes whilst she spoke to a colleague and I felt a pang of concern. I politely enquired if there was an issue but was reassured not. Finally she came back to me and I was a granted entry. Relieved, I briskly set off inside…

…. and was very suddenly overwhelmed. The lounge is cavernous. It is marketed as being the size of ten Olympic size swimming pools, around ten thousand square metres! I couldn’t make out where it finished in one direction.

The high end design of this lounge was very apparent. It was well lit and had a tall ceiling, reiterating the feeling of space.  This is one of the seating areas on the left, very cool and sophisticated:

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

To the right is a large and impressive rectangular water feature. Modern and stylish? Certainly? Excessive? Probably. Also at this end of the lounge was a beautiful staircase which leads up to a mezzanine level where the restaurant is situated.  Here is a PR picture which really shows it at its best (click to enlarge):

Qatar Airways business class lounge Doha

Whilst we’re looking at ‘proper’ images, here is another showing the main lounge area which gives a good impression of the size of the space (click to enlarge):

Qatar Airways business class lounge Doha

I must have looked lost whilst I stood staring around as I was approached by a staff member. He turned out to be very helpful indeed as he pointed me towards a locker room where I could leave my hand luggage. I may well have missed this useful facility otherwise.  It is situated very close to the right of the entrance but is a fairly innocuous doorway. At the locker you just create a pin code and can safely store your bag until you needed it again.

Just around the corner from the locker room I discovered a space which contained many private areas with loungers for those that wanted to have a lie down.

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

Heading back to the main part, I decided to walk around and get a feel for the place. Clearly much thought had gone into the design.  It had the feel of a classy hotel and the ambience was pleasant in parts. But some parts also felt quite sterile, particularly where the ceiling was high. This reminded me that I was still in an airport – quite frustrating as one of the functions of a lounge for me is to escape that fact.

Seating was varied and numerous. There were pockets with contemporary leather seating like this:

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

There were ultra-modern designer chairs that came with a touch screen information station.

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

I never got around to seeing what these screens could actually do and I didn’t see anyone actively interacting with one. There were private clusters of single seats surrounded by birds nest like partition furnishings. There were low seats you struggled to get out of and high chairs alongside breakfast bars and lots in between. Many but not all had universal charging points close by.

The lighting was also varied and this created a tangible difference between certain areas, changing the mood which in turn drew me to a particular spot. As it was midnight I couldn’t ascertain the level of natural light but judging by the amount of glass everywhere I suspect some enters in during the daytime.

There was even some greenery at the far end which is always nice to see. It was a random but welcome sight to see some living plants which formed a short walkway onto an elevated central section with more seating.

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

On the opposite side to the entrance, the lounge branches off from the main area. Here can be found further quiet seating. On the left is a children’s entertainment room housing several Sony Playstation and Nintendo consoles, a table football game and a replica Formula One car racing game.

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

Also down this side is the business centre.

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

This was by far the most impressive business centre I’ve ever seen in a lounge. There were numerous private work stations as well as open tables with computers and printers.

Newspapers were available at several tables located throughout the lounge.  This included The Guardian, The Financial Times and i. There were also French, German, US and Arabic papers available. The magazine choices were very disappointing. I only saw two Qatar publications – their inflight and shopping magazines plus the official Fifa magazine ‘Fifa 1904’.

Wifi was available throughout but I struggled to connect to it. After three or four attempts I considered trying the free airport wifi network which was also picked up on my phone but eventually managed to connect to the lounge network. Once connected, the wifi was fine for normal surfing.

Two sets of shower facilities are available from what I saw. I expected these to be busy so was pleased to get booked in with a waiting time of just half an hour. The bathroom had a lovely classic design similar to a good hotel. It was pristinely clean and well maintained which considering the use they get is excellent. Here is the bathroom

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

Here is the shower

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

Continuing the theme on the Qatar flight, Rituals products were present by both the shower and sink basin. The shower had the very pleasant Hammam range.  The shower was powerful and combined with the Rituals products afforded me a welcome and invigorating freshen up after my long flight.

Food and drink

There was little chance of leaving this lounge hungry or thirsty. Soft drink stations were located regularly throughout.

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

Soft drinks available included the usual candidates of Coke, Sprite, Fanta and Ginger Ale. Some (but not all) of these drinks counters had hot drink machines on them. There was a choice of six Dilmah teas and various coffee iterations. There was also at least one standalone more serious coffee maker.

Hot food was available in two locations – the restaurant upstairs and a more informal cafe style area at the end furthest from the entrance. This is the cafe

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

The cafe had a nice ambience with touches of flair in the lighting and elevated dining tables. It looked about half full when I sat down. The service counter had a tempting display of fresh bread at the back. There were small mezze dishes, quinoa / pasta / potato salad bowls and two soups (leek and potato and Mediterranean fish) available here, both self service.

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

Hot, cold and a small selection of alcoholic drinks were also offered. The table menu consisted of freshly made to order sandwiches. Choices included cajun chicken in ciabatta, Norwegian smoked salmon, deli lamb and veggie extreme. I ordered the roast beef in rye loaf sandwich which the waiter brought over in no time.

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

The photo doesn’t do it justice but it was really delicious – warm, crisp and fresh, just right as a midnight snack!

The restaurant on the above mezzanine floor offered something more substantial. The opulent curved access staircase with hanging designer chandelier was a spectacular entry point.

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

With such elegance, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were heading to a top London eatery. The reality is not quite so glamorous. On arrival I was taken aback at how busy it was. In comparison downstairs was relatively quiet with maybe a third of all seats taken. Here, I couldn’t see a free table to eat at. I wasn’t expecting that at half past midnight! There were some unused chairs about, including at the bar so it wasn’t too bad for me but any families in need of a late evening meal would have to hang around with beady eyes.

Here is the bar.

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

Pommery champagne was available and a decent selection of spirits including Johnnie Walker Black Label, Absolute vodka and Malibu – everything you need for that impulsive cocktail… I didn’t see the wine list.

There were two hot food buffet stations.  The dishes to tuck in to were varied, in keeping with catering for a cosmopolitan clientele. This included rosemary chicken, fish cakes, chilli con carne, mie goreng, dum aloo, Provençal asparagus and chicken kabsa. The same two soups, mezze dishes and salad bowls as downstairs were also present. .

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

There was an attractive and considerable array of desserts to indulge in including cupcakes, creme brûlée and various cakes.

Review of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

Conclusion

As you would expect, service was exceptional from all the staff I encountered. They were super polite, efficient and only happy to assist. The lounge was very clean throughout with spotless floors, tables and work surfaces. I rarely saw a left behind glass or plate anywhere.

I enjoyed my visit to the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan business class lounge very much and overall consider it the most impressive business lounge I have experienced. Its size is overwhelming at first and I felt I spent much of my time exploring the huge open spaces. I would love to visit again with the benefit of familiarity.

Aspects of the design are stunning and this really does have an impact. The effort, time and expense that had clearly gone into building the lounge made it feel like a special experience. Certainly parts of it lacked the warm ambience I found in the Malaysian Airlines Golden Lounge in Kuala Lumpur a few weeks previously.  What it lacked in one area, it more than made up for elsewhere whether through the attention to detail of its design, the high standard of cuisine or the consummate professionalism of its staff.  If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend a visit.

Next, in the final part of this series, I take a look at the Qatar Airways newer – but not newest – business class seat and service on a Boeing 787-9 to London.

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Comments

  1. Michael says:

    I felt pretty let down by this lounge as well – it seems to get caught up in the Qatar PR hype of being uber-premium, when it’s actually a pretty standard J lounge offering. Champagne aside, I think the experience at CX and QF J lounges in HKG to be much better. There’s no point having a huge lounge if it’s not backed up with great food and ambiance.

    The pitiful ‘business class’ lounge for Sapphire flyers is the reason I try and avoid Qatar Y like the plague!

  2. Anthony Dunn says:

    I’ve just passed through the Al Mourjan lounge twice recently (en route to/from Vietnam) so I too was able to use the lounge during early evening and then overnight for an 8:35 stopover on the way back. The facilities are extraordinarily impressive and my snr mgt (who’s been through Abu Dhabi on Eitihad recently) was astonished of the scale of the place: it’s almost a terminal in its own right.

    The catering is excellent (actually the best humous and some of the best mezze we’ve ever eaten anywhere) and there is no shortage of places to find a drink – soft or hard.

    With the lounge’s popularity, there are two areas where the place is now feeling some strain: quiet places for a lie-down for some shut-eye and the showers. We ended up using the loungers around the back of the business centre – but the lighting is extremely bright. The men’s showers now operate a waitlist and this can extend to some 45 minutes when things get really busy after 05:00. Get your name down early on the list if you need a shower.

    But overall, this is as good as business lounges come – and another reason for flying on QR.

  3. Worth mentioning for those who partake in the filthiest of habits, there is also a dedicated smoking room inside Al Mourjan opposite the fountain and sweeping staircase on the lower level. This is equally as clean and stylish as the lounge itself and is kitted out with plush leather armchairs as well as a dedicated host who ensures ashtrays are cleaned down at all times. Unlike at most other airports in the world where smokers are either not catered for full stop or the facilities provided are so bad they’re on par with those found a Thai prison, Doha Airport (rightly or wrongly) almost makes smoking a stylish and shameless experience in Al Mourjan.

    • That room saves my OHs sanity on many a trip! If you can’t wait to get up that elevator, and the long walk once you get in, there’s one a couple of mins walk away on ground level…

      • There’s also another pretty snazzy smoking room setup when entering Qatar (as and arriving passenger) in the Premium arrivals wing. Pour yourself a drink and head off to the smoking room while the agent sorts your passport stampage out.

  4. a9504477 says:

    It’s a perfectly reasonable lounge but, like others here, i’m not quite sure where all this extensive praise is coming from as it’s not that fantastic (only in comparison to the ‘First’ and ‘Business’ loungeas at DOH).

  5. I agree with most replies, the lounge is pretty underwhelming except for the scale. And with such a size, they could easily add a lot more facilities, variety of areas, etc.

    My main bugbear is there are only two limited areas serving food/drink and neither have electrical outlets, so you need to choose between recharging your devices and recharging yourself

    They could do a better job of explaining the facilities as well, eg the area with private sleeping rooms and showers is hidden way at the back behind the cafe.

    Still, it’s a lot better than waiting around in the terminal and worth the long layover for the tier points.

    • Well you can recharge on the plane easily, unlike some other airlines.

      The lack of outlets is my main bugbear about the CX LHR F lounge dining area, though it’s only a problem because my main use of that lounge is for longer BA flights to Gibraltar and Warsaw

  6. Just rolling it back a tad, I’ll just mention that if you’re departing Doha in either First or Business you can be dropped off at the dedicated First/Business entrance at Doha airport. Those arriving in Doha on a First or Business class ticket shouldn’t join the queue at the main immigration station. Go through the business lounge on the left (name eludes me) which has it’s own immigration station. Your driver can meet you there.

  7. Gerald5b7 says:

    The people who built this lounge built it for travelers with higher ideals than comfort and coziness.

  8. The other thing I’d say is the QR lounge food offering in London, with an a la carte menu was lovely last week when we were there. Soup for starters, plaice for me, curry for my wife and a nice dessert, washed down with some mocktails (we don’t drink) and we might have snaffled a few Lindt hazelnuts in the cute QR box they provide. Also on our return from HKG the Pier F was equally good, the bruschetta, soup, veal and mushroom voluvant and soft shell crab starters were all great. The lamb shanks mains were ok, but not fantastic and sorbet to finish. We do appreciate our food and to us it does make a difference.

  9. It’s an amazing feedback to the army of staff working 24/7…

  10. For me it is probably the best lounge I have been in anywhere. Sleek, modern huge, beautiful and the service and food exceptional. Not even the Cathay pier was this good and and for poor old BA well its simply not in the same league no matter how many overstuffed chairs and pseudo bedoin tents it puts up in the concorde room

  11. Robert Bongo says:

    I see mixed views on this lounge and strangely enough I can agree with them all . Yas someone has put ,parts of it are soulless and actually too open and vacant , but personally I would much prefer that to a cramped overcrowded confinement area of a lounge which I have encountered before.
    Anyway on my visit to the lounge , I had already done my homework as what action to take, I had my fill of food and liquid refreshment on the flight prior so instead of the bar and eating area’s i made a direct beeline for the larger group of showers and the rest area to shower / sober up expecting the onward journey would most likely involve more indulgent excess.( and it did)
    There was a hint of something missing that could of made the experience better , maybe that can be found in the QR First class lounge , but overall as bizz lounges go it’s certainly different and well worth a visit in my view.
    Looking forward to the Business QR Dreamliner report , as it was a 787 -9 I went on to Thailand after my stay at the lounge…I would be very surprised if it turns out to be be less then positive as I discovered ..

    • It would have been a 787-8 that you travelled on – the larger 787-9s are yet to be delivered to QR.

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