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HFP in Doha: Review of the Qatar Airways Premium Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 4

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This is my review of the Qatar Airways Premium Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 4.

This is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK.  You see all of the reviews here.

The first time I wrote about this lounge, back in 2014, I declared that it was “the classiest lounge at Heathrow” and I wanted to see if that was still the case.  I wasn’t disappointed.

First, some background.

This is the first part of a series looking at the Qatar Airways Qsuite business class product on the new A350-900, as well as the Al Maha VIP arrivals and departures service in Doha and the Al Mourjan business class lounge in Doha.

Qsuite has won many awards for the best business class airline seat in the world since it was launched in 2017.  It was the first with a fully closing door.

Qatar Airways Premium Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 4 review

For many HFP readers, it is an irresistable combination.  You get some amazing business class prices if you are willing to start your flights in Europe (£1000-ish to Asia is not uncommon), you earn DOUBLE the BA tier points you would get flying on BA on Asia routes (560 tier points for a return trip, due to the plane change in Doha), you earn Avios and you experience what is generally seen as the best seat in the air.

(Qsuite is not on all Qatar Airways aircraft, note.  I will look at where you can find it in another article.)

However, I have a confession to make.  I have sat in Qsuite various times at media events and trade shows.  Soon after the launch, I had lunch on a Qatar Airways aircraft at Heathrow in Qsuite – without flying anywhere.  However, circumstances had never quite worked out for me to actually travel on it.

I told this story at a recent meeting with the Qatar Airways team in London, and they insisted that I head down to Doha to try it out.  The Privilege Club management team had wanted to meet me anyway, so we tied it all together.  Head for Points covered all of its costs (hotel, transfers, meals etc) apart from the flight.

Anyway, back to the Qatar Airways lounge ….

Qatar Airways makes a big play of its Premium Lounge in Terminal 4.  It is only open to Qatar Airways or other oneworld airline passengers holding a First or Business Class ticket.  If you are travelling in economy but have oneworld status, you will be sent upstairs to the Plaza Premium lounge – above the Qatar Airways lounge – which I reviewed here.)

The previous agreement with SkyTeam to use their lounge has been discontinued, as it was too far from the Qatar Airways gates.  Plaza Premium is a more pleasant, albeit smaller, lounge anyway in my view.

Qatar Airways Premium Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 4 review

In my experience, when an airline has a combined First and Business Class lounge, it usually operates at the level of a Business Class lounge.  The Emirates lounge in Terminal 3 is a good example of this, as indeed is the SkyTeam lounge in T4.

Qatar Airways has taken a different approach.  It is effectively running it like an exclusive First Class lounge but one which business class passengers – but not economy passengers with status – can also enter.  As Qatar Airways only has six flights out of Heathrow each day, it is unlikely that more than 250 people pass through the lounge.

Qatar Airways Premium Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 4 review

It is effectively like the British Airways Concorde Room but with more daylight.  Instead of a reception desk, you are greeted by the equivalent of a restaurant maître d’ who checks your boarding pass and will store your bag and coat if required.

It is a very civilised environment.  Should you plan to turn up with a group of friends and get wasted, it is not the lounge for you!  As I was on the 8am departure, I wasn’t in the mood for overdoing the drink or the food anyway.

It isn’t a huge space, so it won’t take me long to explain the layout.  You enter into the entrance area pictured above, where there are two seating areas and a small business centre.

(Let me apologise now for the dark photos – it was around 6am when I entered the lounge.)

You then have a narrow corridor:

Qatar Airways Premium Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 4 review

which leads you into the dining area.

Before we get to the dining area, take a look at the newspapers here:

Qatar Airways Premium Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 4 review

There are a few media stations like this in the lounge.  Each one is impeccably neat.  When a newspaper is taken, it is immediately replaced.  If the pile is ruffled, it is immediately straightened up.  It is the little touches like this that mark this out as a classy place to spend your time.

Qatar Airways Premium Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 4 review

There are two dining areas.  The first is a more casual area where you can choose from a buffet.  Staff will prepare drinks individually on request.

Qatar Airways Premium Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 4 review

Next door is the dining room, with an open kitchen at the far end.  With the white tablecloths etc this looks like the private dining room of a First Class lounge, but it is actually available to everyone in the Qatar Airways lounge.

As it was very early, I gave the alcohol a miss.  I settled for some crepes:

Qatar Airways Premium Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 4 review

and Eggs Royale:

Qatar Airways Premium Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 4 review

Eggs Royale is very easy to mess up, but the kitchen did a good job.  I do remember getting a piece of lemon with its own individual squeezer last time I was here though – this seems to have disappeared.

Qatar Airways Premium Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 4 review

What IS new(ish) is the chocolate dispenser.  I thought this was a nice touch.  As you can partly see below, there are two tables with dispensers filled with Lindt chocolates.  You take a Qatar Airways-branded cardboard box and make your own selection of luxury chocolates to take onto the aircraft.  I’d never seen anything like this in an airline lounge before.

Qatar Airways Premium Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 4 review

The Qatar Airways Premium Lounge remains, alongside the restaurant in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in Terminal 3, the lounge with the best food at Heathrow.

Conclusion

The Qatar Airways Premium Lounge just ‘works’, or at least it works for me.  No shortage of newspapers and magazines.  Good staff.  Certainly no risk of overcrowding.  Well prepared food served in a civilised environment.  There is a shower room if you want one.

And, when it is time to go, it is a 30 second walk across to the Qatar gates.

The Qatar Airways Premium Lounge is the complete opposite to, say, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in Terminal 3 which is general regarded as the best ‘fun palace’ lounge in the world.  It is a high quality, restrained, adult environment where you can pass your time eating very fine food and drinking high quality beverages.  If that sounds like your sort of place, you should give it a try.

For me, 8am was approaching and I took the exceptionally short walk to the gate and my Qatar Airways A350-900 with Qsuite ….

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Comments

  1. The lounge is almost identical in layout and style to the one QR have in Bangkok, which I found was even above a first class lounge and more like a private jet terminal. Apparently one is opening in Singapore soon. It’s so odd that their lounges around the world are so much better than the dire business lounge at their hub in Doha.

    • Aston100 says:

      Dire Doha business lounge? I’ve always read that the Al Marjoun lounge was amongst the best.
      Are we talking about the same lounge here?

      • Yes the same lounge – it’s a horrible place. It looks stunning yes, but the food is very poor (usually just curry and rice buffet), way too over crowded, often needing to queue to use the toilet and showers often with an hour wait, and really just nothing like the outpost lounges. But as Rob highlights, the outpost lounges are for business and first, whereas in Doha there is the separate Al Safwa lounge for first class, which is very good.

        • Let’s be fair Andrew, the Doha lounge is far from horrible. I’m not a huge fan myself but it’s certainly not horrible. My issue is that it’s just too big and feels like you’re still in the terminal rather than somewhere exclusive. But then it was some horrid time (4-6am ish) waiting for my onward connection so maybe I’m being harsh. It’s the crappy transit times that put me off flying Qatar – for me the hard product doesn’t compensate for that major flaw for UK passengers.

          • I’m with Andrew on this, the Qatar outstation lounges are much better than the Doha Al Mourjan. Whilst stunning in size and decor, it is soulless and I guess Qatar have not been able to scale up the soft service levels up to what is seen at the outstation lounges.

            BTW, last time I was in Bangkok, they had free flow Bolly….much better than the Lallier and Atair dross onboard!

  2. Also note that Malaysia Airlines fly from T4 and if you are flying business or first you can access this QR lounge. After the QR flight left, my wife and I were the only ones left which felt a little odd having the place to ourselves! Before our MH flight, we wandered over to look at the Malaysia lounge which was rather busier.

  3. I flew with Etihad from DUB 2 years ago and they had their own enjoyable lounge there. I assume Qatar Airways don’t have anything like that across their EU airports ie. similar to the London lounge?
    And for those that have flown Qatar ex-EU, in particular CPH/ARN/OSL, I take it the lounge experience is nothing to write home about.
    From EDI they use the BA lounge or No.1 along with Emirates. Certainly not the T4 LHR experience sadly.

    • They don’t have enough flights to other destinations to make building a dedicated lounge worthwhile. And they are probably losing money on most passengers flying from Scandinavia so they are not going to splash cash on lounges there. (There are better lounges they could strike a deal with if they wanted to.)

    • Amsterdam it’s the Aspire lounge – I don’t think you’re allowed to use the BA lounge when flying Qatar. Although in this instance I think the Aspire lounge is better.

    • In scandi they have had a cordoned off area in some lounges we visited. But tend to send you to their local lounges which are all good now. Many have been upgraded in recent years.
      Plus our cabins are often less than half full. Seems not enough of us are bothering to go ex eu still.

  4. This is absolutely a spectacular lounge. One thing you didn’t mention is the ridiculous 5 star hotel-standard massage showers (which have robes and slippers as well) that are amazing after a day at work and make the BA LHR equivalents seem like the NHS hospital-standard facilities they are. QR’s CDG lounge is slightly better still due to the outdoor terrace and slightly better quality food, probably the best business class lounge anywhere.

    Unfortunately I’ve never been impressed by the onboard QR service in Qsuites from LHR, the cabin is always completely full and it clearly causes issues given QR’s very involved service – at least something I ordered on every flight has been forgotten. Has put me off QR from LHR as a result.

    • Oh I did not realise that they had showers. That’s my shower on Monday morning sorted then, I’m on the 8am flight

    • I think they miss a trick not offering the free massages the fabulous skyteam lounge offered or not now! I used to go there 1st, then over to new one.

  5. O/T Schiphol BA Lounge – What was the snack some people were saying they could only get from this lounge and was really nice? I’m here now, very quiet but we are early for our flight.

    • Shoestring says:

      stroopwafels

      • Shoestring says:
      • Ahh yes, all over the place in amsterdam and Belgium were we at the beginning of the week.
        Can’t see any in here though 🙁

        • Wrong lounge. It is the Aspire lounge next door which has them!

          • Ahh that will be why then. No longer have our Platinum AMEX although the cancelled cards got us into Eurostar Lounge on our way here which I have to say unfortunately was very disappointing with vomit in the sink and no toilet paper in the toilets. Downstairs looked like a kids play room in a right mess! Our Eurostar from Brussels to Amsterdam which we paid for Premier Standard got all of 1 few miles to Mechelen before breaking down and was left to find our own way using the local trains. Let’s hope our BA flight in an hours time which we have used a Lloyd’s free upgrade voucher is any better but having to fly via LHR to get to MAN and then a quick dash to the station to catch the last train home. Sorry for the moan, haha

        • RussellH says:

          Get them at Sainsbury’s these days (but you are expected to pay…).

        • The BA lounge only has bite-sized ones (individually wrapped….) from what I remember.

  6. ThinkSquare says:

    OT: Has anyone had (or not had) their bonus Avios for the Amex £30 supermarket spend offer?
    https://www.headforpoints.com/2019/08/14/get-10-or-1000-avios-for-an-easy-30-supermarket-spend/
    The small print does say it can take 90 days, but that seems a bit excessive.

    • Mine posted a few days later but no email to confirm I had used the offer, which seems very hit and miss at the moment.

  7. What are the views from the QR lounge like?

  8. Lee Thomas says:

    The views are never great as I think only two airlines taxi that side? Turkmenistan airlines springs to mind. The view from the Malaysian lounge is far better.

    Incidentally, the lindt chocolates and other snacks have been there for years.

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