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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. Well, somebody has to, I suppose.

  2. NigelthePensioner says:

    …and isnt the check in fantastic too in the ghost town that is T4 currently?

    • I had to queue for 45 mins recently with only 3 parties in front of me in the combined business/first check-in desks (I was a BA Gold flying Business). Only two desks manned and it seemed to take them an age to check each party in.

  3. BSI1978 says:

    Love the Qatar lounge, presently sat in BA Galleries T5 North where there’s no hot food as the ovens are down…..

    1st world problems arguably, and we could walk over to South (our flights are from A10 however) but still makes me wistful….

  4. What was the point of this article, sponsored (totally fine with that)? It adds nothing extra to the previous iteration which is presumably still available. Hope it is not going to herald a series of reruns of old articles but I appreciate there may be need to do so. This is undoubtedly a nice lounge, probably the best lounge experience I have had at LHR but it had one major problem, the staff were a PITA following customers around like their shadow. That was soon after it opened though so hopefully it has relaxed a bit since then. Not that it bothers me as I’m extremely unlikely to be in it ever again.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      The point is to remind people that the qatar lounge is still a brilliant place to start a business class journey.

      What’s more after this new series of articles customers looking at flight going east with the choice of an Airline vs Qatar but the latter cost £100-200 more you could well decide QR is worth it.

      I know the lounges and the inflight experiences are some of the best out there. Especially starting in LHR T4. Used it last year going to HKG (£1400 fare) vs £1100 ex EU but it was a far better experience than via AMS.

      • Wouldn’t argue with any of that provided the cost saving is sufficient incentive to do a transit which from London it will be for many people. From the regions though we have often no alternative to a one stop flight and IME Qatar usually loses out on schedule, transit time and price so above average hard and soft products are not going to sway me. Especially if I have to trek around DOH at ungodly hours when I could be asleep on some other carrier getting closer to my destination.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Horses for courses of course.

          Also you may want to sleep through your journey I prefer to enjoy a film or two, a few drinks and some tasty food. You get all that on a QR flight. Tbf you’re getting that on BA from LHR (A JFK recently) these days as well, LH return might not be as good yet

          I agree re trekking around a QR lounge in Doha for hours is a waste of time so I plan to either stop over for a few days or the shortest connection I can find. 2-3 hours fly by and are a great chance to stretch your legs ….1 hour can be a rush.

          • Shoestring says:

            *Don’t* stop over for a few days unless you get your kicks out of 5* hotels, fine food, hot weather & swimming pools. There’s nothing else.

          • Opposite here, if possible I prefer to get overnight flights and sleep most of the journey. Were I travelling economy though, I’d fly QR or EK from EDI every time to avoid sitting for 11+ hours. Always felt anything up to around 8h in economy is doable but anything over that usually left me in poor shape emotionally and physically.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Harry that’s not really true. It may have been years ago but there’s enough to fill 2-3 nights there easy including some great bars and restaurants.

            Walk the corniche, Visit the MIA, the souq, take a trip out on a Dhow, go dune bashing and visit the rather interesting (because you’ll have no idea what anything really is) Sheikh Faisal Museum. Looking at google there seems to be more museums etc popping up.

            Honestly though do you return to your place in the sun every few weeks for all the great sightseeing or to just relax and enjoy some sun?

          • World Cup.

          • Shoestring says:

            @TGL – if Doha is your hub airport, you are de facto going somewhere better, where you’d much rather spend your valuable time.

          • [email protected] I think Doha is ok to spend 2-3 days in, but only once.

    • I haven’t flown Qatar Airways yet but am thinking of doing a trip to Thailand next Feb/Mar so this is useful to me. Qsuite definitely looks like the best biz class seat out there and Qatar Airways does call itself a 5 star airline so it’s interesting to get a review of whether it lives up to the hype.

      I appreciate that it may be a repeat article if you’ve been reading this website for a while but if you’re like me who is relatively new it is useful as it saves me searching for the old article and also it is good to see if the standards are being maintained.

      Thanks for this article Rob.

      • Def recommend qr going east, and worth doing ex eu to Asia if you like to spend the dosh saved in location.
        But qr do have a habit of changing planes last minute, and thete goes your q suite. Still a great biz experience tho, just a shame if you get an old 777 with 2 2 2 config. But still a spacious flight.

  5. I have flown Qatar Airways on 40+ flights and they have been consistent. Last week I flew Eithad for the first time having read excellent reviews previously. The T4 Lounge was poor and the pasta I received was poorly cooked. The USB on my A380 seat did not work and the seat cushion inflate function was inoperative and my following 77W flight seat was very worn. This highlights the need to repeat review, as only the very best airlines are very consistent, whilst others improve and reduce in quality or our expected standards change. In my mind Qatar Airways maintains its standards. It is only when one flies other so called good airlines that one realises that the very best (Qatar Air/Singapore Airlines etc) are so much better than the rest. A repeat review for Etihad would suggest standards have dropped enormously

  6. The chocolates have been there for years. On a good day I prefer the Concorde Room. But it does have to be a good day and I accept that it’s subjective.

    • AA First lounge at T3 also has an extensive pick’n’mix counter with paper bags, encouraging you to take some for the road.

  7. Jon Arnold says:

    I’ve used it a couple of times and agree it’s a beautiful lounge. No issues with overcrowding. Last time I was on a business redemption ticket but I believe if you upgrade an economy ticket you do not get access. Not sure if that’s still the case?

  8. Ben Noble says:

    Flying 8am tomorrow, thanks for wetting my appetite

  9. ankomonkey says:

    “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.”

    Do you have the number of the Qatar Airways team in London? I’ve also never flown the Q Suite. Presumably they will insist I head down to Doha to try it out…? I’m an influencer, honest guv!

  10. Was in the Cardiff Lounge on Thursday, wow it is terrible, even at 6pm the best they can do is a cold pain raisin! Almost empty as well, no wonder. Also they have stopped accepting Priority Pass which goes back to some other articles – and just at the end of September I think. Only accept Dragonpass.

    • Yes, covering this tomorrow actually.

      • Lady London says:

        For the first time ever I got turned away.from the Aspire lounge Gatwick North last Thursday lunchtime. They were half empty but told me there was a Qatar flight departing later in the afternoon and they were obliged to hold spaces for QR.

        Went to MyLounge who had no more than 12 people for an apparent capacity of at least 50. MyLounge stated if I had not reserved (£5) they would not admit me. Even though they admitted they were close to empty. They said people had reserved but not turned up but they had to keep the seats anyway. Luckily I was still signed in at No.1 which was unpleasant, too crowded and noisy like a beer hall. I had left it due to these unpleasant conditions but had to charge my PC to did something urgent.

        I smell a rat here. Collinson owns Aspire and MyLounge. I think Priority Pass is going along with these lounges insisting on a co-pay to keep their own costs under control. This week I received an email from Priority Pass marketing Clubrooms at Luton telling me I would ‘only’ have to pay an extra £10 in addition to a pass off my Priority Pass. Even at Luton I can spend £10 better, Priority P*ss .Newsflash : the majority of your lounges aren’t good enough, Priority Pass. Quite a lot aren’t even worth the pass fee.

        I also think BJ is right in that these lounge now have different customers and too many of them. I have a new strategy for next year and will not be buying Priority P*ss. Nor would I attribute much value to it anymore as part of Amex Plat. My fallback to new strategy will be BJ’s idea of buying a drink and a sandwich and going somewhere else with it.

        • Aston100 says:

          Got turned away by no 1 lounge and aspire lounge at BHX the other day. They both said they weren’t accepting any kind of passes that day.
          Both lounges looked no more than fifty percent full.

          This on top of being turned away by the three lounges that are next to each other at Gatwick North not so long ago, again despite them looking to have plenty of space.

        • Agree, its getting so bad we avoid north term like the plague. In South, which we use for our cheapo Paddy Air to DUB esp with a baby in tow, we head straight for Grain Store. But will try for new lounge in a couole of weeks, and see if we are lucky.
          They need a GS in North terminal.
          However, this is def a scam going on here to recoup costs. If you are lucky enough to encounter someone of reasonable common sense, they might let you sit at a reserved table for an hour. Some of these tables l saw were reserved for hours later!

  11. An interesting lounge that you’ll never use if you fly QR exEU for the benefits listed in the article. Nobody is daft enough to pay QR’s exLHR prices surely?

    • Shoestring says:

      Is there a way to get a stopover in London? Ie use your positioning flight in EU as a weekend away, fly the Qatar EU-LHR leg and take a break, then resume your LHR-Doha leg some time later.

      That would get you into the lounge.

      • Lady London says:

        It would get you into the lounge BJ but a stop of more than 24hrs before onward longhaul flight incurs longhaul APD on your ticket.

    • We always fly from Europe but the benefits of QR service are still there. How they manage the newspapers is typical of how QR treats its business customers. Same when in the air, they have someone refresh the toilet’s every time someone enters. It’s the attention to making each customer feeling valued in their own right that QR understands wins them elite business.

    • When QR had a LHR-HKG sale for £1400 I was happy to pay that, but couldn’t find any acceptable dates. You could possibly get there on avios too if you tag on some other flight that lands in the UK less than 24 hours earlier, to avoid APD.

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