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

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

It is the final part of our current Qatar Airways series. Our previous article reviewing the Qatar Airways Premium Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 4, is here.  Our two articles reviewing the Qsuite business class seat start here.  Our article on Qatar Airways business class food and drink is here.  Our look at the Al Maha VIP arrivals and departures service is here.

As a reminder, Qatar Airways gave me a return Business Class flight from London Heathrow to Doha.  Head for Points paid for all of its other expenses including hotel, transfers and meals.

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

I love this bear!  It takes a certain genius / madness to commit to buying this and making it the central marker point of the longest building on earth!

Inside the Al Mourjan lounge at Doha Airport

This page of the Qatar Airways website describes the Al Mourjan lounge in more detail.  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 and covers 10,000 square metres:

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

The reality, of course, is never as glamorous.  Especially when you arrive early in the morning!

It is five years since I last reviewed this lounge.  Whilst it remains impressive to look at, commercial realities have clearly started to bite and there are noticeable reductions in various areas.  Don’t be too concerned about this, however, as it remains an impressive space.

The lounge is broken down into a number of zones.  The key thing to know is that the main dining area is upstairs – this is not very clear from the ground level.

Let’s start downstairs though.  At the far end is the second smaller restaurant, which focusses more on casual snacks.

I did not arrive at a great time.  It was around 10am when I entered and all traces of breakfast had been removed, to be replaced by lunch.

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

There is nothing especially flash about this, especially as you are sat on stools.  You do get to order food off a small menu, however, whilst the main restaurant is just a buffet.

Just off from this area are two rooms.  One is a rather neglected childrens playroom:

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

Directly opposite the childrens playroom is the grown-up playroom!  Unfortunately, this was substantially emptier of equipment than it was five years ago – gone was the table football, gone were the pinball machines.  The couple of video games remaining looked a bit sad in what is a large room.

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

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:

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

Last time I was here, I was impressed to see that (at 6.30am local time, 4.30am London time) the lounge was offering computer-printed copies of the UK newspapers.  In 2019 (at 10am local time, 8am London time) there was nothing except local newspapers.

As I wrote in my Qatar Airways Qsuite review, you could get same-day UK newspapers on the aircraft – so why not in the lounge?

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!

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

and

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

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:

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

If you want a rest, there are also a few of these (showers are also available):

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

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’:

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

The days when you could get a glass of Krug with your breakfast – and this was from a business class lounge, remember – are long gone.  Champagne is still available, of course, but one that costs the airline 80% less.  I ended up having curry off the buffet for breakfast, as the lounge was already in lunch mode:

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

There is another full bar up here:

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

along with two different food stations:

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

Behind the upstairs dining area is a special family zone.  This is impressive – you basically get a cubicle area for your group, with plenty of space for changing or playing:

Review Qatar AIrways business class lounge al mourjan doha hamad airport

Conclusion

Whilst it isn’t as impressive at is used to be, I still enjoyed my visit to the Al Mourjan lounge.  Architecturally it is very outstanding, with a good mix of eating, drinking, working and relaxing areas.  Some inspiration has clearly been taken from a Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.

If it lacks anything, it is a ‘cosy corner’ – you are constantly aware of the scale of the lounge, and indeed the airport.  It remains well worth a visit if you are passing through Doha Airport, however.

This the final part of my Qatar Airways review series, since my initial flight review last week was a mix of both the outbound and inbound trip.  If I needed to sum up the entire trip, from the London lounge to departing the aircraft back at Heathrow, I would say ‘quality’.  Qatar Airways sets the bar very high at every stage.

Some of the ‘flash’ has gone from the operation in recent years, but make no mistake that what is left is, in almost every regard, exceptionally well done.  The icing on the cake is the fact that:

Qatar Airways tickets can often be had at exceptionally good prices in Business Class (£1,200-ish to Asia if you are prepared to start your trip outside the UK) and

You earn British Airways Avios and tier points on every trip, with one return to Asia getting you 90% of what you need for a BA Executive Club Silver card (4 x 140 tier points = 560 tier points)

It’s difficult to ask for more, especially if spending your own money on a Business Class ticket.  Try to give Qsuite a try if you can.

Thanks to the Qatar Airways team in London for arranging my trip, and to the loyalty and press team in Doha who hosted me for an afternoon.

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Comments

  1. Andrew Lyons says:

    I agree with the last comment,although souless like an aircraft hangar and not very comfortable the food is very good. However my main criticism is the poor shower facilities. The reviewer if he or she had arrived at peak time might have waited 50 minutes for a shower if male (much less if female) You can always gorge yourself on board if male but of course you cant have a shower, and wont have tinme if you connection time is 2 hours or less!

    I have had similar experiences travelling Emirates (45 min wait so saw a manager who took me to a pay as you go shower and they paid). I think these middle East hub airlines need to get their act together, at Dubai and Doha the business class facilities are below average!

    • Genghis says:

      Agreed. I transited through Dubai on Sat morning with Emirates and had to wait around 40 minutes for a shower. Only 10 male showers at the A gates. Not ideal when all you want to do is get some more sleep.

    • Agreed though I still consider Doha as well ahead of Dubai.

      Last time I used the Emirates J lounge in DXB there was a 10-minute line just to use the bathroom – only other airport I have had to queue that long is Stansted, and never encountered it in a lounge.

      Part of the issue appears to be the local demand for absolute cleanliness. The DXB J Lounge bathrroom cubicles have an attendant “prepare” them between each customer, and won’t allow you to go in until the preparation ceremony has been performed – which caused most of the delays due to half of the cubicles being empty at any one time.

      Same for the Al Mourjan showers – heaven forbid the shower tray is slightly damp from the previous user, etc. I think each cubicle spends far longer either being cleaned, or waiting to be cleaned, than actually used. I doubt that is true of many western-airport facilities.

      Aside from that, I think most of the issues/negativity spends from the average length of Transit. For such a large (and soon to be expanding) airport, it is a pity HIA can’t get the economics of the airport hotel down to a decent price-per-hour. My least satisfied journeys through Al Mourjan have been the 6hr waits (when Al Saf upgrades weren’t available) – though only the Virgin Lounges in JFK and LHR have kept me entertained for that long.

  2. Surprisingly for BA, they manage the showers thing well in T5 arrivals – they seem to have 100s and whilst not very stylish, are functional and you never need to wait. Basically QR need to turn that huge business centre that no one uses into another shower facility.

  3. Michael F says:

    I went through Doha for the first time a few weeks ago. On the way out, at about 6 am there was a huge queue for the showers with a lot of irate passengers: wait time of 40-50 minutes. One passenger was complaining that it’s been like it for years.
    Had a shower on the way back at about 2am when it was quieter. I think they may only have one working shower room because of plumbing problems.

  4. You sit, or are seated on stools; not ‘are sat’.

  5. rams1981 says:

    OT – anyone been charged interest for using Creation IHG card to top up Revolut? I have some interest charges in my last statement having not had any before.

  6. After making about 3 dozen visits through this lounge over the last 4 years, the standards have dropped and for the record, I never considered it to come close to the London Lounge which has always been a class above. I still believe that whilst it is architectarally stunning, Qatar never managed to scale up the service standards that were required to make this a world class business lounge. A real shame as otherwise they provide exemplary service onboard with a revolutionary business class product.

  7. Phil Duncan says:

    The showers in the QR lounge in Doha need to be redone completely. The water is either hot or scalding and the aircon in the cubicles is non-existant and it’s almost impossible to get dry.

    I think this lounge is far from a premium experience, it’s more like a huge factory and impersonal.

  8. OT: Plaza Premium T5
    When it says flash your Amex Platinum to gain entry, is it swiped or logged or is it literally just show-and-enter?

  9. Aston100 says:

    Some of the negativity in these comments smack of first world problems.
    Some people here need to adjust their perspective.

    • I’m not sure why someone who had paid £5k (or whatever the fully flex business class fare from the UK to say Thailand is) should not feel aggreived if there is a 20 deep queue for a shower – given that this is an advertised benefit – etc. Fundamentally most comments in threads like this are about people being unhappy that what they get does not match the specification.

      90% of the worlds population has no car. If you bought a £20k car and fundamental aspects of it did not work as advertised, and the dealer told you that you had a ‘first world problem’, I doubt you’d accept that.

    • Aston, this entire site caters to the first world. Although I do think there is a tendency for people to complain on sites like this about anything that is not the very best and it’s worth remembering that in terms of biz class travel, Qatar is generally a cheap option. The lounge may not be to everyone’s taste but it is a remarkable space and I look forward to my trips there. It is on a completely different scale to any other lounge I’ve visited and while it’s not my favourite, it’s the only one I can think of where I’ve taken a photo (partly because it is so spacious it is easy to do so without snapping any unsuspecting travellers; and secondly because it does look unique). I do agree about the showers but when I’ve been there I’ve normally got time to kill so it’s less of an issue.

  10. Just to big for my taste with a very sterile and formal atmosphere. Never liked it personally and for a home-base lounge it’s a far cry from, say, the CX lounges in HKG,

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