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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. I think the sandwich bar that you state is on the lower level, is actually on the upper level?

    From the looks of your curry, it looks like QR has taken cues from BA lounges.

    • Oh…now that I look at some other reviews, it looks like there is a whole a la carte dining room on the lower level that I didn’t even see when I visited.

    • And again….it looks like my memory is totally bonkers. I thought that the main dining room and the sandwich bar were on the same level. I forgot that the main dining room was on a mezzanine level. So I didn’t miss the “a la carte” dining room….which is actually just a sandwich bar.

      Probably because of the weird QR flight times.

  2. The lounge is certainly impressive especially at first sight but I find it rather soulless and the food on the whole is rather ordinary.

    I’m a big fan of QR but the ex EU deals that used to be plentiful have become pretty scarce over recent times. It is true that it remains possible to get a J return to Asia for £1,250 or s o but that is from perhaps a single start point to just a couple of Far East destinations. Fares ex UK and to the vast majority of destinations aren’t the bargains they once were.

  3. guesswho2000 says:

    I’m glad you mention the changes, I thought I was going mad – I hadn’t been in here for years until last month, and I thought the food, champagne and overall quality had taken a step down, but couldn’t be sure if it was just me imagining it after spending way too much time in the CX lounges in HKG.

    Shame as, until last month, I had rose tinted memories of this being one of my favourite lounges.

    It was, in my mind, a consolation prize for the BA cancellations, but swapping an award for full-fare J meant at least I got status credits for it. Every cloud.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      It’s a decent lounge where you can pass some time in transit but I my experience it’s so big that you never get that cosy feeling. Complete opposite of the LHR lounge.

      The sound really travels / bounces around Which in part must be because on the huge height ceiling and furniture layout.

      Plus the OW J and F status access lounges are rubbish they really need to sort those out. Cold and clinical spaces with poor food/service.

      • Lady London says:

        IIRC it also felt “draughty” around you sitting almost anywhere. And as another poster says the chair and, in fact the whole place is lacking in “comfort”.

  4. Colin Johnston says:

    I read with interest your article above. I am a BA Gold for Life and have been a Platinum member of Qatar’s Privilege Club for a number of years although dropped to their Gold status last year having become disappointed with various aspects of change . Notably access to the lounge above has become restricted to those passengers holding a paid Business Class ticket. If one uses QMiles or Q Credits to upgrade to Business Class, one is now denied entry. This infuriated me as i explained to the lounge manager that to have achieved my status i travelled extensively in Business Class with Qatar and the QCredits are a perfect way to demonstrate loyalty only to find on an upgraded ticket access to the lounge is denied. An alternative inferior lounge is provided however busy times such as Midnight and 7 a.m, the alternative lounge is grossly overcrowded.
    Qatar were excellent with service and pricing however sadly in my opinion both have dropped somewhat over the past couple of years.
    How about undertaking a comparison review of BA Long Haul flights operated by Worldwide Cabin Crew as opposed to Mixed Fleet Crew. I and a number of friends are so fed up with the poor level of service offered by Mixed Fleet Crew when paying premium fares. BA needs to address this weakness urgently!
    Thank you

    • How do you tell whether you’re on a flight with a “mixed fleet” crew as opposed to a “worldwide” crew?

      • They used to wear different uniforms but I think that has now stopped. Easiest way is to see if the average age is either 20 (MF) or 45 (WW).

        I sat next to someone at the HFP dinner last week who had come off a BA First Class flight the previous day. One of cabin crew in First proudly told him that it was her first day on the job, having previously been cabin crew for Tui ….

        • WW and EF female crew don’t wear hats on boarding and female MF crew also have to wear skirts whereas others can wear trousers.

        • To note – Tui isn’t the same as Thomas Cook Airlines – the former still trading.

        • Having just flown first class BA on a 787 one of the crew cane around and offered to make up my bed.
          I said yes to which she replied “I’m new, could you show me how to make the seat flat”

          Having just spent a week in japan the level of mediocrity we not only accept but have come to accept in service in this country never ceases to amaze me.

  5. Im currently in Stockholm waiting for a Qatar flight to Asia so this came at the perfect time! My second leg from Doha is in the Qsuite (my first time!) so I’ve found this series really useful, thanks Rob!

  6. My memory must be different as well. I could have sworn the family area which is great was downstairs opposite the casual dining area on stools?!

    Those childrens areas look very limp compared to a couple of years ago I have to say. Anyway I will be sure to get us full aquatinted again when we go in on our return in a week or so after flying q suite…..I hope….

  7. Curry and rice, all you ever get to eat in the dining room upstairs. The toasted sandwiches which is the only offer in the downstairs dining area are quite decent though, I usually just have a couple of those and on my way. Alcohol is also available in the downstairs dining area. Note that the soft seating areas are not for eating on – that can only be done in the designated dining areas.

  8. Not enough toilets and showers.

    • Agreed. Have never understood the raving about this lounge. A better test for Rob would be to actually transit straight through during one of the busy periods, as this is what most readers would actually be doing. Trying to get a shower in this massive lounge is impossible. Even the “secret” ones down near the cafe have waiting lines of 20+ people now. It’s an impressive space for sure – but nothing actually works from a practical sense.

  9. And those blue and red chairs look lovely but really aren’t comfortable!

  10. Qatar still my go-to for Asia/Australasia. But, given that country’s pariah status within the region not surprising we are seeing economies within the airline. There are better lounges around (than Al-Mourjan), for me SYD’s first and HKG’s Pier vie for tops. Not Al-Safwa which is like spending time in a mausoleum, -except if overnighting for which the ‘hotel’ is a bonus.
    In my admittedly limited experience the major airlines seem to be engaged in a stroll -or in some cases a race to the bottom. Not on every aspect, but across too many to ignore. As my other half points out, now you can start thinking about air travel as a means of getting from A to B instead of some exclusive experience. A dagger to the heart of this frequent flyer but have to admit there is some wisdom in that….

    • Based on my experience in BA F last week, I would say that it is on the way up. So don’t despair just yet!

  11. It was soon after your first review that I made my only visit to this lounge to date. I really disliked it, mostly because it just felt like a terminal building, not a lounge at all. The ambiance was all wrong. I also thought the food and service were poor. From this review it seems that things have gone downhill since then. I don’t know if it remains the same today but the one thing I really liked about DOH was that it was very open without those awful barriers to control and manage queues that dominate LHR and many other airports.

    • Froggee says:

      +1

      Lat time I flew through Doha, I just went straight to the gate and spent a pleasant enough hour sitting on a normal chair in a quiet corner reading the FT.

      • I think the DOH lounge stands out as being so bad because the onboard experience is so good. The lounge really is quite dire, but if you were flying with BA, you’d probably be quite impressed, but after 9 hours in QSuite being well looked after, you end up in that place, it damages your overall experience and impression of the airline.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Compared to the two main terminal business lounges its brilliant.

          Seriously when are these 2 Heathrow lounges getting a refurb, rubbish compared to some outstations.

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