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Review: the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge at Doha Hamad International Airport

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This is our review of the Qatar Airways business class lounge, Al Mourjan, in Doha’s Hamad International Airport.

It is the penultimate review from my trip to Qatar with Qatar Airways, with my review of Qatar’s brand new business class seat on the Boeing 787-9 to follow tomorrow. The trip was arranged by the airline to promote your new ability to transfer Avios to Qatar Privilege Club and redeem for Qatar Airways flights at new, lower, rates.

(Australia, for example, is just 180,000 Avios plus £600 return in Business Class when you fly with Qatar Airways, compared to 300,000 Avios plus almost £1,000 return on a peak day with British Airways. Qatar Airways also flies to multiple cities in Australia and New Zealand, whilst BA only flies to Sydney.)

Doha Airport bear

Where is the Al Mourjan lounge?

I had a 9am flight from Doha, which is just after a huge bank of aircraft leave, which meant the lounge was busy when I arrived but quiet when I left.

The Qatar Airways business class lounge is almost directly above the gigantic sad-looking teddy bear sculpture at the centre of the terminal.

It is very conveniently located – it’s also the floor above the transit security area, so ideally located for anyone with a few hours to kill on a connection.

Access is via an escalator or lift that takes you up to the second mezzanine floor. Check in is at the large white welcome desk:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha welcome desk

Inside the Qatar Airways business class lounge in Doha

The first thing you notice about the Al Mourjan lounge in Doha is the sheer size of it all. Spread over 10,000 square meters, it feels less like a lounge and more like an entire terminal building. (For comparison, the large split-level Qantas London lounge at Heathrow is 1,200 square meters…)

This is what you see when you first enter:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha entrance

…. and that is probably less than a third of the total lounge! The ‘bridge’ floor is the main buffet restaurant, which is where I went first as I hadn’t had breakfast yet. A spiral staircase and chandelier make for an impressive entrance:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha chandelier

Al Mourjan buffet restaurant

The restaurant was pretty rammed when I first arrived, as you can see here. It seemed particularly popular with families:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha buffet restaurant

Fortunately, things calmed down by the time I had finished breakfast. I was sat by myself:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha table

There is an a la carte menu accessible via a QR code, but I struggled to connect to the wifi. It was only later that I realised that the wifi and my VPN were clashing. However, the staff kindly relayed the to-order menu and I went for my standard eggs royale:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha eggs royale

A buffet was also available. The most substantial offering was a hot breakfast offering, for which there was quite a queue when I arrived:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha hot buffet

Other options included yoghurts, fruit, hummus etc:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha buffet

Plus a range of pastries and bread:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha buffet pastries

Teas, coffees and fresh juices were available to drink. Joseph Perrier Champagne was also out, and I imagine there is a larger alcohol selection for lunch and dinner.

A la carte restaurant

After breakfast I decided to explore the lounge a bit more, and discovered that there is another, much quieter a la carte restaurant at the opposite end of the lounge. This is what it looks like:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha a la carte restaurant

In hindsight, I would have started here – it looked a lot brighter and much calmer, with far fewer families around. It is much less advertised than the buffet restaurant, which is also right next to the lounge entrance.

Al Mourjan lounge showers

The showers are located next to the lounge bathrooms and are separated by gender. There are four showers in the men’s section, which suggests there are just eight in total across the whole complex – which seems like remarkably few given how busy the lounge can get during peak times.

There was no attendant there when I went, so I just walked through and found myself an empty shower that (by the looks of it) was ready to use.

Al Mourjan lounge Doha shower 3

They’re a decent size, with shower and toilet cubicles separated with frosted glass:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha shower 2

Toiletries are provided by Diptyque – you can’t argue with that.

Al Mourjan lounge Doha shower

All in all the showers are very nice, although they don’t quite pip the showers in the Cathay Pacific lounge at Heathrow.

Exploring the rest of the lounge

The rest of Al Mourjan is made up of mostly casual seating in the main lounge area. There is a slightly raised central section with funky blue arm chairs on either side:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha table raised section

The central section also features two bars serving water and soft drinks:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha bar

Some funky, gnarled wood partitions break up the space a bit:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha booths

and

Al Mourjan lounge Doha raised area

Next to the showers you’ll also find the business centre. This is made up of a more casual part:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha business centre casual

Plus a more officey area:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha business centre

You’ll also find a games room here, although it looks startlingly barren and was empty when I had a peek:

Al Mourjan lounge Doha games room

Who can use the Al Mourjan lounge?

This bit is important!

Qatar Airways isn’t as lenient with its lounges as some other airlines are with theirs.

The Al Mourjan lounge is only for passengers flying business class on Qatar Airways or another oneworld airline.

Even then, and this is key, travellers on a Business Lite ticket, Qatar’s unbundled business class fare, are excluded.

If you are flying in Economy but have oneworld status, such as a British Airways Silver or Gold card, you are sent to the Oryx lounge. This is a substantially lesser experience.

(To be clear, Business Lite ticket holders without status do not get to use the Oryx lounge – these ticket holders are not allowed in anywhere!)

It is, however, possible to pay for entry to the Al Mourjan lounge if you are flying in Economy or Business Lite. A personalised offer will appear in ‘Manage My Booking’ on the Qatar Airways website. I have seen both QAR 450 (£100) and QAR 350 (£77) quoted.

Conclusion

The scale of the Al Mourjan business class lounge never fails to impress – it has got to be one of the biggest individual lounges in the world. The designers had fun and definitely made the most of the scale of the space, with the large buffet restaurant spanning across a reflecting pool featuring occasional, artistic drips.

The quality of the food is great too – far higher than you can find in British Airways lounges – although I’d like to try the a la carte restaurant next time I’m there.

The only downside to having such a mega-lounge is that it lacks the sort of cosy, cocooning ambience you can find at smaller lounges. It also means that it feels far less exclusive than, for example, the Cathay First wing at Heathrow, particularly during peak times. It might make you think twice about leaving your bag unattended whilst you grab a drink or a bite to eat.

You can find out more about the Al Mourjan business class lounge on the Qatar Airways website here.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (October 2022)

As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta Air Lines and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (62)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Lux says:

    It’s a very big lounge, from memory the business centre is a good place to get some work done.

    My main bugbear was the walk across the centre section to reach the rear of the lounge. It requires a nonsense walk on the diagonal rather than cutting straight through. Hardly a global problem, but did seem unnecessary.

  • patrick says:

    I spent 9 hours there yesterday and it was superb. Lie-flat recliners available with blankets at the back of the business centre if you cannot book a bed in the quiet zone. Excellent showers, great food – a wonderful space.

    They currently allow entry to all travellers who are Gold/Emerald, even if travelling P class, whilst the new first class lounge is under construction.

    • Swede says:

      Hi Patrick, am travelling through with a long stopover at the end of the month and was intrigued by your comment; is there no first lounge at the moment?Travelling in Business, however, was considering paying to visit the First lounge. Thanks in advance for your info.👍🏼

      • pbcold says:

        I spoke to the people at reception as I wasn`t sure I had access on a P ticket and was told that Emeralds are currently being given access whilst the first lounge is rebuilt: the whole airport is under an enormous phase of construction.

      • Thegasman says:

        “First” lounge is for One World Emeralds ie. a status lounge. It’s poor quality & if currently closed (as was the case in peak Covid) then they let you into Al-Mourjan which is for Business class passengers with the right ticket type.

        The Al-Safwa lounge is for First class passengers. It’s huge, feels like a library/museum in a kind of impressive way & gives access to a small number of ensuite bedrooms (~6) on a first come, first served basis which are good for long layover. The food is still average & there is a spa that is paid access/treatments.

  • Aliks says:

    I have so many good memories of the Al Mourjan.

    Over the years, I have checked into this lounge at all hours of day and night, coming or going from the far east. I hear what people say about the cavernous appearance, but it always seemed to me to be impressive rather than soulless. The only problem is doing justice to the food and drink on offer, as likely you had a meal on the inbound flight, and probably another good meal waiting for you on the outbound flight!

    And I love the wacky teddy bear in the atrium . . .

    • Phillip says:

      I agree, other than the teddy! It just looks depressed/depressing to me!

  • Thegasman says:

    It’s an impressive space at first look but miles away from being in my top 5 global lounges.

    It’s so big because it has to be. That may sound stupid but is very much the opposite case to the Al-Safwa (First) lounge where you feel like you’re in a huge, empty, peaceful cave. Here you often feel like you’re on the concourse at the O2 when there’s a big event on, wading through crowds to find an empty seat, then food, then queuing for toilets/showers. I find the peak periods unpleasant. I’ve certainly never seen it as empty as your pictures portray.

    The quieter restaurant area you found is actually a sandwich/salad/light bites menu rather than the full menu upstairs. To be honest this is better from a food perspective as the airport has stupid rules about cooking that essentially mean every hot meal is microwaved! I find the quality better on board than in the lounge!

  • George K says:

    I haven’t been there since QR unbundled their J fares, but you can count me as a fan of the lounge. I get the criticisms, but I never felt that there was something lacking.

    I’ve particularly enjoyed the private cubicles that each come with a miniature departures board, where you can relax, sleep even, and not have to get up every second minute to see whether your flight has been called.

    The games room used to have an F1 car simulator, consoles and some soft toys. Pretty useless if it’s just an empty room now.

    I wouldn’t pay to get into Al Mourjan, but I would love to see their first class lounge one day

  • Nick says:

    Can someone pleeeaassee tell Rhys there’s a difference between meter and metre!!

  • lumma says:

    Brings back memories of my greatest HFP bargain. €580 business class returns from Amsterdam to Tokyo with Qatar in 2017

    Always check the site out mid afternoon to see if any extra articles have been posted

    • Andrew J says:

      I traveled on that deal too – I do recall a very long layover in the Doha overnight though which did make me fall out of love a bit with this lounge – it needs to have some more cosy areas like a CX lounge. The deal got me over the line for BA gold that year though so can’t complain.

      • Tom says:

        If we’re playing competitively, I flew BRU-DOH-HND five times on that fare (BRU-DOH-HND was the best routing as it guaranteed a 787 or A350 on both legs, plus arriving at HND is always more convenient). The good old days before QR introduced Qsuites and ruined the business class service flow on busy flights. I remember on one of those trips I had an 8 hour layover in Al Mourjan and, unfortunately, that was the point from which I actively started to hate it. I can probably name at least 15 business class lounges that are nicer places to spend time (including QR’s own lounges in CDG and LHR).

        • Tom says:

          P.S. yes, I am a bit insane.

          • polly says:

            Yes we did. Couple of those also 850pp ex scandi, think we did x 3. To Asia mainly KUL, and HKG. Jump off points for the islands. Got given out to on here for wasting an F241 to KUL. But why use a 241 when we got that nice aircraft, pre suites days, but bargains of the century.. Now waiting with bated breath for a qr sale…

  • AndyC says:

    “Check in is at the large white welcome desk:”. The last time I visited, which was admittedly pre-pandemic, check-in was achieved by showing one’s boarding pass to one of the two members of staff standing at the foot of the escalator who scanned the pass. The individuals manning the “welcome desk” were not interested in checking anything!

    • 1ATL says:

      The welcome desk staff are interested in checking boarding passes if you come up in the lift. They are also most helpful if you require extra assistance with onward connections, changing sest assignments etc. They’ll also help provide assistance to those with mobility issues and help secure them a seat etc…

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