Worlds Apart: A Review of the Qatar Airways Business Class Lounge in Doha
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To The Point
The Qatar Airways Business Class Lounge in Doha is the lounge for Oneworld Sapphire elites flying in economy. Pros: Showers and a nap room. Cons: Limited food and drink options and it can become very crowded.
Qatar Airways likes to skirt the rules when it comes to lounge access. Oneworld regulations state that Oneworld Sapphire elites are “welcome in Business Class or frequent flyer lounges,” but Qatar avoids this rule by having a separate business class lounge for Oneworld Sapphire elites.
That’s right, Qatar has two business-class lounges in Doha (DOH) — the Al Mourjan Lounge for business class passengers and the Qatar Airways Business Class Lounge for Oneworld Sapphire elites who are flying in economy. The two business-class lounges have little in common. Here’s my take on the Qatar Airways Business Class Lounge.
All Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald elites as well as business- and first-class passengers on a Oneworld flight technically have access. But if you’re flying in first class you’ll want to go to the Al Safwa First Lounge, while if you’re flying in business class you’ll want to go to the Al Mourjan Business Lounge — or possibly pay for to access the Al Safwa First Lounge. If you’re a Oneworld Emerald you’ll want to go to the Qatar Airways First Class Lounge.
So, you should only go to this lounge if you’re a Oneworld Sapphire elite flying in economy on a Oneworld flight.
If you don’t have Oneworld status and aren’t flying in a premium cabin, you can go to the Al Maha Lounge using your Priority Pass membership. The main lounge is currently closed for renovations, but a temporary lounge is available near Gate A1. Priority Pass Select memberships come with select credit cards including The Platinum Card® from American Express, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express.
From the main airside atrium in DOH — the one with the huge teddy bear — follow signs to the Business Class Lounge. Go up the escalator and then turn left at the desk to enter the Business Class Lounge.
The two lounges for Oneworld elites who aren’t flying in business or first class share one check-in desk. However, agents are usually checking and scanning boarding passes at the bottom of the escalator from the atrium, so there’s no need to approach the formal desk unless you need assistance with your flights.
The Business Class Lounge is long and thin, with glass windows on one side of the lounge overlooking the main airside atrium with the teddy bear.
There are a variety of seating types available ranging from dining room tables to high-back and low-back lounge chairs.
To the right, near the lounge entrance, is a hallway leading to restrooms and a luggage storage area.
Farther back in the lounge, there’s a sleeping room off to the right with about 12 lounge chairs. When I visited around 10pm, the room was full of sleeping passengers and their belongings.
Walking past the sleeping room, you’ll walk into the dining room. Just off the dining room are two family areas with chairs and TVs.
At the far end of the lounge there is a TV-viewing area.
It’s relatively easy to find a seat with a power outlet, but only some of these power outlets are universal. The outlets in the dining room, which is the most comfortable place to work on a laptop, are UK three-prong style, so you’ll want to make sure to carry on your adapter.
Newspapers were available on a table near the lounge entrance.
There are four toilet stalls in the women’s bathroom, one of which is handicap accessible and has a baby-changing table. There’s lotion and hand soap next to each sink.
There are two small shower rooms in the women’s bathroom. Each has a concrete bench, a concrete shelf and a shower cabin.
A bath towel and floor mat are provided in each shower room and there’s shampoo, conditioner, lotion and body wash in each shower cabin. The showers are first-come, first-served, but there’s usually an attendant nearby who will replace towels and reset the shower room shortly after each use.
There’s no dedicated lounge Wi-Fi, so passengers are instructed to connect to the airport’s free Wi-Fi. You’ll want to connect to the “HIAQatar Complimentary Wi-Fi” network, since this network doesn’t require you to enter your flight confirmation details or phone number. The connection wasn’t very strong in the lounge, but a speed test showed 4 ms ping, 3.81 Mbps download and 4.39 Mbps upload.
Food and Beverage
The only hot food available in the lounge consisted of two types of soups: laksa and tomato basil. On a cold buffet, four types of sandwiches and six types of salads were available. Muffins, small pastries, apple juice and orange juice were available at a square table near the dining area.
I tried the Tex-Mex chicken sandwich and hummus. Both were okay, but nothing special.
There was no alcohol visible in the lounge, nor any signs about obtaining alcohol. The only sign of alcohol was a stash of wine glasses at one end of the food buffet. You can ask a lounge attendant for red wine, white wine or beer and they’ll obtain your selection from a back room. Otherwise, the drink selection is limited to juice, sodas, water, tea and coffee.
The lounge is comfortable enough for working or reading a book, but it can become very crowded. The food selection is limited to light snacks, and the drink selection — alcoholic and non-alcoholic — is minimal. The sleeping area and showers are useful for a longer layover, though, and the family rooms provide space for families to gather.
This lounge is worlds apart from the Al Mourjan Lounge, which is the actual business-class lounge provided to passengers traveling in business class. One of the benefits of being a Oneworld Sapphire elite is access to business class lounges when flying Oneworld, so it’s frustrating that Qatar provides Oneworld Sapphire elites such as inferior lounge product compared to its actual business class lounge, the Al Mourjan Lounge.
All photos by the author.
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