What to do at Doha airport?

By BCTraveller | Nov 01, 2017, 07:25 PM
I am travelling to Europe on Qatar and the flight connections require me to overnight (8 and 16 hours). I am not enthused by Doha and priority is sleep. I am in QR business class and have QF Gold status. Many thanks!
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By freshthoughts | Nov 01, 2017, 08:43 PM
I'd just book a room "the airport hotel" which is within the terminal so you don't have to leave customs or anything
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By alansu | Nov 01, 2017, 09:16 PM
For the 16 hour layover, consider booking a hotel outside the airport, which are considerably cheaper than the HIA Hotel and only takes about 20mins from Hamad Intl in a taxi. On my recent trip from NRT to FCO I had a 14hr layover in DOH and so stayed at the Westin, got some much needed sleep that even business class can't top.

Qatar have visa free entry for Australians now so you won't even have to apply for a transit visa anymore.
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By BCTraveller | Nov 01, 2017, 09:26 PM
I'd just book a room "the airport hotel" which is within the terminal so you don't have to leave customs or anything

Thanks :)
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By BCTraveller | Nov 01, 2017, 09:27 PM
For the 16 hour layover, consider booking a hotel outside the airport, which are considerably cheaper than the HIA Hotel and only takes about 20mins from Hamad Intl in a taxi. On my recent trip from NRT to FCO I had a 14hr layover in DOH and so stayed at the Westin, got some much needed sleep that even business class can't top.

Qatar have visa free entry for Australians now so you won't even have to apply for a transit visa anymore.

Great advice, thank you :)
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By Skiijockey | Nov 01, 2017, 09:39 PM
By all means get out of the airport and explore Doha. The tourism jewel is the Museum of Islamic Art. It’s open most days, and is even better live than you will see in the pictures. The building and it’s contents are spectacular. It’s about 20-30 minutes from the airport and well worth the trip. The view from there of the curious collection of buildings in the CBD across the bay is good too. I’m afraid after spending 2 weeks there in 2015 there isnt much else worthwhile, apart from a walk along the Corniche, as long as it’s cooler weather (November to March).
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By BCTraveller | Nov 02, 2017, 12:40 AM
By all means get out of the airport and explore Doha. The tourism jewel is the Museum of Islamic Art. It’s open most days, and is even better live than you will see in the pictures. The building and it’s contents are spectacular. It’s about 20-30 minutes from the airport and well worth the trip. The view from there of the curious collection of buildings in the CBD across the bay is good too. I’m afraid after spending 2 weeks there in 2015 there isnt much else worthwhile, apart from a walk along the Corniche, as long as it’s cooler weather (November to March).
Thanks very much - I do like museums. Prob won't be open late at night but I'll remember that for next time.

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By Happy Trails | Nov 02, 2017, 09:36 AM
It sounds like you might be eligible for the stopover package (STPC) which includes:

"•Hotel room for the duration of the passenger’s stay (5-star hotel for Business Class passengers / 3-star hotel for Economy Class passengers). If there is a change in the Flight Schedule and the new connection time in Doha becomes less than 8 hours then the existing hotel confirmation will become invalid.
•Temporary entry visa fee to Doha, Qatar*.
•Transfer HIA - hotel - HIA.
•Meal voucher (depends on duration of the transit)."

You can find this info on the Qatar forum on Flyertalk.
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By Theresnormissin | Nov 02, 2017, 12:19 PM
I had a similar long layover and thought I was eligible, but when I chatted to Qatar Directly and they looked in to my booking, I wasn't because of how the booking was made on their website (ie I had not booked it as a multi city booking) I'd still give them a call to see what they say though.
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By BCTraveller | Nov 02, 2017, 01:33 PM
Thanks very much for the STPC tips. That would do nicely.
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By Ross | Nov 04, 2017, 02:19 AM
Eight hour stopover, stay in the lounge (Al Mourjan) there are sleeping chairs just behind the entry desk to the right; 16 hour, yes leave and get a hotel, the prices have really come down since the blockade.
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By Johnny9 | Dec 11, 2017, 12:29 AM
Thought I share my experience as flown via Doha in J few times in last few months:

- SPTC FACT: eligibility is only if time between your shortest-possible connections in DOH is >8h. I flew e.g. EU-DOH-Asia and booked not first possible but second-possible flight of second leg (DOH-Asia) because first connection didn't had the "sale J" class available, but only "J-flex", which was significantly more expensive. Hence my layover in DOH was 16h and I asked ground staff numerous times: I was not eligible for the STPC as there was an earlier connection which I could have purchased (for few $1000s which was ridiculous).

Now what to do in DOH at a long layover:

- Sleep: I timed my layover to compensate jet leg, meaning try to sleep at certain times. As the Transit Hotel was totally booked out, my options were:1) either leave airport and go to hotel nearby (will be doing this at my next trip), or 2), which I opted for: rest up in the sleeping cabins in the back of the DOH Al Mourjan Business Class lounge (when you enter, go left, all the way to the back to the bar/cafe section, then right past the rest rooms - then book with the shower receptionist, of course its complimentary - you can ask at lounge check in though). Beware though, there were totally packed when I arrived around 5 or 6am, I was able to snatch last cabin to rest for a few hours as I explained I had a long layover. The acoustics really suck and I had troubles falling asleep because some dude was snoring, echoing in the entire silent area. Hence, make sure to bring ear buds. When I left the silent area around midday the cafe/bar section was closed, so I believe it is may not be accessible 24/7

- Work: the DOH Al Mourjan Business Class lounge offers fantastic facilities to work undisturbed productively in their business centre.

- Doha Tour: at the airport they offer free 2..3h tours of Doha. Just google/check the airports website where the sign-in desk is. I think the tours leave in the morning, seats are limited and is first come first serve, available for all class pax.

- Relax: ultimately, 2-3h before boarding the next flight I usually leave the lounge to go to the DOH Airport Spa (same elevator as to the Transit Hotel, L4), to get a deep tissue massage - which is fantastic and highly recommended. Although a bit on the pricy side, 50min for approx. USD$100 it really helps the journey. You can take a shower in th spa, hit the pool afterwards and relax. I do this every time I have a >1.5h layover in DOH.

- X factor: if you are looking for a really quiet place for work or relax you can use the landslide DOH Qatar Arrival Business & First Lounge. First you exit through Qatar's dedicated J & F arrival terminal and immigration. Just follow the signs. You dont need any visa as Aussie or EU citizen - process goes super quick and the immigration area is gorgeous and is a lounge in itself. then once you exit the airport go left to the QR Arrival Lounge. I checked it out as I had a ton of time on my hands and although its not the biggest, it is brand new, gorgeous, has all the stuff as the airside lounge (showers, food, etc) and has superb office desk in the business centre (including iMacs, and even meeting rooms). I was totally alone in the arrival lounge, no other pax, while the airside lounge was quite packed at the morning rush hours. It is a great alternative to get some rest, some work done and simply enjoy a quiet moment. Whenever you are ready to go back inside the airport / terminal use the dedicate J & F departure check in terminal (T1) (go upstairs and left to the front of departure terminal building) and you are back inside in no time.
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By BCTraveller | Dec 13, 2017, 04:45 PM
Thanks for this ecellent review of options. Since I first posted my query I have been issued a STPC for the Oryx hotel, just near the airport. I am inclined to take tat option for a good sleep.
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