Qatar Airways operates two business class lounges in its home hub of Doha, Qatar: the first being the Al Mourjan Business Lounge exclusively for business class passengers, and the second being this separate 'Business Class Lounge' for Gold-grade frequent flyers booked in economy, who can't access Al Mourjan.
There's a vast difference between the two lounges – whether you look at the overall footprint, the designs themselves or the food and beverage offering, the Al Mourjan Lounge is superior in almost every way and is clearly the lounge you should use when travelling in business class.
But if you are stuck in economy, here's what awaits in the other 'Business Class Lounge' before your Qatar Airways flight at Doha's Hamad International Airport.
Location & Impressions
If you can find the giant teddy bear sculpture, you'll easily find this lounge – the escalators are nearby and after a quick check of your boarding pass at the bottom and again at the reception desk upstairs, you're free to turn left and enter.
What awaits inside is a modern and simple space lined with greenery along the terminal-facing walls... ... although the lounge itself is quite small, so often feels very 'busy' in the main seating areas, even during the quieter times.
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club Gold and Platinum members flying onwards with any Oneworld airline
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club Silver cardholders prior to Qatar Airways flights only
- Other Oneworld Sapphire and Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers such as Qantas Gold and above prior to Oneworld flights
- Business class and first class passengers of any Oneworld airline
Privilege Club Platinum members and other Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers can also visit the adjacent 'First Class' frequent flyer lounge, with business class passengers enjoying access to the Al Mourjan Lounge and first class flyers to the Al Safwa Lounge.
Much as in the nearby 'First Class Lounge' for Platinum frequent flyers also stuck in economy, visitors here can help themselves to a selection of sandwiches, salads and sweets... ... teas, machine-made espresso coffee... ... fresh fruit, soft drinks, juices and water including San Pellegrino sparkling... ... while wine and spirits are served by staff from behind the bar counter: We didn't indulge during this visit but observed that travellers who did queue for beverages were assisted within moments.
As far as business class lounges go, that's somewhat on-par when compared to some domestic-grade lounges across the globe, particularly within Europe and North America.
Yet for international travellers making the long journey home from Doha to Australia, or indeed travelling onwards to Europe or elsewhere, we'd expect much more from a lounge in an airline's home hub – beginning with some hot food options.
What this lounge lacks in the food department is very much offset by the facilities for working business travellers, with groups of desks both with and without computers for getting work done... ... private meeting rooms with closing doors offered on a first-come, first-served basis without charge... ... and the prevalence of both AC and USB power outlets throughout the lounge, with the former a multi-country design that accepts Australian plugs without needing an adaptor: That's much appreciated by travellers in transit, particularly those flying between Australia and European countries like France or Italy who might only pack a European plug and not think to bring a UK- or Indian-style adaptor as you'd usually need in Qatar.
You'll find these outlets on the cocktail tables below the lamps, also nearby thoughtful garment hooks for keeping your suit jacket crisp: Missing, however, is a dedicated wireless Internet network for the lounge – travellers instead need to use the airport's own free WiFi, from which we struggled to pull download and upload speeds of more than 1Mbps.
With Doha serving as a growing aviation hub, we like that boarding calls aren't made here – otherwise, that's all you'd hear.
Flight departure information can instead be found on a number of screens, alternating between Arabic and English... ... with showers and also English-language newspapers close by too: Down the end of the lounge you'll find a TV viewing area – on our visit, playing A Few Good Men with English-language audio and Arabic subtitles to cater for both audiences... ... although the screen itself feels quite small for the space and would make it hard to read those same subtitles from the second row backwards.
Overall, we'd expect much more from an international lounge branded as 'business class' – especially in an airline's hub – although some improvements to the food and beverage offering and a few extra seats would go far to improving this lounge.
Also reviewed: Qatar Airways' Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Doha as a guest of Qatar Airways.
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