Qatar Airways 'Business Class' (Oneworld Sapphire) Lounge, Doha Hamad Airport

Lounge Review: Qatar Airways 'Business Class' (Oneworld Sapphire) Lounge, Doha Hamad Airport

Country:
Qatar
City:
Doha
Airport:
Doha
Cabin Class:
Business
Alliance:
oneworld
Airline:
QR (Qatar Airways)

location:

dining:

work:

overall:

What's Hot

  • No boarding calls for peace and quiet
  • Bartender service

What's Not

  • No Oneworld Sapphire access to the 'real' business class lounge
  • No hot food at the buffet

X-Factor

  • Private meeting rooms for serious work

Introduction

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.

Access

  • 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.

Dining

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.

Work

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.

Relax

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.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin
Australian Business Traveller journalist Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

8 Comments

  • pwl

    pwl

    16 Nov, 2016 08:53 am

    I just completed a return trip to the US via Doha & have to say I was very disappointed with the lounge offerings, even though I was able to enjoy the "first class" emerald OneWorld lounge (which wasn't much better).  

    Given that Cathay and QANTAS provide top access to their partners' loyal & valued customers it's disappointing that there doesn't seem to be a fair exchange.  

    I travel to Europe & India a few times each year, so this has actually impacted my choice of airline (back to Cathay Pacific) for those trips. Oh well.
    No member give thanks

  • bsb

    bsb

    16 Nov, 2016 10:34 am

    It's not fair and BA does the same at LHR with Concorde room. I have benefited myself by using CX lounges in HKG inc arrivals so I can't really complain. 

    The real QR Al Safwa Flounge is about the best in the world I think. 
    No member give thanks

  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    16 Nov, 2016 11:06 am

    LHR Concorde room is quite different.

    The BA LHR T5 and T3 First lounges are actually decent and comparable to other oneworld First class lounges.

    No member give thanks

  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    16 Nov, 2016 11:03 am

    Rule of thumb: Only fly QR in Business or First if you have to transit via DOH. If you have to fly Economy and flights go via DOH, there are plenty of other OW options out there that respect the spirit of the oneworld alliance.
    No member give thanks

  • Looking

    Looking

    16 Nov, 2016 11:45 am

     I think this is fair. Whilst I understand most Australians who are OW Sapphire would generally understand and respect the lounge environment, I have had too many instances of being in lounges just before flight were departing to the United States. The ease at which US airlines allow for premium status that bring the lounge environment down.
    No member give thanks

  • wanderer_au

    wanderer_au

    16 Nov, 2016 04:04 pm

    The "hooks" you speak of are also known as men's clothing valets.
    No member give thanks

  • Jason

    cooper81

    16 Nov, 2016 09:34 pm

    I kind of get why Qatar has this lounge policy in place in DOH.  

    And anyone that's been in the Al Mourjan lounge during the peak times would probably agree.  The place is HEAVING.  It's a great lounge but often long waits for showers, tables not easy to find in the dining areas.  Add into that a few more hundred/thousand bums on seats from Sapphires/Emeralds in Economy and the place would be unpleasant.

    Saying that, it's a pity Qatar isn't a little more flexible with the admittance policy.  Much of the day the Al Mourjan lounge is relatively quiet and could accommodate many more people.  It's a shame they don't use the 'First' and 'Business' class lounges as overflow lounges when Al Mourjan is reaching it's capacityor the known morning and night time transit peaks are approaching.

    No member give thanks

  • Jason

    cooper81

    16 Nov, 2016 10:37 pm

    The irony with the 'real' Al Safwa First Class lounge in DOH is that if you are a OW Emerald on an expensive full fare business class ticket from say DOH to SYD you have no access.

    But...if you are on a 40 minute flight on an A320 from DOH-DXB/AUH etc etc in Business you are granted entry as the intra-gulf two class flights are marketed as First and Economy (like domestic two class flights in the US).
    No member give thanks

  • crosscourt

    crosscourt

    5 Apr, 2017 04:27 pm

    I have just been through this experience. I flew MIA to JFK picked up Qatar to DOH and connected to HKG on QR. The 1st class lounge access denial was infuriating. I was in Business (no First Class on those sectors) and emerald OW (Chairmans Lounge). Qatar was awful on the ground. I was directed to FF 1st Lounge which smelt like a chimney and had one shower only operating, then sent to FF Business Lounge where the showers were dreadful, a cubicle - no toilet, no sink to be able to shave or clean teeth, no hooks to hang clothes. Pathetic. I'd like to see the reaction of a QR passenger f they were turned away from the QF 1st lounge. These ME airlines have no substance. They may have flashy looking airports and new planes with all the bells and whistles but they have no PR expertise.
    Member who gave thanks

    Waynemckewen

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    5 Apr, 2017 04:56 pm

    Hi crosscourt, if you're flying Qatar Airways business class you can visit the far superior Al Mourjan business class lounge in Doha - the 'frequent flyer' lounges are only really for Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members booked in economy. Qatar doesn't recognise Qantas Chairman's Lounge status beyond being Oneworld Emerald, so if you were booked in economy, then you'd indeed only have access to those frequent flyer lounges in Doha.
    No member give thanks

  • crosscourt

    crosscourt

    9 Apr, 2017 08:07 am

    Fully aware of that business class lounge but I feel it's like a zoo having used it on a couple of occasions. I was in business (not economy) as there are no first cabins on jfk-doh-hkg.

    My points are two: 1. as emerald OW flying in the premium cabin, access should have been granted to the first class lounge - even their inflight magazine highlights that. The lounge aspect cannot be compared to BA with the Concorde lounge, its a completely different situation. 2. the poor standard/level of shower rooms.
    As I suggested in my original post, the ME carriers are glitz, bling etc and poor on PR and substance.
    No member give thanks

  • Wayne McKewen

    Waynemckewen

    5 Apr, 2017 05:20 pm

    I recently flew on Qatar to Europe in economy and got NO Status Credits or miles for the trip, I'm a Qantas Platinum member...why are they even part of the Oneworld group when you don't get anything in return.
    No member give thanks

Guest

24 Sep, 2017 02:31 am

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