A business class or first class ticket with Qatar Airways doesn't just get you lounge access before your flight, it also puts you in comfortable surroundings after you've arrived at Doha's Hamad International Airport.
Whether visiting Qatar purely on business or enjoying a stopover en route to Europe, the Qatar Airways arrivals lounge is a great place to begin your day with private shower suites, an a la carte dining room and a dedicated business wing for getting things done.
But confusingly, the first lounge you'll reach on arrival isn't actually the 'arrivals lounge' – join Australian Business Traveller as show where to find this great space and what else you'll uncover inside.
Location & Impressions
Qatar Airways business and first class passengers take a sharp left at Doha passport control for priority processing, emerging in a private room that looks like the arrivals lounge: But don't be fooled: even though there's a modest buffet here with espresso coffee available, this room is designed more for as a quick pit stop for those heading straight to the office, being sans showers or even toilets.
You'll instead find the true arrivals lounge after clearing passport control – there's a dedicated fast track lane to use as you leave this room – before again turning left and spotting the entrance: Once inside, we're reminded of the fantastic Al Mourjan business class lounge in the departures area which features a similar decor yet on a much larger scale... ... but even with standard-height ceilings and a smaller footprint, a visit to Qatar Airways' arrivals lounge is a great way to start your day.
That's particularly so after taking Qatar Airways' overnight flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, which all land before 5:30am Qatari time – well and truly before most hotels will check you in.
- Qatar Airways business and first class passengers upon arrival at Doha's Hamad International Airport
As is the trend with airport arrivals lounges, frequent flyers stuck in economy have no access here, nor to the fast track room at immigration for Qatar's premium class flyers.
At first glance, the lounge's food and beverage options are all buffet-served, with the expected selections of water, juices and cereals... ... joined by chilled meats, cheeses, fruits and yoghurts... ... plus machine-made espresso coffee and also a selection of Dilmah teas: But take a seat in the dining area – that's any table nearby with place settings arranged – and the staff come by to offer a selection of a la carte dishes and to fetch your favourite drink. To start our day we opted for a tasty Spanish omelette, presented in a more traditional style... ... and with more time on our hands, tucked into what was only described as a 'chicken sandwich', but which proved especially delightful. That's where having a printed menu would really come in handy – not only would it highlight that freshly-made dishes are available here, but would help to explain and describe each option, as occurs within the dining areas of Qatar's Al Mourjan lounge.
For a casual check of your email inbox, perch yourself in the lounge's main seating area (above) as you use your smartphone or tablet, with convenient AC and USB power points located underneath each lamp: Each of these seats also comes with its own mounted tablet which you can use to check the time, browse the Internet and review the various facilities available at Hamad International Airport: But for serious work, go for a wander beyond the dining area via this open walkway: You'll emerge in a quiet and secluded business zone with banks of iMac computers at the ready... ... more computers in a more office-like arrangement and an array of meeting rooms for use at no charge. As you can't bring non-travelling guests into this lounge, they're better-utilised by teams prepping their pitch after a flight or when your business counterpart is also arriving in Doha that same day.
There's no private wireless network here, so while the space lends itself well to meetings over Skype, you'll instead need to use the terminal's standard free WiFi, which rarely exceeded speeds of 1Mbps.
Above all else, airport arrivals lounges are a great place to shower after your long flight, before the busy day ahead.
We weren't kept waiting and found numerous private suites, each with its own sitting area, wardrobe and power outlets, plus a restroom, vanity and large mirror... ... and of course, a well-appointed shower with amenities and towels supplied. The suites are also air conditioned, so unlike in some lounge showers which can feel sauna-esque the moment you step out of the shower, you'll remain fresh as you dress for the day.
Back in the lounge proper, comfy seats are scattered throughout – these tailored more towards short stays and a quick coffee... ... while if you go exploring you'll find a number of private TV suites... ... a smoking room (with a closed door to contain the smell)... ... and a communal TV area. While the TV shows the flight information screen by default to minimise noise when nobody's watching, feel free to switch to your preferred channel or ask the staff for assistance. Missing is a day spa as you'd find in the arrivals lounges of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic or a barber as you'd visit on arrival with Etihad Airways, but overall, Qatar Airways' arrivals lounge is a solid effort and still gets your busy business trip off to a relaxing start.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Doha as a guest of Qatar Airways.
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