You'd expect that a first class lounge on an airline's home turf would exude luxury and prestige befitting its 'flagship' status, but Qatar Airways' 'First Class Lounge' in Doha is an exception to that rule.
That's because this isn't a true 'first class' lounge, as such: the confusingly-named space caters to Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers (including Qantas and Qatar Platinum-grade members) travelling in economy – not to actual first class flyers who are whisked to the separate and far superior Al Safwa Lounge.
Location & Impressions
To get to the lounge, find the airport's central and iconic teddy bear sculpture and veer left to find escalators leading up to the First Class Lounge.
It's certainly a pleasant space with greenery adding colour to otherwise dark and muted tones...
... but which is firmly on the smaller side.
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club Platinum members flying with a Oneworld airline in any class of service, plus two guests when booked with Qatar Airways or one guest with all other Oneworld airlines
- Other Oneworld Emerald members such as Qantas Platinum, Platinum One and Chairmans Lounge when travelling with Qatar Airways or another Oneworld airline, plus one guest
- First class passengers of any Oneworld airline, plus one guest
- Business class passengers of any Oneworld airline are also welcome, but with no guests unless the traveller also holds Oneworld Emerald status
While we've listed all travellers who can technically access this lounge, business and first class flyers would find better comfort in the expansive Al Mourjan and Al Safwa lounges, respectively, while economy flyers of other Oneworld airlines are pointed to the nearby Oryx Lounge by default.
We should also note that when the lounge is overflowing, some fortunate visitors are redirected to Qatar's stellar Al Mourjan (business class) lounge.
Meals on offer are closer to a domestic lounge than an international 'first class' lounge with a few mezze bites and chilled sandwiches...... two rotating soups with breads... ... and muffins and nibbles nearby the coffee machine: That concludes your meal options, which you can enjoy in the dining room. As pictured, some construction hoarding is in place while this area is expanded but there's no word on when – or indeed, if – true hot dishes will be served here.
The beverage selection is a little more promising with both still and sparkling water, soft drinks, juice, wine and spirits available... ... pleasingly with true (French) Champagne in the Jacquart Brut Mosaique NV, which retails for around A$70 a bottle. But on the whole, for a lounge catering to frequent flyers jetting between Australia and Europe we'd expect to find much more than sandwiches and soup greeting the airline's – and the alliance's – highest-tier travellers, no matter which class they're travelling in.
A lack of boarding calls here provides for some peace and quiet for getting things done, with power points hidden under various round discs on the floor... ... or near some of the lamps, including in this central private 'family area'... ... but which could equally be used by colleagues stuck in economy. As the lounge doesn't offer its own wireless service you'll need to connect to the airport's own WiFi network, which we found delivered slow but usable 1Mbps speeds – but there was nowhere great to plonk a laptop, beyond the few tables in the dining room.
Kick back with a glass of Champagne as you peer into the terminal for some people watching... ... take a shower before your onward flight or pull up a chair in the high-walled TV zone... ... but which could do with a bigger TV to suit the space and make legible the scrolling bars commonly found on international news channels: On the whole, for Qantas Platinum/Oneworld Emerald members stuck in economy on long journeys to Europe, Qatar Airways' First Class Lounge just doesn't live up to its name.
Also reviewed: Qatar Airways Al Mourjan lounge, Doha Hamad Airport
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Doha as a guest of Qatar Airways.
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