DOH: Doha Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge
The brand new Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge is by far the largest and most opulent lounge at the brand new Doha’s Hamad International Airport. It has the rare delight of loads of space and somewhere to sit: unlike it must be said the Qatar Business Lounge which is designed for economy class passengers on who are oneworld Sapphire and Emerald, and indeed Qatar Privilege club Silver And Gold travellers.
No, to enter the Qatar Al Mourjan Business Lounge you have to have at least a Business or First class ticket (unless the lounge is running in 'backup' mode, and also taking passengers from the First / Business lounges when they are closed).
The entrance to the lounge is in the South Node, up the escalators just off the main atrium of the airport. If you are in transit once through transit security take the escalator down, turn sharp right and right again, and back up the escalator to the lounge.
Once up these there is a huge reception desk, around which there is generally chaos, and indeed it must be said quite a few people who just walk in without having their boarding card scanned. Then you are in past the 15x7m infinity pool water feature, which is under a huge spiral staircase illuminated by a four-tiered crystal chandelier. The restaurant is up the stairs.
The lounge is vast - 10,000 square metres, which has enough room for over a thousand passengers at a time. Although admittedly most of them tend to decend on it in the middle of the night, when it can get very busy indeed.
The main part of the Qatar Al Mourjan Business Lounge is a vast aircraft-hanger style area, with a central raised wooden stage with high upright chairs separated by glass screens from where there is more comfortable seating and sofas.
There are various places to eat in the Qatar Al Mourjan Business Lounge : from a buffet on the ground floor with a continental brasserie, a deli and a patisserie; although in truth these places do resemble a snackbar in the middle of the night. There is also a proper sit down restaurant upstairs.
Most of the lounge however doesn't have windows, which can be very disorientating. If you turn sharp right and right again at the entrance, past the water feature, you'll end up in the 'blue zone' which has a vast wall of glass. This area is however furthest from anything to eat and drink, other than the small 'nibbles' counter or the bench with soft drinks in it, similar to the four others dotted around the lounge.
Many of the chairs on the lower level have their own personal tablet on a side table next to them - here you can check flight departures and browse the internet, and also plug in USBs and play them (there is a headphone socket. All the seats have UK power sockets (which also take Euro plugs) and 2 USB charging ports.
Back in the centre of the lounge, if you go up onto the wooden platform, and down again, you'll end up in the 'red zone', also called confusing the Business Lounge. The Business Centre is here, but there are also more seats, and at the far end another wall of glass, which if you turn right at the end finally ends in the 'TV Circle'. Here, there is a TV, surrounded by three banks of seats. It is always deserted - as noone can find it - and it is also imposssible to watch the TV. Mainly because of the bright light streaming through the window. As designs go, it is a major location mistake. Back beside the Business Centre is the first games room.
When designing the lounge, Qatar Airways say they designed bronze walls featuring traditional calligraphy which create “an ambience that infuses contemporary elegance with Arabian heritage”. And they might be right - it really is quite good.
Back in the main lounge, the 'bamboo garden' is now straight ahead, and then a glass wall - with just one opening door - through to the continental brasserie and buffet. Order food at the counter, and then take either one of the high up benches which are straight out of Ikea, or sit down at the rather gloomy round tables at the back.
Right from the Deli is small unmarked corridor, at the far end of which are the shower suites. Left from here is the quiet zone and snooze pods: you have to ask at the desk if one is free.
Left from the Deli is another corridor. The left door has a family room, while the right door is another games room.
There is one other, pretty much hidden part of the lounge, which is almost always empty. If you turn sharp right and right again from the entrance, past the lifts, there is an overspill part of the lounge, which also has another TV area, and this one has the rare delight that you can change the channels.
FoodFood is good in the Qatar Al Mourjan Business Lounge, with several snack food buffet stations around the lounge.
However for the best dining, head up to the mezzanine floor where you can order a la carte from a menu via the waitresses. Mind you, you first have to ask for the menu, make you order, and then wait 20 minutes while it’s cooked. Service is not exactly fast. The menu typically has three pastas and four main entrée dishes, with steak, chicken, and lamb. At breakfast time there is a full buffet, and some buffet: you can get a full cooked English if you want, minus the bacon of course.
There is a separate cafe type area at the far end of the 'hanger' lounge behind the glass doors. This buffet offers what is called a continental brasserie, a deli and a patisserie where you walk up to the counter and request food, which is also laid out on trays and in the fridge in front of you. The pastries in the afternoon are really rather good.
BarIn the restaurant area on the upper level is the bartended bar, which is open 24 hours a day: there is no just walking up and getting a drink in the new Qatar Al Mourjan Business Lounge restaurant. Indeed, during Ramadan, there is no alcohol at all! However outside this month the wine list is pretty good, with three good whites and three reds. The spirit selection is however very pedestrian, and the beer likewise.
There is a second bar in the cafe area at the far end of the lounge, but it feels like an afterthought, with bottles of spirits placed precariously on the work top.
And finally, there is the famous, hidden, drinks cart. This is in the main 'hanger' area, on the left as you walk towards the cafe, hidden behind the magazine rack. Here, you can pour yourself a drink anytime you feel like without asking for it.
BathroomsThere are great showers in the lounge, with really good hot showers.
There are two shower complexes: the main shower area is at the left as you enter, and past the quiet area, and you then ask at the desk for an empty stall. It contains three towels and some amenities.
The other shower area is right at the end of the dining area: however here there is no ventilation, and it is very hot, with only ‘tepid’ cold water.
Business FacilitiesThere is free wifi in the Doha lounge, Qatar Airways being able to offer a very fast internet.
At many seats on the lower level there is a tablet fixed to the table or chair, where you can browse the internet.
There is also a business centre with a conference room, and eight fast new PCs with a combined printer and scanner. This is in the 'red zone' on the spurr off the main hanger area. The newspaper rack here is the best one, with some international papers.
Off the deli area at the back of the lounge is one of the new games rooms: here there are old fashioned pinball machines, and playstation stations, plus table football machines.
In a separate games room off the Business Centre, there is a Qatar formula one car you can sit in, and play driving games.