A ten-hour layover like the one I recently endured might seem like a daunting prospect, even at a hub as highly regarded as Doha’s Hamad International Airport. Fortunately, those travelling in Business Class with Qatar Airways can look forward to a space where they might relax in refined luxury whilst waiting for departure.
Welcome to Qatar Airways’ Al Mourjan Business Lounge.
Note: Unless otherwise specified, the information and pictures presented here are drawn from my own experience of using the Al Mourjan Business Lounge on 04 June 2022. Operating hours, admission criteria, lounge facilities/services and other details may change at any time without prior notice.
Airport name : Hamad International Airport
IATA code : DOH
Country : Qatar
Major city served : Doha
Lounge name : Al Mourjan Business Lounge
Operator : Qatar Airways (QR)
Location : 3rd Level, Duty Free Plaza South, Airside (departures zone), DOH.
Operating hours : Open 24 hours daily.
Date of visit documented in report : Saturday, 04 June 2022
My lounge entitlement basis : Business Class ticket for Qatar Airways flight QR15 (DOH-LHR).
Related links : Qatar Airways
The Al Mourjan Lounge is on the 3rd Level of the Duty Free Plaza South area at Hamad International Airport (DOH). If you’re not sure where “Duty Free Plaza South” is, just head for the massive open space with the ginormous yellow teddy bear.
If you’re facing the bear, swing towards the left until you see one of several signs saying “Al Mourjan Lounge”. Follow the signs until you reach the long escalator that will take you up to reception.
The exact location of the escalator is marked on this map posted on DOH’s official website (it’s a bit left of centre on the floor plan, bearing the label “to Al Mourjan Lounge”).
At the foot of the escalator, a staff member will inspect and electronically scan your boarding pass before allowing you to go up. Note that this is the lounge’s access control point – the reception desk is for handling passenger service requests rather than managing entry.
So, what will it take for us to gain admittance into this shimmering oasis of glass and polished steel?
The following Qatar Airways (QR) passengers enjoy complimentary access to the Al Mourjan Lounge:
- First Class
- Business Class (Elite, Comfort, and Classic fare only)
Oneworld First and Business Class passengers are also entitled to use the lounge at no additional cost.
QR’s Business Class (Lite fare) and Economy Class passengers can purchase access through the manage booking feature of the airline’s official website.
Right, that’s our entrance all sorted. Let’s head inside, past Anselm Reyle’s 2009 abstract sculpture Philosophy…
…and look for a place to park ourselves in for the next few hours.
Places to sit, sleep, and relax in
With about 10,000 square metres of space, the Al Mourjan Lounge has plenty of room for the almost bewildering variety of seats and seating areas it’s fitted with. Rather than attempt to describe every option at length, I’ll just lay out this gallery for the readership to enjoy.
I should point out that even though the lounge may look like a howling wilderness in most of my pictures, all of those seats (and then some) are needed during peak hours. Trust me, I’ve seen it: when this place is busy it’s phenomenally busy. Needless to say, I wanted to spare myself from having to manually pixelate dozens of faces when the time came to write this report, so I lay in wait and went on a picture-snapping prowl only after the crowds had emptied out.
Whilst not designed to serve as a transit hotel, the Al Mourjan Lounge does have spaces for people who need to stretch out and catch forty winks. The easiest to secure are nap cubicles: small one-person enclosures where tired passengers can get some rest in (relative) privacy.
By the way, I don’t know what these are actually called – I just like to call them “nap cubicles”. 🙂
I’ve seen more than one concentration of these in the lounge, so if a particular set is full you can try your luck elsewhere. The image below shows a group of nap cubicles located near the business centre, right next to a glass wall overlooking the tarmac.
Another set of nap cubicles can be found in a secluded corner not far from reception, just a short walk past the baggage room.
Incidentally, this particular corner of the lounge has a rather impressive view of the terminal’s monumental architecture. All one has to do is look up.
Should you require something with a little more privacy (and a lot more silence), there’s a small set of larger cubicles in a special quiet area near the lower-level dining room. Those are a wee bit more enclosed – albeit still without doors – and can be used up to a maximum of six hours a go, if you’re lucky enough to snag a vacancy.
The Business Centre
Whilst I’m on holiday, the merest suggestion of the lightest whisper of the faintest inkling about anything, anything, anything to do with work will instantly set my teeth on edge. That said, a good many guests are travelling on errands of labour and it’s only proper for the lounge to offer the right sort of environment.
Enter the Business Centre.
This place puts a lot of full-time offices to shame. Printers, computers, meeting spaces, a large conference table, chairs one can lean back in with steepled fingers whilst casting a baleful look upon the frightened subordinate sitting directly opposite – whatever you need, they’ve probably got.
What you can’t have in here are food and beverages; those aren’t permitted in the Business Centre. But scroll down to the next section and we’ll learn about where you can eat and drink to your heart’s content.
Dining at the Al Mourjan Lounge
There are two main dining areas in this enormous facility, one at either end. Let’s start with the simpler of the two – a good option for light meals or substantial snacks.
Turn left from the lounge entrance and keep going until you reach the massive glass wall at the far end.
Through these automatic doors, you’ll find what might best be described as a modern bistro. There’s an à la carte menu of sandwiches and salads that you can order off of, or you can choose to assemble your own meal from a simple buffet of light dishes and beverages.
I don’t know if it’s to do with the pandemic of if it’s always been like this, but the buffet – at the time of my 04 June 2022 visit, anyway – wasn’t nearly as impressive as one might expect from a lounge of this calibre. Granted, this isn’t the main buffet (that’s in the other dining area), but the rows of pre-packaged side dishes and plastic-wrapped bread pieces didn’t exactly make for an appetising sight.
Right, let’s get to work.
Plastic lids off, wrappers off, a bit of arranging here and there…
…and voilà! A slightly more presentable light brunch.
To be fair, I could have ordered a proper sandwich off the menu…but QR fed me rather too well on the inbound flight and light pickings were all I required.
Now if you’re in the mood for something more substantial, cross over to the other end of the lounge and march up this grand staircase. Be warned: you may need to queue at peak times and wait to be let through by staff as tables are vacated.
The more upscale of Al Mourjan’s two dining rooms is right up these steps. Diners can help themselves to a buffet of prepared dishes or order off the à la carte menu (accessible on mobile devices via a QR code). Breakfast is served from 0500-1030, whilst lunch and dinner are offered from 1100-0400.
I wasn’t particularly hungry at the time and chose to limit myself to a few items from the buffet. In hindsight, as a steak lover I should have taken this opportunity to tuck into a plate of juicy medium-rare beef tenderloin (aaaaargh). Oh well, spilt milk under a burnt bridge and all that.
There are self-service beverage bars scattered across the lounge, conveniently placed in the midst of its various seating areas. The ones I’ve seen were all pretty much identical to the example shown below.
I also observed what looked like snack buffets built into the walls next to some of the seating areas. Just beverages and wrapped pastries/sweets, although from the acres of empty space I suspect a larger selection might have been spread out upon them before the pandemic.
Internet access and power/charging
Free WiFi is available throughout the airport. You can register for access in a couple of different ways – I found it easiest to simply scan my boarding pass bar code.
Many (though not all) seats are located next to side tables fitted with power outlets. The conventional power points will accept a variety of plugs, and there are also USB ports available (sadly these are USB-A rather than C).
Toilets and showers
The washroom facilities – or at least the ones I used – were impeccably well maintained. From what I observed, there was at least one attendant hovering close by at all times, ready to pounce upon any recently used cubicle and swiftly restore it to pristine order.
As one might expect of a top-tier airline lounge, there are fully-equipped shower rooms for guests who’d like to do a bit of freshening up. These are in heavy demand and will be hard to secure at peak times, but as I had a long layover I simply waited until the next lull before asking the attendant for a vacant booth.
Now this is a proper freshening-up suite. I appreciate the enclosed toilet booth right within the room, the Diptyque products laid out next to the washbasin, the illuminated mirror, the full set of towels…
…oh hang on a minute, what did we come in here for again? Ah that’s right – there’s a shower in here as well.
If you’ve got restless adolescents in tow – or if you’re a restless adolescent yourself – you might wish to seek out the lounge’s Game Rooms. I popped into one next to the Business Centre which had an Xbox and a PlayStation fitted; neither appeared to be functioning at the time but a quick word to the lounge staff would have probably sorted those out.
There’s a Baggage Room not far from the entrance where guests can stash luggage in lockers – useful for those who’d like to wander about without their carry-ons.
Guests who need to light up will also find a Smoking Room in the Al Mourjan Lounge. I didn’t take any photographs of the facility, but it’s a fairly spacious affair with leather armchairs and side tables.
As of the date of my visit (04 June 2022), the wearing of face masks was still required throughout Hamad International Airport.
Hand sanitiser dispensers are available in various places across the lounge.
Apart from various simplifications in catering (reduced variety, pre-packaged dishes, etc.), I also observed a distinct lack of printed reading material – newspapers, magazines, brochures, etc. – although the empty display stands for these have been left in place. Perhaps this is meant to reduce possible vectors for viral transmission between guests.
I say, that was a fantastic visit in almost every regard. But London calls, and it’s now time to depart.
Down the long escalator and back into the wider world I go.
Now for my closing thoughts.
The Al Mourjan Business Lounge is easily the largest of its kind I’ve ever visited, and certainly one of the best equipped. It has everything I need and then some: a variety of places to sit, easy access to refreshments, multiple dining options, fully stocked shower rooms, reliable internet access and charging points…truth be told, I can’t ask for much more. The architecture and interior design are also top-notch, blending seamlessly with the rest of Hamad International Airport whilst also being set apart, and above, the hustle and bustle of the terminal.
If I were to admit a point of concern, it would have to do with the rather serious overcrowding that can take place at peak times. I was fortunate to enjoy the lounge during an extended layover – most of which coincided with a very quiet period – but I did observe two incredible spikes of foot traffic during my stay. Let’s just say I felt sorry for the passengers whose shorter stays happened to take place right on top of those peaks, with the concomitant shortage of well-positioned seats and queuing for restaurant tables and full shower rooms and all the rest.
As a midrange traveller (in budgetary terms), it’s not likely that I’ll allow myself the rare pleasure of a long-haul premium class trip again in the near future. Having said that, should the opportunity arise again, I’d be very happy to return to this splendid lounge.