Qatar Airways First Class Lounge Doha To Open Late April 2015

Qatar Airways finally began operating out of Doha’s new Hamad International Airport last May, after a huge delay.

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The airport is pretty spectacular, though still isn’t done. It was actually a couple of months before they opened their business class lounge, and their first class lounge has yet to be opened.

While I would take it with a grain of salt, Qatar Airways claims that they’ll be opening their new Al Safwa First Class Lounge in late April 2015. Via Business Traveller:

The lounge has been delayed well beyond the opening of the airport. Al Baker made reference to the delay saying it was as a result of “very high standards and amenities” being installed.

It is believed that access to the first class lounge will be restricted to those flying in First, with Oneworld Emerald members continuing to have access to the Al Mourjan Business Class lounge.

In other news, Al Baker confirmed that the final part of the airport would open at the end of May.

In fairness, Qatar Airways’ Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge is excellent, and is almost to the standard of a first class lounge.

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The lounge is huge and physically stunning.

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And they serve Krug!

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My hope is that they don’t cut back on the offerings in the Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge when the Al Safwa First Class Lounge opens. Since it’s technically a “shared” first and business class lounge, I wouldn’t be surprised if they cut back on some of the selection when it only becomes a business class lounge.

I’m still a bit confused as to who will have access to Qatar Airways’ first class lounge:

So I guess we’ll see eventually!

Bottom line

Akbar Al Baker has really been hyping the first class lounge, claiming the delay was because of just how high end the finishes are. At this point I think we have the right to have really high expectations. ūüėČ

I’ve been told the new lounge should have a spa, though aside from that they’ve been tight-lipped as to the amenities of the new lounge.

Anyone else excited to check out the new Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge?

Comments

  1. Thanks for this post, Lucky!

    I for one am very excited; looks like it may open before the EY F lounge at AUH (all April opening language of the EY F lounge has been removed from the EY website).

    However, I remain skeptical of the Al-Safwa’s potential food selections. I found the food in the Al-Mourjan lounge to be terribly disappointing, perhaps the result of a small kitchen (or so I’ve heard). Stunning architectural space though. I prefer the TK J lounge at IST for its more generous and more varied food selections (no Krug though).

  2. Sorry, but the business class lounge doesnt serve Krug any more. At least during my two visits in Feb.

    And it was quite crowded. Will the opening of the F class lounge help that? I dont know about F class in the short haul routes in the region, but dont they just operate F class on 3 routes on the long haul? Cant be that many passengers heading for the new longe…?

  3. I spent 32k on Smiles (Gol Mileage Program) to fly QR NRT-DOH in J and DOH-CAI in Y on April 26th. Mainly to use the Al Mourjan Lounge I spent another 32k miles for another ticket to fly DOH-CAI in F. I¬īll be really, really happy if His Excellency finally keeps his inaugural date promise, thus allowing me to also use the Al Safwa. I don¬īt have high hopes, but that would be a highlight of the trip, along with flying NH and EK F.

  4. @ Mark — Keep in mind there are TONS of passengers traveling regionally in first class, so the lounge should empty out quite a bit. To clarify, did you specifically ask for Krug at the upstairs bar?

  5. @ ILDC — Yep, indeed. The kitchen in the Al Mourjan Lounge is TINY, and I believe that’s something they’ve learned from. I believe they’ll have a true a la carte menu in the Al Safwa Lounge.

  6. I was in the Al Mourjan lounge a couple of times in mid-February and they still offered Krug at the bar upstairs. Didn’t see it anywhere else, though.

  7. It will be interesting to see what access rules Qatar ultimately settle on. At the moment, the Al Mourjan lounge has a sign outside listing oneworld status passengers as being eligible for access.

  8. Didn’t al-Baker also claim that the A380 delivery delays were due to high quality finishes yet now there’s several reports of the lavatory sink being poorly designed/leaking ?

    I wouldn’t trust a word this guy says to be honest.

  9. From an architect’s perspective, I notice that all of the lighting appears to be LED with a very cold lamp temperature. I know that LED is the future (at some point), but this lamp makes every thing appear cold, artificial, and unattractive. Not very desirable photos- from my seat.

  10. Hi Lucky,

    The concept of their lounges might be like this. When I was transiting at HIA, I saw and checked the First Class and Business Class Lounge, they told us that VIP’s are occupying those lounges reason is that VIP Lounge is still under construction. And as we all know, That VIP lounge is within the terminal though it is called lounge they still have their own entrance, check in formalities and lounge. That makes the Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge access rights temporary as of now which is being occupied now by, QR F and J customers, Top tiers QR FFP (GOLD AND PLATINUM) and oneworld (EMERALD AND SAPPHIRE). Knowing they have so many top tier members, this will really overcrowd the place.

    Anyway, with that in mind, once the VIP lounge will be open. First Class Lounge might be for FFP Platinum and oneworld Sapphire, then Business Class Lounge might be for FFP Gold and oneworld Emerald. Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge will be for only business class passengers of Qatar Airways and Al Safwa First Class which will be having a bigger spa like what they offered with their Premium Terminal before, are only for first class passengers of QR.

    Ive heard that the reason why they named the big lounges as Al Safwa First and Al Mourjan Business is because they only want QR passengers to use it and to give exclusivity. They must have thought of it when they joined oneworld.

    Also, you can see it already with their check in counters, Al Safwa First is only for QR first class passenegr and Al Mourjan Business is only for QR business class passengers while top tiers will have dedicated counters at different counter which is almost the same counter layout like the one for economy passengers.

    I think QR planned the lounge operations since before but they were just having delays on some of their facilities which affects the flow of the operations.

    About the Krug, I think they won’t be serving it in Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge once Al Safwa is open. If you ask the crew onboard, they only serve Krug for first class passengers but sometimes for business class passenger but sectors TO Doha only and not from Doha.

    What you think?

  11. Ben, nothing will be cut from their Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge. That is what Qatar offer to their Business Class pax. I have been to their first class lounge several time before in Premium Terminal, they have something else and even greater offering.

  12. @ hisha — I hope that’s true, though I wouldn’t be so certain. Qatar has better champagne in the Al Mourjan lounge than they had in the old first class section of the prmeium terminal.

  13. As a platinum member I will be very disappointed if I cannot enter the first class lounge, not all routes offer have first class routes so why penalize if not available.

    Current lounge is why overcrowded, for me the old Premium terminal was far better. It wasn’t long before the Al a carte serviced stopped, what next!!!!!

  14. Hey Lucky –

    ex-Seattlite here now based out of London – flew the QR70 flight from FRA – DOH – SIN recently in C. Was on Lima-Bravo from FRA – DOH – which was nice. As of mid-March they still had Krug at the upstairs bar, but what your review doesn’t mention is the food.

    The food in the Al Mourjan lounge is horrible. It’s worse than eating plane food in Y. Because I was a glutton for punishment, I decided to give at least every thing a try – just to find some saving grace. But alas. The only really edible thing I had there was a part of the salad counter (or cluster). Even then, the meat was full of fat bits that you had to spit out or just swallow down whole. Even the desserts which were cake/patisserie type things were flavorless at best.

    Thankfully, on the way back from SIN – FRA, I’ll have a much shorter layover (1.5 hours vs 6 hours) and I won’t be subject to the food – nor the lack of lounging chairs (like the do in the Air Canada lounge in FRA).

  15. @ Tim — Ouch! While I haven’t found the food to be great, my experience wasn’t that bad. Thanks for the data point.

  16. Any idea if flying CDG-DOH in F connecting to DOH-HND in J would I have access to the new F lounge in DOH?

  17. I have a similar question to the comment from Ben above this one. I’m flying from AUH-DOH in F, but continue to MLE in J a few hours later. Will I have access to the first class lounge?

  18. @ JorgeC — No way to know for sure since the lounge hasn’t actually opened yet, but I think you should have access if connecting same day from first class.

  19. Lucky, sorry to repeat what @ Jose Fraga asked, but have you heard any news on the QR First lounge in DOH? I’m transiting there in late June.

    Thx

    Pat

  20. @ JUDGE JULES CLUB WORLD — I’ve heard it’s supposed to open in the next couple of weeks, but don’t have any confidence in that. Sadly it’s anyone’s guess until the day the doors open.

  21. I’ve seen two pictures on instragram yesterday. The lounge seems pretty much finshed. Of course that means nothing, as they still may be hundreds of smaller defects HE doesn’t like.

    Btw…saw this link on FT.

  22. @ CX691 — Seems it will open “soon,” but we don’t have any further info, unfortunately.

  23. For Economy passengers..no Mourjan access and no Safwa Access regardless of being Emerald or else. Access to the other lounges that were used before without Menu..just small selection of food but still I enjoyed the service..and coffee and .. I hope that it does not get over crowded..like Doha streets.

  24. well, here we go… while for the pas year I had the pleasure of enjoying the Al Mourjan lounge and now as platinum card holders we are not allowed inside anymore. Instead, they dumped platinum card holders in a small waiting area with some chairs and a little trolley for the drinks. The lounge is a pure joke! They call it “first class lounge”, while for real no first class passenger will ever set foot in there.

    This for me is enough reason to use the Turkish Airlines status match and leave Qatar Airways. I feel screwed. Flying with them all the time and then not being able to use the business class lounge. That doesn’t give you the feeling of being welcome as frequent flyer.

  25. OK, everyone, I am AT the Hamid Intercontinental Airport now, and here is my report.

    The airport is completely dry (no alcohol) for Ramadan, as previously reported.

    Now regarding the lounges – first of all, they are not clearly marked, but the escalator to the Al Mourjan business lounge is very close to where the transit escalators drop you off (so you go down one level and up two levels). The Al Mourjan lounge is expansive and quite gorgeous. Had I not known about the first class lounge, I would be very happy here.

    Contrary to other reports here, I found the food (complete dining in the restaurant, part buffet, part table service) to be quite good. It’s not burgers and fries, if that’s your taste, and they were a little heavy on Indian cuisine, but the seafood bisque was second to none, and the grilled lamb chops were amazingly good. The main restaurant is one floor up from the reception, although there is a second restaurant at the far end of the reception level that was a bit less formal.

    BUT everyone in the airport has been actively discouraging our entry to the First Class lounge despite being an Emerald One World flier. Seems they really don’t want to play in the One World League. We’ve actually been told by three people that this (Al Mourjan) IS the first class lounge, and by two that the first class lounge isn’t open yet. I honestly think they just don’t know. We saw Al Sawfat, and there is another business class lounge next to what I think is the Al Sawfa lounge.

    I’m not sure I’m up for the fight tonight. We have a return transit later this week and will investigate further.

    In the meantime, if you’re on the fence about which Gulf carrier to fly, my recommendation is Emirates. Qatar is “nice” but so far it doesn’t have the Pizazz of Emirates. And they certainly didn’t try to block lounge entry in Dubai like they are here. If I could change carriers now, I would, but then again, this trip will put me at Exec Platinum for next year.

    We’re about to board a QR A380 though – I’ll report back if my opinion changes.

  26. @lucky I just travelled through HIA and asked the Al Mourjan lounge manager about the current Al Safwa opening date. The Al Safwa lounge is scheduled to open by mid-August 2015 due to significant delays in demanding infrastructure.

  27. Family of 3 flying QR, two in J and one in Y with a 10 hours layover. Is there any way to get the 3rd person in? Is there a day pass or credit card option?

  28. I passed through the al mourjan lounge yesterday and asked various staff members when the al safwa lounge will be open. Answers ranged from mid-sept 2015 to end 2015. One of the agents at the front desk said the al safwa lounge was “pretty much ready”. Happy to report that Krug is still available in the al mourjan lounge, eve at 6am!

  29. Sorry to say but since the move from the Premium terminal my experiences have been nothing but disappointing in HIA. The continuous statement of “First Class” will be open next month doesn’t wash anymore. The Al Moujan lounge is full of every Tom Dick & Harry the food and service element has gone out the window. Came through last week and going through again this week and expecting to the “F” lounge not to be open and the business lounge full.I have even started using the restaurants outside of the lounge, food and service better.

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