Review: Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Doha Airport

Introduction
Review: Cathay Pacific Lounge San Francisco Airport
Review: Cathay Pacific First Class 777 San Francisco To Hong Kong
Review: Cathay Pacific Arrivals Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Review: Grand Hyatt Hong Kong Grand Suite
Review: Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class A330 Hong Kong To Kuala Lumpur
Review: Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Review: Malaysia Airlines First Class Lounge Kuala Lumpur Airport
Review: Malaysia Airlines Business Class 737 Kuala Lumpur To Bali
Review: St. Regis Bali Pool Suite
Review: St. Regis Bali Lagoon Villa
Review: St. Regis Bali Restaurants & Activities
Review: Premier Lounge Bali Denpasar Airport
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class 777 Bali To Doha
Review: St. Regis Doha
Review: Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Doha Airport
Review: Qatar Airways First Class 777 Doha To Abu Dhabi
Review: Le Meridien Abu Dhabi
Review: Rosewood Abu Dhabi
Interlude: 30 Hours In Abu Dhabi
Review: Etihad US Pre-Clearance Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport
Review: Etihad First Class A380 Abu Dhabi To New York
Review: Le Parker Meridien New York


I was so excited to finally visit Qatar Airways’ Al Safwa First Class Lounge, given how delayed the opening was. The lounge finally opened in mid-October. I’ve reviewed the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge in the past, which was the lounge that Qatar Airways was using for their first & business class passengers before the Al Safwa Lounge opened.

The drive from the St. Regis to the airport took about 30 minutes. Architecturally the airport is stunning even from the outside. I had the taxi driver drop me off at the first & business class check-in area, which is the first part of the terminal as you pull up.

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Hamad International Airport Doha exterior

Once inside there were Qatar Airways staff to point people either left towards the Al Mourjan business class check-in or right towards the Al Safwa first class check-in.

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Hamad International Airport Doha check-in

Keep in mind that what Qatar Airways categorizes as first class is sort of backwards. They consider the forward cabin on their shorthaul flights within the Gulf to be first class, while those same seats on a longer flight are marketed as business class. So the Al Safwa first class facilities are for those traveling in the forward cabin within Gulf countries, or otherwise their longhaul first class passengers (which are extremely limited, as Qatar Airways is getting to the point where they only have first class on the A380).

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Hamad International Airport Doha check-in

The check-in facility is extremely impressive, as it consists exclusively of private sit-down check-in desks. So you can have a seat in a partitioned off area as you’re being checked in, or if you’re waiting for someone there are dozens of seats you can plop down on.

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Qatar Airways first class check-in Doha

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Qatar Airways first class check-in Doha

Past that is a dedicated immigration channel, where there was one agent working. Unfortunately my immigration experience took especially long, for reasons I described in a past post.

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Qatar Airways first class check-in Doha

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Qatar Airways premium immigration queue

Once past immigration is a security checkpoint, where there was also no queue. It was a painless experience. I was impressed that just past that was an escalator which led directly into the Al Safwa Lounge — you don’t even have to enter the terminal, which is convenient.

At the entrance the agent scanned my first class boarding pass to Abu Dhabi, and pointed me left towards the lounge.

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge reception desk

The lounge is stunningly minimalist. It’s roughly the same size as the Al Mourjan Lounge, but is clearly intended to service a lot fewer passengers. So it’s pretty obvious they have more space than they know what to do with.

As you enter there’s a super long hallway. I think the only way to describe it is as uninvitingly gorgeous. On one hand I love the design, on the other hand the lack of anything decorative makes it so sterile and devoid of character.

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge entryway

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge entryway

Even the display on the right side as you walk into the lounge has nothing on it (I’m not sure if that’s intentional or not).

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge sterile entryway

After walking down a long hallway you’re in the center of the lounge, which is in a sort of triangular shape.

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge seating

The centerpiece of the lounge is a huge water fixture — there’s a shallow “pond” in a display piece, and then a tube with water flowing down it from the ceiling.

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge water display

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge water display

On one side is tons of seating arranged in a similar fashion to the Al Mourjan Lounge. The seats are comfortable, though they’re arranged so symmetrically that it’s a rather uninviting setup, in my opinion.

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge seating

On another side around the centerpiece were about a dozen comfortable leather chairs with ottomans. They’re intended to give you a private place to rest, though I found it sort of odd that they all faced a “U” shaped barrier. Personally I’d rather have a barrier behind me rather than in front of me.

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge private seating

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge private seating

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge private seating

Behind those private chairs were some more leather chairs on a carpet.

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge seating

The other side of the lounge had even more seating, which was a bit more artistic. The chairs were more comfortable than they looked.

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge seating

And then on the other side were another eight seats which seemed sort of random. I never thought it could be a negative, but this lounge almost has too much space. So much space that it’s awkwardly minimalist in terms of the furnishings.

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge seating

Past those chairs was an “open air” section of the lounge, in the sense that it wasn’t “inside” the lounge, but rather shared a ceiling with the rest of the terminal. That area probably featured the most inviting seating, and was the part of the lounge which was most densely furnished.

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge “terrace” seating

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Qatar Airways First Class Lounge “terrace” seating

As an introvert I do sort of love these chairs which face a wall and have back support so high that you can’t see anyone.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge seating

Outside there was a small drink station with soft drinks, water, and coffee.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge self serve drink station

Back inside the lounge and across from the water fixture was the main restaurant, which was large. As you might notice based on the above pictures, this lounge doesn’t seem to get especially full, which was perhaps most evident in the restaurant.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge restaurant

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge restaurant

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge bar

I was the only guest, and I’d say the restaurant was quite decently staffed. 😉

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge staffing

Within a minute of sitting down at a table I was offered a drink and the menu, which read as follows:

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As you might expect, I had a glass of Krug, and shortly after being served it I was offered a cold towel, a bread basket with a choice of four accompaniments, and an amuse bouche.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge meal — amuse bouche

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge meal — amuse bouche

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge meal — bread basket

For the starter I selected the cheese sambusak, which was tasty.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge meal — cheese sambusak

For the main course I had the salmon, which was also quite good.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge meal — grilled salmon steak

Then for dessert I had the chocolate mousse cake, which was spectacular.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge meal — chocolate mousse cake

The service was extremely attentive (like, almost uncomfortably so), and the food was good, even restaurant quality. I wouldn’t say the food was especially gourmet, though, and in my opinion isn’t to the level of what you’d get in the Air France First Class Lounge Paris, Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney, or Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge Hong Kong.

The lounge also has a second dining area, which is more conducive to just having a snack. The seating is equally nice, and they also have a high-top table you can sit at, but the food selection is different.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge snack area

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge snack area

Rather than there being a bar, this section has a sushi bar, salad buffet, and a sandwich station where you can order a custom made sandwich.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge sushi spread

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge salad buffet

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge custom made sandwiches

Later on shortly before my flight I had a pressed chicken sandwich, which was really tasty. I think they do a great job of offering two different dining experiences — I love how one restaurant is a la carte, while the other lets you point and choose what you want, and then they’ll serve it to you.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge grilled chicken sandwich

The lounge also has a dessert room closer to the entrance. As someone with a sweet tooth, that’s something I can get behind. 😉

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge dessert room

I’ll let the pictures of the sweets speak for themselves. Given how empty this lounge was, though, I really wondered how often anyone ate anything here. Presumably it was all fresh, though I can’t even begin to imagine how much of it goes to waste.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge dessert room

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge dessert room

Near the dessert room was a TV room, which was well done. It was dark and featured a huge TV with good sound quality. I hate when lounges just have TVs in the main lounge area as I find it takes away from the ambiance, so I appreciate that they have a proper TV room here.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge TV room

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge TV room

There’s also a business center with a handful of impressive workstations. The desks have iMacs and feature comfy rolling chairs.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge business center

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge business center

In the center of the business center is a display with newspapers and magazines.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge newspapers & magazines

There’s also a small duty free shop in the lounge, which didn’t seem to get much traffic.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge duty free shop

In terms of other impressive features of the lounge, there are some nap rooms you can use. Some of the nap rooms even have two beds. Each nap room also has a TV, chair, desk, as well as a private shower and toilet inside it.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge nap room

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge nap room

There seemed to be a good number of nap rooms and the bedding on them was great. Funny enough I think the nap rooms might just be nicer than the rooms at The Airport Hotel. So the next time I have a long layover in Doha I might just elect to spend the night in these nap rooms rather than paying for a hotel.

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge nap room bathroom

Now this is where the lounge gets really illogical. The lounge also has a spa, which is located back towards the entrance, off the long hallway. The spa has showers, a hot tub, and spa treatments. Except you have to pay for all those… including showers!

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Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge spa

Below is the spa menu (sorry for the picture quality, but the only menu they had was on the iPad, so this was the best I could do). For what it’s worth, the conversion rate between USD and QAR is roughly 1 USD per 3.65 QAR.

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I asked how much it would be just to use the hot tub. 200QAR, amazingly enough, or ~55USD. $55 to soak in a hot tub? Really???

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Qatar Airways Lounge Doha spa hot tub

I asked how much it would cost to shower in the spa. Also 200QAR. Again, $55 to shower, really? This was so backwards. You can get a day room with two beds, a desk, TV, and shower for free, but if you want to use the only other showers in the lounge, you’d have to pay to use them. That seems silly, since you’d think they wouldn’t want to force people to “waste” a day room just to shower.

I figured I’d book a 30 minute foot massage, which cost 340QAR, which is almost $100. That’s insane for a 30 minute foot massage, but at that point it seemed worth spending the extra 140QAR to get a foot massage, compared to just the cost of using a hot tub.

On the plus side, service in the spa was super attentive, almost too much so. I also got the sense that I was the first customer they had that day… or in a week… or since the lounge opened.

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Qatar Airways Lounge Doha spa service

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Qatar Airways Lounge Doha spa towel, bathrobe, slippers, etc.

The spa had a nice relaxation room, though for me the first stop was the hot tub, where I soaked for about 30 minutes.

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Qatar Airways Lounge Doha spa relaxation room

The hot tub was in a room with a private shower and toilet.

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Qatar Airways Lounge Doha spa toilet

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Qatar Airways Lounge Doha spa shower

After that I headed into a private treatment room, where the Balinese masseuse was waiting for me. While the price of the treatment was ridiculous, it was also an incredible treatment. By far the best and most intense 30 minute foot massage I’ve ever had. The guy had magic hands.

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Qatar Airways Lounge Doha spa treatment room

On the way out of the spa he showed me some of the other treatment rooms, which looked quite impressive as well.

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Qatar Airways Lounge Doha spa treatment room

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Qatar Airways Lounge Doha spa treatment room

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Qatar Airways Lounge Doha spa treatment room

After an enjoyable time in the Al Safwa Lounge, I headed to my departure gate at around 7:15PM, for my 8:15PM departure. While you can access some gates directly through the lounge, mine wasn’t one of them.

I took the escalator down into the terminal, as it let out in the center part of the terminal, exactly opposite the Al Mourjan Lounge (and across from the seven million dollar teddy bear).

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Leaving the Al Safwa Lounge Doha

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Walking to gate Hamad International Airport

I was departing from gate E4, which was about a 10 minute walk away. The gate was at the far end of the concourse.

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Walking to gate Hamad International Airport

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Walking to gate Hamad International Airport

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Walking to gate Hamad International Airport

My boarding pass was scanned as I entered the partitioned off gate area, and within a few minutes boarding was announced, starting with first class.

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Walking to gate Hamad International Airport

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Departure gate Hamad International Airport

The gate area was fairly full, though not packed given that the flight was operated by a Boeing 777-300ER.

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Departure gate Hamad International Airport

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777 taking me to Abu Dhabi

Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Doha bottom line

All things considered the Al Safwa Lounge is extremely impressive. But I’m sort of conflicted about it, and keep going back and forth as to whether it’s one of my favorite first class lounges in the world. I’ve had friends message me when they visited the lounge for the first time, and the initial reaction has almost consistently been “OMG this is possibly the best first class lounge in the world.” But the exuberance tends to diminish pretty quickly.

Architecturally the lounge is stunning, even if it’s extremely minimalist. In terms of design I’d say it’s in the same league as the Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney and Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge Hong Kong.

The food in the lounge is great, though perhaps not quite to the level of some other top lounges.

The nap rooms are the best of any lounge in the world, so they get huge kudos for that.

The spa is quite nice, though I think they’re really missing the mark by not offering complimentary treatments. The issue is that most people don’t have 60 minutes for a massage before a flight (whether paid or free), so I think they should focus more on short treatments. And for short treatments it just seems to make more sense to offer complimentary treatments. It’s what most other airlines do, and there’s a reason for that.

So all things considered, where do I rank this lounge and overall ground experience? I’d say slightly below the Air France First Class Lounge ParisCathay Pacific First Class Lounge Hong KongLufthansa First Class Terminal FrankfurtQantas First Class Lounge Sydney, and Thai Airways First Class Lounge Bangkok. So it’s definitely in the top 10, though not quite in the top five.

If they stopped charging for showers aside from the nap rooms and offered complimentary spa treatments, I think it would deserve a spot in the top five.

What do you make of the Al Safwa First Class Lounge Doha?

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About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

Comments

  1. Great review lucky! I am looking forward to visiting this lounge in a few weeks.

    I am doing something similar to you with an overnight layover in Doha. I was wondering how much you paid for you visa at immigration?

    Thanks

  2. $100 for a 30 minute foot massage?!?!? In Cambodia you could get a 24 hour foot massage for that price, with free beer and money left over for a generous tip.

    I guess they assume if you have the cash for a first class ticket on “the world’s 5 star airline’ than you wont be phased by spa prices that rival a 5 star hotel.

  3. FWIW I was just in this lounge last week and when I asked for a nap room, I was denied one because my layover was under four hours; however, when I asked if I could take a shower, they let me take one for no charge.

  4. @ Jamie — They have connecting gate information, airport information, weather information, etc. Not *that* useful, in my opinion.

  5. @ franz — Not just the massage, but also because they escort you gate to gate. They pick you up at your arriving gate and take you to your departing gate. And if you’re originating in Bangkok they drive you to the lounge. Along with Air France, it’s the most comprehensive gate-to-gate transfer.

  6. I read somewhere that there are also free showers near the Family rooms.

    can someone confirm that (or better show some pictures of them)?

  7. Is the hot tub private? Or does a traveler need to bring swimming attire to the lounge? (Maybe I am wrong, but I cannot imagine that communal nudity meets local standards).

  8. Great review.

    I suppose since we’re noodling around the edges of the world’s best lounges, you’re right. Nothing should be an additional cost. That’s just silly.

    Also – and I realize you wouldn’t have this – a floor plan for the lounge would help, because for a lot of it, it sure looks like they’ve put super nice furniture in a bunch of weird hallways. Yes, I’d spend time here without debate or complaining, but given it’s a whole new airport, and one of their most prestigious spaces, you’d imagine it would be perfect.

  9. @Tony : I (female) was in the lounge last Nov and had a quite long tour of the lounge. Yes, there is one shower room inside toilet located within family space/area (not main toilet for the lounge). So one can have a free shower either in quiet/nap room or family area.

    I usually take Qatar Boeing 777 for CAI-DOH route, but didn’t realize Qatar also operates this for such a short-haul flight (DOH-AUH). lol. To get an access to Al Safwa lounge is a bit tricky to me. When I fly to my home country (East Asia) departing Cairo, I guess I can’t use it unless I fly F from DOH-BKK first (as I did last time) or F from DOH-AUH/DXB (connecting to East Asia). Then when I fly back to Cairo, what a convenient access.

  10. I wonder what all those railings in the entry tunnel are for? Maybe to protect some future artwork? Looks strange as it is now . . .

  11. Hi Lucky. Currently have a Qatar trip in June for:
    BKK to DOH in F, then
    DOH to VEN in J (2 cabin only)
    Will I be able to have access to Al Safwa F class lounge, since my 2nd segment is only in J? Thanks in advance!

  12. So no nap room in AL mourjan but there is in AL safwa. I have a 24 hr layover coming up in doh. Flying j. Is doh worth seeing for 24 hrs. Wonder if I should get their visa.

  13. Really don’t understand why they need to charge extra for first class customers. You are supposedly paying a lot for your ticket (when not flying on miles) so charging for extra services is just plain ridiculous. BTW, unless you have a long layover in Doha why would someone need to spend many hours in a spa before catching a flight? If I am in the city I don’t need more than 2 hours to be in the airport so it would just be a quick trip to the lounge before I get to the plane.

  14. Are those iPad-like “terminals” sitting on the side tables actually working? Last year when we had long layover at the business class lounge both directions, 2/3 of the “terminals” were darkened. Those that had displays did not seem to do anything – not even get you to QR’s website. I have no clue what those were for if they were not work stations, and not displaying anything, not connected to QR website… I notice in the F lounge you still see such “terminals” but they are far less. And you actually get a business center in the F lounge. I dont remember I see a business center in the J lounge.

  15. “It looks much nicer to me than AF First Lounge.”

    Its a question of style, I suppose. But…AF First lounge has better food, better service, free spa, and they escort you to and from the lounge in style.

  16. Not a response to the FC lounge, but my inaugural flight Doha-LAX and other flanking flights- super disappointed

    Flex QR from Chicago-Doha-Bom, Del-Doha-LAX (Doha- LAX inaugural flight) in business. The family and I have been huge fans of QR business and as One World Emerald, I go out of my way to fly them. That said, these flights and the Doha lounge experience was decidedly subpar. Cost cutting evident across the board. Chicago lounge is a disgrace. No business lounge (shared or otherwise) should be this awful – restrooms in the main concourse, packaged snacks, horrible wine, no sparking, no bottled water and temperature close to Doha in Summer. ON board – the 777-ER/LR seats feel way past their sell by date – the space is nice, but the seat feels hard and has zero privacy (I used to like them, but Etihad and even AA biz is better). Food choices downgraded – just 2-3 options for lunch, snacks and breakfast – used to be a far more extensive menu. No Laudere deserts from the US. Mountain Spring water (really??). Champagnes downgraded to Drappier and Jaquart (less than half the cost of the Billecart and Tattinger Rose previously offered). No proactive turndown service offered. Pajamas quality has further degraded – S or XL – tank top like fit in one and a sack in the other! Godiva chocolates gone – packaged Valhrohna (sample pack style). Al Mourjan Lounge – Krug until Dec 23rd (in 2015) and on our return flight on Jan 1 (2016) – GONE. No more Krug – only in Al Safwa.
    Inaugural flight Doha-LAX – was supposed to be a special flight – NOT. Given a certificate for first flight, an older design Qatar T-shirt (would have been nice to get the Qatar-FC Barcelona Jersey?), and some old connectors for internet modem (yes, can you imagine??). Ran out of food and the F&B even on the first flight was absolutely subpar. The crew was disinterested – one of them telling me that she has been with the company for 9 years and can barely tolerate it. OK – are we becoming United/AA?
    I have profusely complimented QR in the past but this time around, they missed the mark completely. I will not spend premium $’s on QR, unless there is a marked improvement.

  17. Very nice lounge but I agree paying for the additional service sets it back. I wonder if they will address this. Great trip report so far!

  18. You have to pay for shower? They didn’t even charge in Al Mourjan, and there is rarely any wait! I think I’d rather be at Al Mourjan rather than Al Safwa :-/

    Looks incredibly empty too… I found that rather creepy.

  19. Apparently the reason why their is charges for the spa is because it is not actually run by QR but the Airport Hotel within DOH. Therefore QR have no control over pricing. Just what I heard in Al Mourjan the other day.

  20. I was in the lounge on Dec 29th morning, and for breakfast, the menu selection is significantly worse. For dinner there seem to be massive amounts of food on the menu, while for breakfast all that was available was a few different types of egg dishes (omelet, fried, scrambled, etc). No fancy egg dishes (poached, Benedict, etc). We asked for shakshuker (spicy egg dish with tomatoes, onions, and others), they made it, but it was really just scrambled eggs. They had pancakes, maybe one or two other dishes, but thats it. Total of 5 ot 6 items. Also, the coffee was quite bad. Anyway, point is that if you are expecting food, don’t go for breakfast.

  21. Wow, that’s pretty darn upscale and beautiful. It appears that the government-supported business of abusing their employees, persecuting gay brothers and sisters and plundering the resources is a very good business to be in-except if you are a service employee or are gay.

    I realize this is a travel blog, but again, I would urge you to stop supporting this junk! You are smarter and better than this. There are many other ways to make money.

  22. I was there yesterday…. Here are my thoughts:

    The lounge is beautiful, modern and minimalistic.

    The staff were very attentive.

    Food quality was very good except the bread basket as seen in your photo. The bread was stale and it looked like the packaged buns one gets in economy. I mentioned this to the server.

    Over-all I would transit thru DOH just to visit the lounge in the future. Definitely a must-experience!

  23. Thanks for the review, Ben! By the look of the hallway and water feature they have taken inspiration from the MONA art gallery in Hobart, Tasmania.

    Quote Ben: “I never thought it could be a negative, but this lounge almost has too much space.” – The Emirates F lounge in DXB comes to mind, it’s just not a pleasant feeling regardless how great the finishes are or how attentive the service is. I did enjoy Singapore’s Private Room or Thai’s F lounge way more.

  24. Lucky,
    Great review!
    Question, flying through Doha in July a couple of times. We are AA Explat, can we use the 1st class lounge while flying in business?
    Flying to Sydney on AA in Business, can we use the Quantis 1st class lounge in Sydney?
    Or the Quantis lounge at LAX?
    I can’t figure out the rules…

  25. What sucks is that there is no First Class even available on the flights I have from DOH next year (DOH – BOS, A350 XWB), so I won’t get to use this lounge because there’s no first class bookable/upgradable to.

  26. How do you rate Doha, Lucky?

    As someone who lives in the UK, Qatar Airlines offers me very competitive prices to the Middle East and Asia along with the ability to earn BAEC points. For some reason I am far more interested in flying with Emirates or Etihad and can only put this down to having no interest in visiting Doha.

  27. 1) How I can get access to Al Safwa First Class Lounge, by booking First Saver (A), First Value (P), First Flexi (F) or any three of them?
    2)Can I get access to Al Safwa First Class Lounge if I have booked First Class Ticket irrespective of my booking class, but I am not member of Qatar’s Privilege Club and also of any Oneworld Airline Members?

    Please Lucky reply ASAP as I am still confused about getting access to Al Safwa First Class Lounge

  28. Hi – great review – thank you.
    I use this transit a few weeks ago from Edinburgh to Delhi but had no time to try any of this out. I do however head to JNB on Sunday from Edinburgh and on one of the legs have around 7 hours layover. How do I go about booking the ‘nap room’? I am travelling on Business (all legs)… don’t think there is a First product (def not EDI to DOH anyway)… I am also hold a One World (BA Exec club) card. I was allowed access to Al Safwa the last time but clearly didn’t take a look around!
    Thanks in advance for the extra info.

  29. Just read my post… bad grammar and spelling!
    Meant to read “I also hold a One World Emerald (BA Exec Gold) card.”
    I think this allows access to Al Safwa but not sure if this is still the case.

  30. Hey Lucky so if you’re flying “first” (business on the 777s) like doha-cairo, doha-amman, etc you get access to first class lounge?

  31. hey Lucky — i’m flying a330-200 on First from DXB to DOH and then business from DOH-BKK via 388. Can I stop by the al safwa lounge since i’m arriving to DOH on First?

  32. We have a Doha scale 1:55 hours(CDG-DOH-BKK) Will we have time to visit Al-Safwa lounge? Thank you

  33. Just visited the Al Salfa lounge ahead of F DOH-DXB. Totally awesome and now looks less sterile with the cabinets occupied by museum pieces.

    Al Salfa is restricted to departing Qatar F pax. Qatar tend to have separate lounges for access based on travelling class and OW status. Not surprisingly, the OW status based lounges offer fewer amenities and are less impressive. If travelling Qatar you should be aware of this or could end up in a lesser quality lounge even though it has Qatar logo outside.

  34. Does anyone know the artist responsible for the ‘desert walkers’ art installation you can see as you take the elevator to the Al Safwa lounge at Doha? It is absolutely incredible – a ‘video’, approx. 25 metres wide (possibly more) of a large group of people, of all races, religions and ages walking alone, towards and away from the front of the screen, across a desert landscape. As they move away from you the images are blurred by the tremendous heat haze. . I was mesmerized. I can find nothing on Google..

  35. What surprises me is that you’re complaining about the 200QAR charges in the lounge. These lounges are typically for highly affluent 1st class guests already paying a small fortune for their tickets, and so these prices would rather seem like a pittance to them. In my view the charges are probably meant to keep the facilities in top notch condition by keeping complimentary guests away haha. If you’re going to review these absurdly expensive lounges that come with equally nauseating seat prices then you need to think like someone who’s actually paying the full ticket price 😉

  36. Great review lucky!
    I just booked a super cheap ticket with Qatar from Cairo to Madrid and will get to try the First Class lounge. I was worried I would have to book the airport hotel as I have a long layover, but after reading your review – I’m going to take advantage of the sleep areas! 😉

  37. Thanks Saara – you’re right – I found the reference on Bill Violas website thanks to your comment. It was commissioned in 2014. In my opinion it’s worth going to Doha just to see this! But why have they hidden it away? Only visitors to the first class lounge are likely to see it! It’s not actually in the lounge but on a wall outside above a stairwell.

  38. It’s worth adding that if you’re using the lounge during Ramadan, no alcohol is served. This is in contrast to Emirates who continue to serve, and Etihad who serve in the evening.

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