Can an airport lounge be epic? Apparently, Yes.
When travellers think of airport lounges, they expect slightly airless spaces with those awful ceiling tiles and some fleather (that’s fake leather) bound furniture. They certainly don’t expect a multi level venue which could practically hold an Olympic swimming event. And yes, there is a water feature too. In the most positive way possible, the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge is daunting.
This is a lounge where you may need someone to draw a map, and you likely need to schedule your activities the way you would a day of sightseeing in Doha. Otherwise, you just may run out of time. Here’s everything you need to know about Qatar Airways stunning Al Mourjan business class lounge in Doha, Qatar…
Getting In: Your frequent flyer card won’t get you in here. There’s a separate business class lounge for that. The Al Mourjan Lounge is exclusively offered to business or first class passengers departing on Qatar Airways or any other Oneworld Airline. If you’re traveling in first class, use the Al Safwa lounge instead.
The Al Mourjan business class lounge is up an escalator near duty free in the central bit of Doha Hamad International Airport. Your first tip of the day is to get your boarding pass ready, because a friendly agent will want to scan it before you ride the escalator up to the main lounge concourse.
Once you’re inside the first round of crucial decisions must begin.
If you turn left, you’ll stay on the same level and can find quiet rooms, shower rooms and an a la carte eating area and bar. If you turn right, you can find places to sit in peace and quiet, or go up the stairs to find the most substantial buffet and bar in the space. If you need a smoke, walk straight, and pass the impressive water fixture.
The next big tip about the Al Mourjan lounge is that it’s either absolutely dead quiet, or rammed with guests. If you are in need of a shower or are looking to reserve one of the quiet areas known as the family rooms downstairs, you may want to turn left upon entry first, so that you can get on a waiting list.
Upstairs, to the food and drinks…
If not in search of shower or sleep, the most sociable space in the lounge is a right turn upon entry and then either up the spiralled staircase, or the handy elevator. On the second floor, you’ll find an extensive buffet with both continental and international food options, as well as enough dessert to feed an army. Shout-out to the baklava, it’s great.
So, what to eat – or drink? If you enjoy a bit of spice, the Biryani style dishes are always perfect, and not too saucy on the stomach before a flight. There’s generally also a great selection of vegetarian options, including Arabic mezze and things like a French style grilled chicken breast. The soup is always solid as well.
For beverages, you’ve got a variety of choices between rose or Brut Champagne, red wine, white wine and actually a seriously impressive mojito operation. As to the actual champagne brands in the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan lounge, it varies between Drappier, Lanson Rose, Pommery or something similar. I’ve had some of the better mojitos in my days in the lounge as well, likely on account of the access to excellent mint, lemon and limes.
The seating areas scattered around this upstairs area can actually be quite comfortable, so I’ve been one to camp out up there rather than explore areas elsewhere. If you do get bored, or entirely too full, my absolute favourite space are the quiet “family” rooms. They’re hard to access solo, but if you have a travel partner or a group they’re fantastic. Time to head downstairs, and make the long hike all the way to the opposite end of the lounge.
Downstairs: Al Mourjan showers, a la carte dining and nap rooms…
If you enter the lounge and turn left, or come down from the upstairs bit and go as far to the other side as possible, you’ll hit one of the main social areas featuring a bar, a la carte sandwich style food and some of the most popular facilities.
Showers are to the right, down a corridor where you will be convinced you’re in the wrong place. Get your request in early, because during peak hours, which are surprisingly in the middle of the night, and mid day – you may need to wait a while. Once you do get a shower slot, the rooms are amazing and chock full of the best shower amenities. You’ll love it.
To the left of the downstairs bar and dining area you’ll find a fun game room for kids with vide games and foosball.
If you keep walking, that’s where you’ll hit the family rooms. In a way, you can somewhat just rock up and claim an empty space that no one is sitting in. I’ve done it, it works. The proper way to gain access to one of these rooms however is to ask any nearby lounge attendant if they’re available. The rooms look like the following.
The spaces are ideal for a quick nap, or just unwinding without eyeballs around you. On that subject, it’s important to remember that Qatar does not announce flight departures in the lounge, and some flights depart from gates almost 15 minutes away, so make sure you set an alarm. Just saying…
While there are plenty of other areas, such as the smokers lounge, business centre and prayer rooms, these spots will give you everything you need to rest up, eat up and refresh yourself with a shower before an onward flight.
So how does Al Mourjan stack up?
Though crowding can be an issue at absolute peak times, I’d rate this one of the most impressive business class lounges in the world. The food isn’t over the top, but always delicious. The drinks are well prepared and of much higher quality than many business class offerings. The showers are some of the best anywhere, including first class lounges. Enjoy yourself, just not too much!