Continuing on my observation with my inbound Business Class flight on Qatar Airways from New York to Doha I ‘chose to spend’ 14 hours at the Business Class lounge.
Last time I was in Doha (to compile my favorite Things to do in Doha, Qatar) I wasn’t able to access the Business Class lounge.
While Qatar has a generous transit hotel policy (even applies to Economy Class passengers!!) it does NOT apply to tickets booked on American Airlines ticket stock. Since all AAdvantage tickets are booked on AA ticket stock there is no complimentary transit hotel for reward travel effectively.
There is an option to use the hotel inside security (rates around $200) or buy a transit package for $150. Alternatively the Doha Marriott Hotel (which wasn’t my favorite to begin with) can be booked for 10,000 Marriott points plus Visa and Taxi add up to about $60.
The Doha airport offers a complimentary city tour though that also waives the visa fee (you are allowed to leave the bus surprisingly) but it was fully booked for my stay times.
However the lounge truly comes through with their idea of an Indian luxury hotel – it’s a bit like a hanging out at the Taj – it’s just so much newer. I would call it a marriage between a Mercedes sleek sedan and the warm hospitality of the Taj (on a good day).
The lounge is huge – think Emirates Business Class lounge (ahem terminal) – just bigger. There is a lot of ‘wasted’ space that can be transformed later when the capacity is actually needed. Right now it does not be full at all.
I really liked the Business center where I spent most of time working. It’s like a fully equipped office at the airport – the WiFi isn’t super fast but agreeable and there are plenty of printers and computers abound.
There is a whole 100 seat restaurant dedicated to salads and sandwiches right next to it – it escapes me a bit why the dedicated restaurant has such a limited food offering.
Throughout the lounge there are several drinks and snack bars.
The second floor contains the full restaurant which serves a buffet with with hot food and an ala carte offerings.
I found the food offered to be of good quality. It’s not the Lufthansa First Class Terminal but the food had taste and was fresh.
Now you can guess where the crowds throng in this lounge – no it is not the coffee bar or the Business Center. Expect every seat to be taken for breakfast, lunch and dinner here.
There is also a locker room, a game room for kids, a prayer room, a quiet room. Many, many showers and a staff that would make every five star hotel very proud. It seems half of India is running this place (and maybe it is!). In general I found the staff very friendly but helpless at times – especially if you leave ‘the script’ a bit.
In fact the only annoying part of my visit was the constant checking of my entry privileges when entering and using the lounge facilities. Without your boarding pass handy you can’t move around much.
I wasn’t stopped taking picture (like it happened at the Etihad Business Class lounge.
I found the overall experience at the Qatar Business Class Lounge be almost perfect. yes there could be more variety of food options, the WiFi could be a bit faster and the lounge attendants a bit more knowledgeable but hey it’s like a mini airport by itself and it super quiet and relaxing. I would not hesitate to have another 12 hour layover here just to enjoy the food, drinks and atmosphere. Seriously!