Qatar has a rather complex lounge policy – with separate lounges for those travelling in First and Business, and for those who are eligible for lounge access due to their frequent flyer status. If you’re a oneworld Emerald, and are flying economy, you’ll be directed to the ‘First Class’ lounge – although this is not the lounge used by those ticketed in First, who are instead directed to the far superior Al Safwa Lounge.
Having searched for reviews before visiting the lounge, I was expecting to be distinctly underwhelmed, however, in the end I was pleasantly surprised – yes, this isn’t a ‘First Class’ lounge in the true sense – but there are far worse places to wait for a flight.
The lounge is easy to find and is well sign posted once you’ve cleared security. The lounge is accessed via an escalator, and at the reception desk you’ll be directed left for the business lounge, and right for the first lounge.
The lounge isn’t particularly expansive, although it has a few different seating areas, as well as a TV/Relaxation area, with sofa’s and chairs suitable for sleeping – however, these appear to be in constant demand, and as such you shouldn’t rely on being able to sleep comfortably in the lounge if you have a long connection. It’s also true that the lounge became busy during peak periods, and at times it felt as if the lounge could do with being bigger – but at the same time, there were periods during out stay when the lounge was distinctly empty (the majority of the afternoon).
Dedicated wifi is available, and offered decent speeds for working and catching up with email. There are, however, a distinct lack of charging points – which was disappointing, especially as Doha acts as a transit hub, and passengers are likely to want to charge devices between flights.
The lounge has a dining area, and hot food is available from a self-service buffet. In the evening, this consisted of chicken in a cream sauce, as well as potatoes and rice, whilst in the morning a hot breakfast was available consisting of hash browns, chicken sausages, omelettes and a continental selection of cereals and pastries. The selection was more than adequate and the food available was of a good quality.
There was also a good drinks selection – which included soft drinks, spirits, wine and champagne – all of which were self-service. Indeed, I was pleasantly surprised by the selection.
So yes, it’s true, this isn’t exactly a ‘First Class’ lounge, but it’s really not a bad place to wait between flights. The food selection was substantial and of a good quality, the drinks selection was more than adequate, and the seating comfortable — it was a more than adequate space to wait between flights, and a much better option than the main terminal.