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Lounge Review: Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Doha Airport (DOH)

I’ve reviewed Qatar’s business class Al Mourjan airport lounge before at Doha, but this was my first visit to Qatar’s first class Al Safwa lounge.

As I stepped off my previous flight from Guangzhou, I was met by a person with my name on my sign. This person escorted me through transit security (and let me cut in front of everyone) and took me to the Al Safwa First Class lounge.

Escalator up to the lounge

The lounge is absolutely stunning. It’s an incredible space, and it feels like a museum. In fact, they even had pieces on loan from the Museum of Islamic Art on display!

Al Safwa first class lounge

The lounge is very large, and it has a lot of different seating areas. When I was there, almost everyone was sitting in the semi-private seats near the (very large) dining room, but there’s a lot more space to the lounge.

First class lounge seating

First class lounge seating

These seemed to be popular seats.

First class lounge seating

First class lounge fountain

Pieces on loan from Museum of Islamic Art

Art

First, there’s an outdoor terrace (by outdoor, I mean open to the rest of the terminal). It wasn’t as well air-conditioned out there, which is perhaps why no one was sitting there, but there’s a lot more seating out on this terrace.

Seating

Terrace space

Drinks

Seating

Seating

Seating

Within the lounge, they have private rooms similar to the ones they have in the business class lounge. These rooms have a sofa and seat and TV. This is perhaps somewhere to nap if all of the hotel-style private rooms are taken.

Private room

Private room

There are also rooms for children and nannies. I did not see anyone utilizing these rooms while I was in the lounge, but they are there.

Nanny room

Nanny room

Rooms for children

Rooms for children

It’s not obvious to me that any of these consoles actually worked…

Rooms for children

Rooms for children

In terms of dining, there are a couple of options. First, there’s a very large dining area that has some self-serve options as well as table service.

Bar

Dining table

Dining area

Baklava tower

Arabic coffee

Meat and cheese

Desserts

Fruit

Breakfast menu

I was there for breakfast and lunch. The breakfast options seemed pretty basic for a first class lounge.

Fruit plate and bread

After getting some food, I was able to check out one of the true private rooms. Essentially, these are like hotel rooms in the lounge available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Reception

The private rooms are pretty awesome. It’s like having a transit hotel in the middle of the lounge. One of the best perks to any lounge I’ve visited.

Private room

Private room

Bathroom

Hallway of private rooms

There’s also a business center, which was just as beautiful as the rest of the lounge.

Business area

Work station

A bit later, I grabbed some lunch in the dining room. I started off with some cream of pumpkin soup. This was just okay, as the pumpkin flavor wasn’t very strong.

Pumpkin soup

Next, I tried the spinach fattaya. This was probably the best thing I ate in the lounge!

Spinach fattaya

For an entree, I had some paneer makhni. I thought that this was also lacking flavor.

Paneer makhni

Finally, I had some dessert that the server recommended. This was essentially old pastry in a sweet cream. Not my favorite.

Dessert

If there’s one thing I can fault this lounge on, it’s the food. The food was all very average.

Beyond the main dining area, there’s also more of a “deli” kind of area if you head straight past the luggage room. This area did not seem very frequently visited (the staff member in this area seemed really excited when I wandered over). This area had sushi, salads, and a sandwich bar. This isn’t any sushi bar like the one they have in the JAL first class lounges, but it’s there.

More dining

Sushi

Tea

Salads

Deli area

Bar seating

There’s also a dessert room if you head toward the family rooms. There are cakes, macarons, etc. I sampled a macaron, and it was honestly pretty bad, even for lounge food. The texture was wrong, it was quite irregular, and the filling wasn’t good.

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Chocolate art

Movie theater

Overall, this is an incredible lounge for many reasons. The space is beautiful, there are tons of great amenities (including what are essentially private hotel rooms), and there’s lots of food. In terms of the space, it’s probably my favorite lounge I’ve ever visited. But the food seriously needs improvement.

Lounge Review: Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge Doha Airport (DOH)

At the time I visited the Al Mourjan lounge in Doha, the first class Al Safwa lounge had not yet opened (I have since visited the Al Safwa lounge, but at the rate I’m posting trip reports, it’ll probably take me another… let’s say 6 months to write about it).

The Al Mourjan lounge is quite massive. To the point where maps are genuinely needed to navigate the lounge. There are lots of different spaces (e.g. multiple dining areas, showers, quiet rooms, business center, family spaces) which you might want to check out.

Lounge map

Lounge map

First impressions were very positive. It’s a massive space that’s well decorated. There are a variety of different seating options, although in spite of the size of the space, I can see how crowding can be an issue.

Seating

Seating

More seating

More seating

More seating

More seating

View of apron

View of apron

The lounge has most amenities you can think of. There’s a pretty massive business center with computers and workstations, and there was even a game room with video games, foosball, and arcade machines.

Business center

Business center

Game room

Game room

Games

Games

Games

Games

Pinball

Pinball

Foosball

Foosball

There’s also a family area, which I can imagine is helpful if you have small children.

Family area

Family area

Family area

Family area

iPads everywhere

iPads everywhere

I took a shower in the lounge on my layover. The shower rooms are less grand than the rest of the lounge, but it was perfectly functional. The shower amenities were from Rituals.

Shower

Shower

Shower amenities

Shower amenities

Staircase up to the dining room

Staircase up to the dining room

At 6am when I first arrived at the lounge, most of the lounge wasn’t too busy, except the dining room was packed. I had to sit at the bar (which I didn’t mind). At the bar, they were still serving Krug upon request (I believe this has changed), although they were very hush hush about it.

Breakfast menu

Breakfast menu

Wines

Wines

The breakfast buffet had two sides for food, plus a small made-to-order menu (I am not sure if they still have the made-to-order menu). One side was mostly sweet (e.g., crepes, waffles, porridge, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt), while the other side was mostly savory (meats, cheeses, foul medames, omelettes, frittatas, hashbrowns).

Breakfast buffet

Breakfast buffet

Dining room

Dining room

Cold foods

Cold foods

The food was decidedly mediocre. I ordered some shakshuka off the menu imagining poached eggs in tomato sauce, but instead received scrambled eggs with some diced tomatoes and peppers. I’ve since tried a number of food items at the Al Safwa lounge as well, and the food ranges from bad to meh. This is one area where the Qatar Airways ground experience is a huge letdown in my opinion.

Shakshuka?

Shakshuka?

If you don’t want to deal with the main dining room, there’s a separate food area that has things like sandwiches and antipasti (i.e. cold foods).

Non-dining room buffet

Non-dining room buffet

Other food room

Other food room

Finally, the lounge does offer some quiet rooms, which are a nice idea. I found the quiet rooms to be not particularly effective in practice because they were quite loud. Lots of talking, alarms going off, snoring, and people watching TV too loudly. But you might be able to sleep for a bit if you wear ear plugs.

Private resting room

Private resting room

Screen in private resting room

Screen in private resting room

Overall, it’s a large, well-appointed, attractive lounge. The service can be a bit strange at times (e.g., there were three attendants in the bathroom, but only two bartenders in the much busier dining room), and the food is generally a letdown. But there are lots of objectively nice amenities, and it’s an impressive space that’s worth checking out. Of note, you only get access to this lounge if you’re flying in business class on Qatar Airways–oneworld status will NOT get you in the door if you’re flying economy.