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If you’re flying on a ‘Business Lite’ fare with Qatar Airways, your ticket will not get you access to the best known Business Class lounge in Doha – the Al Mourjan Lounge. Instead, the airline will relegate you to one of its lesser lounges, and the lounge to which you’re relegated will depend on your elite status.
- Qatar Airways Platinum Lounge – Oneworld Emerald members*
- Qatar Airways Gold Lounge – Oneworld Sapphire members*
- Qatar Airways Silver Lounge – Qatar Airways Privilege Club Platinum, Gold, and Silver elites only.
It’s worth repeating that if you’re on a Business Lite fare, not even top-tier oneworld elite status will get you into the Al Mourjan Business Class lounge.
There are two versions of each lounge – one of each located in the north terminal area and one of each in the south terminal area, and in this review, we’re looking at the Qatar Airways Platinum Lounge South.
*Regardless of the cabin into which they’re booked.
Doha’s Hamad International Airport is huge, and with the thousands of people that are often milling around, and the hundreds of shops dotted around everywhere, it can be an overwhelming place to navigate if you’re not a frequent visitor.
That’s why the easiest way to give anyone directions to somewhere in the airport, is to start them at the very large and very weird bear sculpture that’s hard to miss.
The Qatar Airways Platinum South Lounge is located near Gate A1 and to find Gate A1, you need to make sure that you’re facing in the same direction as the bear, and that you’re heading towards the right-hand corner of the atrium in which the bear sits.
From there, just follow the signs for Gates A1 – A11 …
… and when you get close to Gate A1, you should see a sign pointing the way to the lounge entrance.
There’s no big sign over the entrance or anyone waiting outside to show you the way in, so be careful that you don’t walk past.
Just inside the entranceway, there are two desks where the agents will check you in and direct you to the appropriate lounge – the Gold Lounge South is on the same level as the main entrance while the Platinum Lounge South is one level up.
One of the agents will stamp your boarding pass showing you (and anyone who checks) which of the lounges you have access too.
You can either take the elevator or the stairs up one level and there you’ll be faced with the sliding doors leading inside the Platinum Lounge South.
The Platinum Lounge
The Platinum Lounge is divided into three areas:
- Main dining area
- Seating area
- Quiet Area
As you walk in, the main dining area is directly ahead of you (I’ll cover this a bit later), so you need to turn to your left to walk into the main seating area which, as you’ll see below, offers a variety of seating options.
For anyone wanting to get some work done, most of the seats should be just fine (unless you need a table to sit at) as all come well equipped with AC and USB power …
… just be aware that unless you have a UK-style 3-pin plug on your devices, you’ll need an adapter.
In the center of the seating area is an island where guests can help themselves to teas, coffee, juices, and a variety of sodas/soft drinks …
… but there’s also a QR code at each seat that allows guests to view all the drinks that can be ordered via one of the lounge attendants…
… or directly at the bar which occupies one corner of the seating area.
Here’s the beverage menu accessed by the QR code:
Not exactly an amazing selection of quality drinks – I have no idea what Stella Artois is doing on that menu, and Lanson is about as low as you can get on the sparkling wine scale before you hit Cava and Prosecco – but this still beats sitting at the gate with nothing at all 🙂
Note: The QR code in the image above is still working (at the time of writing), so if you’re reading this a few months after publication, that may tell you what the latest offering looks like.
Guests are welcome to dine in the seating area (food can be brought to you), but as I mentioned earlier, the lounge has a dedicated dining area that looks a little like a workplace cafeteria.
A dining menu is available via QR code…
… with ‘all-day dining’, breakfast, and lunch/dinner options available (click the images to enlarge).
Some of the items on the menu are ‘a la carte’, while others are set out as a buffet:
Some of the buffet items on offer during my visit were:
- Mutton stew.
- Roast chicken stuffed with cheese and walnut with mushroom sauce.
- Butter pilaf rice.
- Penne pasta with chunky tomato sauce, feta cheese and basil.
- Vegetable jalfrezi.
- Carrot and coconut soup.
- Chicken and sweetcorn soup.
- Cream cheese with cucumber sandwich.
- Oriental chicken sandwich.
- Asian sesame noodles and smoked salmon salad.
- Chicken Caesar salad
- Tabbouleh (a herb and bulgur salad)
- Vanilla bean brûlée.
- Sacher cake.
- Hazelnut praline Paris-Brest.
- Assorted fruit platter.
Alongside the food items the dining area also offers self-pour beverages.
I didn’t dine on this visit, but based on the menu alone, it looks like the food selection is of a better quality than the drinks selection and, overall, both are a big step down from what is available in the Al Mourjan Lounge.
Opposite the dining area is the lounge’s quiet area where you’ll find nine separate mini rooms (these don’t have privacy doors) which look like this:
These are available on a first come, first served basis and there is no sign-up sheet. If you see an empty relaxing chair, it’s yours unless someone beats you to it.
There are two shower cubicles in the men’s restrooms and, I assume, there are two in the women’s restroom, and this is what they look like:
As is the case with the lounge’s rest area, there’s no sign-up sheet for these showers, so they’re available to whoever turns up when they’re free.
Quick further thought
It’s worth keeping in mind that I visited this lounge in the lead up to my 20:20 flight out of Doha and that’s a relatively quiet time to visit any of the Qatar Airways lounges.
The lounges usually get busy during the peak hours of 10pm to 2am and considering the size of this lounge, it will be interesting to see how busy it gets during that period. The next time I don’t miss my connection in Doha, I’ll find out!
The Platinum Lounge South is fine. It’s not in the same league as the Al Mourjan Lounge (deliberately so), but it’s an acceptable Business Class Lounge.
The food menu looks ok (if uninspiring), but the drinks options are second-rate, and this looks more like a selection that British Airways would come up with than something I would usually associate with Qatar Airways.
The seating options are comfortable, there’s plenty of access to power outlets, the lounge staff are very friendly, and the showers are nice, so if you have never experienced life pre the introduction of the Business Lite fares (and so have never had access to the Al Mourjan lounge when booking discounted a Business Class fare), you’ll probably be more than happy with this.
If, however, you remember the golden days, you may just be left wondering how we have reached a point where a Qatar Airways top-tier elite can access lounges like the Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney and the Cathay Pacific First Class lounges in Hong Kong when flying on a deeply discounted Economy Class fare, but any top-tier oneworld elite flying on a discounted Qatar Airways Business Class fare, is excluded from Qatar’s best Business Class lounge in Doha and most (possibly all?) of its Business Class lounges abroad.