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Review: Qatar Airways’ Al Safwa First Lounge in Doha

Lounge Al Safwa First Lounge
Airport Doha Hamad International Airport
Lounge Access Method First-class ticket
Terminal Main Terminal
Country Qatar
City Doha

Al Safwa First Lounge
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To the point On my way back from Dubai to Montreal, I had the opportunity to experience the Al Safwa First Lounge during my 9-hour overnight layover at Doha Hamad International Airport.

Al Safwa First Lounge in Doha - The Lounge

Regarded as Qatar Airways’ most luxurious lounge, Al Safwa is considered by many as one of the best airport lounges in the world. Its impressive architecture and design is inspired by Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art. Operating 24/7, it boasts private nap rooms, rejuvenating showers, secluded sitting booths, a duty-free boutique, a spa, a fully-equipped business center and an array of premium food and beverage.

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Al Safwa First Lounge in Doha - Location

After disembarking from my Qatar Airways first-class flight (purchased using Avios points), I walked to the main terminal. From there, I took the elevator located to the right of the iconic and extremely pricey Giant Lamp/Bear sculpture. This elevator led directly to the entrance of the Al Safwa First lounge on the airport’s third level.

Al Safwa First Lounge in Doha - Conditions for Lounge Access

There are generally four ways to access the Al Safwa First lounge:

  1. Passengers with an upcoming first-class flight on Qatar Airways or another OneWorld airline.
  2. Passengers with a previous first-class flight on Qatar Airways and then continuing on a business-class flight on Qatar Airways
  3. Privilege Club Platinum member travelling in business class with Qatar Airways
  4. Subject to availability: passengers travelling in business class with Qatar Airways and paying an entrance fee of 600 QAR (~220 CAD).

Al Safwa First Lounge in Doha - General Layout and Public Areas

After checking in at the front desk, I walked down a hallway leading to the central atrium. The staff then assisted me in storing my luggage in a locker. Since I was traveling with two young children, the staff recommended that we relax in the family area. This designated space offers playrooms for children, a buffet section with pastries and fruits, showers, and semi-private rooms furnished with chairs, leather couches, and a TV, which are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. The only drawback is that the rooms do not have doors. Luckily, upon arrival, we were promptly assigned to one of these rooms. While the children were sleeping on the couches, I took the opportunity to take a shower and explore the lounge.

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The shower rooms were spacious and impeccably clean. It offers Dyptique amenities, mirroring those offered on Qatar Airways’ long-haul business and first class flights.

While making my way back to the central atrium, I took a moment to admire the artwork on loan from Doha’s Islamic Art Museum and appreciate the lounge’s impressive size, lofty ceilings, and minimalist yet stylish design. I then walked past the spa and rest area. The Qspa provides massage, facial, manicure, and pedicure treatments, which are available for an additional fee. However, access to the jacuzzi is complimentary. Within the quiet area, guests can find private rooms featuring either a single or double bed. The use of these private rooms is complimentary for up to 6 hours. They cannot be reserved in advance and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. If the rooms are all occupied, you can add your name to the waiting list.

From the central atrium, I was able to appreciate Al Safwa’s renowned water feature.

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Al Safwa First Lounge in Doha - Dining Area

The lounge features a buffet, a bar and an all-day a la carte dining room. You can view the latest menu here.

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Having already dined on my previous flight, I decided to sample just an appetizer and dessert. I ordered a glass of rose champagne, a seared wagyu carpaccio, and chocolate ice cream. While the wagyu was juicy and tender, it lacked the exquisite “melt-in-your-mouth” sensation of A5 Kobe beef from Japan. The service was attentive without being overly intrusive.

For breakfast, I opted for a green smoothie, eggs benedict and a fruit platter. My children loved the fresh fruits, and I particularly enjoyed the poached eggs with turkey ham while watching the planes on the tarmac.

Al Safwa First Lounge in Doha - General Impressions

Al Safwa doesn’t give off the typical airport lounge vibe. Throughout my time there, it was always peaceful and quiet, never crowded or noisy. Along with all the artwork, it felt like I was in a museum. The lofty ceilings, sleek and minimalistic design, expansive layout and sophisticated ambiance were all incredibly impressive, setting it apart from all the other lounges I’ve visited before.

I also really appreciated the dedicated space for families. Unlike some other premium lounges that offer only a single playroom for kids, Al Safwa’s family area offers 4 different playrooms, a buffet, shower rooms and semi-private rooms where families can sleep and relax without worrying about disturbing other passengers.

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Zhuofan Zhang
Wife, mother of two little monsters, optometrist and avid fan of the Mayday series, I am always on the lookout for great flight and hotel deals, whether using cash or points.

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