The lounge situation in Doha at the moment is…complicated.
The “old” lounge is now known as the Al Mourjan Business Lounge South, and by all reports it’s still the same as when I last visited in 2019.
But there’s a new lounge open near Hamad Airport’s The Orchard, a 65,000 sq. ft. rainforest atrium that will invariably evoke comparisons with Changi Airport’s Jewel.
This is called the Al Mourjan Business Lounge North, and contrary to popular belief, it’s not Qatar’s new flagship lounge. Instead, it’s a temporary facility designed to hold the fort until the real flagship Al Mourjan Garden opens at a yet-to-be-determined date.
Very little is known about this new lounge, except that it’ll seat about 1,000 guests, have a gym (which come to think of it is a really useful feature if you’re a transit hub), and host two “world-first amenities” as teased by Head for Points. I’ve scheduled a separate trip through Doha in May in hopes of checking it out.
Why bother reviewing a temporary lounge then? Because when the Al Mourjan Garden does open, the current Al Mourjan Business Lounge North will become the new Platinum North, a lounge for oneworld Emerald members flying in Economy or Premium Economy.
Here’s what lies in store.
|🍸 tl;dr: Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge North|
|Qatar’s temporary Business Class lounge gets the basics right, but comes off rather sterile- more “frequent flyer lounge” than flagship (as it’s intended to be!)|
|👍 The good||👎 The bad|
Access and Operating Hours
The Al Mourjan Business Lounge North is open 24 hours a day.
Access is available to passengers departing on a Qatar Airways or oneworld-operated flight in:
- First Class (+1 guest)
- Business Class (except passengers on Qatar’s Business Lite fares)
All guests must be travelling on the same flight as the eligible passenger.
oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members travelling in Premium Economy and Economy Class cannot access this lounge; they will be directed instead to the Qatar Airways Gold or Platinum Lounge.
Lounge access can also be purchased via the Qatar Airways website.
Overview: Al Mourjan Business Lounge North
On arrival at the Al Mourjan Business Lounge North, your boarding pass will be scanned at the bottom of the escalator to confirm your eligibility. Once verified, head straight up and you’ll see the entrance. Presumably, all this lettering will be changed once the “real” Al Mourjan opens.
There’s no need for any further checks once upstairs.
Unlike Changi Airport, Doha Hamad is certainly not pressed for space, and you can see that from the way the lounges are laid out. There’s a lot of spacing between seats and furniture, making it feel a lot more private (if a little lonely).
The lounge is shaped like one long crescent, with various types of seating scattered from one end to the other. Some privacy partitions have been set up, but otherwise there isn’t a lot of zoning going on like what you might see in other lounges, which have clearly demarcated areas for work and rest.
The lounge does not have views of The Orchard. Rather, it looks out into an inner atrium. Because of the glow from all the ceiling lights, signage and video walls, the lounge isn’t the most conducive place for resting. If you need to nap, the Al Mourjan Business Lounge South is much better, since it has an enclosed darkened space to rest.
Quite frankly, the lounge was rather featureless- apart from a TV area, there was nothing much to do. I didn’t see any sleeping rooms, any kids’ play area, any productivity pods or business centre, and certainly none of the things that make the Al Mourjan Business Lounge South so fun (video games room!).
Food & Beverage
The Al Mourjan Business Lounge North has two main dining areas.
Near the entrance is a deli, focusing on sandwiches, salads and lighter bites. This is intended for passengers on tighter connections who can’t wait for a full meal to be served.
You can pick from one of the pre-made options, or else assemble your own.
On the other side of the lounge is the restaurant, which offers sit down a la carte dining.
There’s also a buffet area featuring a few cold starters, soups, a small selection of hot items and desserts.
One thing I didn’t expect to see was a sushi counter, offering shrimp nigiri, California rolls and unagi rolls.
I had very low expectations for lounge sushi, and it’s safe to say this won’t be giving Sukiyabashi Jiro a run for the money anytime soon. However, I did appreciate that they used the better-quality wasabi; not that terrible playdough stuff.
The a la carte menu rotates regularly. You can find the latest version here, and here’s what was served during my visit.
Compared to other Qatar Premium Lounges I’ve visited (most notably in Singapore), I found the selection to be small. There were no made-to-order appetiser or dessert items (ice cream doesn’t really count), only mains- and six at that.
For what it’s worth, the dishes were decent. I had the grilled salmon with wild rice and a pumpkin risotto, which came within 15 minutes of ordering.
The drinks list features TWG teas (I guess the brand is really making an impression overseas!), barista-made coffee, freshly squeezed juices and smoothies, mocktails, and Qatar’s special non-alcoholic bubble So Jennie. Laugh all you want, but So Jennie is actually pretty good stuff, served in Michelin-starred restaurants as an alternative for those who want bubbles but not booze.
Of course, there’s also booze for those who want it.
Note that despite what the menu says, Charles Heidsieck Brut was not available. Instead, Qatar was serving a much-inferior (in my opinion, anyway) Laurent-Perrier Brut, which is nothing to get excited about. How I miss their Billecart-Salmon!
|🍷 Al Mourjan Business Lounge Wine List|
|🇫🇷 Laurent-Perrier Brut||Champagne||4.1/5|
|🇫🇷 Gosset Brut Grand Rose||Champagne||4.1/5|
|🇦🇺 Yellow Label Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay 2021||White||4.2/5|
|🇪🇸 Oro De Castilla Sauvignon Blanc 2021||White||3.7/5|
|🇦🇹 Markus Huber Ried Alte Setzen Erste Lage Gruner Veltliner 2017||White||3.9/5|
|🇫🇷 Chateau Cantemerle Haut-Medoc Grand Cru Classe 2014||Red||3.9/5|
|🇮🇹 Caranti Cascina Garitina||Red||3.8/5|
|🇦🇺 Bella’s Garden Barossa Valley Shiraz 2018||Red||4.2/5|
|🇪🇸 Jorge Ordonez Malaga Victoria 2016||Dessert||4.4/5|
Drinks can also be ordered from the manned bar in the middle of the lounge.
Power & Productivity
I forgot to Speedtest the lounge’s Wi-Fi network, but it got the job done for my regular browsing and email use. More annoying was Hamad Airport’s insistence for me to enter my eticket number or otherwise scan my boarding pass to access the network. Whatever happened to a simple OTP?
Universal power outlets, Type-A USB ports and wireless charging pads were widely available throughout the lounge, mostly on tables between armchairs.
Restrooms & Showers
The lounge has its own gender-segregated restrooms, plus a total of 20 private shower suites (10 for men, 10 for women). Each shower suite has an attached toilet. There was no wait time at all, and the staff keep them spotlessly clean.
Each suite has a long bench for storing your luggage, allowing you to easily access your clean clothes and toiletries as required. Two wall-mounted clothes hangers were also provided.
The shower’s water pressure was excellent, with both an overhead and hand shower available. Bath amenities were from diptyque, dispensed from wall-mounted bottles.
While it gets all the basics right, I found the Al Mourjan Business Lounge North to be a bit sterile. But maybe that’s the point- it’s no secret that Qatar Airways reserves the best perks for Business Class passengers, creating decidedly inferior lounges for elite members in Economy Class (where have we seen that before?).
Ultimately, the Al Mourjan Business Lounge North is not meant to be a Business Class lounge, and therefore the lack of frills shouldn’t be all that surprising. It already feels very much like the Platinum North lounge it’s meant to become, a basic facility that Qatar can throw to oneworld elites and say “well, we gave them something”.
If time permits, the Al Mourjan Business Lounge South should be the main port of call for Business Class travellers, until the Garden opens up.