Review: Qatar Airways Platinum and Gold 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!)

 

⚠️ Update: This lounge was formerly known as the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge North, and hosted First and Business Class travellers on Qatar Airways/oneworld carriers.

Following the opening of the Al Mourjan Garden Lounge, it has been converted into the Qatar Airways Platinum and Gold Lounge North. It is now used for Premium Economy and Economy Class travellers on Qatar Airways/oneworld carriers with oneworld Sapphire/Emerald status.

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. 

Unless I’m mistaken, the red arrow is where the new Al Mourjan Garden lounge will be

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
  • Clean showers and a la carte dining ensure the basics are covered
  • It’s not the permanent lounge for Business Class travellers
  • A featureless, “seating-only” lounge, with no separate areas for work, play or resting
  • Surprisingly limited dining options
💦🚿 Golden Showers

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. 

Lounge entrance

There’s no need for any further checks once upstairs.

Lounge reception
Lounge reception

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).

Entrance area

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. 

Al Mourjan Business Lounge North seating
Al Mourjan Business Lounge North seating
Al Mourjan Business Lounge North seating
Al Mourjan Business Lounge North seating
Al Mourjan Business Lounge North seating
Al Mourjan Business Lounge North seating

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. 

View from lounge

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!). 

TV area

Food & Beverage

The Al Mourjan Business Lounge North has two main dining areas.

Deli area

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. 

Restaurant area

There’s also a buffet area featuring a few cold starters, soups, a small selection of hot items and desserts.

Buffet line
Buffet line
Cold starters
Buffet selection
Buffet selection
Buffet selection
Desserts
Desserts

One thing I didn’t expect to see was a sushi counter, offering shrimp nigiri, California rolls and unagi rolls.

Sushi counter

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. 

Sushi selection

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.

Grilled salmon
Pumpkin risotto
Ice cream

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
WineTypeVivino
🇫🇷 Laurent-Perrier BrutChampagne4.1/5
🇫🇷 Gosset Brut Grand RoseChampagne4.1/5
🇦🇺 Yellow Label Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay 2021White4.2/5
🇪🇸 Oro De Castilla Sauvignon Blanc 2021White3.7/5
🇦🇹 Markus Huber Ried Alte Setzen Erste Lage Gruner Veltliner 2017White3.9/5
🇫🇷 Chateau Cantemerle Haut-Medoc Grand Cru Classe 2014Red3.9/5
🇮🇹 Caranti Cascina Garitina Red3.8/5
🇦🇺 Bella’s Garden Barossa Valley Shiraz 2018Red4.2/5
🇪🇸 Jorge Ordonez Malaga Victoria 2016Dessert4.4/5

Drinks can also be ordered from the manned bar in the middle of the lounge. 

Bar

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.

Wireless charging pads and power outlets
Wireless charging pads and power outlets

Restrooms & Showers

Men’s room

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. 

Shower suite
Shower suite

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.

Shower suite

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. 

Shower cubicle
Shower amenities
Hand wash amenities

Conclusion

Al Mourjan Business Lounge North

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. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Paul

“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!)”

Oh, don’t be so hard on QR. Your description fits SQ’s flagship lounge at Changi T3 just as well, if not better!

Nagi

A matter of taste Paul, a matter of taste.

BIgTee

This champagne taste merits further lounge testing.

Zenyu

Even though this isn’t their b-class lounge, it sure beats SQ’s b-class lounge in terms of dining (beef tenderloin/sushi vs dim sum/generic fried noodle) and drink options + sheer number of restroom attendants who are on stand-by to assist weary travelers in search of hot showers….

Giorgio

You are wrong.

Access is granted to certain QR Platinum member travelling on economy.
QR platinum members also have access to Al Safwa lounge when travelling in Business class.

There are 2 work desk areas just below the screens displaying the departure next to the wall >> comment image?strip=all&lossy=1&resize=1024%2C771&ssl=1

The food quality is very high compared to 90% of most business class lounges worldwide

BIgTee

I tried to get into Al M_ lounge once, in 2022, where the gorgeous business-class flight staffer directed me; but, I was stopped by the beefy bouncer @ the bottom of the escalator. I was too tired to press on.. I went to the Sapphire access lounge where my ground staffer took care of me with a bottle of vodka that he retrieved from the staff only section, for my self-made (and stiff) daisy cocktails.

For me, the contest is between QR elite-ism and AF free-flowing champagne. I’ll give QR and its lounges another go in 2023.

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